There comes a time in every boat owners life when they have to haulout. For us, that’s every 2/3 years. We finally hit that mark, which means: “Hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to haulout we go!” Unfortunately for us, our beam (the width of the boat) is 23 ft. Most boatyards can’t handle us. Napa, however, can.
For my husband, this means a week of boat projects and tinkering with his tools. For the girls and I, it’s more of a combination supportive role and vacation.
This haulout, we got a room at the Sheraton Springhill Suites in Napa and rented a car from Hertz. It was a little pricey, but I don’t feel comfortable staying on the boat while it is on the hard. It’s scary for me to watch my kids on a skinny ladder 12-ish feet in the air, knowing a fall could be serious or even fatal.
Anyway, the thing about Napa is that it is not around the corner. We have two days of sailing to get there. Four days of travel and three days on the hard equals a whole week off of work. That’s if everything goes to plan. A missing part for repairs can extend our stay for an uncomfortable amount of time. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
We took off from Redwood City in light winds and decided the time was right to do some Genaker sailing. Our last run with it was nothing short of awesome, so I was looking forward to it. It was great for a while, but wind is a funny thing, it has a tendancy to change. The wind increased in speed and changed direction to the point that we should have pulled down the genaker. Instead, we decided to tack. (turning the boat into the wind) This proved to be a poor decision, as we ended up hourglassing the sail. It seriously looked like a massive strand of DNA. This is when the wind decided to blow harder. We fought to get the sail down. (I was lifted off of the deck momentarily) It was absolutely crazy. I stuffed that genaker into it’s bag like I was giving one of the kids a timeout. That sail stayed in that bag for days.
Anchoring at China Camp was a no brainer, it cut our time to Napa down to 3 to 4 hours the next day. I was bummed that we were in such a hurry, as China Camp is a really neat place to explore. (I’ll write about that another time.) The next morning, we hauled up the anchor and headed towards the Napa River. We passed underneath a handful of bridges, only two of which we needed to have raised to accommodate our 60 ft mast. My favorite part of the Napa River is the old Mare Island Navy Shipyard. It’s closed now, but all the cranes hang over the water like they are expecting their next project at any moment. Across the river from the shipyard are rows and rows of newly built homes. It strikes me as poetic.
Finally arriving at the Napa Marina, we hit the fuel dock to top up the tanks and pump out the heads, then headed to the guest dock. We’ve been to this marina before, and found the staff there very helpful; this trip was no different. The guys popped out to help us dock up right away.
The next day, we had to wait for high tide before being pulled out. Since that wasn’t going to happen until 3pm, we had plenty of time to get a few jobs done. Hubby pulled out the Sailrite sewing machine and we tucked into some canvas work. A few straps were replaced as well as fasteners and we started prepping for the work we planned to do once we were hauled out.
A knock on the hull notified us that the guys were ready to haul us out. We dropped the dock lines, motored into position, and were maneuvered the rest of the way to the cradle by what can only be described as a wooden dinghy that thinks it’s a tug boat. I had an incredible amount of respect for the little craft, as well as it’s expert handler. Mike knocked on the hull to locate the bulkheads (the strongest part of our vessel) and got us strapped to the cradle.
This was the point where we were required to disembark. We stepped onto the little dinghy, another step onto the dock, and we were back on land. The winch was fired up, and Reverie slowly crawled out of the water.
I love my boat, but it does not look right on land. It was like looking at a nude statue; I could see the artistry of the piece, but felt a little embarrassed for it. The power sprayer was pulled out, and seeing my daughters intrigue, one of the gentlemen let our girls have a go. I think they did a pretty good job!
By this time, Hertz had delivered a car for us. I loaded the kids up, got us checked into our hotel, and took the kids swimming. Meanwhile, Hubby and the guys finished powerspraying Reverie’s hulls. When the girls and I returned, we all decided to walk around the boat yard. We found a seaplane, and some kind of house boat that captured my imagination.
The girls and I had dinner at the Oxbow Market. It was a short drive from the marina, had a great number of options to choose from, and even had a counter that was %100 gluten free! That’s pretty much a no-brainer. The place was called “C Casa”. I had a green salad with loads of fresh crab, and each of the girls had very unique tacos. Dinner did not disappoint. I picked up a beef sandwich, salad, and macaroni and cheese at the Five Dot Ranch (also in the Oxbow Market) for Hubby thinking for some reason he might want to eat as well. It turns out, I was correct and boy was he happy.
The next day, we dropped Hubby off at the marina to work, and I took the girls to find something to entertain them. We went to downtown Napa and accidentally found the local TI. A lovely lady gave us the lay of the land, a map, and highlights of the local area. “Playground Fantastico” jumped out of the list at me as a distinct possibility. We found it with a little difficulty, as it is tucked in next to a school and only accessible via a tiny driveway. But find it we did, and as usual, the girls found some lovely playmates. After an intense game of tag, we picked up some quick lunch and headed to the hotel for some swimming. When we finally made it back to the marina to pick up Daddy, we found the Reverie sporting a new look.