It is a good idea to routinely inspect your standing and running rigging on a sailboat. Periodically Ben will get out the binoculars, lay on the deck, and proceed to stare intensely at the rigging. Routine inspection allows you to discover and address issues before bad things happens. The binocular inspection works well in most cases, but you should still visually inspect up close on a routine basis as well.
After our heavy wind sail a little over a week ago, Ben inspected the rigging and noticed a bolt had backed out on the end of the top port spreader. Carol went up the mast to get a better look and determined a bracket was missing that covers the shroud on the end of the spreader; the bolt was loosely hanging, because it was supposed to thread into the missing bracket. Ugh! Of course that will be a hard to find part and would most likely require removing the starboard bracket to have a new one matched/fabricated for the port side. We decided that we could sail in light air as we researched the issue and took friends sailing last Thursday.
As Ben prepped the boat for our sail, he rolled up the shore power cord and was surprised to find the missing bracket. We don’t have that kind of luck and usually pay for such good luck in the form of something bad happening. Hopefully we paid up for the luck when our truck transmission temp sensor failed shortly after getting on the Interstate as we headed to Louisiana on Friday. We were able to limp the truck home and rent Carol a car, so she could make the trip to Louisiana the following day while Ben spent the morning repairing the transmission. The culprit was a $15 sensor, but it is located in the transmission, so by the time the new fluid and filters were purchased, the $15 part required about $200 to fix.
Back to the story…
Now that we had the bracket back in hand, it was bothering Ben every day having the bracket on the nav station and not on the spreader where it should be. We were waiting for a good weather window during a time that we were both available to send Carol back up the mast.
Though predicted to be ugly, it turns out that Monday was a beautiful day. Our friend Nate needed to go up his mast, but didn’t have a bosun chair or anyone readily available to hoist him up. He offered to go up Monomoy’s mast to re-install the bracket in exchange for Ben hoisting him up the mast of his sailing vessel Skycatcher for an inspection and steaming light repair. Nate is a pilot and enjoys being in the air. He once went up the mast of s/v Sea Lilly with a pair of binoculars while anchored outside a Blue Wahoo’s baseball game.
So Nate went up Monomoy’s mast, re-installed the bracket, and close inspected the other three brackets (one on the end of each spreader). Afterwards he went up his mast, repaired his steaming light, and discovered that his topping lift is in need of replacement, so that will be the next task.
Sometimes people can’t understand what the attraction is to boating and why hang around the marina when we’re not using the boat. The boating lifestyle isn’t just about boating, but is also about a sense of community. Marina neighbors aren’t just neighbors, but become your friends… Friends who are willing to lend a hand at a moment notice. It doesn’t matter if you are a sailor or powerboater. The boating community ignores age differences and career choices. We all love boating and boaters are almost always kind people. All while working on the masts, our friend Steven was cooking up a huge pile of chicken wings on 4 different grills for a great gathering of friends under the marina gazebo at dinner time.
We may have strayed on the topic here and there, but hopefully you enjoyed reading about working on the mast.
Carol up Monomoy’s mast.
Nate up Monomoy’s mast.
Nate up Skycatcher’s mast.