Friday, September 30, 2011

Who knew relaxing would be so much work?

We're dead dog tired! We pushed for 2 weeks to get around Michigan and down to Chicago. We made Crowley's Yacht Yard on Wednesday where the mast will get removed. That last afternoon on the lake was taxing. It started out very nice but the seas built up to about 4 feet broadside to us causing quite a roll. The sails helped calm that motion down. But I quickly took them down when I saw a line of water spouts headed right for us. In Red October fashion, I turned toward the most threatening one and it dissipated before causing trouble. That was quite unsettling and I kept the sails down for fear of another one developing. So we rolled and rolled and rolled. We finally made port around 4pm, totally exhausted from trying to remain upright in a washing machine.

No rest for the weary, Crowleys expects us to get our work done and move on. They are not charging by the day but will start, if we dawdle. So we got busy first thing Thursday by removing the sails & the sail control lines. By then it started to rain so we thought we were done. I stopped by the office and the manager said Friday was going to be gale force winds and he wanted to get the mast down NOW. I hustled back to the boat to disconnect all the wires that run into the mast and other last minute stuff. Very quickly there were 6 guys on deck disconnecting all the wire stays and hooking up the crane. In no time flat, we had no mast. That was quite the frenzy. Unfortunately, between the frenzy and the rain I couldn't shoot any video. Bummer.
The mast was moved to a storage building where we can prep it for truck shipment. There are fixed bridges of 19' height on the route to Mobile, Alabama so the mast had to come down. Some sailors build a cradle and carry the stick on the boat. But our mast is too long, it would stick out the back by 15'. Way too easy to crunch it into a lock wall. I was getting quotes of $3000 to truck to Mobile. But at the last minute, late Thursday, I got hooked up with a group of sailors who were going down together. That reduced my cost well below $1000!!
As soon as the frenzy of pulling the mast was over, we had to jump in the shower, get cleaned up to go to dinner. We've made some very good friends in Chicago through sailing, and a dinner gathering was planned. We had a great evening meeting old friends and making some new ones. HUGE thanks to Tim for putting it together.

Meanwhile, back at Crowleys; it's Friday morning & time to get crackin. We spent all day removing all the wire stays from the mast, the radar & mount, spreaders and other items to make for better shipping. That was a LOT of work. At lunch we had a visit from Gary & his daughter Malia as well as Bob & Alice of Lucky Bird and their friends Mary & Tom. We feel like celebrities!
We finished the day by going shopping for supplies at Ace, Radio Shack & Jewel grocery store. How did we get to all those places in East Chicago? Hitch-hike? No. Cab? No. Walk? No. The aforementioned Tim dropped off his spare Ford truck for us to use!!! Tim, that was very generous of you. Thank you very much. Thank you.

So we're ready to zonk out at 9pm on Friday night! Paarty animals!

We still have some work to do prepping the mast plus some items that were on the mast will need to get relocated elsewhere on the boat before we cast off. Might get that done Saturday, might finish Sunday. We found the location here at Crowleys very interesting. We're practically under the skyway as well as a RR lift bridge. The Cal-Sag canal is heavily traversed by commercial traffic, mostly tugs with barges. Very cool industrial action all day long. And train whistles & clickety clacking of steel wheels most of the night. But it's windy and getting colder and we want to get going. We hope to start relaxing sometime soon!!

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