Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Taking Down the Masts

Yesterday, while still at Chipman Point on Lake Champlain, we put the masts back into their correct position. The decks are clear, and there is no longer a dangerous obstacle course to walk through when trying to get anywhere on deck.

But it was on Tuesday last week when we had to take them down. It was in Catskill, NY on the morning after the tide went out and we sunk into the mud at the bottom of the river.

We arrived at the marina before the tide came in, and had much work ahead of us. Todd and Charlie had already taken down and packed the sails. Charlie marked the turnbuckles on the standing rigging (cables that hold the masts into place) so that we would know how far to tighten them so that they are properly tuned. (Have I mentioned that it’s completely and entirely awesome to have a yacht rigger aboard?)

We tied up to the dock, and Todd and I headed to the boatyard’s barn to build the braces that the masts would rest on for the next week. He measured and sketched. Within an hour we had built the three braces. The crane operator and two of the guys working at the boatyard helped us take them down.

It took all day. It was hot and sticky, and every so often a stray rain shower pelted us. The rain didn’t cool us down; it only served to make us feel slimy. We trucked on through the remainder of the job. We propped up the braces and tied them with miles of ropes and straps.

By the end of the day we were hot and sticky. We were tired. Charlie spotted a restaurant on the shore were we decided to have dinner because none of us wanted to cook anything or wash any dishes. We slurped down the drink special, the Peach Flamingo. The guys tried to look somewhat manly as they ordered them, but it didn’t matter because they went down like liquid candy.

The walk back to the boat was only a block or so away, but it felt like much longer due to our exhaustion. We fell into our beds; our destination for the next day would be Albany.

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