Going Up the Mast

The Imaginary Mast


I have tried a few times now to go to the top of my mast. It is 45 feet off the deck of the boat. I needed to go up and have a closer look around. It wasn’t like I made this up. It is what a prudent sailor needs to do. The locking hex headed nuts needed to be inspected. As they say, ‘been there
done that.’ My good friend Rich Santos worked the winch from the cockpit. Getting up to the first set of spreaders was comfortable. I wasn’t frightened of the height. From there to the second set of spreaders was another fifteen feet. More or less I was now somewhere in the range of 34 feet at the spreaders with another 11 feet to get to the top. I had a piece of mystery plastic sticking out of the top side of the furler. It has to be removed. Easiest way was to use my hand. This is what I had to do up there. Now there were things I had to do, and things I wanted to do up here, but I wasn’t comfortable and so I did what I had to do and got out of there. Part of my problem was I was using a lot of unnecessary muscle power because I was concerned about taking a fall, and since it was certainly likely to end in a fatality I was literally hanging on for dear life. I was getting very tired up there. My muscles were aching and I was getting more and more fatigued by the minute. My bosun’s chair didn’t fit well and that played a role. A more robust halyard would have made my nerves a little more settled, or better yet a second halyard as a safety back up. You
read these line test strengths and they all seem incredibly reasonable until the line is being tested with your own weight. It might be that a second
halyard from the tip of the mast as a safety line in concert with a better bosun’s chair might make all this high adventure more workable. Might be I’m working at my limit and might be time to look for other work. On the other hand might be that sailing is doing what I wanted it to do all along; forcing me to work at my limit.

Bankrupt Heart                         The Second Novel 

          “Loneliness fell upon Ry like lousy weather. Finn’s dropping by helped. He’d call Sophia once a week. That helped while he talked to her and didn’t help after he hung up. Jackie kept an eye on him. He appreciated that. Mort was rock bottom. After he’d hang up that’s when the demons really ate at his solitude. Still while his fear of being alone for the rest of his life occupied his worries at least there was the boatyard, the work on the mast to keep him focused.”

Copyright Dana Smith 2011. All Rights Reserved.

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