After a pleasant day or so, it was go, go, go this particular morning. With the estuary/river tide (mascaret) always flooding or ebbing and low tide leaving mud flats in its wake at Pauillac, it’s imperative that any work be carried out at high tide: the ½ hour of still water between tidal change is used to full advantage. The Gironde Estuary and Garonne River water flows are affected by the strong ocean tides that influx this waterway. At the peak of the Equinox waves can attain heights of 2.5m and speeds of up to 15 knots – location dependent.

With high tide climaxing at roughly 8am, it was up with the larks in order to complete the last of the preparation for lowering the mast. Radios wires were disconnected, the decks tidied and so forth.

At the dock, the crane to be used for lifting the mast roared to life and edged its way toward Gratis. Up the mast headed Bob, where he connected the line just below the radar. Lock nuts loosened, saw the shrouds, forestay and backstay released then tied to the mast.

Gratis was ready for the canals at last.