What lurks round the bend, and no it's not an effort on my behalf to attempt some toilet humour however... what’s that saying, ‘out of sight out of mind.’ How many times over the last few years have I blogged that if you haven't lifted your mast out recently or you have no intention of lifting it out with spring only three months away (four if you live up North like us hardy Northerners) you ought to dust off your pitons get your climbing boots out the cupboard and get up that stick?! However, before you climb, spend a few minutes reading the Spinlock guide to ascending masts. However in our humble opinion do not go up on one halyard always two. Assuming you’re going to do the climb it’s surprising what you can find up there. If, however, the boatyard or your insurance insist the mast comes out when you winter ashore, set aside an hour to give it a good look over. Once satisfied everything is hunky dory don’t forget to give it a good polish with Yachticon aluminium polish. Our blog 'Spars & Rigging' posted early last year will give you an idea or two of what to look out for.
Apart from the usual opaque lens, damaged wiring through UV degredation or chafe, wobbly brackets due to missing or poor quality fasteners, forestays with damaged strands I once found a fish, sadly I hadn’t taken my mobile up with me to record this fishy tale, but I did bring this tiddler back down to deck level for the owner to see. Charlie then assured me that he had never had the mast in the water knockdown whilst Trinity has been in his ownership!
As I mentioned I did make the mistake of not taking a mobile phone or camera up that time with me to record any potential issues, however if climbing with a mobile as against a digital camera don’t forget to stick it in one of those superb Gooper bags not only are they 100% waterproof and touch friendly but they are supplied with a strong lanyard!
If you think you have an issue in a hard to reach place, say in the bilges, behind a bulkhead, an image that you have captured and you can view after you have extracted yourself from a place that you never thought you could get into can be a Godsend. Perhaps take a Freebag Pro with you as well as the camera/phone, resting on one can make the unbearable bearable.
A longtime customer of ours with a elderly, but, in my opinion superbly maintained H Rassy bought the 90 degree copper pipe (see headline image) fitting into the chandlery some months ago. This was a few weeks later after he had purchased from us a replacement DZR ball valve. Water was making its way into the bilge; he suspected the valve, duly changed it but still this liquid kept appearing. Eventually it was traced to one of the cockpit drains. Lesson to be learnt, always dip your finger in the ‘water’ and check if it’s salt water or fresh, however beware if you have a dog onboard as Jan, a friend and good customer of ours, found out to his cost earlier this summer!