Mast-erful

 

This will be another quite dry post I apologise.

Last year on a windy day in Chichester we got a riding turn on the main halyard which couldn’t be freed. I had no choice but to cut it and get a new one made up. I put another block up and ran my topping lift off one block and the main halyard off another, as I couldn’t see where the main halyard went.

At the end of the season I noticed the whipping was coming undone, so took them back and had them made up again FOC.

Determined to find out how to run a main halyard properly, I went back up and had a good look.

IMG_20170423_155031Now check out one of the old blocks, and why its important to test the halyard you’re going up on beforehand. Jerry the Rigger and his apprentice (ex as he’s left now) came over, and one thing I learnt was that before they go up a mast, they bounce up and down on the halyard to listen out for cracking or excessive bouncing on the halyard. Good tip.

It transpired that my main halyard goes through a sheave which is essentially a wheel inside the mast head, and comes out the other side. Threading a new one should have been simple, however a company who installed a tri anchor light 2 years ago, secured it with a screw that prevented the halyard from being threaded through the mast.

Jerry wasn’t able to get the old screw out, and as he was super busy wasn’t able to give me anymore time. Thoroughly nice guy by the way, amazingly helpful. I’m hoping we’ll meet again in the Canaries next year when he does the rigging inspections and lectures for the ARC.

I’m not bad with heights, but I can’t say I’ve ever relished the prospect of going up before. I spent 2 mornings up the mast with a black and decker drill, a bosch multitool and a very long extension cable, plus a hammer, a punch, lots of drill bits and a few screwdrivers…I’m pretty comfortable up there now.

I had to eventually just drill around the offending bolt, and destroy the tri anchor base, so now I can raise my main but I have no tri anchor light.

Not sure what to do with these holes in the top of the mast, or how to secure a new LED tri anchor light. The underside isn’t accessible, and I’m not sure how to screw it down properly as aluminium is a soft metal which I think doesn’t tap very well.

Anyhow another job done and another job created, at least I discovered this now and not out at sea!

 

Author: Tim Butler

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