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January 30, 2017 – Sending Down the Mizzen Topmast

Yesterday was as good a day one could ask for in Lunenburg in January to do some rigging work.  The temperature was above freezing, the sun was shining and there was almost no wind.

Picton Castle is currently in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, Canada and we’re getting some maintenance work done aboard.  We had sent down most of the running rigging as part of Bosun School last fall.  The one remaining thing that we wanted to send down for inspection was the mizzen topmast.

Picton Castle’s fore and main masts are made up of three parts, the lower mast which is made of steel, the topmast which is also made of steel, and the t’gallant mast which is made of wood.  The mizzen mast, the one farthest aft, is made up of two parts, the lower mast which is made of steel, and the topmast which is made of wood. 

We have sent down the mizzen topmast a few times in the past few years, always inspecting it, repairing it as necessary and sending it back up.  Our intention this time is to send it down, inspect it, and likely replace it.  We have a telephone pole aboard, lashed in the port breezeway, that is an excellent blank spar for this kind of project.

Although we only had a small number of hands to help get the mizzen topmast down, they used mechanical advantage to get the job done.  The majority of the weight of the mast was supported by a line that ran all the way from the mizzen mast to the capstan on the foc’sle head.  Anything that could be removed from the mast was removed and sent down to deck, then started the slow and careful process of lowering the mast through the cap while working the rigging secured around it to the top so it could eventually be removed by lifting it over the top of the mast.

Now that the mizzen topmast is down at deck level we can assess its state, look at the previous repairs and how well they’re holding, and likely use it as a pattern for making a new one.

Why not watch the video!

 

 

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