When I wrote the other day about being woken by a boat’s preparations to tack, seemingly against my instructions to the crew, it reminded me of waking on a yacht moments before it was dismasted.
The yacht was Uptown Girl, the race was the 1988 Sydney-Hobart and we were entering Bass Strait in 40 knot winds and confused, although not very big, seas.
At first I thought it might have been a change in motion that alerted both me and the skipper, Rod Winton, that something was very wrong on board. Moments later, as we hurried up on deck, we found that the mast had gone over the side.
Interestingly it had broken into sections 25 cm* above each set of spreaders. The breaks above the spreaders did not crimp in the way that is usual when a tube fails, although the bottom break did. The other breaks were clean, as if the section had been cut through. There was no sign of any crimping.
Months later computer modelling showed that the failure was caused by harmonics and what had disturbed us were inaudible but subconsciously discernible sound waves!
I’m glad to say that more often than not I’m awakened by the whistle of the kettle, signalling the change of watch.
Have you ever been on a yacht when it was dismasted?
Please share your experiences by commenting on this post.
* 10 inches