Sails Away

We took everything off of Wind Affair. She is down to a bare stick – meaning the sails are off and the mast stands lonely and empty.  We loaded everything up into the backs of our vehicles and carried it all home. I unloaded and arranged everything down in the basement for winter storage. Then we went out into the driveway to pack away the sails. Emily observed and supervised.





Soon after we were looking at the week of Thanksgiving. (Is it just me, or is anyone else shocked that this holiday has already passed? We are almost into December, people!) We had a new trailer built for Wind Affair, and it was time to get her out of the water. My folks came up from Texas for our annual “Thanksmas” (Thanksgiving and Christmas combined since we celebrate the Solstice with the boys and they go to their dad’s for Christmas) event. My dad helped Evan put together an extension cable for the trailer brakes, and my mom assisted* me in taking Wind Affair around from the marina to the Indianapolis Sailing Club** ramp dock.

*My mom enjoyed her ride as I motored us around to the club!
** We have joined the Indianapolis Sailing Club! More on this in another post!

Then it was time to drop in the trailer, float the boat on,  and haul her right on out. I mean, we had a trailer built specifically for her. Evan donned scuba gear, and with the help of Jacob and me, we took all the exact measurements while she was sitting nicely in her slip.  The design of the trailer is great. 8 adjustable screw pad supports, keel track, long extension, good quality trailer. Easy – Peasy!! NOT.

We kept thinking the keel was not in the track, but it was. We floated her on and off and couple of times and finally decided to try to pull her out a little in order to see a little better to figure out what the issue was. The moment that trailer moved a foot up the ramp, Wind Affair started to take a starboard dive, mast first into the water. It was one of the scarier events I have witnessed. Everyone was yelling – included 3 guys working on another boat* nearby.

*Thank you to the crew of Eclipse for jumping in to lend a hand even though none of us had ever met before! Y’all were the best! If anyone has any doubts about the cruising/sailing community and their graciousness… let this be another testament!

They quickly ran over and threw in their hands to help. We all peered down through the murky water trying to see where the screw pads were touching, and where they weren’t. Something was still not lining up right, so we took Wind Affair back off the trailer and pulled the trailer back out of the water. Long story short… the front screw pads were set way too high.

We readjusted those and put the trailer back into the water – this time even farther into the water. We re-floated Wind Affair, and then readied ourselves for the big pull. I should probably also mention that this is a VERY steep ramp  and, all told, the boat and trailer weigh several thousand pounds… and my Tahoe is not 4 wheel drive. Oh boy.

After a couple tugs and spinning tires we got everything moving in the right direction. Sort of. The only issue was the tongue jack which was designed to carry this weight. With the full trailer extension on we now have two pivot points for the truck and trailer, and this tongue jack serves as the load bearing  middle point. It didn’t bear as nicely as expected.

When the trailer started moving, it was not moving forward. Because of the second pivot point it started drifting to the right, and the wheel wasn’t self correcting, and therefore, started dragging sideways. Just as everything reached the top of the ramp it gave and the front end of the trailer hit the ground with a crash that shook the heavens. Ok, it might not have shaken the heavens, but when you can see it coming and there’s nothing you can do but wait for it, your senses can become a bit skewed.

At this point she was out and nothing was sliding back down the ramp, so we grabbed a few car jacks and lifted the front end, removed the extension and hitched it up to the Tahoe directly. Then we were able to move her over to her current resting place. We will be taking the mast down this week, and then we will be continuing our search for an enclosed storage facility, so that we can start checking things off our winter to-do list.

All’s well that ends well. And Wind Affair is out of the water safely! WHEW!! We will figure out how to re-engineer that tongue jack issue before Spring. We have a few months to get it done. Noooo Problem!

Leave a Reply