The next step in the preparation of Heldeleine for her 10 month hibernation phase was cleaning, packing and reorganizing the entire boat. Most soft things (clothes that were staying, pillows, towels etc) were cleaned and put into plastic bags (which were squeezed of air and sealed with duct tape). This was a tedious job and required that I skip my 3 pizzas a day habit for awhile. Though it comes as no surprise, the pizza in Italy is ridiculously good. Something about the crust and the freshest of tomatoes. Damn, I was hooked. I tried hard this past week to gain back the 20lbs I somehow lost this summer. Back to the boat…deck cleared of stuff. Dinghy removed. Bimini and dodger removed. On and on. Last Wednesday she was hauled after some excitement. First the jib would not come down.The top swivel was damaged because the new jib was made too long and when I took some sag out of the sail mid-Atlantic it caused the bearing to separate. Not an issue until I tried to lower the sail. We got a rigger to go up the mast and with his weight (like Earl Flynn) he dragged the sail down. Then the lift operator dramatically pulled his back (ouch!) and amid the screaming was hustled into a car and driven to the hospital by the rest of the marina crew which left me alone with the boat in the lift slings. (??) A few hours later the deed was done and Heldeleine was ashore having her slime and barnacles scrapped and blasted off.
A hundred other details and a day later I was off to Rome airport (2 hours) and my flight home. I’ll try to conclude with some thoughts about this summer in the next post. There was so much and I might need some time to process all we have done. It does seems a bit surreal being home and I feel a little numb. One thing I can say is that I have been very fortunate in life to be able to do this trip and I do thank you all for your help along the way. Talk soon.