Keeping the Rig Up

“I wasn’t upset that I lost my mast crossing the Atlantic Ocean because I gained a girlfriend.”

Now this is a Masterclass in positive thinking. Renault was captaining his Grand Soleil 48 sloop from Gibraltar to Martinique with four additional crew onboard. He was down below on day 5 when there was a very loud bang – racing up the companionway steps he finds a broken mast, sails and rigging everywhere on deck, and fortunately no injured crew.

It’s customary in these situations to get out the electric angle grinder or oversized bolt cutters and sever all of the mast attachment points, sending it all to Davey Jones locker. Goodbye mast, boom, sails, rigging, electronics, insurance deductible, and planned 14 day crossing.

The next step is to jury rig a sail with the whisker poke and any small sails that were not lost overboard. Ration food and water and start a good book.

When they finally made it to the dock in Martinique they were greeted by girlfriends and friends. Crew#1 wasn’t doing so well with his girlfriend at the time but he really hit it off with Crew#2’s girlfriend and off they went never to be seen again. Crew#1’s girlfriend hung around the docks for awhile, got to know Renault the capitaine and now they’re a couple. As he said, if my mast hadn’t broken I’d have never met this wonderful woman.

Obviously the point of the love story is do not wait too long to replace the wires (shrouds) that hold up your masts.

And that is how Dragonfly spent the last two weeks. My Laser had no shrouds, the Snipe 3, the J22 4, the Beneteau 39 6, and Dragonfly 16. So we had lots of time to hear stories of love and woe.

Caraibe Marine Rigging has a well deserved reputation as one of the premiere, most qualified rigging shops in this part of the world. Some boats have been known to sail down from New England just for this project and then turn around and go home

The electric furler on the bench for rebuilding
Team leader Meddy getting ready to go up the mast
Sending Meddy up using a winch handle chuck key in a commercial grade drill
Hoping he doesn’t drop a tool
Now hiring – those with vertigo need not apply
Yikes. Corrosion on the Genoa furler track. This will require surgery.
Fortunately the Owner of the company, Philippe, and the Rigging shop general manager, Gaetan, stepped in to perform surgery
Philippe proudly showing off the quality of his work. He arrived on the island 30 years ago as an experienced rigger and former French Laser national champion, and has built a fine company with 75 employees across 6 divisions.

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