But before I could do that Valhalla had to endure...
They have you sign a paper.
When you take your mast off your boat for transport.
It is called a decommissioning.
A more repellant piece of paper no captain ever had to make his mark upon.
A Big Step
They call it a Step and Splash.
It's when you install or "step" the mast and lower the boat back into it's true habitat: The Sea.
I had Warren and Carmen of Moger Yacht Transport truck Valhalla, my 1969 Sparkman and Stevens designed Yankee Dolphin 25 from Fortman Marina in Alameda to Marina Del Rey. (Wow. I've suddenly got a yacht.)
After taking the opportunity of having her out of the water to slap on a few coats of bottom paint on her it was time to step the mast.
The placement of the mast into the hull in ancient times signified the moment when a “shell” truly became a ship. To commemorate that moment, the Romans placed coins under the mast for good luck or to help deceased Sailors into the afterworld. Today, coins, often reflecting the ship’s hull numbers, are typically placed under or near the mast for good luck in a small ceremony.
Stepping the mast is now done with the help of a crane and not stepped with the feet like a ladder but it's still the same thing.
I commented to my trusty rigger Dalton Eann as he was tightening the shrouds of Valhalla that he was engaged in an activity that had been practiced for hundreds of years.
Dalton, a practicing Buddhist and son of actor/author Chris Eann nodded knowingly.
"Thousands." he said.
Excerpts from the Log of the Valhalla
"October 12th. 11:30 AM.
Decommissioning at Svensen's Boat Yard in Alameda."
"The indignity of being transported across dry land was somewhat mitigated by a smooth road trip on the carpeted blocks of a trailer with 3 axles."
"3 days lay by at the boat yard. A soaking rain"
Weather clears. Bright Southern California sun makes appearance."
"Hull pressure washed and painted with 3 coats of a leaden blue hue."
"October 14th, 7:00 AM:
Slung in sling."
Launched in Marina Del Rey."
(621 miles from original berth in Alameda.)
Dalton makes the"Right There." hand signal."7:35: Mast stepped."
"9:35: Arrival in berth at Neptune Marina, Marina Del Rey."
(Thanks for the slip, Therese Steinlauf!)
So the decommissioning was only temporary.
Moving Valhalla was a big step.
But sometimes you gotta paint your bottom.
And when it's over you're back in the water, better than before.