Posted by: adventuressetravels | May 3, 2013

Mast Off

What is a boat?

A hole in the water that you throw money into.

Watching a yacht have its mast removed is like seeing a butterfly’s wings


plucked off.  The majestic , powerful,  emblem of freedom  is immediately

transformed into an impotent floating box.  Unfortunately yachts are a work-in-progress.  Even yachts that go out for day sails need repairs, and a lot of wear and tear is put on boats sailing around the world.
According to other  Lagoon 38 owners, this problem wasn’t unique to Southern Cross.  According to Lagoon, it couldn’t be a design flaw.  They didn’t know anything about it.  So once again, the skipper had to suck it up and pay.Southern Cross, a 38’ Lagoon had been having serious problems with the mast track, the lynch pin in the main sail’s rigging.   Steve, the skipper had replaced it 3 times but it kept warping.  When we reached South Africa we couldn’t put the main sail all the way up and it was just getting worse.

00001089Southern Cross moored in Bluff Yacht Club, a little outside of Durban, to have the work done.  Bluff Yacht Club was a charming place with a 50s feels, in fact it probably hadn’t been remodeled since the 50s, but there were big plans for renovation.  All of the members were welcoming and beyond friendly offering camaraderie, rides into town, helpful suggestions, and advice about South Africa.

I knew we were having the mast off in South Africa and was more than a little nervous.  That had to be a huge deal, right?  After all, the mast, the sails… that was the very heart and soul of the boat – the mast put the sail in sailboat.  Fixing the mast?  That was huge.

We motored Southern Cross over to a wall opposite the Marina and the riggers helped us tie her up.  I watched incredulous as two men adeptly unbolted rigging and hooked it onto the crane.  In 15 minutes we had the rigging unbolted and one man guided the mast off of the boat onto land.

With the mast off it was as if I were standing on a different boat.   A hollow shell of the proud sailboat she had once been.  How long would she be like this?

To my surprise and delight the South African riggers worked miracles.  What would have taken at least a week in the States or Europe was done in just a few hours.  A fraction of the time, but still an obscene amount of money.  I don’t even want to know how much.  I love sailing, crewing is great, but owning a boat?  Well like they say, boat stands for “Break Out Another Thousand.”


  1. The masts in the picture seem to be metal tubes. There goes another of my antiquated illusions.

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