Sunday, November 18, 2012

Like a phoenix rising

Listening to "Swallowed In The Sea" by Coldplay

I sit here, in our slip in the marina, bathed in a new calm and with a smile lingering in the corner of my lips.  After four long months on the hard, plus the year before that filled with countless tasks, Paragon has become a sailboat once again.  


A most beautiful, and long awaited, sight

Going back into the water made me breathless.  There were honestly times while we were living on the hard that I felt there was no way we were EVER going to finish the list that allowed us to get back into the water, and that my sanity was going to be one of the casualties of this whole process.  It was the combination of the million little inconveniences that made it unbearable.  Perhaps if you have to deal with just one (no toilets, living in a work zone covered in fiberglass and toxic grot, twenty foot ladder, insane summer heat, etc) then it would be possible to tackle this task cheerfully, but with it all piled together I felt such despair of ever finishing.  

Now, however, I can once again see that illusive light at the end of the tunnel.  Drake and I spent a couple of days in a slip at the Sailcraft Boatyard while Mark the rigger installed our new staysail and we worked on stowing and cleaning the disaster that Paragon had become.  It's amazing how much you accumulate if you remain the slightest bit sedentary, and accumulate we did.  It took us almost three full days, and many trips to the local consignment store, to whip the boat back into sailing shape, or rather close to sailing shape.   We were not ready for an offshore passage, but a four day sail around the Neuse River was just what the doctor ordered.

The morning of the day we left was spent gathering laundry, stowing the bikes, and a quick trip to the local Town & Country grocery store for some provisioning.  Oh yes, and a jaunt up the mast. 

Even though we still did not have the mainsail on, we needed to attach the topping lift which meant Drake was going to get a chance to test out those new mast steps as I belayed from below.  Besides one step that is rather awkwardly placed (a shroud crosses in an inopportune place) everything held and, I heard, the view was spectacular from such a height.  In hindsight I should have given him a camera to take to the top, eh?

 It was early afternoon by the time we were finally ready to go, but a quick check of the tide table brought us back to a rather somber reality.  We were on a rising tide just past low tide, and with all of the shoaling left over from Hurricane Irene it meant that getting out of the creek with our almost six foot draft could be tricky if not done at the optimal time.

We both sat down with disappointment and decided to get up early the next morning and take off with the high tide and calm early morning conditions.  An hour went by, then two, when Drake suddenly jumped up and said we were leaving.  Even if we ran aground we were on a rising tide and that could only work in our favour.  

He turned on the engine (started on the first try!), friends helped with lines, and we were off.  For the first time in almost two years Paragon was going out to sail and anchor.   We actually did end up running aground (sorry my beautiful bottom paint), but Drake was motoring at such a slow pace that he quickly ungrounded us and we continued our journey.  


not so serious and glad to be out of the channel

We ended up spending four beautiful days and three nights in a lovely anchorage called South River.  We raised anchor the second day to go sailing, but returned to the same lovely spot that evening to enjoy the solitude.  

first time out at anchor in over two years

our first sunset could not have been more beautiful

We knew that a storm was rolling in, and we could have cut our trip short by a day, but instead decided to stay in our anchorage and weather the rain for the third and fourth day.  The time before the nor'easter hit was truly the calm before the storm, but winds quickly picked up to 20-25 knots with gusts up to thirty and remained through the night and next day.  

this storm blew across in no time at all

I can't begin to explain how absolutely cozy this time was with the storm raging outside, but the two of us snuggled inside a warm cabin while munching on popcorn and watching movies.  The anchor held, the rig held, and it made all of this work so, so worth it.  It also gave me a renewed sense of purpose.  This is what it is all about.  The sweat, the frayed nerves, the worrying, and the work all fade as you get out on the water headed to the next anchorage.  I cannot wait for the next voyage.  I cannot wait...

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Trick…or the best treat ever!

Listening to "The Commander Thinks Aloud" by The Long Winters

I was sitting at the airport the other day waiting for my flight to be called when I heard a final boarding call for Springfield.  Suddenly, I had the most incredible urge to grab a group of friends, dress up like the Simpsons, and show up at that gate.  I imagine they must get that a lot…

Yes, that is a cemetery behind the ghost.

