mast raise ready

The end of a long winter

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Lots of junk (and Heather) in the main saloon

Koala spent the winter on her yard trailer, with her mast (over 60 feet of it!) removed, to avoid the windage of winter storms.  I removed all of the rigging to give it the once over and spent most of the winter cleaning out the boat.  This resulted in discovering all sorts of tools, old sails, a dinghy, and numerous odds and ends.  It took most of the winter to get everything off the boat and into some sort of order.

Visits to the boat over the winter usually followed a pretty standard routine – arrive, light charcoal stove, clean, tidy and remove junk and equipment, leave.  It was important to get as much as possible off the boat, as the priority for this year is to learn as much about the boat as possible, before a possible refit next winter.  The less ‘stuff’ I have on the boat, the easier that will be.

While I was tidying and cleaning, I was consciously making list of work that I would need to do both before Koala goes back into the water and things that can be delayed until next winter.

Before launching, I knew I would need to:

  • break down and service most of the winches
  • replace the VHF ariel
  • replace some halyards
  • remove rotten timber from around the binnacle and replace
  • build a gas locker
  • replace the gas hose with copper gas hose and insert cut off valve and bubble leak detector

Things that I will postpone until next winter include:

  • reinstate main heads.  The heads had been used as a storage area by the previous owner, forward heads are fully functional
  • remove and service Monitor Self steering
  • service anchor windlass

Possibilities for the future:

mast raise ready
Everything ready to go
  • remove old teak decks
  • install wind generator
  • update fridge
  • remove and replace headlining
  • remove and replace a/c power
  • install water calorifier
  • Install pumped hot and cold water system
  • Install shower
  • new sails
  • …………and the list goes on!

With the halyards replaced and summer on the way, it was time to think about getting the mast re-stepped.  Too her boats in the club were ready to get theirs up, Thor (Sweden Yachts 34) and Big Boots (Contessa 39).  It was going to take a big crane to do the job!   Graham Wright (owner of Thor) organised a crane from Beattie Crane Hire, with arrived on time and judging by how well everything went, had obviously done this before!

Koala mast raise 2
Fitting the mast

Raising the mast was pretty straightforward.  All the rigging, which had been previously checked and rinsed in fresh water was reattached to the mast. The clevis pins and split pins arranged and secured, bottlescrews checked and a last look over to check there were no twists.  A new VHF ariel cable was threaded through the mast and the nav lights given a once over.

A strop was fitted below the spreaders and the mast slowly raised.  It looked massively heavy – an old 1970s section, obviously very heavy.  I should have asked the crane driver to give me a read out of the weight, but forgot – next year, perhaps!

The mast was slowly lowered into place, through the partners and slotted into the step inside the hull.  Once this was done, we fitted the two cap stays, forestay and backstay, to hold the mast in place.  The priority was to get it secure and worry about the tuning later. The hole in the deck that the mast fits through (the mast partners) is slightly bigger than the mast and once the mast is in place, it will be chocked, with wooden wedges, and waterproofed with a mast boot.

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