49.3817° N, 1.7514° W Carteret, France
Unstepping a mast is supposed to be a fairly straightforward process, I’m told. It didn’t go that way for us. After a few days of preparations we thought we had it ready to hoist, but Pierre took one crank at our shrouds and shook his head. No? Not good? Not good. Thus ensued a lengthly afternoon which started with Pierre from Carteret Marine, a heatgun and a wrench. Soon came additional frenchmen. I don’t speak french ( I can order a beer, a berth and two of something) but a scratch of the head along with an exhaustive exhale is fairly universal. Soon a blowtorch was being lowered over the dock. Then we accumulated more frenchman, some of whom were actually quite buff, it was getting better, even if it was getting worse. We offered help but were fairly useless and they knew it. So we watched, though I did become the ‘passer of the tools’, cue flashback two decades helping dad build stuff, lending a reassuring nod when I pre-empted his need for pliers.
They were four shrouds down with two remaining steadfast, everyone was in dire need of a cold beer so they decided to simply pop the pins on the unsalvageable two and new ones would be ordered for us directly to our port of arrival in the south of France. Voila!