Last night was Halloween and I suppose I have the Simpsons on the brain because I downloaded their Halloween special and watched "Treehouse of Horror" which is about as scary as I can tolerate.  Oh, that and Sleepy Hollow.  I mean, what is this time of year without a Tim Burton film, right?  Anyway, I am a total wimp when it comes to scary things in general.  Guess who was sooooo scared by 'House on Haunted Hill' (not even the original, but the remake) that she spent the entire time peeking through her fingers and desperately trying not to hear what was going on in various scenes.  I'll give you a hint.  It was NOT my friend's ten year old daughter who didn't realize there would be two shows that evening.  The "lame" movie (her words, not mine.  I favoured terrifying) and her mother's wimpy friend.  I blame this on an extremely active imagination coupled with a prolific story teller for a mother.  While other children were getting Sesame Street and Fat Albert, I was regaled with wild tales of Ali Baba, The Brother's Grimm, and the various haunted houses my mother was forced to live in as a child.  Punctuate this with frequent family picnics at the cemetery (a long story) and perhaps you can empathize.  

I spent the rest of the evening hanging out with friends in town while they gave out infinitely more treats than tricks and admired the various costumes.  Riding my bike home with a pocketful of candy for Drake I gave the little cemetery a piercing glance as I passed, everything appeared to be in order, and arrived at Paragon to find the best treat ever.  Drake informed me that after four long months we are *drum roll please* GOING BACK IN THE WATER!  

Yes, my friends, we are finally getting Paragon back into the water.  Now comes the interesting part.  We will be put in the travel lift tomorrow later in the afternoon, but instead of being lowered right into the water we are going to stay in the lift over the weekend.  Why, you might ask? 

These areas concealed by the wood will be painted this weekend.

Paragon has many jack stands supporting the hull on both sides, but on the bottom she is resting on wooden logs in two different places.  We were able to paint the hull and switch out jack stands to paint the areas that were covered by the old stands, but we haven't been able to scrape and paint those areas concealed by the wood.  This way, while hanging in the travel lift over the weekend, we will be able to scrape those areas and put three coats of bottom paint on those last sections of the keel.

So, when people ask what I plan to do this weekend, I can honestly say:

"Oh, ya know.  Just hangin'..."

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Hurricane Sandy

Listening to "Muddy Waters" by The Seldom Scene

It is with much relief that I sit here on the porch of the marina clubhouse, wrapped in a blanket to ward off the cold, and thank the powers that be that Sandy spared us her wrath.  I had just flown back to North Carolina and had yet to unpack my bags when I heard the rumblings of "that hurricane" everyone was keeping a wary eye on.  Perhaps it was because I had been out of town, but it felt as though this entire storm system crept up out nowhere...or maybe it was because so many were talking about heading south or had, in fact, already left for destinations south.  

The entire marina was a buzz of activity with people removing jibs and staysails, securing mains, checking lines, and putting out extra fenders. Cars, trailered boats, bicycles, and other miscellaneous items were moved to higher ground while dinghy's were moved to the rack and tied down.  Everyone was studiously working to prepare for the worst (and hope for the best), but it certainly lacked some of the urgency of last year when Irene was headed in our direction.  

Last year's direct hit, and the ensuing 12ft storm surge and winds, left a trail of devastation that many are still recovering from both here and beyond.  The Pamlico County Middle School suffered so much damage it took a little over eight months to reopen, and others are still dealing with the million little headaches involved in repairing or rebuilding their homes.

Sandy was forecast to graze us as she passed and that is exactly what happened.  Here at the marina winds topped out at just over 40mph and the surge was between three and four feet.  Drake was particularly concerned because, though Paragon's mast and rigging is in place, she has yet to be tuned.  He spent some time tightening the stays and shrouds to make sure a particularly vicious puff didn't bring the rig down.  We also made sure the deck was cleared of all random gear and put last minute items in the cockpit or below.  

All that being done we went below and hunkered down with good food, drink, and company (!) and waited out the storm.  Now, as we uncurl from our two day hiatus and begin work again, we look to the north.  We've started to hear the reports of Sandy's landfall and send all of our best wishes to those now dealing with the aftermath of this powerful hurricane.  We wish you a safe and speedy recovery!

water just a breath below the dock

flooding under the marina clubhouse

Hark!  I see land!  Though it's usually right here under me…?
Flood waters have receded and we're back to normal

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The insulation conundrum

Listening to "Autumn Leaves" by Eva Cassidy

Tick tock.  Tick tock.  As the time slips away we work on the seemingly endless projects.  At times it feels as though we are almost there, but then realize that what we thought would take a day or two suddenly has stretched into a week or more.  

