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Mainsail being raised and almost to masthead after the final batten installed.

The repairs to Freedom have been made. And, I’m really glad they’re done. Getting the repairs done was a royal pain in the behind not because they were so extensive or expensive, they weren’t, but because of where we are and the lack of people, businesses, and facilities to get them done. I suppose that is the nature of the beast in cruising, still.

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Tricolor mounted…

In Kemah, there are maybe a half dozen places one can have a sail repaired within a five mile radius or so of the marinas. Here in Biloxi, the nearest qualified and genuine sail loft was either in the New Orleans area or in Pensacola, roughly a 100 miles away. We chose Schurr Sails  in Pensacola based on recommendations we got from the Sailing and Cruising group we belong to on Facebook. They were wonderful and we highly recommend them. To make their service even sweeter, when the repair was made, Hunter, the owner, indicated he would be in the Mobile, Alabama area if we’d like to pick the repaired sail up there. Of course, we did, for picking the repaired sail up in Mobile saved us at least two hours of boring drive time.

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Husband on left, Chris on right as they rig the reefing lines.

One gentleman of whom we’ve had a great relationship over the past couple of years is our good friend Chris Earls with Competition Yacht Services in Kemah and Corpus Christi (361-728-8074 and 832-385-1916). We first met Chris when he installed our bow thruster while working for another company a couple of years ago. Chris and his family have been in the rigging business for years and years down in Corpus and he is experienced in just about every aspect of yacht repair and maintenance…power plants, mechanical, electrical, etc. He also has no problem going up to the top of our huge mast, 72’ above the water line.

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From bottom, radar reflector, radar, and the new television antenna.

Aside from the torn mainsail, the three other major things that were damaged were the masthead tricolor fixture, the television antenna and, most of all, the bow thruster. After talking to a few people here on the dock in Biloxi, all they could say was “good luck” in finding good decent people to work on our boat…so we didn’t even try to find a local. What we did do was call Chris.

After we spoke with Chris, he agreed to obtain the new bow thruster motor and drive over from Texas to Biloxi, install the new motor to repair the bow thruster, take the old motor back to Texas to be repaired (if possible), take care of all of our mast lighting repairs, help us install our repaired mainsail (our mainsail weighs 137#), and take care of rigging our reef lines. He arrived last Monday around 8:00 at night, we went to dinner, and then he worked to 1:00 AM removing the bow thruster motor. By yesterday afternoon around 4:00 PM he was finished with everything, paid, and on his way back to Texas.

We can’t say enough good about Chris (and his lady, Lori, as well). He does first class work, second to none, and his prices are more than reasonable. Anyone need a top level yacht guy, please give him a call. You will not regret it.

So, Friday, December 4th, 2015 – three weeks to the day after our ill-conceived decision to go offshore into the slop – our boat is repaired. Our trip offshore three weeks ago, however, did reveal a few issues with the boat we were not aware of. For example, we found out we had a drainage issue in our sail locker, forward. We have a badly abraded roller furler line. And, there are a few other issues. None are big deals, but none can be ignored. So, rather than continue on, we will take care of a bit more maintenance before driving back to League City to spend 10 days or so with the family for the holidays.  We will then return Biloxi and continue our journey after the first of the year.

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