A yacht without a mast is very sad thing. Its a frustrating thing as well.
The last 2 days have been transformational. After wondering when the bits for the headstays would arrive through out the day. By about 5pm the lock was already on the boatyard gate when a classic Attenbourgh moment occured. The entirety of Antigua rigging with the forestays complete with furlers all shining in the setting sun carried on their shoulders Much like the BBC wildlife documentaries on ants, with Stan the owner acting as soldier ant, in a Bedford rascal. By 7 am yesterday every body was back, I was asleep (obviously) but the sound of a winch above your head sends vibrations through the soul of a sailor so I crawled out. The tension went on the rig and the sails went up, oh God here we go again, staysail is too big. Of goes Stan with his "Little Tank", ordering the worker ants to do this that and t'other. The boom got on before I got up. Jib was on second try no jib sheets. We've not got 'em, they've not got 'em. Here we go again... No, Stan has authority and before he's left with the staysail, he's sent off for rope, tape measure and "don't forget to measure all the way round the staysail" I'm impressed. Even I hadn't thought that through.
Sheets, then better ones, extra main Halyard etc appear. Staysail is back up and ready to fly by lunctime.
Its just gone midnight. The following day, Island Kea is tooling along at 6.5kn with a reef in both main and genoa. Despite perfect vis and, the bureaucrats best efforts Antigua is but a half imagined glow on the eastern horizon. Off the port quarter 25 miles gone is the grey haze capped lights of Montserrat. on the other side 20 miles to leeward Nevis. Redonda's unlit and uninhabited peak, lost in the wake, nothing in front but stars. Test sail at and tune up lunch yesterday went well.
Followed by drinks with Stan and a farewell to Caroline and Igor off the Pearl and Peter and Camilla off Allegro which became became an accidental but highly successful recommissioning party (Peter arrived this morning with mask and snorkel to dive for his sunnies) the fact Antigua's dropped below the horizon is frankly remarkable. The boat the mast and Neptune all got there shares of bubbly, we did a second test sail round to Jolly Harbour converted our last EC dollars into 4 bottles of water 2 loaves of bread and 17 beers. The remaining 30c we just wasted.
All that was left was to clear out, in my Passport was a departure card for a flight that left a week back. Gulp. No problem, but God the port authority woman, I missed most of this but the last 15 minutes I had too watch. Imagine someone who can't convert dates into number of days, rings the wrong marina after being told repeatedly and says what's the Name of your boat please every 60 seconds or so.
WirrrClumk the time card clock, with original manufacturers key and key fob in the top so you can tamper with it to your hearts content, slices off another minute of your life. Imagine a hammer horror swinging pendulum of bureaucracy, dull, blunt.
WrrrrrClunk another minute closer to death and 20th Jan to 6th feb is still not two months.