I draped the salon in plastic sheets and Drake installed a base support for our new, beautiful batteries.  This included the unavoidable task of attaching and grinding fiberglass inside the boat which is...awful.  There is no other way to describe the task.  I'm sure those of you who have had the delightful experience of dealing with fiberglass know how it can, seemingly, invade every area of your space and feel like a thousand little daggers in your skin.  We tried to minimize particles as much as possible, but still managed to get flecks in some unlikely places.  However, we now have a lovely and stable resting place for these extremely heavy batteries.  I believe we're installing some side brackets and top straps and then we'll be done.  Maybe.  *grin* 

While this was going on, I was upside down in a locker under the bed in the aft cabin measuring out templates for the insulation.  Many of the places we intend on visiting, especially next year, will be colder, and properly insulating the boat is a must.   Has anyone out there looked at insulation?  Is there something in particular that you prefer?  We have looked at soooooo many different types that our heads were literally swirling with visions of, not sugar plums, but closed cell foam and such.  We finally decided on Volara which is a 4lb density closed cell foam.  It's flexible, has low water absorption and vapor transition, and is non-toxic among other things.  We have installed this stuff in the majority of accessible areas in the boat and very much look forward to seeing how well it works.  This winter will be telling.  I'm especially interested in seeing how it handles the condensation; is there really any good way?  It appears to be the nemesis of many a sailor and, from what I've heard so far, there doesn't seem to be any really great way to deal with the problem.  I'd be interested in hearing more…

One of the benefits of making the templates is that once they were finished I was able to go outside to cut the foam which was a welcome relief from the fiberglass upside down craziness on board.  I even wrote one of my favourite snippets from a poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay on the last piece of foam.  Now every time we grab plumbing hose from under the bed I'll see her beautiful words and remember my afternoon.  It kind of makes me want to write little quotes all over the boat as a kind of unexpected inspiration.  

Now as we near the end of October, we both feel the clock ticking louder and louder.  The departure date seems to be slipping further and further away.  I suppose we'll see...

Thursday, August 9, 2012

To the beach

Listening to "Back to Tupelo" by Mark Knopfler

Atlantic Beach, North Carolina

I have so much to do that I believe I'll start with a....


Over the last two weeks Drake and I have been dashing around, trying to finish up various projects, starting new ones, and combating some unexpected hiccups.  Some days if feels as though the end is within reach, yet other days we feel like we will be on the hard for the rest of our lives.  Eileen Quinn was right when she sang that life on the hard was just hard.  

To say that we needed a break was a bit of an understatement.  So, we borrowed a car late one afternoon and headed for atlantic beach.  A drive, ferry ride, and some more driving got us to the beach in about an hour.  By the time we had parked it was early evening which meant the crowds had thinned as everyone moved inland in search of food and a shower.  We had space to move around and just breathe...

As our toes dug into the sand and our eyes scanned the waves crashing, we both felt such a weight lift and, suddenly, remembered why we were doing all this hard work.  A dusty, dirty yard can make you forget the end becomes smudgy and difficult to see over the mountain of tasks, but breathing in that salty air our senses reawakened.  It was just what we needed.

last bit of sun before the storm

Drake suddenly caught my attention and pointed behind me.  A gigantic swirling mass of boiling black clouds was hurtling towards us.  It was moving so swiftly and in such a solid line that we could see the sandy beach being whipped up as it moved in our direction.  We stood and gazed at the sea as the first winds crashed into us and marveled at the few brave (crazy?) souls who grabbed their surf boards and charged into the water.  As the first drops of rain began to fall, we ran for the car, feeling rejuvenated and ready to tackle another day.

storm rolling in

we simply watched as it moved towards us
moments before the rain started

Friday, July 27, 2012

Mai Tais and...bottom paint?

Listening to "Social Aid and Pleasure Club" by The Subdudes

Add caption

Last saturday I spent the day cleaning and scraping the engine in preparation to paint, but after careful consideration that has been put on hold.  Drake and I realized that we needed to be able to turn on the engine at various times during the process and, since we are on the hard, that is not possible right now.  Fear not!  I was able to transition rather smoothly into another task that was sorely needed, namely painting the hull.

