De-masting, what’s that?

We went to pull the boat out of the lake that had been it’s home for 12+ years on the 29th of November 2006. There are several things we learned that day, as you will see. When we arrived at the lake we made an assessment of the boat and briefly discussed the logistics of getting the boat around to the ramp and on to the trailer. The boat was in a slip that was one full dock away from the ramp. Our first task was to get the motorless boat around the end of this set of slips and then over to the dock that ran out from the ramp, somehow. As you can see from the photos the weather was just barely cooperating and threatening rain the entire day. To make it even more challenging there was a wind coming from the lake, blowing in toward the cove. As always, providence prevails and just as we were standing on the end of the dock surveying a much larger sailboat that had sunk in the most recent storm and contemplating what to do, a wildlife officer happened by in his nifty little (but immensely powerful) motor boat. Since it was the middle of the week and he seemed quite bored he agreed to tow us around to the dock on the other side. As it turned out this was the least time consuming and easiest part of the entire day.

Boat at ramp dock.

Once we had the boat in place we were ready to back down the trailer, or so we thought. We backed it down once only to find out that there was a really good reason the trailer had an extension bar. The trailer was barely in the water and there was no way the boat was going on it that way. So, we hauled it out and went about extending the bar.

Trailer with bar extended.

With the trailer extended it was now time to get the boat on it and haul it out of the water. This is easier said than done, especially with a sailboat. When we purchased this boat we were told that the cable that brings the swing keel up was broken and the previous owner did not know if the keel was up or down. Since this is a difference in about 4 foot of draft this was a concern. We knew if we could get it positioned just right the keel would swing up as we pulled the boat on to the trailer if it was down. Odds were that it was. We pulled it up to the end of the trailer where it drifted just off the back edge of the runner. The keel was indeed down and we know this because the boat promptly got stuck right where it had drifted. Drawing on our past experience of being stuck on the keel of our previous boat we proceeded to rock and roll the boat in an attempt to get it unstuck. This was not working and after about 30 minutes of man-handling Scott decided that if we couldn’t get the boat on the trailer we would put the trailer under the boat. He pulled the trailer out and repositioned it under the boat where we were able to secure the wench to the eye and pull her up onto the trailer. We pulled her out and quickly learned how to put the extension bar back in.

Pulling her out.

We then began to assess the condition of the boat below the waterline. Twelve years of algae and other “stuff” had built up on her hull. We decided she needed to have a good power washing on the way home.

Don’t Touch It!!

But first we had to de-mast her. We had not done this before. We had read how to do it and now we had to do it. We loosened all the stays and then disconnected the front three. This freed the mast so that it could be lowered aft and removed from the mast step. We then strapped it down and secured all the lines, stays and anything else that might jump ship.

We’re going to do what?

Time to roll.

Once she was de-masted we took her to the closest car wash that had a truck bay. This place was aptly named “Spiffy Car Wash”. I was so amazed at how well she cleaned up. Twelve years of muck washed down the drain. Yea!!



Now that we have her home the plan is to work on her this spring and take her out a few times to the lakes in the area and down to the gulf.

Is anybody out there?

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