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Old 08-23-2006
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wlcoxe is on a distinguished road
Tale of the stuck halyard

All season, we have been sailing with our new sails, new Mack Pack, and new (boat) bottom and loving every minute. This past Saturday, we went out, raised the main in the usual fashion, and sailed for the afternoon. When it came time to drop the main, the sail seemed to stick about 1/2 way down, but I was able to add my svelte 250 lbs and got it down the rest of the way. After we returned to the dock, I tried exercising the halyard, and it appeared to "work", although it wasn't very smooth. On Sunday, out we went again, but this time the main well and truly jammed 1/2 way up, and there was nothing I could do to move it in any direction, We even anchored for awile, while I tried everything, including passing a line over one of the slugs and tugging down with all my might. Nada. So then there came the problem of docking. We tried the normal way, stern first, but with the wind blowing straight off the dock, there was no way, so we bit the bullet and headed in nose-first, and got pretty well secured. Our dock neighbor, an aged contemporary power power and EMT and rock climber,etc, offered to go to the top if I could find a bosn's chair, which I managed to do. We had to drop the jib to avail ourselves of that halyard, and Steve went high enough to disengage the halyard from the sail, which dropped nicely enough, and then I proceed to winch him to the top of the mast, whereupon he pornounced both sheaves frozen, but the halyard must have been stuck inside, because he couldn't free it. So down he came, up the jib went, we turned the boat around and I was ready to take friends out on Monday. We had a great sail, even under jib alone, but I was able to get hold of my rigger who said he could look at it Tuesday morning. So he showed up yesterday at 9:30, again we lowered the jib and up he went with messenger line and other tools, and shortly announced that the problem was solved. I had already been trying to guess at the cost of pulling a 60 foot mast. The problem was that there are two sheaves at the top of the mast with a metal divider plate between them. I must have snapped the halyard by releasing the line clutch without taking a strain first, and the halyard had half-jumped onto the divider plate and remained there. Jeff was able to restore the halyard to its proper position, and down he came, up went the jib, and the suggestion was made that a sail might be in order. Even though the Admiral was home painting the spare bathroom, I called to see if she might want to adventure out on the briny blue, but she was unable. So away I went. The main went up without mishap, the sail out beyond the Watch Hill buoy was awesome, with a two-knot current helping things along, the twelve tacks it took to get back to New London took up the remainder of the afternoon, and then came time to see how lowering the sail would go. I took a slight strain on the winch, popped the clutch, eased off on the halyard, and down she came like gas through a funnel. Life is good, sailing is awesome, and there are almost two months left in the season. See you on the water!
Patty and Bill, O28 (make an offer)/O40, New lonodn, CT
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