Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Dramatic Episode #1

April 21, 2015

This is the beginning of a series of posts.  Call it a dramatic mini series of the unexpected, the scary, the frustrating and maybe even the dangerous that have challenged us on our maiden voyage.

En route to Pelican Bay, somewhere out in the Gulf, we had the jib out to gain help from what little bit of wind was available.  When it came time to roll it in, the roller furling mechanism froze up with the sail part way out.  We could neither roll the sail in nor out.  Eventually Jim had to manually wrap the sail around the furler.  Once we were at anchor in Pelican Bay while we sat aground (another and totally separate and minor problem) Jim contemplated the various possible causes:  broken furler, twisted line in the furling drum, furling line too large??   The next morning after the tide came in and we had moved the boat to deeper water, Linn from Annie C who was now anchored next to us noticed that as Jim tried to move the sail, the top part of the furler did not swivel, something he could easily see from the vantage of his boat.   Having the problem at the top of the mast made for a challenging work area.  Jim wanted to go up the mast so thanks to Linn and his bosun’s chair and 250 feet of new, sturdy, line plus some added line from our supply Jim headed up.  Armed with his hammer, WD40, a few miscellaneous other tools and his camera up he went.  

Jim half way up the mast, bag of tools trailing behind

 Despite the 5 to 1 ratio provided by the pulley system and Linn’s help from the deck, Jim arrived at the top totally winded and said it felt like he had done way too many sets of pull ups!  

Jim working at the top of the mast

Amazingly with a little tapping here and there and a squirt of WD 40 here and there the two parts of the furling mechanism suddenly came unstuck with the result that the sail immediately unfurled and started whipping around the deck with lines a-flailing!!  Linn, Chris and I could barely manage to get them under control without being flung overboard until it dawned on me to activate the furler and reel the line in.  The sail wound around the furler – as it was designed to do: mission accomplished.  Rather pleased Jim lowered himself down, and about 1 ½ feet off the deck the connecting knot between the two lines came undone and he dropped down to the deck.  Rather startling.  It would not have been pretty had it happened when he was higher up!!

Jim said the view from up top was spectacular, particularly because of the variations in water color.  Unfortunately the camera was set to black and white…wouldn’t you know?  So the pictures of the water didn’t turn out, but I loved the one from the top of the mast!!

Jim's view from the top of the mast


  1. Way too old to be up,there!

  2. Some old salts have been known to wet themselves upon reaching the top of the mast. A word of caution: when peering up from below keep mouth firmly shut.

    I think it is time you two get a GOPro camera.