|Our competition, don't they look good?|
It started off as a fabulous day. Our friends convinced us to join in a race. It was a fundraiser for the local schools. The sun was shining, the wind was perfect. And we were having fun.
And then. All hell broke loose. Okay, not all hell. The top 2 feet of our mast. Yep. Sails collapsed, the forestay and genoa ended up in the water, the backstay, topping lift. All in the water. Eyes blurry with tears, I scrambled to turn on the engine so that we could eventually steer the boat out of the way of the other racing boats, as Rick went up to assess the situation and began taking action. We were drifting slowly, a broken piece of the mast sadly swinging down. (Yes, I actually took a photo. It felt that surreal.)
|The expression on his face says it all|
First, Rick removed the forestay from the broken mast head so we could straighten out the foil and bring the genoa (that's our foresail), out of the water. Together, we slid the sail off the foil and out of the water and secured the foil. We also pulled all the dragging bits onto the deck, while I kept an eye on our surroundings. No one was around us by this point. And four hands were better than two.
Emotions were running high, but we were focused. I radioed the marina, explained our problem in broken Spanish, and was assigned our old slip. (We had spent two days at the dock to wash down the boat, top up on water and the like, soon after our arrival in the bay - it had been a bit of a splurge, a treat.) As we motored the boat to our slip, we were both a bit shell-shocked. No one was hurt. This was a setback, but the boat was floating and we were okay. Still, it sucked.
Johny came to grab a line. (He is one of the marina's dockhands who has been coaching me with my Spanish since our first visit.) I pointed to the mast and said "Es mierda!" - he laughed. At least I can still be funny, even when I'm upset.
We tied up, and while Rick figured out our plan of attack, I went to check in with Blanca. Johny accompanied me the whole way to the office, (it's a bit of a hike from our "cheaper" dock). They don't usually do that. So I practiced my Spanish some more, and put on a brave face. After all, things could have been a lot worse.
|Climbing the mast the hard way, no handy halyard|
I was fine until Blanca and two other women (boaters) in the office asked me if I was okay. So much for being stoic. Hugs and encouragements later, I was feeling better. Blanca kept saying, "It will be right, I promise." Tammy, one of the marina tenants offered to make us dinner, but we didn't make it to her boat. We were still working on the boat as it got dark. John from SV Pelican had offered to help. We decided 2 was enough. Although, it felt good to receive his offer. Rick had to climb the mast (once it was stabilized) to get the mainsail down. It was a tedious process without a halyard. I coiled, organized, labeled.
Our neighbours Alan and Chris, on Beverly J, a motor vessel two docks down, chatted with us about this and that while we were working and as we took a break. They were a welcome distraction. Eventually, Alan turned to us and said: "You had a bad day, worse than our day, let me take you out for quesadillas." By this point, we were very hungry. So we said yes. We went to La Silla Roja - a great place for tasty quesadillas. We felt much better afterward. Thanks guys!
|Coiling, labeling, organizing. At some point a crisis becomes about|
December 7, 2011: Upon further investigation, we have indeed come across some dry rot. It appears localized, Yet Rick will be scarphing new pieces far beyond where there is obvious dry rot. We're looking at 5 foot long scarphs on a 12:1 slope. The recipe Rick was trained to use during his Shipwright apprenticeship. Yes, the mast will be stronger than ever.)
(I wrote about this the evening after it happened. I promised myself to write about our voyaging life in an honest manner. This is easier to do when you recount details soon after they happen. There's a common saying,"cruising is fixing your boat in exotic ports..." At least it's warm and sunny here. And the taco stands are fabulous. Things are looking up!)