Now, I have to say that when I told my friends that I was moving onto a boat most of them pictured beautiful blue water, sunsets near a lovely island paradise, and a Mai Tai always in hand.  One friend even expressed concern that I would fall victim to something she referred to as "rum fatigue" and suggested we beef up my tolerance immediately.  I hate to disappoint them, but my reality is quite different from that rosy facade.  You are more likely to find me cleaning, scraping, sanding, or editing than lounging in the cockpit with a drink at hand.  The only time I have gotten any sun lately has been while riding my bike to West Marine or scrubbing the deck.  Or painting...

a close up of Drake rolling on the topside paint

Drake and I have spent the last several days painting Paragon, and the whole process is nearing completion.  Drake attacked the topsides since the rather toxic and nefarious concoction of paint and mixers freaks me out.  It creates a beautiful finish, but I wouldn't want to stand in an enclosed room with this stuff unless I had a serious desire to kill off some brain cells.  He also painted an initial blue coat of paint on the hull to show me where the paint needed to go while I followed with two coats of red.  Weather cooperated a bit by staying at or under 90˚F/32˚C, but the heat was still overwhelming at times.  As I raised the roller to apply a coat of paint I could feel rivers of sweat escaping my protective plastic gloves and running down my arms.  Never before had I realized that I could sweat so profusely from my hands, however, the hard work was justified when I saw the finished product.  

look at that reflection...

roll and tip...

almost done

With shiny new topsides and a demure red hull, Paragon is beginning to look like the travelin' lady I have always pictured.  She is a phoenix arising from her thirty-six year old ashes and, my, what a beauty.  I start preparing the boot stripe to be painted tomorrow which brings us one step closer to getting back in the water and heading north.

look at that finish

Monday, July 23, 2012

The blank canvas

Listening to "Death Letter" by Cassandra Wilson

I believe napkins are forms of creative inspiration.  Their blank smoothness and texture literally cradle the mind for the epiphany to come.  How many great portraits, radical scientific equations, and love sonnets have been scrawled across their blank folds to capture an idea before it fades into oblivion.  Their surface is never as imposing as the long, blank page of paper and, if the idea falters or is discarded, the medium can always be used to wipe the milk moustache from your lips and be tossed into the obscurity of the trash pail.  One has only to look at a man's napkin to glance into the depths of his soul.

what is on your napkin?

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Jolly Good Perkins!

Listening to "Holiday in Cambodia" by The Dead Kennedys

For some reason I imagine that, if our engine ever started to talk, it would be with a British accent.  Don't ask me why it would suddenly burst into chattiness, but our Perkins 4-236 85 HP diesel engine calls to mind a rather natty British gentleman who, though silently keeping to the background, is none the less always ready to push up his sleeves and help with the task at hand.  

Perkins engines are dependable.  They are known the world over for their endurance, longevity, and also the ease of finding replacement parts.  Well today ours is getting a new suit.  Buckle up Savile Row, we're heading down!  (okay, Napa Auto Parts, but that doesn't quite have the romantic ring, does it?)

In case you haven't already guessed, I am starting the process to paint our engine.  There are so many things on Paragon that I cannot do without close instruction from Drake, or at least the promise that he will stay close at hand for consultation.  Yes, I took the head apart when it stopped working and rewired the power cord, but both were only after watching Drake do similar tasks over and over.

brushed and ready to be degreased

The galley spoon I have commandeered.  Poor thing doesn't know its cushy life has ended.

From what I understand, painting the engine is a job that is simply going to be dirty and most likely a bit uncomfortable.  I may have to do a certain amount of what I like to call "Boat Yoga".  These are the Cirque du Soleil like contortions you need to do in order to reach whatever it is you are working on including, but not limited to, wedging yourself into small spaces while hanging upside down.  

I'm going in

Cleaning the pan under the engine

I shouldn't complain.  There are many things that are difficult to reach on Paragon, but the engine is not really one of them.  Unlike most, we have an actual engine room that is quite spacious and gives us almost universal access to most sides of the Perkins.  

Now I've spent the morning with a wire brush and a scraper removing any loose paint chips and other gunk from the surface.  I've also cleaned up the mire in the pan underneath the engine and removed *shudder* all sorts of unidentifiable objects.  Let's just say I am glad I was wearing gloves.  Time to strap on a respirator (I'm rather fond of the brain cells I have left), spray some engine degreaser, and let that soak for a bit.  


To be continued...

Thursday, July 19, 2012

This little piggy

Listening to "Long Ride Home" by Patty Griffin


Am I perhaps watching some classic Batman?  Engaging in a boatyard brawl?  Unfortunately not, for both of these might be more enjoyable than the sad sad truth.  No, my little toes have just been informing me, in the most painful way possible, that they are willing to take one for the team by reintroducing me to the hazards on our decks.

