Ship's Log

July 19th, 2008:

The mast is FINALLY back in place, stronger and a wee bit shorter!

So happy together!  C'mere, you.....

As per usual, the whole project took twice as long as we thought it would (July is the new June) and uncovered new issues that we weren't even aware of when we started.  

Normally we do all our own work, only enlisting others when the tools needed are prohibitively expensive or large, or when we feel that the project is important enough to our safety and well-being that an expert's experience is necessary.   The rig of a sailboat is arguably the most important part of the boat, after a sound hull.  Even if everything else breaks down in the middle of the ocean, if you can sail the boat you've got an excellent shot at getting safely back to land to fix things and continue on your journey.  

Our mast was old and we didn't know anything about rigging. It seemed simple, but so many things can go wrong with a slipshod job.  Serious, game-over sort of things.  We wanted to sail away from land with confidence in our rig, to know that it was dependable and strong.  We wanted someone who would let us do as much of the work as we felt comfortable doing, who would take over and do the things we felt were beyond our skillset, or that we didn't have the tools for.  

Lockwood Boat Works is renowned throughout the area for two things:  the highest quality work and the highest prices.  They exceeded our expectations on both counts!  Bill Lockwood inspected our mast and rigging, made recommendations, and then we divided up the work together between his crew and ours.   He was very open to helping us save money by offering us used parts and allowing us to work on our own in the Lockwood's boatyard.   
We were consistently impressed with the quality, skill, speed and professionalism of every employee we met, and they did a wonderful, first-class job on our repairs.  And the total bill was more than twice than what we paid for our first boat!  Yes:  you could buy two 1969 CAL 25s, or get SARABANDE's rig up to snuff.  Oh, how it hurt!  Gory details of the actual work done is here, if you care to know the particulars.

We did not, thank goodness, forget to return the gold coin to its proper spot under the mast.  We also added a 2008 penny, which is all we could afford to spare.  
Here they are sitting in a bed of white lithium grease, just before the mast was stepped.

There is a printout hanging in the office at Lockwood's that says "The bitterness of poor quality lingers long after the the sweetness of a low price". We can personally attest that it is printed legibly enough to read even when your vision is blurred with tears and shock.  But still, we are very, very happy and grateful that we chose to have this project done at Lockwood's vs. anywhere else.  It was so important, and there were some major problems that we wouldn't have been able to solve on our own.

Louie points out a new and improved turnbuckle.

The fellow that tuned our rig cracked a joke that the word BOAT stands for Bust Out Another Thousand, and of course someone mentioned the old adage about how owning a boat is like standing in a shower fully clothed, tearing up hundred dollar bills.  If SARABANDE is a 22-year-old, siliconed bimbo, then we are her octegenarian, oil-tycoon husband.  We have to spend lots and lots of money and let her have whatever she wants in order to keep her around.  This month was like Christmas in July for the boat!  

The pain melted away when we were able to raise our sails and head home under wind power.  The boat handles so much better with the mast and sails back up, and it feels like she's whole and happy again, doing what she was designed to do.


What else have we done with the past month?  Well, there was the great cherry debacle.  Then, we got sick of sitting at the dock and decided to be powerboaters for the Fourth of July weekend, heading for Long Island Sound. We still have a ton of fuel left in our tanks from last fall, and we hope to start our big cruise wth a fresh tank.   What better time to burn diesel than when prices are at record levels?

The Manhattan Bridge and one of the waterfalls art installation bits in the East River.  

We met our friends Scott and Kitty Kuhner, who have circumnavigated not once but twice, in Oyster Bay and had our first night at anchor after a lovely dinner aboard their boat TAMURE.  Alicia baked cookies for dessert after having a power-saving epiphany:  a cordless drill can be a mixer, and a beater is just a weird looking drill bit.  Batter was mixed and there was no need to use the inverter.  Why mix by hand when you can be totally weird?  It worked really well, and the next day she even successfully whipped cream with it.

Making boatmeal cookies

The next morning, we followed them across the Long Island sound to anchor just off of Sheffield Island, where we were lucky enough host the Kuhners and four other good salty sailors for the local fireworks display (and some pretty amazing ghost stories).

TAMURE is a Valiant 40 that Scott and Kitty sailed around the world with their two boys.

The next day was rainy and chilly, but we got to show our boat to another circumnagivating couple, Greg and Lauren Henry, who gave some very helpful advice and brought their hilarious little kids with them.  

"Where is your house?", their daughter Kiera asked.  When told that she was sitting in it, she was rightly confused:  "Why do you live here instead of a house?"  If she had asked us that question over the winter, the answer would have been much darker and sarcastic than it was in July!

Bus gets aired out underway.

To round out our trip, we went back to Oyster Bay to meet our good friends Jenny and James aboard ESPERANZA.  After a dinghy ride into town for seafood, it was dark on the way back to our boats and Brian noticed chunks of glowing stuff swirling around in our wake.  It was our first time seeing bioluminesence first hand, and we were fascinated!  We took Louie on an epic late-night row around the whole western perimeter of the bay, and each dip of the oar caused a burst of green glowing specks that gradually faded behind us.  It's hard to imagine that ever getting old.

ESPERANZA in Oyster Bay.  James beat some major odds to get his boat away from the dock for the weekend!

The new cushion covers are finished, and they do wonders for the deckhouse.  We spend probably 75% of our time hanging out there, and so it's really nice to have a great-looking, comfortable place to sit.  The old covers were worn out, stained from the leaking portlights, covered in tears and cigarette burns.  The new ones are made from tough Sunbrella to match the rest of our covers and curtains.  Sunbrella doesn't fade in the sun and can really take a beating!

Old cushions vs. new:  no more depressing colors or the need to hide huge holes with strategically placed blankets!

Having the mast back on is an enormous relief.  We were feeling a bit overwhelmed before, but looking up at all that beautiful rigging warmed our hearts.   Just a few more months before we ship out.  In the meantime, come sailing with us!



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