De-Masting the Boat

After the big morning storm, we headed over to RCR Yachts to have the mast removed around 8 am. Everything on the boat was soaking wet and it was still drizzling a bit as we made our way the 1.5 nautical miles from Erie Yacht Basin to RCR Yachts up the Buffalo River.

We arrived at the haul out well at RCR Yachts and the guys were right there waiting for us and helped us tie up. The water is much lower than the well and the tracks of the well are much higher than the boat.

We started by loosening all the shrouds, side stays and back stays on the boat that hold our mast up.

Once the stays and shrouds are loosened, the guys got the strap around the mast just below the spreaders so the crane could pull the mast. We spent a lot of time changing out the strap multiple times as we couldn’t find one that was just the right length. In the picture below, the ball on the crane above the strap was hitting right where our deck light is on the front of the mast.

Let’s try this strap. Looks just right and isn’t hitting the deck light.

Now we are ready to lift the mast out.

The mast is out and flying through the air.

Then the crane moves it up and over on land to have the guys set it down on the mast crutches that they have set out.

Once the mast was removed from the boat, they moved it out of the way into a grassy area so that Mark and I could work on removing things from the mast to get it ready for shipping. We are having it shipped from RCR Yachts in Buffalo to Hop-a-Nose Marina on the Hudson River in the Catskills area of New York. If we didn’t ship the mast, we would have to build wooden mast crutches on the front, back and middle of our boat and they would lay the mast horizontally on our boat and we would carry it on top of the boat all the way through the Erie Canal.

Carrying a mast on your boat presents a couple of problems. One, how do you ensure that you have in fact adequately secured your mast to your boat. We have heard horror stories from other sailors who carried their masts and we waked by large power boats and had their mast drop on deck or drop over the side of the boat. NOT GOOD! Also our mast is approximately 58 feet long and our boat is about 40 feet long. So that would mean the mast would over hang the boat at the bow and the stern by 9 feet on either end. This presents challenge #2 when going through locks and approaching a concrete wall with a 9 foot javelin sticking out from your boat. Joisting with a concrete wall is not fun.

Once the mast was in an area we could work on it, we removed all the stays and shrouds from the mast. We coiled these wires up and placed them in the aft cabin in the boat. We removed the spreaders from the mast and placed those in the aft cabin as well. Next we put pipe insulation that we bought at Home Depot back in Dunkirk around both of the furlers to protect them during shipping. We place pieces of carpet around the base of the furlers to protect those from banging around and hitting the mast of getting banged on the truck. Finally we wrapped sections of the mast with that stretchy cling film stuff on a roller that you use for packing.

All this work took us a couple of hours and it was quite a hot day to do it in. We were absolutely exhausted by the time we were done.

We made our way to the marina office at RCR to settle up our bill before we left to head back to Erie Basin Marina. The air conditioning in the marina office at RCR was awesome! We could have stayed in there for hours paying our bill. The nice gal took pity on us and gave us a couple bottles of water, we must have looked hot and exhausted.

We untied the lines and made our way back to Erie Basin. Got in the slip and turned on the A/C and relaxed for the rest of the day. Now we just need to wait here for another couple of days for some weather before we move on to the Erie Canal.

We celebrated the end of the Great Lakes portion of our journey and are anticipating the Erie Canal portion of our journey!

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