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Captain Log ID: 917
Title: Keel Bulb Fun In The Boat Yard
Boat Name(Id): Rainbow ( 2356)
Sailor Name(Id): Eugene Kashpureff ( 2853)
Geo Region: Baytown, TX
Date of Occurance: 2006-10-23
Latitude: N 29º   42.719'
Longitude: W 94º   58.98'
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Saturday, 06/10/23


N 29 42.75 W 94 59.035
SailVenture, Inc. Boat Yard


We slept in until 0900 this morning. I'd been dreading the invasion of the marina by a 10K race held here in Bayland, but by the time we got up it was over, with the participants having breakfast at the Tiki Bay Bar and Grill here.


Peter and I jumped in the van after breakfast and drove a mile up Hwy 146 to SailVenture. SailVenture is a dry land boat yard and the local McGregor Venture dealer here in Texas. Lance Beauchamp is the owner of SailVenture, and he's a wonderful man to do business with.


We still had the 1500 lb. keel bulb for Rainbow riding in the back of the van and needed to get it unloaded. We've had to move this large bit of cast iron a couple of times now, and it's always an interesting adventure for us.


In the past we've used a crane and a large forklift to load it into the van. When we loaded it up this last time in North Carolina we built a solid ramp of 2x4s and plywood, then used a come-a-long to winch it up into the back of the van. We pulled it all the up into the middle of the van so the heavy load was well centered.


We've used two methods to get the keel bulb out of the van. The first time, at Curtin's Marina in New Jersey, we used the yard fork lift to pick it out. The last time, in North Carolina, we tied one end of a heavy dock line to the keel bulb and the other end to a large cedar tree. I put the van in gear and pulled away slowly. The bulb made heavy thump as it dropped off the bumper. It was my intention to use this latter method to get the bulb out of the van again on this Saturday morning.


Lance was helping another customer replace a propeller shaft bushing when Peter and I arrived at the boat yard, so we spent some time clearing out clutter from the van and sorting out more clutter we had been transporting in Rainbow when we had trailered her down to Texas the week before. I walked over to the shop to greet Lance when it looked like he was finishing up. We hadn't seen Lance for a couple of weeks, and he asked how we'd been doing. I told him life was good, and I didn't have too many problems, but few that I'd been saving up just for him. Lance raised his eyebrow suspiciously and asked if these were big or little problems, and I told him I had a whole range of problems for him. I asked if he wanted me to start with the biggest, or the smallest.


"The biggest problem first", he answered.


"I've got a 1500 lb keel bulb stuck in the back of van for that Rainbow I parked over there.", I told him.


Lance made a big smile, then asked "And the smallest problem ? "


"I need some rigging parts for our Venture before I can re-step my mast." I also told him I needed a couple of new propellers for my 3.3 HP Mercury dinghy motor. Eugene Jr. had broken the prop off of the brand new motor a few weeks before when he'd been out hot-rodding with Stir Fri late one night and hit a crab pot. Lance told me he didn't think it would be a problem.


We discussed removal of the keel bulb, and I started to back the van up to a large tree in the yard with the idea that we'd pull the bulb out and let it drop in the same manner as we had unloaded it last time. We got the back doors open on the van and started pulling out the heavy dock line when Lance stopped and said he thought he had a better idea. He asked Peter to follow him over to the tool shed. He started pulling parts of an old engine lift out. I thought it would be a bit overkill to solve the problem this way, but it is Lance's boat yard, so I didn't argue any with the boss. Besides, it would be more fun to make things more complicated. It seems his other customer was like minded, as he was still hanging around with us for the show.


We moved the van back over to the corner of the yard where Rainbow is parked, and assembled the engine lift. We tied off the dock line to the keel bulb and an old jeep Lance had parked back there, as we still needed to pull the bulb back in the van before we'd be able to get close enough to pick it up with the engine lift.


The engine lift didn't have an easy time picking up all that weight. We had to stand on the back end of the lift to counter ballance and keep it from tipping over. I drove the van out from under it, then we placed some 4x4s under it for dunnage to protect the fresh pavement before very gently lowerring the bulb down again. We then realized we still had a problem. The lift wouldn't lower it down all the way ! The bulb was sitting on the 4x4s, but we didn't have any slack to unhook the chains from the lift. Lance hammered the pin holding the chain to the lift out, and we were able to get the chains free. I think it would have been easier to have dragged the bulb out and let it drop.


Lance ordered up the propellers for me, along with shear pins and the parts I needed for my Venture. West Marine had wanted $50 for these props, but Lance was only charging me $20 each. I know West Marine charges heavy mark up, but wondered if Lance was making any money at all off my business.


Now I just wonder when I'll be able to get some time in on restoring this boat ...


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(c)Copyright 2006 by Eugene Kashpureff