Thursday, May 2, 2013

Disaster at Sea

It's only now that I can write about it.  Traumatic events have a way of numbing your brain until your heart (and your wallet) can handle it.  We had a disaster at sea......

I say we, but I was only a part of the recovery.  Not the initial tragedy.  I had made the great escape last fall from El Salvador.  I don't know whether it was hormones, or whether my body core, after 2 years living in steamy and sweltering conditions had had enough.   I told Ron, under the guise of needing to go for "boat parts", that I need to head north, so I booked myself a plane ticket to the LAND OF PLENTY - the US of A, in order to really escape the heat.

During cocktail hour, on the day prior to heading back to El Salvador from San Diego, I got a phone call.  Now, let me explain.  4:28pm on any given day is sacred in the Reimer household.  It's when we can exhale, talk about the day, and get busy with a drink.  Ron knows this, and yet......when I heard it was him on the phone, calling at this most inopportune time, I knew it was either really good news, or not.

It wasn't.

Apparently, our mizzen decided it had had enough.  For those of you non-sailors, that's the smaller mast on the back of the boat, the one that is "ONLY" 35 feet tall, and the one that holds the wind generator and radar, two fairly important components in our sailing arsenal.  Now lest you think that we had stressed the thing beyond endurance, it was a calm morning, we were anchored where we had been for the past 4 months in an estuary, it was dead calm, and Ron was down below happily plucking away at his computer.  He said he heard a roar, thought someone in another boat was bearing down on him, or that the world was coming to an end.  For a sailor, in simple terms, it was.

There are these things called chainplates.  They are the metal bits that run from deck level, down through the deck to below and bolt to the side of the hull.  Above deck, they have the wire bits attached and in turn, hold the masts up.  For our mizzen, we had 3 of these things on each side, and one of the them had given up the ghost, sending the mizzen crashing down.  Breaking it's fall was the bbq, installed on the railing.

Initially, the first thought is...."can we put her back together?", to be swiftly followed by...."of course we can, but how much is it going to cost?" 

Suffice it to say that we had our work cut out for us, but nothing on a boat, save a holing that leaves you on the ocean floor, is unfixable.  And this wasn't going to cut our sailing careers short, not for a minute.  We just had to walk through it, step by step, making lists, getting things replaced and made, and make a few decisions.  All was not lost.

Following are a few pics that tell the tale.....without showing the tears.

Friends at the ready
Bit of a mess
New use for a pillow
New view
Twisted mess

Last 10" removed
New Gooseneck

New Maststep
New tangs for future davits
Back up without the wind generator
This is a heartfelt thank you to all of our friends, fellow cruisers, and the people of San Salvador that were instrumental in getting us going again.

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