Crew Position: 42°23’N, 71°17’W – Dedham, Boston
Boat Position: 26°06’N, 80°10’W – Riverbend Marine Center, Fort Lauderdale
On Monday morning we downed tools and prepared for eviction. Ashling was being lifted out of the water and moving to ‘the hard’ (onshore) where her ‘bottom’ would be inspected and repainted.
They call it hauling out and this was our second time to go through it with Ashling. First we drive into a berth that is surrounded by a crane called a travel lift. Two large slings lie in the water beneath the boat and the lift operator positions the slings around the boat’s centre of gravity. Then he lifts the boat out of the water, fingers crossed it is balanced. Watching 11 tons of our prized possession rising out of the water, hanging in mid-air and then moving around the boat yard is nail biting at the best of times. Click here to see how it all worked out.
With Ashling safely up on blocks, it was time to spoil the Skipper who turned 33 on Wednesday. He has been calling the shots since we left Auckland last September so it was time for a change (and a little revenge perhaps). In his birthday card he received a list of times and street addresses for the day ahead.
Blindly taking vague instructions was a little disconcerting to a man who has spent the past eight months dishing out orders to the crew. An eggs benedict breakfast, rental car and a hot towel shave eased his initial anxieties and he was actually enjoying himself before we pulled into the carpark of Fort Lauderdale Rocketman Experience. Strapping a jet pack to his back and flying around a lake was probably more fun for the First Mate but the Skipper did admit, after a stiff drink, that he enjoyed it too.
After a tiring three weeks of boat projects, we left Ashling and the heat behind us, and flew to Boston for a much anticipated family holiday with Myles’ parents and Eithne’s aunt, uncle and cousins. Skype and email are our lifelines on board but there's just no substitute for a real, live, in-the-flesh hug.