Anyone else tired of that overhanging mast and accompanying, X-shaped support post getting in the way of all our photographs? We sure are! It’s about time we get that out of the way and…RAISE THE MAST!
We spent several days at the town of Weesp, on the Vecht River, which had been our staging point from which to attend SAIL Amsterdam via train. Weesp was a lovely little town and we moved back and forth between the town’s quayside and local marina (quay was 9.30-Euros/night, marina was 12-Euros/night but included showers, electric, wifi, and a re-fill of the water tanks). SAIL Amsterdam had us in the mood for sailing and with just a few bascule bridges between us and open water it was time to raise the mast! Brian used the ANWB navigational app for the iPad to make a list of nearby marinas that had cranes. His first call was somewhat disappointing, they were unable to service us, but recommended an even nearer location that had not shown up on the ANWB app, de Bruyn. Brian called de Bruyn who told him they were very busy due to SAIL but how about on Monday (just 3-days away)? Fantastic! No more daydreaming about when our sailing days would resume because very soon Detour would be returned to her natural self! Around the local marina, de Bruyn had a fantastic reputation; very good, particularly with engines, but a bit expensive. For our purposes, we thought time on the crane was quite affordable at 75-Euros/half-hour. And so, on Monday morning we arrived early at de Bruyn and luckily found space enough on the fully-loaded, rafted out, dockside to prep our mast before it was our turn on the crane. De Bruyn was through and through a working yard; a boat was being hauled from the water and staff were bustling all around between the shop and the docks. Staff were attentive, and efficient. From arrival, we knew we’d be in good hands. The crane operator told us he was ready for us; then, he and another staff member proceeded to move some smaller motorboats off the wall where we’d have to dock Detour alongside the base of the crane. I’ve confirmed with my crane specialist (yes, I have one of those every boater/blogger should!) that de Bruyn’s crane was a 60-80 ton Lattice Boom crane. No wonder, then, that the crane and it’s operator had no trouble lifting Detour‘s mast. In fact, the most difficult part of the entire process was docking! Brian had to back Detour through about a 15-foot opening in the docks and park at the far side of a 60×60 square that was lined with docked, rafted-out boats.Within a half-hour, the operator had prepped the crane, raised the mast, assisted Brian and I to maneuver the base of the mast to its proper location, waited while Brian and I secured the stays, then released the mast from the crane and shut down. Well done de Bruyn! That afternoon, moored to a mooring place and in-between several rain showers, our work began… First, we unsecured the boom and spinnaker pole from the deck so that both could be rigged to the mast. Ever wonder what lives inside of the boom of a for-sale-boat while it is on the hard for an unknown number of years? We are still wondering because we found these remnants of nesting materials and this tiny skeleton inside the boom. Yuk! Next, down came the rain while I remained outside to wash the deck. Brian went down below to re-wire the mast. The final touch, Brian topped the mast with the windex and anemometer. New views of Holland! The next day, we rigged the main sail just in the nick of time to hunker down for some bad weather; rain downpouring and wind gusting 20-30 knots. And the day after that, we said, “Goodbye, River…Hello, Swans?!” There were a ridiculous amount of swans at the mouth of the river! “Goodbye, Vecht! Hello, Markermeer!”