August 27th. When I woke up the next morning the pain in my foot had disappeared. The old women recipe probably. My back still hurt. My guess was that, with the beating it got the day before, it would take several days to get back to normal.
I was also very tired. Resting for a while should be good. Not a chance! I had first scheduled the haul-out of Breskell for this date. We were Sunday and, of course, nobody worked on Sundays in Greenland ! I had forgotten that. Happy people. I had to wait a day . Day off for everyone and a chance to rest for me. With my yesterday emergency combined with my thermal exposure, I was one walking painful body. Painful but not from an alarming discomfort of unknown origin. Let it be said that it was a well deserved pain for a body abuse of well-known origin. Breskell’s haul-out was scheduled for Monday. I needed to lay her out carefully for the arctic winter. The better the decommissioning now, the quicker the launching next year.
Sails, lines, water to drain , motor to wintered, protection for the dinghy , and so many other little things like the batteries to disconnect or the navigational instruments to cover.
We were at the end of the first year of a long and challenging trip. This specific journey up north will probably stay as one that crews and captain will remember for a long Time.
Quite an interesting sail from slaloming around the crab pots of the Chesapeake bay to avoiding the drifting icebergs of Greenland in the beautiful land of the midnight sun. Scary for the captain at times , stressful at others for the crew, still an awesome trip for all participants.
To add to my back pain, I had a bit of stomach ache this morning. It goes probably with the task of hauling out Breskell in an unknown place by unknown people with unknown equipment. They don’t haul out many sailboats in this boatyard. And Breskell, a cold molded wooden boat with her swing keel and twin rudders and an hull shape they don’t encounter often in this fisherman’s boatyard.
I went to the yard at eight in the morning, in fact I was there much earlier . Some apprehensions maybe? Nobody there. I waited. Then the first workers took me to the office. There were five or six people. The talk was animated. They looked at me, discussed between themselves. Looked at me again and talked some more with animation. I understood absolutely nothing. They offered me a coffee. They talked again and then asked me to come back at one PM… As I did’n get any understandable explanations, it was a bit stressful. What if they didn’t want to take chances with the haul-out of this strange sailboat or decided their equipment was inadequate? Leaving a boat in the water on a mooring is never a good option. Nothing very helpful for my stomach aches! I made a more reassuring hypothesis. With the low tide, they simply could not could’ve pull out my boat. I let the morning go. Back at one pm to the boatyard This time, I brought back my phone. I understood that,maybe, they wanted to see pictures of “Breskell”. I showed them the boat. Damn it, immediately everybody started talking again. And they talked like if I was elsewhere. Nothing to alleviate my initial anxiety. I was wondering about what was going on. There were now between six or seven people arguing in this small office. And no way for me to participate. Then, after what looked like an eternity , somebody finally said: “Can you bring the boat at two PM!”
“Whoa”.. I felt so much better now! My stomach aches almost disappeared on the spot…. even my back pain seemed somewhat alleviated . They were going to haul out Breskell after all. I went back to the boat and reported the good news to Edgar. He was now alone with me. Vari, Annie and Dom had left this morning at midday returning home.
Just before two, I started my old Perkins engine. The boat was not responding as usual to my steering command at the wheel. I had a weird feeling. I didn’t know exactly why. A strange and not well-defined sensation .
We motored toward the boatyard slowly. A very small place and quite narrow. I had no space to maneuver. On top of that, not much depth. I had to lift up the center board close to shore. Without any form of keel left under my hull, it was pretty hard to maneuver the boat. I needed two tries to enter this tricky place. Luckily, we didn’t have to fight any wind. Then, at one point, and just for a few seconds, my wheel became very hard to move. Strange again! A quick look behind my back. Something floating there. Looked like… my rudder! Couldn’t be that. I checked again… Yes, this strange thing behind my boat looked exactly like one of my rudders. A nightmare? No! it was real… One of my twin rudders was left behind . I still could not believe it. I had lost a rudder right there, in front of the boatyard, at the very last-minute before being lifted out of the water at the end of this summer cruise. This time, I didn’t understand immediately why. As soon as the boat was high and dry , I planed to investigate. For now my mind was elsewhere. The workers from the boatyard came with a small but very powerful motor boat. They took charge of the haul-out They pushed, pulled and towed us. I realized immediately that they knew perfectly well what they were doing.
I left Breskell into their hands.
First, they directed the boat toward the rail on the ramp and then set up nicely and calmly my boat on her cradle.
Up went the cradle with the boat. They really had done a nice job and I was particularly pleased by their attitude. Not a single mistake.
When a problem arose, they stopped the hauling and thought about it. They talked some more together, exchanged opinions and agreed on a solution. I was so pleased and so much relieved that I had the impression that had started to understand their language!
They took about an hour and a half to complete the haul-out. I never felt any anxiety about a possible mishap. These workers were acting like real professionals.
The only part broken had nothing to do with the hauling: my rudder! We fished back this floating appendage with the assistance of our escort boat.
A new item to add-on my “to do” list for the next year. Nothing to worry about. I know how to fixe a loose rudder or replace a missing one.
High on the ground, Breskell was now safe for the winter. The workers assured me that for the next month, she was staying there, protected and dry on top of the ramp.
Later, they planned to move Breskell to her definite winter spot. Before,they had another job to carry out: cutting apart an old boat so they could recuperate her berth. I trusted them. I could now return home after such a successful journey . Home, sweet home, where I would be reunited again with my wife Coco, my son Theo, his wife Annie and Aziliz our beautiful daughter. I missed them all so much. Farther south , they had worked really hard to help me realize this incredible northern dream. Around the soul of a boat being part of my family for so long, they were also part of my Breskell North West Passage beloved team.
2017 was over !