Running a new jib halyard
11 April 2021 | 09 22.025'N:79 56.642'W, Shelter Bay Marina, Cristobel, Panama
09 22. 025 N
79 56.642 W
Weather; dull and overcast, wind n/a, waves n/a
I was going to say hooray for the weekend, time to relax and have some fun but to be honest I'm not sure how much fun we could possibly have been stuck in quarantine on our boat. They good news is that our Covid test results came back today, no surprise they were negative however we still have to remain in quarantine and have a second test at the end of the 5 day period - I might be looking at it a bit simplistically but I don't get the logic behind doing a test on arrival, forcing a quarantine period and then repeating the test - why not just do one test at the end of the quarantine period and then adjust the quarantine if the result is positive? - it's government doing its best to keep us extra safe apparently!
Gerry was out on deck early to continue with his deck scrubbing mission, I studiously ignored him and concentrated on chasing the dust bunnies around in the salon and galley which took most of the morning and I'm glad to say that the boat interior is looking so much better for it. Gerry finished with the deck scrubbing and has most of the grime removed for the time being. It was almost midday when he decided that it was time to move on to the next job - replacing the jib halyard that had broken on our way to here. Of course this is a two-person job so I had to go out to help. We had a brief discussion on how we were going to carry out this operation as the jib halyard has to be threaded through a block at the top of the mast then dropped back down through the centre of the mast to a point on the side of the mast where a small exit plate sits, the halyard has to come out through this exit and then go through a jammer. The hardest part was probably going to be getting the halyard out through the exit plate which is only marginally bigger than the thickness of the halyard. We thought about how I was going to be able to "fish" it out through the exit plate and what we could use to do this, we discarded the idea of using a couple of zip ties as this would require the halyard to drop through the middle of them and there was no guarantee that the halyard would oblige and do this. Now I'm sure all you armchair sailors are thinking "why don't they just use a bent coat hanger" we would, however we don't have a thin bendable coat hanger on the darn boat - this isn't the first time that we have needed this essential bit of equipment but we still haven't acquired one! The brain trust went into top gear - what could we use to fashion a small hook out of that we have to hand? Gerry came up with the fid from our rope splicing kit which he bent the tip of making it into a hook which would fit through the exit plate and hopefully be enough to fish the halyard out with. We did a dry run of putting the hook into the exit plate and seeing if it would work, the only thing we were concerned with at this point was that getting the hook out once the halyard was through the exit plate was looking more than a little difficult - not totally impossible, just difficult. There was only one way to find out if would work. Gerry geared up in the bosun's chair, donned his headset, slung the halyard across his body and attached the main halyard to the bosun's chair as his safety/haul up line while I got the winch ready to haul him up the mast and donned my own headset. We were ready to go. With Gerry climbing and me taking up the slack of the main halyard we got him to the top of the mast albeit with a lot of huffing and puffing coming down the headset. I moved from the cockpit to the base of the mast and got ready to" go fishing". The exit plate is above my head height and there is no visual to assist with the fishing. Gerry threaded the halyard down the mast and kept asking me if I could feel it yet - I couldn't feel a thing to begin with and then suddenly I snagged the halyard and dragged it towards the exit plate where I could glimpse it but I couldn't
pull it out. I got Gerry to slowly pull the halyard back up the mast so that I could find the very end of it without letting it get away from me - this was a very delicate and precise manoeuvre and eventually I could see the tip of the halyard. With the hook just behind it I got Gerry to inch the line back down whilst I pulled it towards the exit plate and wiggled it enough to get the tip of the halyard out through the hole, then it was time to wiggle the hook out of the way - it came out after a couple of tries and then I could pull the rest of the halyard down though and tie a knot in the bitter end as the last thing we needed was for it to vanish back inside the mast. It was now time for me to return to the cockpit and let Gerry back down to the deck, as always I considered the ransom but it was too darned hot and humid to keep him up there for any length of time so I let him back down and then it was time to attach the shackle to the newly run line, tie it off and put the gear we had used away and get a cold drink and some lunch. Following lunch Gerry said he had another job to look at, the first reefing line had frayed at the cringle point on the sail and was in danger of breaking, he needed to re tie the line a bit further along so that we would still have a reefing line to use. It was a quick job and he was soon back inside the boat. It began to rain at this point, not too heavily but enough to cause the humidity to rocket, luckily we have air conditioning running so we spent a comfortable rest of the afternoon doing nothing of note until it was time to have a wine and some dinner whilst thinking about what jobs we could do tomorrow - we are trying to spread them across the quarantine period to keep us from going insane!