A photo a day from Oriental, NC, the surrounding Pamlico County area, and nearby rivers, creeks, bays and other waterways of coastal North Carolina.

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Tuesday, September 9, 2008

9.08- Climbing the Mast

Self portrait while sitting astride the spreader bars of the Hirondelle's mast during a pause in my descent from retrieving a slipped haliard.

During tropical storm Hanna, the jib-halliard on Captain Dave's Pearson 39 (the Hirondelle) became detached from the deck, and the loose end rode up the mast until its shackle stuck in the fairlead (translation for lubbers and stink-potters: the rope used to raise the front sail came loose and the end slipped up to the top of the mast and got stuck there).

This being Oriental, other captains quickly offered assistance and tools to retrieve the halliard.

This morning, Capt. Tory came to help, bringing his "boatswains chair" (a.k.a "bosun's chair," a devise used to haul folks up masts for rigging work) and the heavy-duty drill with winch-fitting bit he uses to raise sails on his own boat.

We rigged the boatswain's chair to the main haliard and to an extra haliard (for safety) and I got the job of going aloft to retrieve the slipped jib-haliard from the top of the 55 foot (17 meter) mast.

Capt. Tory slipped the drill into the main haliard winch, and I got a motorized lift to the top (most of the way... some hand-cranking was required.) I had to stop at the spreader bars to untie the safety line, slip it around the spreaders and re-tie it to the boatswain's chair before continuing up. Same on the way back down. This was because the mainsail haliard and the extra haliard were on opposite sides of the mast.

It turns out the shackle at the end of the jib haliard had opened, and the loose end of the haliard naturally rose to the top of the mast due to gravity and wind acting on the part of the line that runs back down the mast. Once at the top of the mast, I grabbed the shackle end and lowered it down to the deck with no trouble.

Capt. Dave also gave me a couple of "while you're up there" tasks... running a new signal haliard (for flags) and another line for a future project.

While I was up there, Capt. Roy and Capt. Ken came by to watch from dockside.

I hung my little Kodak camera, in video mode, from my sidefor the trip, and stitched together a video of my journey, and the panoramic view from atop the mast. In the picture above, and the video below, you will see the Bauer 10 dinghy tied up in Hirondelle's slip, off the starboard bow.


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