Dismantling the catamaran

In the article Dismantling the catamaran, we follow the Catamaran Ariki on its last journey across the sea to the shipyard, where it is dismantled and prepared for transport in just a few hours. A couple sailing on Ariki reminisce about their time together at sea and face an uncertain future full of questions. 

Once they arrive at the shipyard, the process of lifting the catamaran out of the water and then dismantling it begins. Despite the problems with empty camera batteries and moving the bodies, they are helped by their friends. Despite the problems with empty camera batteries and moving the hulls, they are helped by their friends. First in the shipyard and then in his hometown under the mountains. When Ariki finally arrives at his home yard, a sense of relief and satisfaction prevails. Ariki’s 18 year long journey finally ends, he is now home.article

Dismantling the catamaran, Dismantling the catamaran, Dismantling the catamaran, 

The three of us are the best couple

At eight in the morning we set sail from the canal of St. Jernej. It was a wonderful morning. In normal times, we would be full of joy and excitement. But that day we were filled with worry and sadness. There were only two of us on board. We did not invite friends on this last journey. We had to do it ourselves. Just us and Ariki. The three of us have always been the best »couple«. It was the same on that last day.

An uncertain future

We didn’t know how it would be in the future. Will the lockdowns continue or will we live freely again, as before the pandemic? Will tourists return to our country? Will we have at least a minimal income from our small business again, so that we can live a roughly normal life? These and many other questions plagued us. We did not know the answer to them.

All we knew was that we could lose Ariki if we left him in the canal. That’s why we had to put it away safely. To a place where there will be no costs.

In the shipyard

We were in no hurry. We sailed slowly. Izola, where we were headed, is only five nautical miles away. We had three hours. It was a smooth sailing. Despite the beautiful morning, not happy at all.

At exactly 11 o’clock we sailed to the dock, where the elevator was already waiting for us.

We launched Ariki for the first time almost exactly 17 years ago right here in this dock at the Izola Shipyard. We also did all the previous overhauls here. We always had a good time.

We were usually greeted upon arrival by old friends and acquaintances who have their own boats here. This time there was no one. Only shipyard staff and craftsmen working on barge maintenance.

It had been two years since Ariki had last been here. We also recorded that overhaul in a series of 5 videos. The link to the first video in the series is here in the upper right corner.

Raising the catamaran and washing the hulls

The lifting of the catamaran is routine and unerring. As always until now.

The crane operator drives the lift above the water and lowers the powerful slings just enough under the water that the catamaran can be pulled to the right place with the winch.

Then the lifting of the catamaran from the water begins.

For two years Ariki was tied up in the canal. We haven’t sailed in two years. A lot of filth has accumulated on the underwater part of the hulls. But a strong jet of water cleans everything.

Our antifouling coating for underwater hulls is excellent. There is not a single shell anywhere. There is only some small algae. Mud accumulated on them over time.

Dismantling the catamaran

Dismantling the catamaran, Dismantling the catamaran, Dismantling the catamaran, 

Dismantling the catamaran

All of them show the assembling and launching of the barges in the videos. So far, we have also made videos like this, where going into the water is a victory.

What if it’s the other way around? What if rising out of the water is victory? It was like that that day! Or so it seemed to us. It was definitely our first win of the day.

Ariki, Matjaž and I were left alone on the asphalt platform. We don’t have much time. Only 4 more hours. At 3:30 p.m., a truck comes to pick him up.

Disassembly of the catamaran is carried out in the reverse order of assembly. First, sails, mooring lines and other deck equipment are removed from it.

Then it’s the turn of the trampolines. Ariki has three. One larger one in the front and two smaller ones in the back. They are tied with 5 mm thick ropes. Many meters of this rope need to be pulled out.

Before the stairs can be disassembled, it is necessary to dismantle Ariki’s power plant. Like everything else, the panel goes into the car. Uh, we have a small car. Will there be enough room for all this stuff and for us?

Anything too big for the car can be folded into the hull.

Knocking down the mast

The crane operator brought the truck. With his help, we will lower the mast.

Before the ropes and cables holding the mast upright are untied, the mast must be secured against falling. This is done by connecting the hook of the truck to the mast with a short sling and a long rope. Thus the mast is ready for lowering.

