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Monday, September 13, 2010

Rose Marco River Marina

A bolt had to be special ordered to replace the bolt for my Nissan outboard motor that I previously mishandled and dropped into the sea... but that was okay by me since I wasn't having to pay dock fees while my vessel was "in service".

Nevertheless, since I was already at a full service marina I elected to spend a little money and have a few incidental repairs done to the boat that were beyond my capabilities. So S/V Blondie-Dog was pulled into the service slip and a forklift was used to assist in the removal of the mast from the deck.

Labor costs $90 an hour and I was glad to do any necessary grunt-work as instructed by the Marina Service Department in the interest of saving a few dollars where ever possible. I was soon enough instructed to prepare the mast for removal and found myself loosening up all the turnbuckles and detaching halyards and such and later securing it all to the mast with bungee cords.

The mast was then lowered to rest horizontally on some wooden saw-horses. Some sort of "foamy sealant" had been previously used at the base of the mast and had to be removed. I had seen the master repairman attempting to remove all that dry crud with a long screwdriver and all I could think about was the clock running at $90 bucks an hour so I promptly volunteered to do it myself. I was handed the screwdriver and told, "have fun".

Thirty or so minutes later I had finally removed the dry sealant crud so that the wiring inside the mast could be accessible. It was a laborious task out in the hot sun and all I could think about was "failure is not an option... don't be a wooz... and get it done".

The wiring inside the mast was found to be frayed in to a number of places and had multiple splices in it. It was unceremoniously disposed of and replaced with new wiring.

Next I was once again recruited to re-attach the fitting at the top of the masthead once the mast light was secured in place. That effort involved pulling out my tool bag and holding the bolts in place with a wrench while I turned the bolt nuts with a socket wrench.

Later I was instructed to tie off pieces cut out from an old foam mattress to the electrical wiring with black electrical tape. The sponges were tied off in three foot intervals to secure the wiring from clanging inside the mast.... certainly a most expedient and inexpensive solution to the clanging problem.

Once the mast was re-installed up on deck, it was my job to tighten the turnbuckles, secure the halyards and roller furling line, attach my new topping lift to the boom and finally to make my electrical connections at the base of the mast.

It was a real joy to switch on the anchor light later that evening once it was dark out and see first hand a bright anchor light atop of the mast. It was also a joy to rock the boat from side to side and not hear either the wiring or coaxial cable clanging within the mast.

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