There's nothing like a good scrub and a fresh coat of anti-fouling paint to combat the effects of time for any ocean-borne vessel.
In the old days, sailing ships were intentionally grounded (preferably, on a flat, sandy beach) during high tide so that when the tide went out again, the ship's hull would be exposed for cleaning and repairs below the water line.
This practice was known as "careening":
The process could be assisted by securing a top halyard to a fixed object such as a tree or rock to pull the mast over as far as possible. Maintenance might include repairing damage caused by dry rot or cannon shot, tarring the exterior to reduce leakage, or removing biofouling organisms such as barnacles to increase the ship's speed. One exotic method was the ancient practice of beaching a ship on a shingle beach with the goal of using wave action and the shingle to scour the hull or side of the ship.
Today, large ships are taken to a dry dock for hull maintenance and repairs, while smaller vessels like Old Glory are hauled out of the water using a large gantry-type crane commonly called a Travel Lift.
Our good friends at Gulf Marine Ways, just down the road from Salty Sam's Marina where Old Glory is berthed, hauled out our beloved catamaran and had her sit around "on the hard" long enough for her hull to completely dry.
Then the guys went to work.
There was a good deal of barnacles covering both her hulls; a bottom job is not something to neglect for too long here in Southwest Florida. The worse the buildup becomes, the more it robs the boat of speed due to the friction with the water.
While we had her out of the water, it also made a perfect opportunity to replace the "sacrificial zincs." These are small pieces of zinc metal that are attached to the propeller shafts to help reduce/prevent galvanic corrosion, which is what happens to metals like steel when sitting in saltwater.
You can clearly see the corrosion attacking the old zinc in the image below:
And while we were at it, we also replaced a swim ladder on our starboard side hull along with the stainless steel grab handles for the swim ladder:
Both are important pieces of hardware for our boat; our guests love jumping off the boat for a cool swim, an inner tube ride, or after going ashore, and these handles, along with the swim ladder, are the only way to get back aboard!
They do great work at Gulf Marine! If you ever need their help with you boat, tell 'em Skipper Bud recommends them highly!
And it was great that my son, Ben, was able to check everything out with Skipper Bud. Once we got her back on the water, baby Ben joined us for a quick cruise around the harbor before we returned to the dock.
With her hull all nice and clean again, the zincs replaced and the swim ladder hardware installed, we were ready to get the boat back into the saltwater again.
If you've never seen how cool it is to watch a big catamaran like Old Glory launched via Travel Lift, check out this video I shot:
Now that she's ready to go for another year of cruises and tours of coastal Southwest Florida, join Skipper Bud, Benson and me aboard Old Glory and find out for yourself what the catamaran lifestyle is all about!
Hope to see you on the water with us soon!