We were supposed to do a “short haul” of the boat yesterday in order to change the sacrificial zincs. It was supposed to be out of the water a maximum of two hours. Three weeks ago we had sailed to New Bern for the weekend and when we returned to our dock in Oriental we noticed that the bilge pump was coming on a lot. Bryce greased the gland that prevents water from coming into the stuffing box (around the shaft) but that didn’t seem to stop the influx of water into our bilge. Since the stuffing box had not been re-packed in several years, we decided to get the boat yard to make a “house call” and do it while she was at our dock. To our chagrin that was not the magic fix we had hoped for. So we figured the stuffing box just needed some further tightening and it would be a minor fix while the boat was up in the travel lift–NOT!! The fellows from the boat yard searched down our leak and found that the stuffing box was not the culprit. We had a leak around a bolt that holds the strut around the shaft (to which the prop is attached). OK- we will just leave it a bit longer on the travel lift and the bolt can be taken out and re-beded with epoxy. Nope! First the gromet around the bolt broke and they had to fabricate one, then it did not bed correctly, and when they took off the other three bolts to re-bed (as preventative), they leaked too. Now the water was gushing into the bilge. Ok. We will spend the night in the travel lift (and climb up and down a 12 foot ladder) and the yard will fix it on Satuday morning and we can return to our slip in our marina. Nope! This morning they felt that they needed more time to completely fix those bolts correctly, so we are now out of the travel lift and officially “on the hard” with jack stands until they get around to fixing her next week. Oh, and by the way, what was supposed to cost about $500 is now about four times that amount. And in addition we need to haul the boat out of the water for two months in the spring so we can clean and wax the hull and paint the bottom with anti-fouling paint. That should cost another couple of thousand. Yes, best laid plans of mice and mean sometimes go astray.