Tuesday 9 August – Calais – Masts Down

Yesterday it was quite windy and rainy.  We had booked Fred, the man who does just about everything in the marina in bassin de l’ouest,  and his trusty crane to come and remove our masts on Wednesday 10th.  This afternoon,  out came the sun and the wind died down completely.   Taking this opportunity we dashed over to the accastillage (chandlery) to find, of course, it was lunch time.   We dashed back at 1430 and Fred was up and running with us alongside under the crane about 20 minutes later.   An hour of effort and it was all done.   Thankfully we had made all the support arrangements and they seem to work very well.

Strange feeling in pit of stomach as the mast is lifted

Even though we have had the masts unstepped previously, it still brings a funny feeling to your senses as your primary mode of propulsion is taken away from you.

Steadying the mast foot at the crane takes up the load

Still, it was over in fairly quick time and apart from Steve losing one pin over the side and us not being able to find one bottle screw (which did not fall overboard – it is hiding somewhere!!)  all went very well, with WM back in her berth in under an hour, including refuelling.   It is amazing;  we are keeping records of everything (much to Barbara’s amusement)  and one thing we have discovered is that under power,  WM’s nice shiny Lombardini engine is beautifully frugal.  At best, she burns just over one litre per hour and at worst,  about 2.5 litres per hour.

Wight Mistress back on her berth post 'hair cut

That was the last of the preparations as we know it.


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