Lost in transit

 Mystic Seaport

Postal delays aid procrastination about Siandra s rig —and stir memories of past disasters

Don Street started the whole thing. yougoing to have a stick holding your wind generator up, you might as well make it a mizzen. Convert Siandra to a yawl!”

Good point, we thought, although not a thing to rush into. We made a temporary turbine pole and left the yawl idea for further consideration.

As yet, we havencome up with a really good excuse not to follow Donadvice. There are always gains and losses in rig conversion, but the split rig ought to give Siandra better close-quarters handling, more balance at sea, less loading on the hull and a prettier look. Not to mention somewhere to plonk that wind turbine.

 Mystic Seaport

I hear the cry of a purist: not original!”Even this doesnget us off the hook. Arthur Robb designed a yawl rig for the Lion Class and the plan is at Mystic Seaport. As far as we know, nobody ever built one, but Robb obviously thought it would work. We needed a copy of that drawing.

problem,”said the plans librarian at Mystic, USA. be $40 plus shipping to Malaysia, all up $70.95.”Yowch! Still, Robbrig plan would be invaluable, so we gritted our teeth and plugged in the credit card.

That evening we dined with Malaysian friends. long does airmail usually take from America?”I asked. They rolled their eyes and said: itregistered. Things disappear in the post here all the time.”Jamie and I were horrified. Itone thing paying $70 for a sheet of photocopy paper, but imagine if it never arrived!

 Mystic Seaport

Registered Post

I emailed Mystic, requesting Registered Post. They apologized by return: the order had already been dispatched. As the weeks passed, Jamie and I shifted from optimism (no self-respecting postal thief is going to nick a Lion Class plan) to despondency (once theydiscovered itworthless, theyjust chuck it in the bin).

should be getting used to this,”Jamie said. the new headsail my brother sent airmail to us in Seville?”Ah yes, the Spanish postal system at its best. Four days from Australia to Madrid and six weeks from there to Siandra. Did they carry it on the back of a donkey?

 Mystic Seaport

When we first embraced this vagrant life, a letter from my mother ping-ponged between England and Australia four times before it reached us in the middle of the Indian Ocean. In North Norway, our Christmas package missed the festive season completely because some bright spark at the post office filed it on an impossibly high shelf. For a month we were told there was nothing, until one day, homesick and frustrated, Jamie asked: it be that packet right up there?”When we brushed off the cobwebs, the arrival stamp said 23 December.

In North Carolina a large steel yacht bumped into Siandra, fracturing a length of bulwark. We begged the yachtUS insurance company to speed the claim process, as we were due to leave port any day. They were extremely helpful, and mailed a cheque to us in record time. Unfortunately that was the last anyone heard of it for weeks. When the envelope finally reached Beaufort Post Office, it was wet and crumpled, as though it had survived great adventures. By then wemissed the Caribbean season and changed our plans.

The collections staff at Mystic Seaport are the heroes of this story. Taking pity on our planless plight they posted a second copy of Robbdrawing to Australia where Jamie could pick it up on his next visit home.

At last, we have the benefit of Robbthoughts on a two-masted Lion. As far as excuses go, things are worse than we anticipated. In our view, his split rig suits the hull much better than Siandra s 1950s masthead sloop; and structurally, the conversion looks straightforward. You should never rush into these things, but one of us will have to admit to Don that lieright.