Ready for Winter

From passengers to winter covers in one week!  Sunday October 1st the Mercantile and Mistress came in from their last sail of the season.  By the end of the day all sails were off and moved to the shop for winter storage.   The week was spent getting the boats ready to cover.  The crew made short work of removing everything to dry safe winter storage.  Sail rigging comes down and winter halyards go up.  The trucks that carried passengers to parking just last week made trip after trip to the shop filled with mattresses, blocks and rigging, life jackets, heads, life rafts - everything comes off. 

 Over the winter all gear will be inspected, serviced or replaced as needed in preparation for the 2018 Sailing Season.  Below decks have been given a complete muck-out, (that's cleaning in layman's terms), and all is ready for winter covers. 

With the schooners stripped down the crew set their attentions to getting the frames for the winter covers up.  According to the Mistress' captain, Matt, this year's covers were powered by coffee and Milano cookies. 

Piece after piece of PVC was carefully fitted together forming the framework for the covering.  When the frames are taken down all of the pieces are carefully marked.  I'm sure they all were grateful for taking time for that extra step last spring!  With frames up the schooners take on a look somewhat reminiscent of dinosaur skeletons. 

Giant sheets of shrink-wrap are fit into place and carefully sealed with special tape. The final step is to go over the entire interior with heat guns shrinking the covering to fit snugly over the frames. 

After a long season and a job well done preparing the Grace Bailey, Mercantile & Mistress to safely ride out the Maine winter, the crew is ready to move on to winter pursuits. While some will go south to warmer waters we have had past crew who have chosen do a complete about face and immerse themselves in winter sports.  It will be fun to follow the adventures of this year's crew.