I’ve always thought the term “vessel” to describe my watery domain had sounded a bit commercial. However, in the United States it is perfectly natural and appropriate to term your sailboat as a “sailing vessel” thus the abbreviation SV. Now I am in Europe, and the term “yacht” gets tossed around with ease. And so I am adapting. Detour is, indeed, a “sailing yacht” by definition according to Merriam Webster:
Full Definition of YACHT
a : a sailboat used for racing
b : a large usually motor-driven craft used for pleasure cruising
Brian and I had one fabulous day sail aboard our sailing yacht. And immediately afterward, down to business, we spent two days preparing Detour to be transformed. We’d scheduled for Port Napoleon to remove the mast from our boat in keeping with our plans to head north…
Brian began on the interior of Detour ensuring that all mast wiring had been detached and that all of the interior sides of the mast base plate thru-bolts were accessible. The mast is deck stepped; meaning that the base of the mast ends on the deck. There is an aluminum plate on deck in which the mast rests. Theoretically, the mast should be lifted directly from the exterior plate, but better to be safe than sorry while the crane was running we wanted access to everything mast related. As a result of exposing the bolts at the mast base plate, each bolt was replaced and re-sealed.
Suddenly, the time was upon us. We awoke on the morning of our scheduled de-masting hoping we had remembered all the necessary preparations and the process would go smoothly. We were tremendously thankful that our friend, George, had offered to assist! George hopped aboard Detour at the dock and we were off, relocated to the wall below the crane. Hulk (remember, the dreamy boat-launcher) sat at the crane controls. Our anxiety rose knowing well that Hulk was a machine operator of few words. We hoped that our non-French-speaking barrier would not impede this process. Once secured at the wall, Brian and George went to work detaching the turnbuckles for the stays.
Port Napoleon staff were exceptional; they’d done this before (actually several times daily) and Hulk maneuvered the crane with ease. The mast, stays, and running rigging were made ready.
Then, men and crane maneuvered the mast atop Detour. All went smoothly despite any language barriers. It seems no matter the country of origin men at work rely on head nods, grunts, hand signals, and a few verbal confirmations such as, “Bon!” or “Good!” to get a job done.
During the preparations, Brian and I did some dumpster diving to locate the necessary materials for mast supports. We found a pallet in the dumpster and promptly tore it apart to use the individual pieces of wood. We also purchased some screws and twine from the grocery store. We had not intended to secure the mast on deck; in fact, we’d collaborated with Global Nautique, an independently contracted marine company located at Port Napoleon, and several shipping companies in order to arrange packaging and transport of our mast. In the end we’d determined that for 800-Euros it was well worth our time and scavenging to transport the mast ourselves. This would also give us more flexibility to determine our end destination.
The base of the mast rests atop the stern arch; the arch is protected with a block of wood. The mast is secured with ratchet straps which we’d brought from Rode Trip that Brian had previously made from stainless steel ratchets/hooks and webbing. Rope is used additionally for securing stays, and running rigging.
The arch above the cockpit, the dodger, was also protected with a block of wood as well as some packing foam that we scavenged from a boatyard dumpster. Again, ratchet straps secure the mast. Twine is used to secure the stays and running rigging.
In the center of the deck, where the mast was stepped, support beams (pallet boards) hold the mast securely.
We’ve added a VHF antenna so that we can continue to communicate on the waterways. The previous VHF antenna was atop the mast, of course its wiring is now detached from the radio. This addition was an afterthought, but it works like a charm! The new antenna was affixed mid-ship so that the wiring could be run directly down the mast-step.
A support beam on the fore deck; cross beam lashed to the forward railing. Ratchet straps and twin used once again to secure the mast and stays and running rigging.
The boom and spinnaker pole are secured and padded on the port side of the deck. The boom vang is stowed in the forward compartment. George added some wood to our scavenging pile, which is now beneath the boom to prevent it from resting on the forward hatch. The main sheet ties down the boom to the hand rails; a separate, small rope secures the spinnaker pole to the hand rails. Ratchet straps secure both across the deck so they cannot roll overboard. Dumpster packing foam and one yoga mat provide padding between blocks. It looks a bit cluttered, but the walkways are entirely clear and one can move freely about the deck so long as you mind your head! We now have a motor yacht.