Stepped, whatever THAT means…

Rick was very excited a couple Mondays ago.  A big milestone hit when the mast was stepped!  Yeah, I don’t know why they call it that.  The mast is popped off the boat and laid on supports next to it.  Stepped?  I suppose I could look it up…

First Rick and a guy, let’s call him Mike, because that’s his name, went around the deck of the boat to disconnect all the cables that support the mast.  Rick is carefully labeling everything so that it won’t be a nightmare to try and guess where everything goes – how smart!

Bundle of wires

Bundle of wires

Rick asked Mike to look at them all to assess their condition and see if any needed replacing…he said no!  That’s welcome news as the cost of replacing and repairing stuff is getting up there.  Some things require elbow grease and not much else but some of these stays and guides and pulleys and such are not cheap – $45 for a new one of these little guys.

Yeah, $45 for 1 of these!  Rick has noted where each one goes with blue tape.

Yeah, $45 for 1 of these! Rick has noted where each one goes with blue tape.

So how is a mast ‘stepped’?  A specialized vehicle drives up to the boat, loops a strap around the mast and pulls upwards to disengage the mast from the deck.  Then the wires and ropes are unbundled from inside the mast and disconnected.  Once everything is disconnected, the mast is lifted away from the boat and set on sawhorses next to it.  The boat is 30’ long and the mast is taller than the boat is long. The cost to pull the mast was $150 and it costs $50 a month to ‘store’ it.  As I said, the bucks are adding up here, bit by bit.

The truck...

The truck…

In process...

In process…

IMG_0912_3051 IMG_0915_3054 IMG_0916_3055

Rick is pulling out all the old wiring and will be replacing it with new. He’ll also be adding extra lights to the mast – to illuminate the deck and one that tells other boats we’re at anchor.  He’s also going to add some extra cabling so he can fly flags.  He got an America’s Cup flag when we went to one of their regattas last summer.  Right now it’s ‘flying’ off the light in our kitchen nook…

Cute little flag...hmmm, that picture is crooked again.

Cute little flag…hmmm, that picture is crooked again.

Rick has sanded  the mast.  Once the yucky paint and slightly corroded areas are sanded, it looks pretty good.  He’s already primed it and its going to be painted a boring, I mean lovely, white.

See how ugly and corroded?

See how ugly and corroded?

Messy, corroded mast

Messy, corroded mast

Unfortunately, with sanding comes the smell!  I hate that smell – Rick used to refinish pianos and this is the same darn smell.  I can’t figure out why since the pianos were all dust and mice droppings coupled with stripping off old finish and this is merely paint, for the most part.  Still it’s a nasty smell.

He also going to sand and paint the spinnaker pole, it might not come out as cleanly as the mast but a new one costs $180 so we’re gonna pinch that penny.

Now that the mast and boom are down off the boat deck, Rick hopes that there will be less purple bird poop on it.  Why purple?  Well, the birds are eating olives and the results are purple!  He has to clean up the mess each time he wants to paint/sand/stain, etc.  We might have to get a plastic owl or snake to act as scarecrow.

At least we don't have THIS problem!

At least we don’t have THIS problem!

We’re getting close.  It is way more encouraging for Rick to be in this mode. He sees the fruit of his labor with each trip, rather than leaving things looking worse than before or fretting about the rain leaking into the cabin, which it still is, a bit, but it’s not raining as much and the bilge pump is set to do its thing so the leaking isn’t as big a deal.

I guess it won’t be long now until we are in the water!  I suppose I oughta get to practicing my sailing knots.  There’s one for tying the boat up to the dock, one for attaching bumpers to the lifelines, one for flying a jib and MORE.  Its actually kinda fun and I’m sure I’ll be sharing that with you in a future post 😉


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