Monday, October 22, 2007

Putting Our Marriage to the Test

On Saturday, Dave and I pulled the boat out of the water to prepare her for winter storage. It's a nerve-wracking endeavor, because Dave loves that boat so much. There's always a risk that the boat will get damaged in the process. When we lower the mast, I always feel as if I'm watching my marriage flash before my eyes.

The day dawned sunny, cool, and very windy. When we got to the marina there were a fair number of boats still in the water.

The boat ramp is across the lake from the marina. Dave took the sails down and put them in storage a couple of weeks ago, so the first order of business was to motor across the lake. Dave always does that. It's my job to drive the truck with the trailer from the marina around the lake to meet him at the ramp.

Dave untied the bow line and attempted to start the motor, but the motor wouldn't catch. When the motor did catch, it kept dying out. After some tinkering Dave got the motor running and cast off. I was afraid the motor would quit and he'd get stranded on the lake, but Dave waived me away.
I drove over to the ramp, but when I got there I didn't see any sign of the Odyssey. I waited for a bit, but it still didn't appear. Then I began to worry. If the motor cut out while Dave was still in the marina, the wind could blow our boat into other boats and do some damage. I drove back to the marina and got there just in time to see Dave motor through the break in the jetty out onto the lake. (I never did ask him why he was delayed. There's an element of macho pride in all of this, and some questions are best left unasked.)

With the wind up Dave was really going to need my help when he got to the boat ramp, so I quickly turned back. On the other side of the lake, I parked the truck and walked down to the ramp. Dave was heading my way when he suddenly started to drift off course. The bow turned 90 degrees, and I knew the motor had cut out. I watched Dave repeatedly pull the cord (much like starting a lawn mower), but the motor wouldn't catch. When Dave dropped anchor, I knew he was "concerned" about being blown all over the lake.

Unbeknown to us, a fellow sailor had observed Dave's troubles. When he saw Dave drop anchor, he asked another boater to see if Dave needed help. After repeated attempts to start the motor and some discussion, the pontoon boat ended up towing the Odyssey to the ramp. This was a little humiliating, so Dave and I said little about it.
We tied the Odyssey to cleats on the dock, and Dave backed the trailer as far down the ramp into the water as he could. Winching the boat onto the trailer took some effort. A by-stander helped. Dave had to get in the water. When no one was looking he silently mouthed "The water is FREEZING." I tried not to laugh too much. I wasn't able to take pictures because I helped, too.
Once the boat and trailer were on dry land, we had to take the mast down. It only takes about 10 minutes, but we were both tense. The mast is heavy but it would be manageable if it weren't so unwieldy. Once again, I wasn't able to take pics because I had to help. We used pulleys and a winch, and the mast came down safely. Our relief was palpable.
The wind made everything harder. It blew the ladder over, but fortunately I was on the ground at the time.
Dave took the motor and the tiller off.
Everything was stowed with bungy cords, and we headed for home. Since we were towing the boat, it was a slow drive. We left the house at 8:45 a.m. and didn't return until after 3:00 p.m., relieved to have the task behind us. We'll have to do the whole thing in reverse when we put the boat back in the water in April. I have from now until then to talk Dave into buying a new motor.
On Sunday, Dave was sore. I was sure the muscles in my arms, neck and upper back would hurt, but they didn't. I was able to knit in comfort.

1 comment:

E. Phoresis said...

Glad to see you guys are still married