Boat Journal

Chronicling a love affair with sailing

Month: March 2014

Line Back

After last time’s unsuccessful attempt by a Sea Scout to get the jib halyard back on the mast, their Scoutmaster, Mike, offered to do it for me. So, the following weekend, we met and he donned the climbing harness that Liza had used the week before.

I had been concerned about being able to get Mike, or any full-grown adult up the mast, since I don’t have alot of upper body strength and I figured that alot of the physical part of overcoming gravity would need to be done by me and the winch trying to raise Mike on the main halyard. Mike assured me, however, that he could shimmy up the mast to help in the effort.

Well, it didn’t quite work that way. Apparently, my mast was too slick for him to climb. So, like with Liza, he climbed onto the boom so I could get enough slack to get the line through the catch block we had set up and onto the winch to turn it to lift him up.

Mike atop the mast

Mike atop the mast

The job turned out to be much simpler than I thought it would be. Gotta love Newtonian physics in action! There was enough mechanical help from our setup that I had no trouble turning the winch and lifting him up. Mind you, it took alot of turns to get him up – it was a slow job. But it was fairly painless from my perspective.

Not so Mike. He got as far as the shrouds and asked me to stop. I assumed he was tired and needed a break. Luckily, the line was through a clutch, and on my self-tailing winch, so I didn’t have to hold it while he rested. It also made it easier on the climb up because I didn’t have to worry about losing ground.

Once Mike reached the top, it was a quick job to get the line in place. He had pulled the core out of the line and woven the ends back to make a loop that was narrower than the line itself. He then attached a string, and attached the straightened coat hanger to the string. The whole thing went in and he was ready to be lowered in no time.

Lowering Mike down, with that setup, was no problem either. I wrapped the line around a nearby cleat, to give me some leverage, lifted the clutch, pulled the line out of the self-tailer, and started lowering him. Again, it proved to be much easier than I expected.

When Mike got down, he said he’d gotten dizzy when he was up there, which surprised him. That had never happened before. He did take some time to lower his head and get back his equilibrium before pronouncing that this was the last mast he was likely to climb; he was going to leave it to the Sea Scouts from now on.

Mike, after his rest

Mike, after his rest