First, the mast’s front support cable must be released. This is done by untying the rope that connects this vertical steel cable to the horizontal steel cable with which both hulls are connected.

Then the guards must be removed, which prevent the side steel cables of the mast from coming off.

Now there are no more obstacles and the crane operator can lower the mast.

Ariki’s mast is not heavy. Plucked, without everything, it weighs only about 30 kg. It is made of spruce 1 inch thick planks and glued with epoxy. It is hollow in the middle. Together with the lifting ropes and steel cables, the whole thing weighs about 45 kg. Maybe a few kg more or less.

Dismantling the catamaran

Dismantling the catamaran, Dismantling the catamaran, Dismantling the catamaran, 

Preparation for transport

We had two cameras and one phone with us, which has a good built-in camera. The battery in the first camera died. In the second action camera, the battery was also near the end. The same on the phone.

That’s why we didn’t film the untying and take off the crossbeams and the cockpit. We had quite a few problems with moving the hulls. They had to be placed close together. We couldn’t do it ourselves. Friends came to help, mechanics, who otherwise do not like such a difficult job as moving hulls. But in this case they made an exception.

We have known each other for a long time. When we with Ariki were here for the first time in 2004, we met and had our first beer together. We’ve been seeing each other ever since and sometimes hang out a bit when Ariki is on overhaul.

They were not at all thrilled with the news that Ariki was going up there under the hills, far from the sea. They said that the boat that goes from the sea to the mainland never comes back.

A journey of no return

They were not at all thrilled with the news that Ariki was going up there under the hills, far from the sea. They said that the boat that goes from the sea to the mainland never comes back.

Ah well, some of them come back, we laughed at them. But they just shook their heads and confidently claimed that none of those who had been taken away from the shipyard had ever returned.

We connected the hull with two-inch-thick boards. Thus bound, the Ariki is ready for transport. It is stable enough not to need a stand.

It’s 3:30 p.m. Four hours have passed since the disassembly  began.

Our car is full packed. There is hardly any room for us.

The truck is already here. The truck lift is also ready.

Ariki is a light boat. It weighs only 700 kg empty. That’s why we ordered a tow truck with a long enough table for transportation. Ariki rides on it. The mast and crosbeams are on the table between the hulls. Everything is firmly connected with the belts.

Dismantling the catamaran

Dismantling the catamaran, Dismantling the catamaran, Dismantling the catamaran, 

Friends come to help us

The local mountains can already be seen in the distance, and the batteries in the second camera and phone are also empty.

Ariki, on the other hand, races along the highway at an enviable speed of 48 knots per hour. This is a real speed record. It cannot reach such a speed on water.

Although the truck is not big, it still cannot reach our house. The road is too narrow and the bends are too sharp. There is also no space for unloading. Therefore, it is necessary to find another way.

There is enough space at my friend Dominik’s, who lives 4 km from our house. Dominik has a large farm. He is engaged in cattle breeding and forestry. In addition, he also has a car repair shop in which he repairs agricultural machinery and cars.

At 6:00 p.m., we unloaded Ariki from the truck with a tractor that has an excavator arm in front. It was quite spectacular. My heart sank from fear. But everything turned out well.

Then we waited for Primož. Primož also has a large farm and even more cows than Dominik. But he also has a lot of forest. Therefore, he has the necessary machinery with which Ariki can also be transported. Of course, not both hulls together, but each separately.

During this time, the camera battery was also partially charged. Just right. Primož is already on its way.

Dismantling the catamaran

Dismantling the catamaran, Dismantling the catamaran, Dismantling the catamaran, 

Ariki building book and video

I can say that it was a nice evening. In the evening twilight, we loaded the first hull and took it to the home yard. We took the second hull already in pitch darkness. Ariki finally arrived at his home yard at 10 p.m., after a 14-hour long journey.

We built Ariki 18 years ago right here in our backyard

Matjaž also wrote a book about it and furnished it with many photographs. The book is available on Amazon. 

We have a long way to go. Ariki’s wandering lasted for 18 years. Now Ariki is back home. But we are calmer. Oh yes, much calmer. Now Ariki is no longer a cost and worry. Now he no longer burdens us. It has become real estate. We don’t know until when. We hopes that the situation will improve and that better times will come when we can breathe freely again.

Ariki is at home!

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