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OOPS! Could have lost the mast today

2761 Views 19 Replies 14 Participants Last post by  JonEisberg
We set out for an epic eight mile journey from Prickly Bay to Grand Mal, Grenada and only made it about half way. We felt a serious impact like we had hit a big log or something. Turned out that a fitting at the top of the forestay had broken. The mast was being supported by the halyard and I very quickly hooked a spinnaker halyard to the foredeck cleat and tightened it. We were able to motor with no drama into the Port Louis Marina in St. George's which is very spiffy with a couple of mega-yachts and a few sailboats in the 90-foot range. Typing this by the pool next to the bar, but this place isn't really our style.

The rigger is coming at 9 in the morning. We really can't see what the problem is - does not appear to be stay itself, perhaps a toggle or shackle. Will see in the morning. Hope it is easy and quick to repair. I tried calling the marina on 16 and 68 (the local channel for pleasure boats) and got no reply from the marina. On further inspection, as they say in some sport, the bang at the mast top broke off the antenna. Have a spare antenna if it is only broken.

The joys of sailing ...
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It can be difficult to spot upcoming problems in standing rigging. I sailed on a boat that had had everything inspected with dye, checking for otherwise invisible faults. All seemed OK. We went transatlantic to Ireland, (three gales) and up the Irish coast (50 knot squall) to Scotland. The boat continued out to the Hebrides, back to Scotland, and then down to Man, the Scillies, and Royan on the French Atlantic coast. Off Arcachon one of the leeward lowers suddenly dropped to the deck in about a 12-knot wind. We set up a spare jib halyard and looked for a rigger after we docked. Metal fatigue? It pays to be ready for anything.
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