Friday, 21 November 2014

Lowering Shamrock's Main Mast

Lowering Shamrock's main mast takes quite a bit of preparation the first of which is the removal of all her rigging and as many blocks as possible, the process is then to:

  • Fit a wire strop to the top of the main mast.
  • Blocks and tackles are attached between the forward stays (wires that support the mast) and bulwark stanchions, these steady the mast during the lowering.
  • A block and tackle is fitted between the forward mainstay and its fixing point on the cap of the stem (bow) along with a safety rope.
  • A temporary pivot pin is fitted through the tabernacle and mast, then the holding bolt and main pin are removed.
  • As the mizzen mast is used in the lowering this has to be prepared by rigging of the starboard stays as a forward and after stay, fitting a snatch-block to the top of the mast and a wooden block to the mizzen tabernacle, this supports the main mast once it has been lowered.
  • The initial lower is started by heaving on a rope attached to the top of mast and once gravity takes over is controlled by the mainstay and side stays blocks and tackles ensuring that the mast falls to the starboard side of the mizzen.
  • Lowering is stopped once the mast has dropped below the top of the mizzen to allow the deck winch cable to be passed through a block attached to the bow, through the snatch-block at the top of the mizzen and finally attached to the wire strop at the top of the main mast.
  • Using the power (human) of the deck winch the cable slack is taken up, mainstay block and tackle released and the mast finally lowered to its resting place on the mizzen tabernacle.

Not a bad days work.

Shamrock's crew accept no responsibility for errors or omissions in this article.

Stripped masts.

Preparing for the final drop. 

Both masts down.

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