Thursday, 22 October 2015 saw us with a crane at the boat yard moving boats and removing and setting aside both masts. First job was to slacken off the bottle screws and then remove the cotter pins. We didn’t remove the clevis pins yet as the mast would have fallen down!
I then got in a boson’s chair and was hauled up to the top of the mizzen mast by the crane to remove the clevis pin holding the Triatic stay in place. This was nerve wracking as I don’t like heights and I had no control of which way I was facing but I managed to do it without too much difficulty. I was relieved to get back onto the deck. I had tied a length of cord to the loose(mizzen end) of the triatic to enable it to be restrained during mast dismounting.
We then got the strop around the mast, below the spreaders, where the crane gently took the strain and we removed all the clevis pins holding the bottle screws and stays in place. I had previously drawn a deck plan showing the locations of every fitting for future replacement (and photographed each one). Each stay anchor point was annotated starting at the bows numbering them in order with a prefix S(tarboard) or P(ort) and labelled each stay with the appropriate number so that I can easily put them back when the mast is remounted. The running and standing rigging was temporarily tied to the mast to prevent it flapping about while the mast was removed.
The mizzenmast was the first to be taken down and was placed alongside the boat on top of an adjacent canal boat. A bit of encouragement was needed to loosen the base of the mast from the mast step – salt had obviously crystallised and needed dislodging. This caused a bit of damage to the cockpit sole but nothing that can’t be fixed later.
Once satisfactorily removed and stored, we were able to move on to the mainmast and place that along the centreline of the boat as it will form the pitch pole for an over-boat cover. This involved removing the inner forestay and the genoa/roller reefing. All the loose rigging stays were tied to the mast to keep them tidy.
At the same time we also remove the mast on an adjacent yacht and three other boats. The next job is to remove all the fittings from the masts and line up the replacement of various bits of running rigging so that we can check it all out and replace those bits that need to be changed. That will also allow us to place the boom cover over the boat and get it watertight.
I have also bought a set of old household stairs which I aim to fix beside the boat to provide a permanent accessway whilst we are doing the work. That I will be doing on Sunday the 25th of October.