Mast stuff

Minka of Southampton - Cruising Log
Edmund Wigan
Tue 2 Mar 2010 14:47
A nice warm day which was pretty still this morning so I thought I would do all the stuff at the top of the mast. This involved putting the new wind measuring (ananometer?) instrument up there. The old one got carried away in the Biscay storm which was just as well as I wasn't too keen on knowing how strong the wind was. The wire inside the mast had to be replaced. The other job up there was to fit another VHF aerial for the AIS (Automatic Identification System) transponder which I hope to install tomorrow. All vessels over 300 tonnes have to put out an identification signal which  gives their name, identity number, course, speed, position and destination. This transponder will enable Minka to receive this information and plot it on a screen identifying which ships are a collision risk. Minka will put out what is called a class B AIS signal which gives identity, position, course and speed so all vessels equipped with an AIS receiver will see me coming. I am fitting this because in very rougher seas I have found my radar will not pick up much when the waves are higher than the scanner. In Biscay I had a large merchant vessel within 400mts without it showing on radar. Particularly scary as by the time I saw it I had passed on front.
Feeding wires down the mast on your own is quite tricky and I only climbed up and down 4 times.
Some photos:
The yellow strappy bits hanging on the rope are my climbing gear. There are two sliding ratchet things, one fixed to the seat and one to the foot loops. You stand up in the foot loops, slide the seat up, sit down slide the feet up and so on.
The view from the top. I must polish those shoes.
The wind instrument is the one at the front of the mast which sends electronic signals for speed, from the spinning egg cups and direction from the vane part. It shows on the instruments as shown.
The thing to the right of the wind display is the Iridium satphone.
I am writing this at 15.30 to fill in the time before the shops open again at 1630. I need some silicone sealant to seal the wires where they go through the deck at the base of the mast. I must get used to the Spanish culture
The layout of yesterday's entry changed after I sent it as the photos were side by side. I am experimenting with this using a feature which is supposed to right justify the photos.
We shall see what happens.