Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Down with the Mast!

Today we travelled the six miles remaining before arriving in Castleton-On-Hudson. The next leg of our journey can't be done with our mast up, and we had read in Skipper Bob's book that the Castleton Boat Club had a mast crane for do-it-yourself mast stepping.

Andy was hoping that it would be a fairly quick three hour job to build cradles to hold the mast on deck, take the mast down, and tie it on deck. I'm afraid he has a tendency to underestimate the amount of work involved and the amount of time required for jobs such as these.

Henry and I went around the corner to a laundromat, and Andy set to work on the mast stepping. When they said do-it-yourself, they weren't kidding! There were a few members sitting on the lawn for most of the day, but with the exception of one gentleman who helped Andy a little in building the cradles, he was on his own. What a huge task!!!

I was little help, as Henry is a full time occupation, and as Andy says, "this was a Blue Job". I did, however, go up the mast in the Bosun's Chair to tie a rope around the mast above the first set of spreaders. For those of you who are not boaters, that means that I sat in a little nylon seat/harness and Andy hoisted me up about 30 feet in the air, where I was suspended from a piece of rope long enough for me to tie a knot around the mast. Afraid of heights? Who me? Definitely. Just don't look down!

So the mast stepping operation was started at about 10:00am, and finished just after 8:00pm. What an exhausting day Andy had! Doing almost two weeks worth of laundry was a walk in the park compared to that chore!

Now we are all set for the final leg of the trip. We are stocked up with groceries, water and fuel. We have pumped out, done the laundry, and the mast is on deck.

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