of course there’s issues, it’s a boat

Oh boy! the mast is going on, we’re a sailboat again!!! when we store the boat for the off-season we take the stick off, less windage in case of a hurricane. It’s always a big mental step seeing the stick go back on and being a sailboat again. It means that we’re about to leave the gravel parking lot and go sailing! Smitty and Brady come along with the crane, Colin is on deck to guide and I’m holding the bottom of the all the lines, roller furling, and stays that dangle down so that they don’t catch and rip. Hands wave, the crane shudders and within 20 minutes we have a mast! It takes us another 30 minutes to tighten all the shrouds (the wires that hold the mast up). But there appears to be an issue with the forestay and the roller furling. (for non-sailors this is the wire going from the top of the mast to the bow – the pointy end of the boat). We can’t seem to get it tight enough. At least it’s attached, so the crane trundles off. After a celebratory happy dance at seeing the mast we get back to work tuning the rig. We tighten all the shrouds and then tackle the pesky forestay. We tweak, we twist, we fiddle both of us crouched over our bow. And then BOOM! CRACK! Colin looks up and I see that look of terror on his face that I’ve only seen a couple of times before and really hope to not see again. The forestay suddenly lightens in my hand and then springs out and falls. I brace for it, the mast is going to fall. The forestay bounces on the ground beside the boat, wait wait wait… nothing…. wait wait wait…. breathe again. The mast still stands, the forestay didn’t hit anything. We examine the fitting at the top, it looks fine, which means that something at the top of the mast is not fine, maybe a cracked casting? In order to see the top of the mast I hope in the bosun’s chair and Colin cranks the chair up the mast. It’s a great view of the neighbourhood from 50′ off the ground, swinging in my little folding chair and dangling by a single rope. Good thing I paid attention when learning how to tie knots.

It appears that all at the top of the mast is fine, it’s just a clevis pin missing. Metal fatigue? Unknown. What I do know is that I’m going off to buy a shiny new really big and strong new pin to hold the forestay on. After all, a couple of these are what is holding the stick up.

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