Wednesday, August 04, 2010

The Half Way Mark

Sunday was our half way mark. And for the first time since we left New York City the week before we didn’t wake up and immediately head out. We woke up at Chipman Point and had a few things to figure out: 1. when would we put the masts back on, and 2. what would we do that day. I suspected that the day’s activities might include swimming and eating ice cream.

The thing about Chipman Point is that the marina has the last crane on the lake north of the locks. This means that it is the last opportunity on Lake Champlain for sailboats to have their masts taken down before heading into the locks. The bridges over the Champlain Canal are way too low for a sailboat with masts to fit under. Heck, there was one bridge where we thought we might not make it under with our masts laid on deck.

Years ago when we kept our boat at Chipman Point we met loads of Canadian sailors who had their masts taken down at Chipman Point. They came down the lake from Canada, presumably on their way to some exotic locale, and Chip and Dick worked to take down their masts. Then they left, headed south, with their Canadian or Quebec flag flowing off the stern.

Todd met with Chip that morning to figure out when we’d get our turn in front of the crane. Chip was already working overtime to repair a Canadian powerboat, and was engaged in an argument with a French-Canadian sailor who was very insistent that Chip take his masts down immediately. Chip shrugged and pointed at Todd and said “Well, he got here first, he’s next.” The French-Canadian swore at Chip in French, Todd said “Look, this guy’s going to give you a hard time, we can wait until tomorrow. It’s all good.” Chip thanked him then finished the motor on the power boat, and dismasted two Canadian boats before he got to us at noon on Monday.

We had all of Sunday ahead of us, and we spent it anchored in front of Fort Ticonderoga. The fort is just north of Chipman Point, and every Sunday they hold a battle reenactment. Todd’s parents keep their boat at Chipman, and we rafted to their boat and spent the afternoon swimming, lounging, eating and playing cards.

Not a bad way to spend a Sunday afternoon in preparation for the grueling mast stepping on Monday.

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