Thursday, August 05, 2010

Back Together Again

The high whine buzzed near my ears. Exasperated, I swatted at it, rolled over, and pulled the covers up to my ears. Within minutes my body was dripping in sweat. I kicked the covers off and moments later I was covered in mosquito bitten welts. On and on it went until I fell asleep out of pure exhaustion sometime before sunrise.

The sun streamed through the window, and the heat of the day had already settled in. I threw on some clothes and met up with Todd, Maggie, Krys and Hali to go over the plan for getting the masts put back on.

Before I knew it, we were tying up to the docks just in front of Chipman Point’s crane. Chip stood on the ledge near the crane and helped us position Sabine because the crane is fixed. It goes up and down, but it does not go side to side. Sabine had to be positioned precisely under the crane so that when we picked up the mast it would be balanced so that it wouldn’t crash into the deck, or worse fall into the water.

We moved the mizzen mast out of the way and hoisted the main mast into position. This involved a great deal of wrangling, balancing and negotiating. At one point the cable slipped out of the gear on the top of the crane, and Chip hauled Todd up to fix it. Krys was on the dock handling the lines, Maggie was with Todd and I on deck guiding the mast into position, while Hali was on shore tending to the dogs and taking advantage of the ship store’s honor policy. When I looked at our slip later, I saw that she’d painstakingly written what she’d “bought” from the store in the neatest cursive she could possibly muster.

When the main was in position we stopped to take a break. Todd’s parents had brought some pizza for us. We ate, and then the exhaustion from the lack of sleep had set in. I stared into space until Todd convinced me to take a nap.

But before I went to bed we needed to turn Sabine around so we could get the mizzen mast step into position under the crane. We had to rotate her 180 degrees. This involved tying ropes to various points on her corners and pulling on them to turn her around. The diesel was running, and it was in gear. I held a long rope in my hands, and momentarily stopped paying attention to how much of it draped into the water.

Then the rope, once slack, suddenly grew taut in my hands. The engine stuttered loudly and I realized what had happened.  I was careless with the rope and it had gotten sucked into the propeller. And, dammit, I knew better than that.  Todd jammed the throttle into neutral, I ran to the back of the boat and saw the rope, tied to a cleat on one end and pulled superhumanly tight to the underside of the boat on the other end. I tugged on it, but it wouldn’t give a bit.

Before I knew it Todd had donned a mask and snorkel, and jumped into the water. He swam to the back of the boat. After a few minutes he freed the line and we managed to get Sabine turned around.  I held the rope in my hands, it was melted in the spots that had gotten wrapped.  Looks like we'll need Charlie to splice up a new set of lines for the jib sheet.

We sat down to take a break while we waited for Chip to run the crane to get the mizzen put up. Maggie was talking to me. I swear her lips were moving, but I don’t know what she was saying.

“Your eyes are pointing in 2 different directions, Beej. Time for bed,” Todd nodded to the boat. I didn’t argue. Krys dinghied me to the boat, which was still positioned under the crane, I crawled into bed.

When I woke up the mizzen mast was up. Krys was tightening the standing rigging (cables that hold the masts up) with a pair of vise grips and pliers (the same exact way I’d seen Charlie take them off a few days before) while Todd and Maggie were putting the cotter pins on the remainder of the stays.

We had 1 remaining stay to hookup, the one that goes from the top of the main mast to the almost the top of the mizzen.

“I’ll go,” Krys volunteered, while slipping into the climbing harness. Todd tied in “Oh shit” line to it and Chip raised Krys on the crane. He retrieved the stay and clipped it into place, the Chip lowered him down again.

And with that, the masts were in place. Once back on our slip we put the sails back on, Maggie scrubbed the decks, and we fell asleep exhausted.

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