Let me back up a bit.  We've been on the hard for a while now, and the most urgent action I take on deck is scrambling to get the clothes off the rails before the rain truly starts.  Before that we were in the marina and, again, speed on deck was not critical.  We were working on various projects, hauling groceries, or just ambling about and chatting with our neighbors.  Because of this relaxed pace my feet have slipped into complacency and forgotten the obstacles that were once second nature.  

If you live on a boat, or any slightly uneven or confined space, then you most likely understand.  I make my way into the cockpit, duck my head just enough to miss the hard dodger, swing around, and drop down onto the companionway stairs in one fluid motion that can be done without even thinking.  I've done it so many times that it can be done in the dark, in squally weather...practically in my sleep.  I am told, constantly, that I must prepare for the worst, and part of that is being able to move around the boat efficiently, quickly, and without causing injury.  At best, a couple of good knocks on the head will let you know just how low your dodger is, but at worst you can seriously hurt yourself.  A stray hand or finger left around a windlass could cause the kind of injury that forces you to abandon shoe laces in favour of velcro for the rest of your life.  (My! you must be can she go from a stubbed toe to dismemberment in three paragraphs?)

So the other day, while working on some time sensitive paint work, I ended up running all over the deck and ran into, quite literally, a block for the wind vane.  

Many, many times...

Now I sit here nursing my bruised toe and cracked toenail desperately hoping this is one lesson I retain. 

The offending party

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Crotchety Orangutans

Listening to "Graffiti Limbo" by Michelle Shocked

We have now been on the hard for a while and I have no idea where the time has gone.  I blame this on the heat wave.  While in the water Drake and I were like dolphins...playful, fun, footloose and fancy free.  We laughed and toodled around and just enjoyed life.

Now, after two weeks on the hard, in heat lingering on the cusp of100˚F/38˚C, we are more like two crotchety orangutans in an animal testing facility...glaring around and poking one another while occasionally checking the air conditioner with suspicion.  Is it really possible that it is still 83˚F/28˚C in the cabin even with the air running?  Hmpf...

Some things are getting done.  Drake has gotten a chunk of the sanding finished on the topsides, I managed to fix the dryer and clean a couple of boats, and we're both getting a lot of work sorted with various editing projects, but we absolutely must step it up if we have any hope of getting out of here.  "Stay focused!", I tell myself.  Unwrap this heat induced veil of lethargic fatigue and WORK ON THE BOAT!  

Ahhhh, perhaps I should back my little train up.  I DID learn how to rewire the shore power cord, which is super exciting.  

I am not electrical girl.  Should you happen to ask me to describe how the magic of electricity works, I am more likely to answer with large hand gestures and technical terminology such as "flux capacitor" and "crushed unicorn horns" than anything resembling expertise.  It has always been something of a mystery to me made even more scary due to the fact that, if handled incorrectly, it can also kill you.

However, at some point someone stepped on the shore power cord plug where it attaches to the boat, bending it and breaking the waterproof seal, and it was vital that we replace that.  You might say that I was volunteered for the job.

Between Drake and the online installation video I was able to cut the plug, strip the outer sheath, splice the wires to the plug, position the new waterproof gasket, and reattach the outer casing.  


!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  <------ this is how I felt.  wait, let's add some more. ------> !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

Mission Accomplished!

I really do love learning about the boat and the various systems aboard.  Not only does it give me a sense of empowerment, but it makes me feel more comfortable when I understand how things work and, more importantly, how to fix them when they stop working.  

It seems there will be a bit of a break in the heat...I'll see how empowered I feel after painting the hull for many hours.  *grin* 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Louver my nemesis

Listening to "Johnny Got a Boom Boom" by Imelda May

Louvered doors.  

Chances are you have little to no response to these words, and oh how I envy you, for that was once my reaction.  I have been bartering my time with our fabulous carpenter by helping him construct the louvered doors we require in the forward head and salon.  Drake and I feel that these doors are best both for their functionality and their aesthetics.  Wow, do I wish we'd just grabbed a teak board and drilled some holes.  (maybe)  The amount of work that goes into making these is rather mind-boggling, and I have a profound new respect for their creators.  On the plus side, every time I pass these little gems my heart swells with pride as I remember all the work that went into trimming, routing, and sanding every slat, side, and corner.  

Forward head storage 

This offers great storage as well as access to the seacock

They are now 80% installed and are simply waiting for some inner braces and outer locks.  This is good.  It suddenly becomes one less project that stands between us and leaving to go north, and allows me to see that light at the end of the tunnel.  Now we just have to sand and paint the hull in 98˚F/37˚C heat.  Pah!  Not a problem...I've made louvered doors.

