Thursday, February 11, 2010

Snowpocalypse: Digging Out a Sailboat and Motor Apraxia

 Went down and shoveled my sailboat out.  Here's a picture of a  Snow covered sailboat.  Not mine, but mine looks like this.  On the East Coast, we have just had a record snowfall.  In the DC/Baltimore metro area we have set a record for the most snow -- 81 inches this winter.  Now, I realize that to a New Englander or any serious snowy area, that this is not much snow. But DC/Baltimore just do not handle it well. 

I should have had the thing hauled and put on land for the winter.  You can get plastic blown all over it to keep it nice and dry.  It took me two hours to clean the darn thing just as the blizzard was starting.  I really had to get the snow off because I was afraid that the weight of the snow would sink the boat -- especially if there was 2 snowstorms worth of snow on the boat. 

Yup, little Miss Motor Apraxia was balanced precariously on that deck shoveling it clean just as the blizzard started.  It is not one of the smarter moves in my life for sure.  As my gentle readers are aware, I have balance problems and lousy hand-eye coordination.

The dock was relatively clean when I got there.  From the dock I shoveled a foothold for my self on the boat.  I got on board the boat and started clearing the front deck.  Fortunately the snow was a nice light powder which came off.  My husband had made a tent around the boom of the sailboat with some tarps so that protected the cabin and the cockpit.  So I started knocking snow off the tent and into the water.  Threw a few big chunks of ice overboard as well.  Then very gingerly I started working my way around the boat.  I didn't have much footholds as I couldn't stand on the tarp on the side of the boat as it was attached to the lower lifelines.  I really only had very small foot holds to balance myself.  So I hung onto the rigging with one hand and shoveled with the other.

Gradually I worked my way around to the stern of the boat and started to clear snow at the back of the boat.  I found I could stand in a foot deep of snow and actually get some stability from the crush of the snow around my feet and legs.

I took a break and went to Pirate's Cove to look around.  Compared to the neighboring marina, Pirate's Cove,  there was a lot more snow on the boats at Hartge's.  This is both good and bad.  The bad thing is there's a lot more work to do in terms of getting more snow off the boat.  The good thing is that Hartge's is more sheltered than Pirate's Cove.   At Pirate's Cove, there is a lot more wind so it helped knock the snow off.

I returned to shovel more snow. I cleared off most of the rest of the boat and then went underneath the tarp to check out the decks underneath.  I was getting pretty tired so I noticed that I was starting to get really clumsy.  I was knocking my glasses off occasionally which wasn't a particularly comforting feeling since I live 3 hours from the marina.  I really didn't want the glasses down at the bottom of the Bay.  I scrambled around underneath and flipped a bit more snow off the boat.  But fortunately everything was nice and dry for the most part. I didn't have a flashlight so I was crawling about in the dark.  By this time the snow was coming down full force, so I decided I had to high tail it out of the marina and get to a major highway.

I decided that I had enough and went back to the car.  When I got back to the car, I realized I didn't have my keys.  I panicked for a few minutes  and started scratching in the snow near the car.  Nothing.  I went back to the boat swearing all the way.  I got back on the boat and started scratching around on the deck.  Nothing.  Then I thought... maybe... I knocked the keys off as I was scrambling around under the tarp.  Sure enough there they were.  Boy, was I relieved.

I got in the car and started driving back.  By this time, the snow was just pouring down.  I was driving a Buick Thunderbird with rear-wheel drive.  Not a good snow car.  I managed to get out of the marina and down the main drag in Galesville.  The roads weren't plowed or salted.  I took a back road to Route 2 hoping that life would get better.  I was going between 10-30 mph... fishtailing periodically. Put the car in low gear.. .  That seemed to help a bit... but I still did 2 180 degree spins... What saved me was going as slowly as I was.  I was only going 10 mph into the spin.  I got to Route 2 and it wasn't plowed at all.  So slowly fishtailing, I got to Route 97 heading towards Annapolis ... I had hoped Route 97 would be plowed.  It is an interstate after all.  No such luck.  Did another 180 spin. 

Fortunately, I had my GPS.  I punched in "Find The Nearest Hotel" and I bugged out.   The roads were such a mess that I spent 2 days in a small motel before I got home.

But, it was a good thing I cleaned up my boat.  15 Boats sank in the Washington Marina.