What Comes Down Must Go Up

Wednesday September 12, 2012

All I can say when I write this is the past few days did not go as we hoped they would. It didn’t have anything to do with the marina or the people working on our mast, they were better than we could have asked for, but this was all us. Making sure to be out and about as soon as the marina opened at 8 am on Monday morning we talked to the owner Mike who showed us around, and explained to him what our plans over the next day or two would be. There was no one else waiting for their mast to go up or down so he assured that it was no rush for us to get out. After hearing that UPS normally delivered around noon we used the extra free time to take advantage of the showers and wifi. Just after 11:30 we heard an annoucement on the speakers that our package was in and went to pick it up. As we came in to get it Mike mentioned that his crew was about to break for lunch and when they got back they’d be able to take the mast from our deck and lay it on the dock for the two of us to replace the old standing rigging with what had just come in. The really annoying part of the whole situation is the original rigging is just fine. When we had the survey done on the boat at the time we purchased it we also had a separate inspection for the rigging and it was termed good condition. But he we are spending $800 to !!replace it because we don’t have a piece of paper with a specific date of the last time it was replaced and no one will insure us outside of the Bahamas unless we can prove our rigging is less than ten years old. So now it’s out with the good and in with the better.

 When the mast was placed on the deck we’d take a certain section and measure it against it’s replacement to make sure they were the same size. Things were going great for all of the side stays, they were matching and going on smoothly. Things were going so well that we decided to take a break and treat ourselves to a Coke from the vending machine (only $1 for 20 oz!!). When it was time to replace the backstay we measured it, it matched, and so we went to put the new one in. Piece of cake, we were looking at finishing early that evening, having the mast put up in the morning and we’d be out of the marina by noon. Then when trying to attach the new backstay the new xx wasn’t long enough and we couldn’t get the pin through where it attached at the mast. Ok, that’s a problem, but we could continue with the current backstay until we’re pulled out of the water in a few months and replace it then. Moving on to the forestay Matt noticed that the xx coming with the new rigging was meant for boats built after 1990, and we’re an ’89. Jumping on the phone and talking to the company we ordered our rigging from he placed and order for another one specific to our boat and was assured that the mast could still go up with this piece and we’d be able to replace it at our leisure (but wouldn’t have use of the headsail until it was completed). Just to make sure it got to us right away we asked for it to be shipped priority altogether for a cost of $80. Another little hiccup, but we were still on track to get the mast up the next morning.

After that issue was semi-resolved we went back to the dock to complete what work we could do on the forestay. As we lined the old one up with the new one to measure and cut, Matt asked me to grab some pieces from one of the dock and bring them to the other end. He was rummaging through them and goes “Where’s the cone for the swagless fitting?”. “I don’t know”, I replied, “I brought over everything there was”. Apparently this cone was a very vital piece and we coudln’t attach the forestay without it. Spening the next 45 minutes searching up one end of the dock and down the other it was nowhere to be seen. Normally we would have been able to treat it like the backstay and replace it at another time but since we had cut the current one that was now a no go. Freaking out because we’d literally be stuck here until we could find that cone or get a new one (and now there were 2 boats lined up behind us to have work done to their mast) we thought of any possible solution. Although the marina we were at had a pretty extensive list of parts they could get for you, ours was such an obscure size that there would be no option but to order a new one and have it shipped. Knowing that most overnight items have to be shipped by 2 or 3 in the afternoon and it was now quarter to five we thought we’d be stuck at the marina for two more days waiting. Getting on the phone Matt called a distributor on the west coast that has worked with him in the past and luckily for us the guy was able to get a new part out in the mail that night to arrive the next morning….for $60 in shipping alone. This mast raising was shaping up to be very expensive. Going back to any other projects we could work on at the moment it was almost 9:00 and pitch black out when Matt decided we could call it a day and finally make dinner.

It was another early morning again as there were yet more projects to be worked on before the mast could go up. We spent the first part of the morning polishing the hull and getting it shiny and then I assisted Matt with other small projects until the cone for the swagless fitting came in just before lunch. Talking to Mike they said they’d come by around 2:00 to get the mast raised. Working in the meantime we got the new cone and fitting attached to the new forestay and even had a little free time until we waited for the crane to be ready for us. Mike sent over two of his best guys, Gary and Josh, to help get the mast raised and back into the boat. I had the easy job of standing out of the way for the first few minutes until the mast was vertical and about to come down. Then while Matt was in the cabin directing the position until it was in the mast step I was up on deck moving the forestay to the bow as the mast slowly came back down. Everything was successful and we were officially a sailboat once again.

Since we still had a lot of projects to do before we could leave (and were still waiting on one more part) the crew moved us to another dock so the next boat in line could get their mast lowered. I thought the hardest part of the day was now over and we’d be able to spend the rest of the afternoon relaxing. Wrong. Oh so wrong. I knew we’d have to get the lines run once again to the cockpit, and that was an easy enough project, but what I didn’t take into account was tensioning all of the new rigging. This took hours. Not only did we have to get it to a certain percentage, but how the rigging is tensioned also can pull on the mast and when we thought we had it just right the first time we looked up and saw the mast was begining too far back and then too far to starboard, so then it was redone. At least this day ended at 7:30, and that was an improvement. We were now technically ready to leave, as in we wouldn’t have any issues with the boat or the rigging, but had to stay one more night while waiting for the retaining cone for the fitting for the furling.

