19 strands and counting

andromeda of plymouth
Susan and Andrew Wilson
Wed 11 May 2011 00:45
19 strands and counting.

For anyone with a boat that may make sense, 19 strands of wire make up
each of Andromeda’s new shrouds and they are holding up her new mast
beautifully. Yes the event we have been waiting for since Saturday
December 18th 2010 – 6.43pm – finally happened on Monday 9th May 2011 –
about 2.45pm when Andromeda’s new mast was carefully lifted skywards and
then gently lowered to the new mast step on her fore deck.

The last week had been building to this with much preparation work being
completed. It is amazing just how much equipment etc gets put on a mast
and it all has to be checked. All the wires for the electrics have to be
run through, connected and tested. The spreaders were put on and screwed
tightly in place, all our new halyards were run up and down the mast with
the mouse lines. The Upper stays were put into place and the lower ones
attached and left ready to be cut to size once on board. The forestay and
back stay were also attached and then everything had to be tidied up and
securely tied ready for the lift.

On Friday Andromeda was lifted out on the hoist driven by Steve and her
bottom had a good clean by Alan. She was inspected and we are pleased with
how she has come through the 5000 miles of sailing since her last lift in
Lagos a year ago. Then her hull was beautifully polished by Novin and
Steve polished the propeller till it gleamed and we were ready to return
to the water for the big event.

On Saturday the new mast step was installed and filled with clear resin
over a shiny coin - in our case a Barbados dollar - that is a local
tradition followed when stepping an new mast and naturally we wanted to
honour it.

Monday was a day full of emotions with us not really believing that this
was going to happen. The yard was a hive of activity not the least of
which was all the big HGVs full of paper for the warehouse next door that
were nearly blocking the yard. At one time we thought maybe the crane
couldn’t be able to get inside the gates but suddenly at 2.30 all the
vehicles began to move and the crane arrived. The mast was first lifted by
the yard’s forklift truck, and balancing on the strop around its middle
was manoeuvred round the other boats and across the yard to the big crane
– Clint at one time had to jump in and out of his truck as he guided the
head of the mast past the obstacles. Once released from the forklift the
strop was repositioned and crane began its work. My heart was pounding as
Andromeda’s mast was raised skywards, being guided all the time by Clint.
Then beautifully controlled it was bought over Andromeda’s bow and down to
Andrew and the waiting deck step and lowered into place, we had a mast

You can all probably imagine the emotions we were experiencing so yes a
few tears were shed and after securing the mast in place with all the new
halyard’s, Andromeda was returned along side the dock and a very, very
early night was had (we only just managed to wait till it got dark).

Today has been a busy day continuing the installations process. We now
have all our shrouds in place and tomorrow the winches will be installed
so that it will be easier for us to get Clint to the top of the mast for
the rest of the work that is needed and soon the boom will
arrive......watch this space. (photos being posted separately)

More in due course,
Susan and Andrew Wilson
S/V Andromeda of Plymouth (with lovely shiny new mast)
Bridgetown, Barbados