Friday, November 7, 2008

November 6, 2008.

Since we’re waiting for parts to come in we’ll be sitting here for several days with no work being performed on the boat. We’ll use the opportunity to replace some wiring in the engine room and give the bilge a good scrubbing.

The engine and transmission were supported by six mounts. As part of the disassembly four of those mounts were removed. That meant that the engine had to be supported by a hoist hung from an old propeller shaft. We would have been able to live with the shaft in the middle of our living space if it was going to be a day or two. Since we’re looking at a week minimum, we decided we had to get the Limbo Bar out of the way. Christy and I cut a few pieces of wood and using wedges and blocks we created enough support for the engine enabling us to get rid of the bar.

We took a walk down to the waterfront in the center of town. We came across the mother of all root systems. Sometimes you’ll see a root that goes under the sidewalk and forces a section of the sidewalk up. This root enveloped the sidewalk and created a foot tall obstruction.
The property owner decided to go with the flow and formed two cement benches in the roots of this big tree. It was actually pretty cool and is now a neighborhood landmark.

Orientals town mascot is the dragon. There are dragons of every type in yards all over the community. The dragon is even a protected species here in town. While walking down the town docks we came across a sailboat that definitely needs a new anchor.
I was glad he was tied to a dock and not anchored up wind of us. In the past we’ve anchored just outside the breakwater as there’s only room for a few boats to anchor inside the jetty.

We’ve been talking to friends on the phone and through E-mail about our tales of woe. We locked through the Great Bridge Lock with Solitaire and they’re already in Vero Beach, FL. Then we heard from Sapphire; we had dinner with them when we arrived in Oriental and they’re already in Florida. I can’t believe how long we’ve been practically sitting still. We have several more boatloads of friends that are behind us and it’ll be great to see them as they come through but it’s gonna suck watching them continue on their way while we stay put.

A couple of blog entries ago I mentioned that a boat had been dismasted by the Alligator River Bridge. The boat, Cat’s Cradle, had claimed that the swing bridge had started to swing closed before they were clear. The bridge operator said that the boat came through with his sails up and had hooked the bridge with his sail and sucked him into the bridge thus dismasting himself.

Cat’s Cradle is here waiting for a new mast to be shipped in. I was talking to the skipper and he said that the cop who responded to the scene was pretty sharp and after listening to both sides he had the bridge operator open and close the bridge for him so he could see how things worked. Then he had the skipper lay his genoa out to examine it to see where it was damaged. With the physical evidence and the fact that the bridge is surrounded by a huge protective fender system it was apparent to him that the bridge had indeed closed to soon. There was no damage to the boats hull so the boat couldn’t have gotten close enough to the bridge while the bridge was open because of the fender system. So the bridge had to be closing.

It was kind of sobering to see the damage the mast took by being wacked by the bridge. The mast was broken into 3 pieces with the uppermost section striking a glancing blow and crushing part of the bimini frame over the cockpit. This is an Island Packet with a pretty beefy mast. One of their spreaders was left impaled in the bridge. They could have been killed. Fortunately the other boat that was transiting the bridge just ahead of them stopped and confirmed the skipper’s version of the events. Now he’s just got to deal with his insurance company.

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