My daughter used to have a pin she wore back in her rebellious years saying, "shit happens" and lots of folks got a kick out of it. Well, today it happened to us.
When we first came to Norfolk extra early this spring, it was to see our good friends at Rebel Marine in Willoughby Bay and also to haul out on the 30 foot wide travel lift at another yard near here. We wanted to paint antifouling on the bottom and also remove a stainless steel strip we put on our keels that just does not want to stay fixed in place. Well, the travel lift arrangements fell through because they will not allow us to do our own work. Move on to plan B.
We arranged a crain to lift us out using a four point lift from the crossbeams at stations 3 and 7 (for you folks building boats like ours) at a commercial yard nearby. But there would be a delay, so we had to decline and head north because Neville has a greencard appointment with immigration sometime after May 1 and we did not know how soon after. We thought we should just go to RI and wait all bright eyed and smiling.
This morning the wind was right, Nev had tightened the rig, and we were off after a bit of delay for correction to the tightness of the rig (not THAT tight!). We had fair tide and a good wind and there was even a big ketch going the same way offshore, so we had all up doing 9 knots in hazy sunshine... ahhhh. It looked like it would be a fun little race.
Then BANG! the forestay broke loose, the foreward mast started wiggling about, the shrouds were free and dancing wildly and it was quite a shock to say the least.
We released the jib sheets and Nev brought down the foresail while I headed into the wind and rolled in the jib, then we turned around and headed back to Rebel Marine while Nev set up the inner forestay.
I phoned David and he said he could still arrange the crane lift out and they would lift out the foremast so we could check it over for repairs and repair the damage to that mast case. There is a split on each side that can be easily repaired with epoxy, screws, bigger fillets, and more fiberglass. Maybe a stainless band too. We'll see.
What appears to have happened is a strop at the top of the mast gave way so we must fashion something stronger than what the rigger made for us in Britain 4 years ago. We will take a very close look at all the other mast top attachments on both masts while we are at it.
Meanwhile, we are back in what they call "The Rebel Zone! Da De Dum Dum.......DAAAA!" Apparently Capt Lane Briggs used to claim to put an invisible and extra long bungee cord around some of the boats here so they would always come back. I guess he is still doing that even though he died last year. He was one of the great schoonermen here in the Chesapeake so maybe we should be basking in the compliment that he wants us back? In any case we are somewhat more cheerful after a rum drink with Capt David Briggs and our favorite singer, Mike Aiken. The folks here are just wonderful and being extra kind to us.
So, the plan to be in Rhode Island is off again and if the immigration people want us to be up there, we will just have to hire a car and drive up. It is not too far for that. Shit happens, and you gotta be ready for it. Always have a plan. Plan A, plan B, plan C... Here's where having built the boat, we can fix it ourselves.
That's all for now. We're going to be busy!
Love, Ann and Nev
© Anne and Neville Clement, 2006