June 16, 2008:
We're more like Ike and Tina Turner than we thought after all! The saga of the mast repair continues......
When we got the
estimate for transporting the mast to South Amboy on a tractor trailer,
the dollar amount made us fall down and completely black
out! When we regained consciousness, we decided to revert
to our original plan and bring it there ourselves, convenience and
timetable be damned. The chunk of money saved would be much
better used upgrading the boat, or just added to the cruising kitty for
a couple of months' budget. So, this past weekend, we brought it
down there. We lived to tell the story, and it turned out to be fun!
The master plan on paper.
We had our
marina use their crane to lay the mast on three jackstands that we'd
strategically placed on our deck, and we used eight heavy duty ratchet
straps from Home Depot to secure it down nice and tight. We were pretty
concerned about this aspect of the plan, since we'd heard a horror
story about a couple who tried the same thing and lost their mast over
the side while underway, with one person nearly killed trying to save
But once we had everything tightened down, it was clear that it our mast was not going anywhere and we relaxed.
Something is different here.
The boat was
quite a spectacle, and drew lots of witty comments from the marina
peanut gallery: "the yard stepped your mast the wrong way!"
"that's a really long boom!" and "going sailing, are you?".
Several small children, obviously wise beyond their years, appeared to
be frightened at the sight of us.
Our mast lies horizontally, while the masts of two small sailboats behind us make us look like a ketch.
The New Jersey Turnpike presides majestically behind us.
At 7:00 the next
morning, we fired up the engine and rode the ebbing tide down the
Hudson, under the Verazanno Bridge and into the Raritan Bay. It was
such fun just to be away from the dock, and we made way better time
than we expected. We were out on the water for the first time in
2008, and it was a beautiful day!
It takes practically forever to load, but you can click here for a video snippet of us underway!
Boat Works is tucked in a shallow creek, we couldn't approach them
until high tide, so we tested out our anchoring skills and dropped the
hook for some lunch and a nap.
When we were
sure the tide was high enough to accomodate our 6 feet of draft, we
proceeded cautiously through the shallow channel (only 2 feet deep in
places at low tide!) and into the beautiful salt marshes of Morgan
Creek. We were relieved that Lockwood Boat Works really lived up
to the hype-- it's the most organized, spotlessly clean,
environmentally sensitive boatyard we've ever been in, and Bill
Lockwood expertly lifted our mast off the boat. He was even nice
enough to let us stay in his personal slip for the evening.
The crane gets ready to lift.
We got up with
the birds the next morning and slipped through the shallows just after
high tide. We decided to head over to the far side of Sandy Hook
and anchor in the Atlantic while we waited for the tide to reverse and
help propel us back home. Alicia practiced some cooking underway
and whipped up some pancakes as we motored eastward. Food always
tastes better in salty air!
Pancaking in progress.
We anchored for
a bit in the ocean and stared out to sea. We could see drifting
fishing boats all around us, and the sky and ocean were lavender
in the light fog. We had hoped to take turns swimming around the
boat, but the water was a very chilly 67 degrees and a red tide had
clouded the water with algae, so our swimsuits went back in the dresser
drawer. As it became time to start for home, the drizzle was
becoming a shower, so we hooked up the autopilot controls inside the
main cabin. If things got messy outside, we'd be able to
steer from our living room!
And it certainly
did get a little ugly for a while. We ran through a
thunderstorm, keeping watch from SARABANDE's large deckhouse portlights
with binoculars and adjusting our course accordingly, all while staying
nice and dry! Including the windows in the companionway doors, we
have an almost 360 degree view of our surroundings from the deckhouse,
minus a blind spot directly in front of the bow, which we ventured
outside to check every few minutes.
It was nice to
be inside away from the pelting rain and wind while still maintaining a
lookout, but this technique wouldn't work at sea in a real storm.
Offshore, we'll have to put shutters over the portlights and
hatchboards in the companionway to protect them from getting smashed in
by waves, so our 360 view indoors would be reduced to nothing.
But in instances like this, it's quite a luxury!
Busta Rhymes, the ultimate mariner, sleeps her way through the storm.
The storm was
over after about 40 minutes, and we arrived back in our slip a couple
of hours later feeling tired and happy. We've resolved that if
our mast takes a long time to get fixed, we'll still take little
powerboat cruises like this one in the meantime. We look
ridiculous, but we can still learn things by anchoring in different
settings, manuevering the boat through tricky passes under power, and
just being away from home in general.
better to just get out there than to sit at the dock and complain that
we never leave! And when we are sailing in (hopefully) a couple
of weeks, we'll be all the more ready to go places.
Things Figured Out This Weekend:
* strapping the mast to the deck is not as huge a deal as we thought it would be.
43-year-old diesel engine ran smoothly and trouble-free for 4 hard
hours straight, two days in a row. We will continue to lavish it
with attention and care, but this small test gave us some faith in its
capabilities (knock wood).
* the old,
crusty-looking windlass did not need help or break down-- shockingly,
it drew up our 30KG anchor without complaining. We'll give it a
tune up to be safe, but it's a nice suprise that it works.
* also a nice
suprise, the washdown hose for rinsing bottom gunk off the anchor works
once you open a certain valve! We were expecting to have to use a
bucket and brush to clean the muck off. Hooray for valve
discoveries and daintier hands!
* we figured out how to set the alarm on our GPS to go off if our anchor drags and we start drifting. Fancy pantsy!
* the new golf
cart battery system works. The fridge stayed cold and voltage
remained strong while we were at anchor. Gold stars for Brian!
More pictures of
the whole thing are here. We hope you're all happy and well and
enjoying the summery weather! Happy birthdays to our lovely and
talented dear friends Michael Johnson (6/13) and Carly Lukas (6/16) and
to Alicia's crazy, fantastic brother Tommy "Hip, Hip Jorge!" Collins
AMC & BWN