Out The Window - Building A Puddle Duck In An Apartment

The vast majority of apartments around where I live are in these really narrow and long buildings. My apartment at its widest point was about 20 feet wide, and was about 80 feet long. I put my boat together at the very front of my apartment in the living room, and knew that I had to get it out the back door and down the back deck to get it out of the building...I just dind't know quite how that was going to work. It was one of those things that I just kept putting off. Finally, I finished building, and moved it out onto the back deck to start painting--getting it through the back door was no problem. Getting it off the back deck, however, proved to be a big pain in the bootay. I tried fitting it down the stairwell, but my roomie and I weren't strong enough as a team to maneuver the thing. So I sat and thought, and sat and thought, and sat and thought, and I decided I'd rig up a winch and lower it off the deck. You can see the picture of how this started in the picture files.

I had a hand crank winch from harbor freight bolted to a board that was strapped to the deck. I got the boat to the point where it was about 90% off the deck, and everything was going great. Then, all of a sudden, one of the straps that was holding the board that was holding the winch shifted. The board rotated forward a little bit so that the winch wire was coming out of the top of the winch instead of coming out the front like it's supposed to. At first, this was really bad because the wire was right in the way of the handle, so I couldn't turn it anymore. Then, it got about a thousand times worse when the board cracked...when it spun, the weight of the boat was pulling on the board in its weakest direction instead of the strongest. And it was breaking.

Let me back up for a second. I have a bad habit of entering just about every situation with the attitude that everything will be fine. No matter what comes up, you can always figure out a solution. Everything will be great.

This is why I didn't ask my downstairs neighbors to move their cars from the area behind the deck. (If you look at the picture again, you can see the side of a blazer in the picture, and my roomie was leaning against a dodge stratus to take the picture.)

Now, I'm no math expert, but in my head, I did some quick calculations and realized that: non-functioning winch + breaking board + weight of PD = shrapnel wounds on cars

And in addition to all of that, I had just spent a month and about $150 on this boat! I'd rather die than see it plummet to its doom. So I lunged forward, grabbed the boat, and started screaming for my roomie to come up and help out. She had no idea what was going on, so she comes up, and upon seeing the broken board, starts freaking out too. Fortunately, between the two of us, we were able to haul the boat back up on the deck.

My downstairs neighbor heard all the commotion and came out to see what was going on...and made the fatal error of saying, "Can I help?" So I recruited him, and after about 45 minutes of wedging the boat downstairs, it was finally free.

It was one of the most exciting days I've had with my sailboat yet.