Lainie Reaches New Heights
“What did you say?”
“Get me the f..k down,” Voice atop a mast
“Get me down....NOW!”
“You’re almost there. We have to finish.”
“Just s few more feet!”
“Did you hear me?”
Thursday, Feb 22, 2018 early morning
300 feet west of Long and Spirit Cays,
North Exumas, Bahamas
sunny, cloudless, 80 degrees F
easterly 10-12 knots
waves less than a foot
gentle southerly surge from nearby southerly cut
some swaying motion;
Anchored near Spirit and Long Cays in the Exumas, Mystique's main halyard suddenly came unhinged, disconnected and detached from the head of our mainsail. Somehow the shackle had unscrewed itself. And when it happened I heard the pin drop and the 15-20 knot easterlies tossed and twisted its released pulley into a Gordian knot dangling 58 feet above deck. Hoping for the wind to calm, we waited four days to fix it. We knew we were stuck if we couldn't use our mainsail.
A few Herculean tasks stared at us - climb our freaking mast, untangle the mess and lower it down so we could reattach it. Otherwise, our sailing further south into the Exuma Marine Land and Sea Park would end and we would have to continue our adventures towards obtaining some outside assistance.
retrieve main halyard pulley hanging and knotted near top of 58' 6" mast.
- hoist one of us Baby Boomers
up the mast.
- untangle the Gordian Knot
- bring halyard down and re-attach to mainsail
We looked around for other crew to volunteer, but when no one else stepped forward, we knew one of us would go aloft to fetch our halyard. With barely a modicum of forethought, Lainie volunteered to untie the mess and retrieve our main’s halyard. Climb our mast, without hesitation? Whoa, I thought, surely she mostly saw this as an extraordinary photo opportunity. Surely she wasn’t serious, until I realized she was. But then I insisted I go; but she refused to stay below to winch me up. Figuring I was stronger and more experienced with the winch. So up she went.
The winch, mast, halyard and knot became amazing metaphors for our relationship. Winching anyone close to 60 feet in the air on a windy morning is an act of trust.