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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Monday, January 4, 2010

1.04- Free-climbing the mast

Oriental Daily Photo - Classics & Out-takes Series

Free-climbing the newly-stepped mast
(click on any image to enlarge)

Two years ago this past November, this French Captain and his crew arrived in Oriental after acquiring an impressive Wharram-designed but never-completed catamaran (at right) in Canada.

Mission: pick up boat, find a mast to fit it, and sail back to France.

They ended up at Sailcraft Service boatyard here in the ONC to re-furbish, re-rig and step a suitable mast they had located.

While this was the first sailing adventure for the crew (the Capt.'s wife, young toddler son, baby daughter and a complete lubber friend), the Captain was a salty fellow, indeed.

Sailcraft's professional riggers used a crane mounted on the Travel-lift to raise the impressive spar (at left) and gently lower it into position (at right), with active assistance by the Capt. and the usual crowd of Oriental's un-paid but very expert volunteers watching from the dock with appropriate advice.

Once the mast was stepped and its rake properly adjusted, some of the crane rigging became fouled in the shrouds... The Sailcraft riggers had a ladder on hand, and climbed to its top to try and un-foul the line, but alas it was too short to reach.

(click on any image to enlarge)

There was some discussion of fetching a taller ladder, but the Capt. merely "oh-lah-lah"'ed, then leapt onto the mast and shimmied up a good twenty feet to free the line (left).

A couple weeks later, Capt. and crew were out in a fresh breeze on the River Neuse for a brief shake-down (below) and by January they sailed off for the rest of their adventure. Godspeed.


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