Wednesday, 28 January 2009


...and down again!

yes today was the day. Finally we were physically and psychologically prepared to attempt to replace the wind instruments at the top of the mast.

It was a nice cool and calm morning. TBH prepared all that was necessary for the event whilst I went through my limbering up exercises. Well for me that consisted of three cups of coffee and an egg muffin with bacon...much more satisfying than all that bending and stretching.

Getting TBH comfortable in the bosun's chair I started to haul him up. Not for us the electric windlass method, I have a rule that the day I can no longer manage to wind him up using the mainsheet winch is the day we no longer go sailing offshore. His reasoning is that the electric windlass is too valuable to risk burning it out! Make of that what you will.

Safely secured by two lines, mainsheet and spinnaker halyard, I winch steadily and slowly. Stopping every 20-30 turns to take up the slack on the spinnaker line and make it off on a cleat, just in case of an accident with the primary line.

We did try using one of those fancy climbing kits once. At great expense we purchased a harness(ex large), a length of VERY expensive climbing rope, and two clever metal thingies that slide along the line as you climb. Now TBH used to be a potholer, ok I'll wait whilst you stop giggling, and reckoned he knew a thing or two about climbing ropes etc. It was a long time ago and he was ,shall we say, somewhat smaller.OK a LOT smaller.Out came the kit and he starts to climb. 15 minutes later he is still firmly on the deck! The rope was stretching so much he never went if you want to make an offer the kits all here!

So to get back to this mornings event. Armed with my peg bag, stuffed with Dremmel tool, spare parts, leatherman I get him to the top. Hum not too bad only slightly out of breath and no chest pains! Result!

Usually I ask him at this point how much he loves me, and negotiate for a new outfit etc. The unspoken threat being that I may leave him there.....

Ten minutes later, "OK let me down". Oh dear that's not good news. Turns out the fitting left up there is so corroded we will have to resort to glue and/or epoxy. Blast that means at least two more ascents to go.

Looking on the bright side I'll have to keep eating the egg and bacon muffins to keep my strength up!


Second Summit said...

Ah, yes, I remember the top-climber we bought. The sturdy young man who demonstrated it at the boat show made it look so easy ... but when finally we had it hung on our mast, and I tried it... well. I made it about 10 feet off the deck (leaving another 30+ to go) and could go no farther, huffing and puffing.

Guess I got old when I wasna looking.

I love your description of safety lines and tying off every so often -- thanks for that.

I think we'll be down your way for lunch tomorrow, after meeting with Raoul in late morning. Any chance you'll be about?

Gerry said...

Yes. Most likely we will be here...unless I am whisked away by knight in shiny motorboat to live a life of decadence in Monte Carlo!!!

Second Summit said...

But then again ... as of this afternoon the inflatable has a leak. The hardshell dinghy has been in the shop since Tuesday.

So I willna be there on Thursday. Another day, another time. (sorry).

Rats and blast!