Today was ascend the mast and repair the anchor light day. Our anchor light, which sits atop the mast has not worked for probably a year now. I purchased a portable 12v light which I tie onto the jib sheet about 8 ft off the deck some time ago which we have used as an anchor light. It meets the requirement of being seen from 2 miles away, but because I could not loft it any higher, it was not visible from all sides. This was obviously not ideal since a boat approaching from the wrong direction may not see us at anchor. Recently, I bought a replacement light at West Marine. After church this morning, we decided today was the day to replace it.
As usual, I secured the boson’s chair to the main halyard and used the spinnaker halyard as a safety line in case the main halyard malfunctions. All was going well with Cindy hauling me up the mast until I got about 50 feet in the air. Then, before I knew what was happening, the spinnaker halyard became fouled in the halyard block. Two loops of the spinnaker halyard were wedged into the pulley with the main halyard and the main halyard would not move. I was stuck fifty feet in the air. I estimate I was there for about 30 minutes struggling to unfoul the halyards. Tim, our live-aboard neighbor two boats down, came over and offered his assistance. Thanks, Tim! After about 15-20 minutes of mid-air suspension, it occurred to me I could use the topping lift as a third line which could take the tension off the main halyard so that I might unfoul it. This worked as I had hoped and after a few minutes after being lofted a few inches higher by the topping lift, with a little brute force, I had the spinnaker halyard out of the main halyard block, and we were in business again. I was thankful that I was able to keep my cool and think through all available solutions when this challenge arose. Thank God for it!
When this little glitch was all over, Cindy hauled me on up the mast and I replaced the bulb and the housing of the old anchor light. The ospreys which spend a lot of time hanging out on the top of our mast had somehow dislodged the old light cover and it had shattered on our boat deck. I replaced it with a new housing (and a little duct tape). Cindy flipped on the anchor light, and like magic, we now have a properly functioning anchor light atop our mast.
We finished just before the sun set. After some bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwiches and a fruity rum drink, Cindy and I ascended to the bimini top to watch a spectacular sunset. The weather the past few days has been fantastic. The better the weather, the more the cruising itch! It’s getting closer.