April 14, 2014:
You guessed it. Another mast climb. After we let our hair down and painted St. Pete red on Sunday night, Captain was quick to wake on Monday morning and put this crew to work!
Thankfully, this time we were able to use the main halyard to raise me, which is faaarrr more reliable that the spinnaker halyard we had to use last time to retrieve the main halyard. That thing scared the Bejeesus out of me. (Yes, that’s a word – quite the fitting one here). I think we stretched her three times her length last time. And, having the boat tied securely to a mooring ball while I ascended (as opposed to swaying like a treetop in the wind mid-sea) made the climb infinitely more comfortable.
“Look Ma! No hands!”
In light of the vastly improved conditions, I took some time this time to get some footage! I give you … the view from up top!
Such a great shot! I love the view of this boat from up top. She’s beautiful from all angles!
Thankfully, I made it up this time without any issue. It was a nice, easy ride using the main halyard. As part of our preparations for the Keys, we had replaced the old main line with new VPC hybrid braid and what a difference! I don’t think she stretched one bit while hoisting my heavy bottom all the way to the top.
I even got some footage from up top!
What I find incredibly entertaining about this clip, though, is while I’m up there is Phillip’s one-line dialog: “What about the piece that broke?” I mean, I’m up there risking life and limb climbing this mast (what seems like day after day on our sailing adventure) and the one time I try and take thirty seconds to capture it on film, Phillip is still all business. “What about the piece that broke?” he says.
NOT: “Man what a great climber you are, Annie.” “Wow, you look like a real pro up there, Annie.” “Go ahead, take all the time you need up there, Annie.”
NOPE. It’s “what about the piece that broke?”
Like I said … a real slavedriver. Yeaaahhh … He’ll regret that later …
Much like the piece of the shackle that had come down (the swivel portion), the “piece that broke” (the part that connects to the Jenny halyard), it didn’t seem to have any obvious defect. I shimmied it down and Phillip inspected it down on the deck. He said it seemed the sir-clip (aka c-clip) had just popped off, which caused the shackle to come apart, allowing the swivel part to fall, and the halyard piece to remain at the top of the mast. But, we were still missing some bearings, so repairs were certainly in order. I also pulled off what looked like some marred black plastic at the top of the foil on the forestay.
We also put the inner forestay back in on the way down. You’ll love this … So, if you recall, our inner forestay busted during our initial Gulf Crossing when we were sailing the boat back from Punta Gorda, FL home to Pensacola, FL and we had a new one put in as part of our Keys preparations. Well, the darn thing banged around like a banshee the first week of the trip and drove us crazy. For that reason we decided to take her out when I had to climb the mast the first time to get the main halyard down.
Yeah, I can just imagine what you’re thinking (and saying to yourself with an imaginary pat on our heads): “Poor little novice sailors. You will learn.”
Don’t worry. We were doing that to ourselves. When Jenny had her crack-induced fall-out and busted, we said the exact same thing to ourselves. “Oh, no worries. We can just hoist the staysail and keep on cruising.” Except that we had taken down the forestay for the staysail. I know … real brilliant like. But she was banging! And, I’ll tell you, with sailing, if you’re not out there screwing up and learning from your mistakes, then you’re not really sailing. So, we chalked it up. “Might as well put that back up while you’re up there.” Which we did. Lesson learned. Make sure all of your safety and back-up gear are always ready, rigged and in working order. You never know when you’re going to need them.
The great news was, we made it back up and down the mast a second time, safely, and we now had both busted parts of the Jenny down, as well as the Jenny halyard. Done and done. Hopefully no more mast climbs this trip. But, we had even better news. Once we got down and situated, Phillip got on the horn with the folks at Embree Marina who our previous owner had recommended in St. Pete, and they referred us to a local rigger – Steve Smith of SMMR, Inc. We gave him a call and, while he had a few boats already lined up to work on that day, he asked us if we could motor over that morning so he could have a quick look at our Jenny shackle and give us a diagnosis. We told him we were tied up to a mooring ball in the North Vinoy Basin and, turns out, he was just a short hop out into the bay and around the bend, up Salt Creek.
“Uhhh … you bet Steve. We’ll be right there!” We readied the boat and headed out.