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The Mast-Head: End of the Season

Thu, 12/09/2021 - 14:28

Cerberus’s sailing season came to a formal end this week when the crew at Three Mile Harbor Marina lifted the sloop from the water and placed it on the boat-mover’s trailer for the short trip into town. I had removed the sails and the boom earlier and loosened the stays. All that was left before it went into the travel lift was to drop the mast.

As with anything on a boat, this is easier said than done, and I was somewhat gratified, given last fall’s invoice, to see that it actually took three yard workers and me the better part of an hour to get it lowered and secured. Removing a mast is billed by the foot, and with good reason: The longer it is, the bigger a pain the stern sheets it is to deal with.

Thanks to the recently elevated railroad trestle on North Main Street Nick, the easy going if difficult-to-get-on-the-phone marine transport guy, was able to bring the boat in a straight shot up Three Mile Harbor Road on Tuesday and navigate the turn into the Star’s narrow driveway. Nick backed his rig next to the barn and set the boat on timbers and steel stands to maintain its balance.

Unlike most of the boats already out of the water for the winter, Cerberus will not spend the next few months in a plastic tomb of shrink wrap. The boat will be 42 years old soon, if the anniversary of it coming out of the mould in Taunton, Mass., in 1979 might be considered its birthday. I bought it on the cheap in 2020, and there is an endless list of things I would like to get done before launch in the spring.

Following the advice in “This Old Boat,” a favorite among tightwad owners, I had let the cosmetics be in its first season while tending to the safety and operational issues. A frequent correspondent on our letters pages had chided me for the painter’s tape still over raw places in the brightwork in October that he had seen in June, but, as I told him, I had been too busy sailing to get after redoing the varnish.

It is supposed to be unseasonably warm the next few days in East Hampton; perhaps I’ll be able to get to that and some of the other to-dos tomorrow.

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