What in the world do you do with a 56 foot tall sailboat mast that has snapped off and is now stuck in the muck on the bottom of the bayou, but the other end is still attached to the boat with half inch stainless steel cables … five of them? Except for the mast part, the 41 foot Hunter is floating and in good shape except for severe boat rash.
To salvage the entire boat is the goal of this operation. The easy way is to have your insurance people hire a large crane to pick up the separated mast and get out of the way of navigable boat traffic. Well, I had waited 10 days for an insurance person to show up or call, and then I get a text from a local fishing guide and captain. 5 Ton Bridge Crane
“Hey Dusty, Mark Liberman here. If you want help taking your rig off your boat, get back in touch with me.” I answered “When would be a convenient time to put our heads together to move the mast without a crane.” And he answered, “Monday morning will work.”
My wife, Cheryl, and I finished getting the cables and lines free of the mast and left one cable from the mast to hold it in place until Monday morning, when Capt. Mark was waiting for me on the dock.
Mark brought some floats with him so when we severed the last cable, one end of the mast would float with the buoys he had. Our sailboat was free of the mast and now the plan was to pull it to shore and up the boat ramp which was a stones throw away. But we needed a boat.
So, Mark heads off to collect Capt. Wayne Joiner and comes back with Lucas Coleman and Mitch Smith and his crew from EcoMarine.
So we get a line of the sail and it’s going well until the cable gets caught on a cleat on the sailboat. Lucas is giving it all he’s got to lift the cable and mast off the cleat. One more final giant tug and he was successful in releasing the sail and we were on the way to the ramp, until it stopped.
Well, then a marine salvage operation pulling out damaged pilings had just come in to offload some broken pilings that were to be taken to the dump. The barge was freed up to help us lift and pull the mast and all the attached main and jib sails closer to the ramp. We were just a few feet away from the ramp when it jammed on the dock.
Then another captain comes into the picture to help us get free (after two broken ropes) and attaches a gain to the bumper hitch. All of the sudden and after hours of work, the mast is on the side of the road in three pieces with two major bends. Mission accomplished.
My point is this, this is how Boca Grande comes together, when you see someone who needs a hand, you give it. One hand a time. I didn’t get five or six guys together at once to help me, but when I needed another hand, it was there. That’s how we get through this mess.
By the way guys, thanks. Let me know if you need something, I’ll be there!
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