Just finishing up the initial installation

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

My biking companion

Listening to "Gnossiennes - 3. Lent" by Erik Satie as played by Jean-Yves Thibaudet

It's late and dark...dark as it can only be in a small town.  I'm riding my bike through the quiet streets, feeling the heavy and humid air roll past me in waves as I pedal towards Paragon.  This southern air has a tangible quality, cloying and sweet with scents that prick at my nose.  Honeysuckle?  Perhaps jasmine?  My lack of knowledge when it comes to plants is well known, as witnessed by my black thumbs and many casualties, but I appreciate from afar.

This is one of the many things that I have come to love about living on a sailboat.  I feared when I left Colorado that I would never again live so close to nature, but life on Paragon has left me breathless with it's beauty.  On my morning walk to the showers I spy the jellyfish, engaged in their fluid ballroom dancing, while the hermit crabs scamper around looking overly tough with one giant claw.  Seagulls, turtles, giant crabs and, once, a black bear and her cubs have all graced me with their presence.  And then tonight...

On the last turn I spied a shadow of what I believed to be a cat darting across the road, but as I slowed I noticed it was, in fact, a fox.  

I stopped and she stopped.  We stared. 

Slowly my foot pushed down on the pedal and, as the bike silently glided forward, the most surprising thing happened.  The fox, always staying at least fifteen feet away, ran along with me.  She stayed with me almost the entire way to the marina and then, with a quick look, took her leave.

My heart is filled with wonder and joy as I think to myself, "This is just the beginning..."

The illuminated cloudy sky

Saturday, June 30, 2012

When the bow is in the trees...

Listening to "Bump & Sway" by Deep Banana Blackout

The other day a wise man said to us, "When the bow is in the trees, you're running out of seas".  Well...

looking towards the marina slips from Paragon's bow

Have we taken a wrong turn?  Perhaps zigged when we should have zagged?  No, we have simply, in our infinite wisdom and good timing, chosen to be hauled out in the hottest part of the year.  *sigh*

This has been a delightful summer thus far, with temperatures hovering in the mid-seventies to low eighties, cool breezes in abundance, and nights that require a light hoodie.  No longer.  The thermometer will be pushing 100˚F/38˚C this weekend with a heat watch advisory from the weather service.  (hey!  look at that heat!)

Fortunately for us the cruising community is an amazing group of people.  A cruiser stopped by earlier today and lent us a window air conditioning unit to use while we are on the hard.


Thank you, thank you, a million times thank you.  Thanks to this kind gentleman, I am now writing to you from the chilled confines of the boat.  

Getting hauled out was certainly an adventure.  Doubly so since we not only removed Paragon from the water, but stepped the mast as well.  No longer are we the slowest, saddest little trawler in the marina....we're a SAILBOAT once again!

We maneuvered into the working slip at Sailcraft Boatyard, tied off, and began preparations.

Paragon in the Sailcraft slip
We did a final examination of the mast, secured the rigging, then prepared to move her.  I'm not sure how I thought we would move this massive structure from point A (on the grass) to point B (by the boat), but I was certain it would involve all sorts of high tech procedures and equipment.  Nope.  Instead we loaded it onto this little trolley and rolled it right on over to the crane.  Space age technology, I tell you...

bracing the mast on the rolling cart

Of course, every bit of our work was carefully observed by the official quality control and safety expert, Bo.  He is Mark the rigger's dog, and is always ready to offer an ear...that is, if you're willing to scratch.

Quality control overseen by Bo
Wires were tied and, lo and behold, the mast was lifted.

I seriously hope this holds!

After some minor adjustments, the mast was set down...

Stepping the mast
 And voila.  Shrouds and Stays were attached (these are cables that run from the mast to various points on the deck and keep the mast from pulling a Humpty Dumpty and tumbling down), and some light tuning was done.

Next, Paragon was hauled out and the hull was blasted by a pressure washer to get over two years of crud off.  Much to our *happy* surprise, the bottom was mainly free of barnacles and other vermin...that means less scraping for yours truly.  *grin*

The power washing begins

Paragon is rather massive when seen from this angle
The last time Paragon had her hull scrubbed was just before Drake sailed from Sint Maarten to Oriental in 2010.  You can check out that voyage below.

So here we are...sitting on the hard and forming our plan of attack.  There is much work to be done, but since it is mosty toasty outside I believe we will sit back, enjoy the cool air conditioning, and perhaps share a toast to the newly restored mast.