Our Boat

Caloosa Spirit

Catalina 42 mkII

Log #8 A Mizzen Main?

Since it’s the weekend we thought we would get to do something fun today. There was a Christmas Street Fair in town that I wanted to go to. (I think Jim was dragging his feet.) But the place where our new mainsail is being worked on called and needed some consultation, so we had to drop everything and go there, so no Street Fair. It’s very frustrating feeling as though we’re on someone else’s schedule all the time.

The new mainsail is supposed to be finished tomorrow, so we had to work on installing the Harken Batt Car mast track for 2 days to get it done. This will be a major improvement in making the mainsail easier to hoist (ball-bearing cars instead of plastic sailslides). Jim had to use his new TopClimber, which worked well, to climb part way up the mast to position the track, then go all the way up to tighten the screws. Fortunately, the boat didn’t rock much while he was doing this. It’s a good thing he isn’t afraid of heights. I’m sure I couldn’t have climbed that high without being frozen to the mast in fear. Jim got a lobster dinner at a nearby restaurant as his reward for a job well done.

Jim using his Top Climber

More hurry up and wait. The operations manager keeps talking impatiently about getting us out of here, which would certainly be nice, but there are still things that aren’t done. The bimini and dodger were supposed to arrive today, but… You guessed it—Island Time. And we haven’t seen the mainsail, either, even though it supposedly arrived today. I sure would like to do some Christmas shopping sometime before Christmas.

Tonight we went to the pool at about 9:30. What a treat to be swimming in the outdoor pool gazing up at the stars in the middle of December. We will definitely miss the pool when we leave here. The temperatures have cooled some, though. It’s now in the low 80’s each day, instead of the high 80’s. 

Jim is very pleased with the good job we did on installing the mast track and the Batt Cars for the mainsail. Considering what a perfectionist he is, that’s very good news. Now if the rigger would only come back we could get the sail on and see how well it works. Only when the sail goes up and down perfectly will Jim be fully satisfied. He also wants to try out the 2 single-line reef systems (to sail with the mainsail shortened in heavy wind) that he came up with at 5:00 AM, after having the rigger say it probably couldn’t be done. Having a persistent perfectionist for a sailboat skipper is not a bad thing! No bimini and dodger yet.

Our mainsail is missing. Yes, missing—as in gone, lost, nowhere to be found. The staff is mystified. Yesterday and last night the sail was lying on the dock nearby in its green cradle cover. This morning when the rigger was ready to do something with it, it wasn’t on the dock. Speculation has run the gamut from someone pushing it into the water (it’s too heavy to roll by itself) to being mistakenly moved in place of another sail (a REALLY dumb mistake) to being taken as a practical joke (remember, it’s pretty heavy). A diver (without a tank) went down to see if it was on the bottom, but came up saying all he found were rocks (heavy, but not sail material). We made a police report, but the image of someone furtively absconding with our sail in the middle of the night strikes me as the stuff of a Pink Panther movie. But I guess that makes about as much sense as the sail being beamed up to a UFO, another possible explanation. It seems that our mainsail will be the talk of the docks until it reappears. Since we literally can’t sail away to the horizon without it, we’re hoping it turns up “tomorrow”.

This tomorrow brought no mainsail. The area around the dock has been dragged with a dinghy anchor to see if it could be snagged, and the grounds have been searched, but the sail has yet to materialize. This seems to be the mystery of the decade here at the base. And, as yet, no real plan for providing us with a usable mainsail has materialized either. We also discovered, through the surveyor’s examination, that the engine mounts need to be serviced and/or replaced. So with neither a mainsail nor a functional engine, we won’t be going anyplace soon. This is getting frustrating and depressing.

Eureka!! We found the sail! No, it wasn’t carried off by the local Great Egret to feather her nest. Nor was it used as a body bag to hide the evidence of a crime of passion behind the bushes. After the dredge quit for a few days the water cleared and we could see it right where it landed off the dock. It obviously needed a push and a heave from some dastardly soul(s) to land in the water (remember, it’s VERY heavy), but it turned out to be right where Jim suspected it was. Of course, it could have been discovered two days ago if the company had agreed to have a scuba diver search the whole area. However, Island Time dictates that nothing happens as quickly as it could, except when it shouldn’t. Confused? Welcome to Tortola. After discovering the sail in the water we were ready to leave it there until tomorrow, and then we were going to insist on having it professionally cleaned. But someone else (as yet to be determined who) decided to haul it out today while we were gone. So when we returned we had to wash the sail and the cradle cover to get the salt off before it dried on. With help from friends Greg & Carla the job wasn’t as miserable as it could have been. In tomorrow’s daylight we’ll be able to tell how much additional cleaning it will need. But tonight we’re celebrating! Caloosa Spirit is back to being a SAILboat!

Recently we realized that we omitted Mike’s news from our last Log. He and Steph are moving to San Diego. He is starting a new job February 10th as a computer systems administrator. Steph’s brother, Julian, and his Stephanie, a massage therapist, moved out there about 6 months ago. When a position became available at the computer firm where Julian works, Julian talked with his boss about Mike and his qualifications. The boss called Mike, did a phone interview, and later gave him a start date. Mike is very excited about the opportunity. We are glad for him but hate seeing them move further away from us. We knew they wanted to leave the Midwest, but we were hoping they would move East or Southeast. However, we know it’s important for Mike & Steph to go where they are called, just as we have.

Only 10 days till Christmas—YIKES!! Where is Island Time when you need it?
Alice & Jim Rutherford

Posted Sunday December 15, 2002

* * *