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    Dis-masted in May

    It started simply enough. Herman decided to put our sailboat in early enough this year so that we could get every good sailing day possible out of the season. By early, I’m talking the last week of April. Which also happened to be when the ice finally left the lake. Herman’s boat was one of the first put out on the lake, and certainly the first sailboat.

    Herman had taken the boat out a few times, but I had chosen not to go as it seemed a bit cool out there to me. So I think it was probably the second week of May when Herman got up after an especially stormy night just to check on the boat. He had left the sails furled on the boom (see how much sailing jargon I know!), because he wanted to make sure the sails weren’t worked loose and flapping in the wind.

    Imagine his surprise when he found sails, boom and mast all in the water beside the boat. The force of the wind the night before had in fact been so intense that the mast mounts were ripped out from the deck. In order to salvage it as best he could, Herman had to scamper out in his bathing suit and anorak to unfasten the mast, boom, sails and shrouds to prevent further loss or wreckage.

    When he came in he took a hot shower to thaw his legs (the lake water being not much above freezing this early in the year). It was after the shower that he told me about this, since this all happened about 6AM and I was still asleep. I asked him what boat repair place he would take it to, and he replied he wanted to look things over first as this could be a very expensive proposition.

    Well, after looking things over and explaining to me that the mast was really held up more by the shrouds (the guy wire things that hold the mast in place like telephone pole guy wires) than the mast mounts. Therefore, although the mast foot plate had pulled out of its slot, (and Herman found it in the water after careful search) only some bolts and one guy wire spring clip needed to be replaced.

    Well, this added some challenges in that the local store here called "Groom’s" after the owners, has a great hardware department, but since the original bolts were "lost at sea" some estimates and measurements had to be made to see what might adapt for the purpose. Lo and behold, $1.49 worth of hardware and Jerry Groom’s offer to check his stock at home when just the right size spring clip couldn’t be found got Herman back on the water again with only a couple of hours repair time.

    So, now Herman has yet another new profession added to his resume. Sailboat repair!

    "Kathryn Spira, a native of Cleveland who pursued an acting career in NYC and Los Angeles, now pursues free lance writing from Caroga Lake here in Fulton County. Previous columns may be accessed at her web site www.kathrynskorner.com"