One more morning at the marina and we decided to use it to wash both the clothes and our boat. While Matt started spraying down the boat I grabbed our very full laundry basket and made my way to the washer & dryer by the office. Let’s not say that I was trying to get out of washing the boat, but there were some very serious stains on our clothes that needed lots of attention. It still wasn’t enough to get me out of the wash though and as soon as the quarters were inserted I was back at the boat with a scrub brush shoved in my hand. We worked on getting the deck spotless and I was excused once more to switch loads. When the boat was clean and the clothes were almost done we had nothing left on our list to do. I took advantage of the internet time and may have spent a lot of that time checking out a new group I was invited to on Facebook, ‘Women Who Sail’ (thanks again Verena for the invite!). Then checking back at the office we found the retaining cone had come in and went to attach it to the furler. Guess what? Exact replica of the one we had, there had been no reason to order a new one. I don’t think we would have been too upset if it was just the cost of the extra part we were out, but that coupled with an extra unnecessary night at the marina did not put us in the best of moods as far as the budget was concerned.

Ready to get on the move again before we could do any more damage we waited for a mega yacht to vacate so we could get into the fuel dock and pump out station. When both of those were taken care of we cashed out and were ready to go. Cost for the mast plus three nights at the marina, pump out and 11 gallons of diesel? $470.02. Add that to the two parts we had ordered and shipped and that was half of our monthly budget. The crew at Riverview was great, friendly, helpful, and we would absolutely recommend for anyone to go there. And like I mentioned at the beginning, everything that didn’t go right was all our fault. But we were ready to get out of dodge before we could spend another dime.


Mast is on the dock and ready for new rigging.

This lost little piece cost us $102 to replace!!

And the mast is back up! (mostly)


Sunday September 9, 2012

Even though we had only spent two and a half days in Waterford it felt weird to be on the move again. Our next destination is Catskills, NY where we’ll get our mast put back up and where our standing rigging will be coming in tomorrow. Passing through the last two locks there were still a few tugs remaining and a pretty big crowd as well. They also must have thought that locking was really interesting because each time we entered one a crowd would gather to watch. The people standing right by us would ask where we were from and where we were going, and I think we disappointed one big U of M fan since we don’t follow sports at all. Then when leaving the lock all the people at the far end would wave to us and I’d wave back, somehow reverting to the Ms America cupped hand rotating wave which must have been left over from my very short lived pagent career ( I participated in one when I was sixteen. Came in third runner up, woohoo!!). Then before we knew it we were done with the canal and deposited into the Hudson River.

 The trip down to Catskill was only 40 miles and would take 6-8 hours. We passed through Troy and Albany but after that any kind of scenery fell away and we were left with the same views we had on the canal. The good thing is that the Hudson is much wider than the canal and you could set the autopilot and distract yourself for a few minutes before changing it a few degrees here or there. I should have been smart and used this time to do some writing on my laptop and make sure the site would be caught up as soon as I had wifi again, but reading from my nook sounded so much more tempting and I went with the latter. I apologize for being so far behind, but I also blame Jodi Piccoult for writing books that are so damn good.

The hours passed and I was content sitting behind the wheel and reading when the dark clouds in the distance kept coming closer and closer and finally blocked the sun. One thing I have noticed about this state, and I don’t know how or why it’s different than Michigan, but if you’re in the sun you’re burning up and if you’re in the shade you’re freezing. As soon as the clouds settled over us I was back into jeans and a fleece. Twenty minutes later there were a few drops of rain here and there, and ten minutes after that the winds were blowing heavy raindrops into my face. Navigating around the Hudson Athens lighthouse I could barely see in front of me and almost as soon as it came it was gone. Watching the mist rise from the water and trees we could start to make out some very large houses on the hills. Our charts showed that we were passing through Hudson and right after we went under the Rip Van Winkle bridge ahead of us we’d be at our stop.

Since it was six o’clock on a Sunday there was no one at Riverview Marina when we pulled up, but Matt having talked to them earlier said we should pull up in front of the blue and yellow crane and they would be there in the morning to help us. Tying off we took a little walk into town to see what Catskill had to offer. There was a nice little main street with lots of shops, many of them already closed due to the time of night. While strolling the street we’d see these sculptures at each corner, a cat in a standing or sitting position, and each decorated to a different artist’s liking. There was one dressed in mid-evil armor, one as part of a Harley Davidson motorcycle, and our favorite, one as a Coca-Cola dispenser. But this clever artist had changed the name from Coca-Cola to Cata-Cola. The head remained that of a normal cat but the body was painted red with a dispenser for bottles of ‘Cat Coke’ in the front. Matt, being a Coca-cola addict and deprived of it for quite awhile, was having a field day looking at it and rambling how we needed to start collecting Coca-Cola memorabilia. At that I pulled him away to the equally appetizing Chinese restaurant a few doors down, tempting him with sesame chicken. It seemed to do the trick and a few minutes later we were walking down the street with an order in our hands. Now we get to spend the rest of the night relaxing and hoping that our rigging comes in early enough tomorrow so we can get work done and not take up prime real estate at the marina.