Boat Journal

Chronicling a love affair with sailing

Month: February 2014

Climbing the Mast

I discovered last year, when replacing the jib, that the jib halyard was starting to look worn. But the line itself was much longer than I needed, and the rest of it, beyond that top foot, was in really great shape. So this year I asked a friend of mine if he could reweave the eye back in for me. He agreed.

So I attached an extra line to the halyard I wanted to pull down and pulled the new line into place as I pulled the old one down. That way, when the old one was repaired, I only needed to reverse the process to get the old one back into place.

Well, my friend fixed the old one over a weekend, and the next weekend, Erik and I went down to run the halyard back up. It was quite breezy that day, so we decided to wait. We wouldn’t be able to reattach the furler jib, so it seemed a waste of time to mess with the halyard, so I tied the line back up, re-stuffed the jib into the cabin (we’d taken it home and I’d cleaned it off while it was down), and headed home.

So, I must not have tied the line off well. Because the following weekend, when we came by to try again, the line I’d used as a placeholder was neatly coiled on my deck.

So back to my friend I go. He happens to be the scoutmaster for a Sea Scout troop, so I asked if he thought one of his scouts might be willing to climb the mast and replace the halyard. He said he thought so.

So today, I met Liza (the Sea Scout) at the boat with Mike (the scoutmaster). Liza donned a climbing harness that Mike had brought along, rather than the bos’n’s chair I had borrowed. We moved the jib pulley back so it was next to the jib winch and hooked Liza up to the main halyard. We pulled the halyard through the pulley and into the winch and pulled her up the mast.

Liza up the mast

Liza up the mast

We had sent Liza up with a straightened coat hanger to use as a guide, the halyard, and some painter’s tape, to attach the halyard to the coat hanger.

Liza first had trouble trying to get the coat hanger through. It was apparently not a straight shot. She was doing this from the rear of the mast and finally came around to the front and figured out how it needed to go. She tried again and got it through, after a few more attempts.

Next problem was the tape. The painter’s tape wasn’t strong enough to hold the halyard on to the coat hanger. So we passed her up some duct tape to use instead. This worked, but now she was having trouble pulling the coat hanger back through. The coat hanger had been straightened out. But one of the spirals in it was hanging inside the pulley.

At this point, Liza had been up the mast for an hour, so Mike asked her to come backd own and we’d try again another time.

So now my conundrum. Do I ask Liza or another of the troop to try this again? Do I get one of my experienced buddies, whose more heavy, but would know what they were doing to do it? Do I attempt to do it myself? Or doI pay to have someone at the marina do it?

We’ll see. No hurry. I don’t need to have it done until April when racing season starts.

Lighted Boat Parade

Lighted boat parades are an adventure. I keep reminding my friend of this. They will be guaranteed to have a story. The first year we did it, I had a terrible time judging the distance between me and the other boats. In fact, at one point, I got call on the VHF radio from the guy in charge asking if we were still part of the parade. The second year, I went to rent a generator for running the lights and they only had large (I thought) ones. I went to the boat, discussed it with a few folks, and we decided we could run the lights with an inverter connected to the house batteries (no, not going to run them on the engine batteries!). We tested it and it seemed to do ok. But the parade came, and we had no lights. There wasn’t enough power so we were sailing dark. We did have glow sticks, and the lights at the very front worked. In addition, I decided to head up Sarah’s Creek. I didn’t see the marker and ran right into it. Stopped the boat cold. One of my passengers somehow fell against a heater I had in the vberth and hurt his back.

Then there was this past year, our third.

I didn’t want to have the generator problem again. I had bought a generator during the summer as a backup when we headed down for Cock Island. Erik and I checked it and couldn’t start it. I had purchased the protection plan. So we went to Harbor Freight and exchanged it. Generator? Check!

This year’s issue? The cheap bottom paint I bought last year.

As I’ve discussed elsewhere, I had barnacle problems this year. On top of that, I used cheap bottom paint for the first time. That was a big mistake! What I didn’t talk about in the barnacle article was the fact that the boat was so covered with slime that I had to have it power washed, which I wasn’t planning on. Then, in September (4 months later), it was covered with slime again.

Well, I guess I should have pulled it out and power washed the bottom and cleaned the prop again, because the boat barely moved. We couldn’t be in the parade because we couldn’t reach the parade. Try as I might, I couldn’t get the boat going fast enough to catch up to the parade. <sigh!>

So we played on the water, trying to head to Yorktown Beach. But, after singing our carols and enjoying some hot buttered rum, we headed back.

We still enjoyed each other’s company. But next year’s checklist:

  • Generator? Check!
  • Bottom cleaned? Check!
  • Prop cleaned? Check!

Oh, and there was one other issue. I ran lights up the mast, but didn’t do it too smartly. I ended up with the ‘wrong’ ends down below and couldn’t light the lights. Paul, my resident electrician, had to restring some of the lights so we could get them all going.

After all, we had a generator. We should at least have the lights! 🙂

2013 Lighted Boat Parade

2013 Lighted Boat Parade