Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Disaster Averted

Don's Log: We almost lost the mast at about 8am on Sunday morning the 7th of December. We were about a half mile offshore, motoring between 4-5 knots into a moderate north wind and high seas . We started early, pulling up the anchor at around 4am. We were making relatively good time, but headed straight into a North wind, so we did not have any sail up, a fact that saved us we came to see a few hours later. The sunrise was spectacular and Roger observed, "Red sky in the morning-sailors take warning, red sky at night-sailors delight". The weather seemed favorable at that particular moment so we thought nothing more of "take warning". Life was grand as this was Roger's 65th birthday and we both were appreciative that we were the luckiest two guys in the world, living a dream. I was at the helm, and It got to be around 8 am. I heard a strange sound and then looked up at the mast and saw a mass of cabling and heavy metal plates falling from the sky to come landing with a heavy and sickening thud onto the deck. The 54 foot aluminum mast, which before seemed so solid, was now the picture of fluidity. The lower shrouds (strong steel cables that attach at mid mast to the deck of the boat) , all four of them, had released. There was absolutely nothing good about this situation, except that the mast was seemingly defying the laws of physics and NOT crumpling over or worse. Roger took an instant to figure out what had happened and I gladly surrendered the wheel as I went below to get the inflatable life raft, our wallets and the ditch bag. We watched, white knuckled as the mast would do a hula dance every time we attempted to take the ship closer into the shore, putting her more parallel to the waves induced lateral movement and the mast looked to be goner each time we tried to get closer to shore. Up ahead there was a an anchorage listed on the chart called Punta Pulpito, which translates as the Point Pulpit. As Roger and i watched the mast do it;s thing and imagined and discussed everything that was racing through our minds in this highly adrenalized moment, I joked that if we made it this this anchorage intact the "Pulpit would be a Godsend!". Roger smiled slightly. I can't describe the sense of relief and gratitude experienced as we reached the calm waters of this point. Needless to say it was a very happy birthday present for Roger. He get to keep his boat and we got to make the repair and continue on this most amazing of adventure.

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1 comment:

Heather said...

That is terrifying! Wow, we are glad all worked out for the better. Keeping that rigging happy is a good thing!!! Stay safe and see you around. Happy belated b-day Roger.