Sunday, August 01, 2004

sailing

Mostly Cajun has an interesting story of his sailing trip. Almost makes me want to get out on the water again. Maybe I will before the summer is over.

He had a disaster. His forestay either broke or came loose (it isn't clear from the description, but it's unlikely it broke). That's the line (cable to you land-lubbers) that hold's the mast upright from the front. Modern sailboats don't usually have the mast mounted to the hull. It's just mounted to the top of the cabin, and there isn't a lot of strength to keep it from snapping off. That's why it's held in all four directions by steel cables called "stays".

The forestay is also used to hold the forward sail, usually a jib. Without the forestay, you can keep sailing using the main sail (that's the sail attached along its leading edge to the mast), but I would have been afraid to do it. A bad turn or wind change could put the force of the wind against the front of the mast and break it. Highly unlikely, but we're talking thousands of dollars of damage. Maybe tens of thousands. Not to mention possible injuries. Cajun is a more experienced sailor than me, so he risked it and it all worked out.

Anyway, it's good he wasn't live blogging the trip or he would have had to take time out from fixing the line to blog about it.

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