Prepping to Sail

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climbing-mast-sailboat

Folks, today was a good day. Jason and I are just about ready to take our baby out for her maiden voyage! And, with over 10 years on land I think she qualifies as a born again sailing virgin. We spent today attempting to cross things off our list so we can go out and see how this baby flies sails, but unfortunately we didn’t get too far down that list. What we did get done was to nearly miss a manatee orgy that was just on the other side of the locks (can you imagine?!) but managed to catch one of the cows that escaped, saw a beautiful sea turtle, had an ice cream date, sold an Etsy print (I still get excited), were reminded that there are some amazing people in this world and the people we’ve met at the Port Canaveral Yacht Club are some of them, and I survived climbing our mast three times.

sea-turtle

{ Duuuude! I can’t help but think of Crush from Finding Nemo every time I see a sea turtle. This guy was pretty small. His shell was only about 18 inches long but still cool to see.}

climb-mast-sailboat

{See that speck in the upper right? That’s me.}

Climbing our mast three times today was exactly why we didn’t get too much crossed off our list today. The idea was to check all the clevis pins and make sure all the cotter pins were securely attached and in place so that all our stays and shrouds were safe to sail with and to run another line down the mast. Sounds easy enough. Well, the first time I was able to check all the lower stays – all good there! Then I headed up to the top. Well, the forward stay’s clevis pin had completely come out while both shrouds and the back stay cotter pins still needed to be bent to secure them. For those unfamiliar with what a cotter pin is, it looks somewhat like a bobby pin, and you have to install it into a hole that is drilled through the clevis pin. You are supposed to bend the ends back so that it keeps the cotter pin from slipping out of place. Pretty important when it comes to the wires that are holding your mast up. The tricky part about getting these into the upper shrouds was that the shrouds were at such an acute angle to the mast that I needed something incredibly thin to fit in there. Needle nose pliers were way to big, as were the thinner “hobby pliers” I picked up after the second climb up the mast. I ended up having to use a pair of tweezers to squeeze the pin in place! If you have never climbed a mast before please note that it is incredibly challenging trying not to drop a tiny pair of pliers while you are moving around the mast 46 feet up in the air. It is also incredibly challenging not to drop the heavy hammer as you bang the cotter pins back in place. seafarer-34-aerial

{Aerial view of our deck. Check out our fancy solar panels. One of the things on our list of things we need to do before we sail is clean up all the crap on our decks.}

marina-docks-aerial

{Shot of Jason from way up high. He is still super handsome 46 feet up in the air.}

For those of you who have never climbed a mast let me tell you what it is like. It’s scary as sh*t. Heights don’t bother me, but this is pretty terrifying. Add in a steady wind so your boat rocks back and forth and it is even scarier. You are constantly trying to battle your legs going numb from the climbing harness (we don’t trust bosun’s chairs on this boat) and the only way to help relieve that is to sit back in your harness. Easier said than done when you have stays and shrouds pinning you in place. I literally had to straddle the shrouds and stick my legs up into the air (aerial yoga?). Talk about a sight for sore eyes! Then you are constantly trying not to drop the tools you are working with and get the job done as quickly as possible forgetting that you are 46 feet above the water. But, you do get a killer view.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Climbing the mast!! Always my job!! I know exactly how you were feeling up there. My palms are sweating just thinking about it & I was college cheerleader. I DID drop a screw driver from the top of the mast one time. Miraculously it didn’t go in the water…or through the deck.

    • I didn’t know you cheered in college?! I did as well. (Go Gators!) Despite being slung up in the air for baskets, this does not even compare!

  2. My palms were sweating too! I’ve been up the mast a few times but only to the spreaders. We were just talking last night that it’s time for me to get back up there soon in order to replace the anchor light with an LED. That means around 50 feet! And I AM afraid of heights. I dropped a steaming light bulb once and even though it was tiny it shattered into like a thousand pieces! I wrote about it here (warning; very wordy post). http://knottycattales.blogspot.com/2012/07/life-at-our-marina-with-neighbors.html

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