Thursday, July 6, 2017

The Saga of the Great Unmasting

So if you've followed this latest project of ours, you'll know that Tesla's Revenge, formerly a Cal 2-29 sailboat, had some issues that prevented her from being a . . .well. . .sailboat.  The supports that spread the force from the deck-stepped mast to the keel were shot, literally rusted to bits the size of coins, and that was, of course, one of the reasons we got her cheap.

Having re-assembled the interior, rewired stuff out the wazoo, and begun serious work on our wheelhouse, it was time to get rid of said troublesome mast in order to proceed with our conversion of the vessel into an electric cruiser.  Unfortunately, the marina where we're berthed, lovely as it is, lacks a crane to do this, and the nearest boatyard that can handle unstepping the mast is some miles down Middle River and up Frog Morter Creek, and, lacking either sails or a motor, getting over there was somewhat problematic.  But the boat DOES have an outboard mount, and, with an outboard borrowed from the former owner, we decided we could make the trip to Maryland Marina under our own power.

The Captain at his helm, mug of Iced Tea at the ready.  Note how hopeful he seems.
The day started auspiciously, with virtually no wind.  The borrowed motor started up instantly.  We did a wonderfully graceful job of getting out of the slip and into the center of Middle River.  All in all, quite the happy start.  I'd never been by water to Maryland Marina before (we did go to check it out by car just to be able to recognize the place) but I had the Navonics app on my smartphone, a functioning radio, maps on our computers. . . .the cat even seemed calm with his home suddenly deciding to move.  It was all good.

Okay, full disclosure here:  I have this paranoid distrust of internal combustion engines of any kind.  The guys at the marina all seem to love tinkering with them, listening to them, messing with them, talking about them. . . me, I seem to have a native antipathy to them.  I always assume they're going to fail, usually when I least expect it.  One of the effects of this paranoia is that I spend the ENTIRE TIME a motor is running listening for every hiccough, every burp and burble, convinced that something dire is about to happen.

But happily, nerve wrackingly, it didn't.

We even managed to find the Marina with only a minimum of angst.  All in all, the trip over failed to suck.  The Cal's huge rudder made steering a breeze, and the boat proved responsive and easy to manage.

Okay, to the mast.
The mast is a MOOSE.  You can also see some of our gonzo cribbing.
 The mast on this thing is a beast, the Cal being designed for offshore racing.  It's big and it's thick and it's long and the idea we had was to pull the thing and lay it across the new wheelhouse, along with a tripod of cribbing at the bow, then to motor back to Middle River Landing and remove the thing with the marina's sling.

As you can see, this thing is NOT short.
The whole process is kind of daunting.  The Marina made it look easy.

The crane was on it's own truck, and our beloved cat Magellan was totally freaked out by it, by the motor noise, by being off the boat (albeit with a leash) in a strange place.  I don't blame him.  Staring straight up at the mast, you really don't get a sense of how LONG the thing really is.  When they lowered it onto our cribbing, some of which nearly skittered off the deck during the loading process.  We lashed it on to the lifeline stands with some heavy line and managed to get it seated and tied down.

Tied down and mercifully back at our slip.
Of course, the entire way back, every creak and groan of the cribbing and the wheelhouse frame, every wave we hit, every burble of the motor, made me ABSOLUTELY SURE that with the next idiot powerboater's wake we would see the mast crashing into the water, dragging all our woodwork with it, COMPLETELY POSITIVE the motor was going to die any moment, leaving us stranded and void of course in the midst of the mixing bowl that is the lower Middle River.  AAAAAHHHH!   AAAAAHHHH!    AAAAAHHHHH!

It was not restful.

OMFG what an ordeal. 
We arrived back home, intact but stressed to the max and utterly exhausted (cat included).  The next day we pulled the mast off and set it on the hard using the Marina's boat sling.  That, at least, went smoothly.

But it's done.  Now we have a host of wiring and solar panels and electronics to deal with, but THAT, at least, I'm at ease with.

Not doing this again anytime soon, though.....sheesh.

Enjoy the summer.  We hope to be mobile and have lots new and happier stories for you by month's end.

This is a gin and tonic and I've earned it, so there.




  1. Good WORK. the way I shared this post (and others before it)
    on You might want to check it out. On Steemit you are PAID to post. No account is free. You've got nothing to lose but the time you put into it.

    Hope to see you there.

  2. Well done, crew of the Tesla's Revenge!

    1. Heh, some things you finish with pride, some things you survive. This was rather between the two.

  3. If you set out to make me think today; mission accomplished! I really like your writing style and how you express your ideas. Thank you. Orissa Ration Card Status

  4. Thanks John. Just wait until we tie into this electric motor install.