We got everything ready to go again since we now had to go to another marina with a welder
. Now, the three of us had taken the dinghy off the boat and hoisted it back onto the deck numerous times before without issue, but for some reason this time we struggled. Everyone had a different idea of how to best get it up there, and at one point it was almost halfway over the lifeline so we nearly had it. Dad made us take it back down and try it from a different angle. Tempers were running hot and Jameson and Dad were loudly disagreeing. Eventually Jameson just went below in the cabin and left Dad and me to handle the dinghy. We were quite disgruntled but finally managed to get the dinghy on board. After that we thought we were ready to take off. I readied the lines and Dad started the boat. We were pushing away when suddenly the mast was moving and it had knocked down the largest cradle in the front. Afraid of the heavy mast about to crush us, I ducked and yelled "GO BACK! GO BACK!" (There was some cursing involved as well.) The mast was still attached to the gin pole, and was being held in place as the boat started leaving. We got back under the mast, re-docked, and had to get the mast back in place on the cradles. Dad and Jameson (who came up again in the midst of all the chaos) held the mast from the dock while I righted the cradle in the bow. Once everything was secure once more, and this time we were actually unattached from the rope to the gin pole, we were really ready to take off—this time with no drama caused by absent-mindedness.
Jameson had found a place with a welder and mast service in a marina called River View in Catskill about 25 miles away
. We docked there, then Jameson and I took the dinghy for the first ride of the trip, and I finally got a swim in. (I had previously been so tempted to dive in the water ever since Buffalo, but Jameson said the water is dirty and Dad ultimately dissuaded me because if for any reason the generator is not hooked up properly there is a small risk of electrocution when swimming next to the boat.) The dinghy ride was a much needed break from everything else that had been going on. Speeding over the waves, getting splashed and feeling the breeze rush over you while looking at the silhouettes of the mountains in the distance was an amazingly freeing feeling.
After the ride we had a nice dinner and spent the night there, and the following day they welded the aluminum pieces and got our spreaders in good shape. (One of the other lower spreaders also had a good sized crack, and this one hadn't touched anything, so we had that repaired too.) They also stepped the mast for us, with two men guiding it from above, one operating the crane, and Dad yelling from below to make sure it didn’t go through our wall. Jameson says the process was a lot more technical than taking the mast down, and we got a little reprieve from the physical labor not to mention the panic that was involved the previous day. (We so easily could have dropped our mast in the water when we nearly left without it… Ooops
. I can't help but chuckle to myself while envisioning what anyone watching us would have witnessed. They must have thought we were a bunch of idiots.)
With most of the daylight already burned, we spent the next night in Catskill as well. I had a couple of brief bike rides and a good run with some nice hills, and for dinner Dad cooked pierogi. Jameson had a lot of work with tightening the mast stays, and I got to help with the crowbar too. Finally we were a sailboat again, and we didn’t lose the mast or irreparably damage it (or ourselves…) Success!
I happened to read about the naval tradition of placing coins under a mast when it is stepped when the ship is first built, and how it most likely has origin from the Romans and their beliefs about needing payment to secure passage after death for the afterlife. I guess they would put coins in the mouths of the dead, and the naval tradition may stem from that same idea.
Another tidbit I found from one of the sources (Naval Ceremonies, Customs, and Traditions
by Royal W. Connell and William P. Mack) that mentioned the coin tradition is the following:
"The Royal Navy has an interesting sword custom
. When an officer is tried by court-martial, he unhooks his sword and places it on the table just before the proceeding starts. If he is found guilty, his sword is then placed on the table with the point toward the accused; if he is found not guilty, the hilt is placed toward him. It is from this practice that we 'get the point.’"
It would make only slightly more sense to me if it was the phrase “get to
the point” that came from that…
And one more tradition (my favorite) listed concerned the prohibiting of drawing swords within the wardroom, and the fine for violation was a bottle of champagne. The idea was “to prevent serious swordplay when drinking stimulated argument.” (Frivolous swordplay would, however, be acceptable… I kid.)
It seems a little counterproductive to have the fine be a bottle of champagne... potentially a vicious cycle. All I know is the only time our crew doesn’t
fight is when there is wine. It is very good that there are no swords around the rest of the time though.
At one point Jameson, exasperated, told me he was going to leave the Megabyte in NYC. (I’m thinking he would change his name and start a new life too.) I have to admit that abandoning ship has sounded tempting once or twice. We undoubtedly have our moments.
Thursday the 28th we took off from Troy for Castleton to step the mast. Dad decided to be thrifty and spend $40 to use an electric gin pole and put the mast back up ourselves. We probably could have done it, but Dad was concerned for our safety, so he kept telling us to get off the boat while the mast was being lifted. Really Jameson and I both should have been guiding the mast the entire time though, and without doing so the mast hit at the top of the pole. We started guiding it, but then Dad noticed one of the spreaders had come unattached. So we had to lower the mast back to the cradles. The solid aluminum connecting the spreader to the mast had broken off, so now some welding was required. (Jameson and Dad have since concurred that the aluminum was likely fatigued and that any force from what we did should not have been enough to cause that.)