5/26: Mast goes down

When last we left you, we were sitting in the rain in the Hop-O-Nose marina in Catskill, NY. We awoke on the morning of 25 May to more rain. But slower. And less gloomy. So we got our rears end out onto the deck by 8am and began our prep to unstep (fancy name for remove or take down) our mast. Drop it on the deck. Lay it down. Which we have not done, so this is a fairly large stressed for us.

We talked to the dudes that are dropping the mast and we had two options for transport of the mast once they brought it down. There were actually three options. First was to bring our own cradle, which we did not do, so this was out. Second was go through their yard and find or fabricate a cradle to use. Or third, we could pay them to make one for us. Took about a nano-second for us to settle on option three and at 0900 we had measurements being taken. We were fifth or sixth in line for the day since we were ridiculously unprepared and needed the time to get our vessel ready.

Prep meant bringing down both of our sails, removing all the sheets/lines and either storing, or securing to the mast. Removing the bowsprit (and disconnecting associated lines). Removing the boom (without hitting Jan in the face) and storing on the deck. Removing sail bag on boom. Disconnecting and marking all wired running through the masts. Cover in plastic. Install temporary VHF antenna. Marking shrouds so we know where to return them back to when it goes back up. Cleaning off the deck to make room for the cradles. Find all the ratchet steps we can to secure the cradle. By 1pm we were ready. And tired. At 2pm the cradles got placed on our boat and secured in place.

At 3:30 we moved our boat into the chute and the wolds oldest crane was secured to our mast and the process began. Took about 30 minutes for four dudes to lift and place our mast in two cradles. The process:

  1. Dude 1 steps into a loop at end of a rope attached to the crane and is hoisted to the first spreader on our mast where he stands “Wallenda” style and ties a rope midway up our mast. And returns to the deck. Dude 4 stands next to mast and holds it in place throughout the entire process.
  2. Dude 2 on crane pulls up slack to make sure mast is secured.
  3. Dude 1 goes to port side and Dude 3 goes to starboard side and loosen the shrouds. Dude 1 removes the pin holding the shroud to the deck and there is a sickening moment where the mast lurches. All pleasant banter stops until mast is secured.
  4. Dude 3 removes his pin and the mast is hanging free. Dude 4 (mast holder) and Dude 2 (crane operator) work together to lower the mast into the cradles. It get adjusted. Twice.
  5. And it is done. We get told to secure the mast and move our boat so the final boat of the day can be unstepped.
  6. Move boat. Pay dudes.

And it is done. We now are a motor boat (quote is Don’s who got his cat done the day before ours). We move our boat and after looking at our mast and the work we need to do before we leave tomorrow, decide to head up to Wal-mart and Ace Hardware. It is a mile walk each way and again we are plagued with disappearing sidewalks. We get back, make dinner and go to bed.

5/27: Move to Erie Canal and our first lock.

Start: Hop-O-Nose Marina, Catskill, NY
End: Waterford Visitor’s Center FREE dock!!!
Moving Time: 7:57 hours
Distance: 38.9 NM
Average: 4.9 knots

We wake up early again. We take all our squeaky new ratchet straps and cargo straps and strap the mast down tight. Secure all the ropes. Get all our sails and lines put away, or at least enough to make the trip north. The rain has stopped, the sun is out and it is a gorgeous day. The wind is from the north at 10mph. And we are heading north. So that stinks. And the tide won’t be in our favor until 1pm. The plan is to leave at 10am even though we will be fighting the current and try to make it all the way to Waterford and the beginning of the Erie Canal. We plan on a stop half way in case we aren’t making good enough progress, but we are pretty confident we can make it–S/V Endeavor made it the night before. At Waterford there is a free dock that you can stay at for up to two days while you prep for the Erie Canal. Again–the price is free. I’m in.

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We take off and there are no real issues. Other than the fact we are coming up to our first lock. The Troy Federal Lock. Two short miles from Waterford. Jan has the quote of the day when we are an hour out: “I’ve got a flop sweat going on here.” I remind Jan that literally thousands of people go through locks every year. And a significant number of them probably have had a drink or two–we can do this! To which Jan replies “then I should open a bottle of wine?” I ignore that.

We get the information about the lock from Don on Endeavor and arrive at the Lock at 5:30. We call the lock operator, tell him we are noobs and he walks us through the process. It is easy, he says. And it turns out to be exactly that–easy. And fun. Movie of Jan and AJ doing all the hard work is below.  Yes–AJ actually does break out in dance during the lock.  Because why not?!!

We get to Waterford and there is just enough room in front of Endeavor for us to squeeze in to the floating docks, power, showers, bathroom. We are looking directly at Erie Canal Lock 2, the official beginning of the Erie canal and our destination in two days.

5/28: Work day

Sunday looks like it will be the last sunny day for awhile so we plan on a day full of work and then Monday we will relax on the boat when it is supposed to rain. We get up and take Don and Peg to breakfast at Don and Paul’s Coffee Shop. Fantastic and cheap breakfast.

AJ gets two pancakes and his stack is covered in whipped cream. A child’s delight. Then back to the boat to get our laundry and walk to Laundrymat. AJ and I cross the bridge and get groceries, then back to the boat to put away, then to Jan to fold clothes and bring back. Next we take the sails off the boat and lay out on the lawn to dry, refold and clean out the front lockers so we can store the sails there until needed again (in 6 weeks or so). Jan works on making covers for our windows since we discovered when we awoke that people passing by our boat at the park can look right down into our bedroom. We refilled water and were concerned because our 70 gallon tank was filled the day before and it was already empty. Then we found out someone left the bathroom water on when we went to breakfast. Not naming any names. Initials are AJ. And when we got tired of working on the boat we went for a hike along the old Champlain trail.IMG_4654

AJ made dinner once again–burritos. Best burritos that he has ever made for us.  And first ones he has made for us…

5/29: Memorial day

Today is a quiet day. Jan and I took a cab to and from West Marine to pick up more stuff that we found out we needed. Like a 15am to 30amp connector. Which we had but I bought the wrong kind. And other things that added up to half a boat unit. When we got into the first cab we knew it was going to be a fantastic ride when the driver asked us if she could get some advice from us.

“Last night I told my boyfriend that I cheated on him with the father of my son.”

**Awkward silence

“I’m not really in any shape to do anything today. My head is just not in this. What do you think I should do?”

What do you say to that? She also asked us if either of us had ever cheated on anyone in our lives. We looked at each other and said “nope.” Like that was going to get any other reply. She then cranked up some country music and floored it. We made ride in record time.

And on the way back with a different driver, we had a lovely conversation about politics in the United States.

We decide the rest of the day is best spent on the boat getting ready for tomorrow.  And the beginning of our trip down the Erie Canal.

*Don after his mast was taken down

**Jan one hour before we got to the York Lock.