December 2016: Gondola's hibernation
At the end of every sailing season Gondola comes off the water for her winter hibernation.
It’s a fairly easy process these days. We just shrink her down to a manageable size, put her into a glass case for protection and pop her on to the back of a pickup truck to be taken away for winter storage.
Ok, that's not true, life’s a bit more complicated than that.
Firstly, we have to haul Gondola out of the water and up the slipway. Using our usual manual winching method this can take four hours. However, things did turn out to be a bit easier this year. We had a tractor available to do the heavy work so Gondola was up the slipway and in position in under an hour.
The next task involves a man-sized Meccano kit which we lay out on the ground and put in the right order. At this stage it looks a little like something out of the Natural History Museum.
The frame supports the cover that goes over Gondola to give her, and us, some protection from the elements whilst we carry out winter maintenance.
Once the frame is in place the cover goes on.
And as soon the cover is secured in place the real work starts – the thousand and one tasks that have to be tackled over the winter months to make sure Gondola looks as good as new when the next sailing season starts in April 2017.