In preparation for our departure, David climbed up the mast to check out the rigging. It's second-nature to him now to climb 60+' (18m) straight up in the air on a rocking boat. For those of us with a fear of heights (like me, for instance), we prefer to stay below and take up the slack on the line as David hauls himself upwards in his bosun's chair with the help of his trusty ascenders.
Not only was he checking the integrity of the rigging and the mast fittings, he was also checking that the anchor, running, steaming and spreader lights were operational, cleaning the mainsail track and repairing a courtesy flag halyard pulley that was damaged.
Additionally, he was doing a pre-inspection in anticipation of a professional rigger from Fremantle traveling down to Mandurah to do a formal rig inspection – a requirement by our insurance company prior to our heading offshore. This is a usual, and probably reasonable, request by the insurance company, but it's always a hassle and an added cost to the already high insurance premiums we pay. C'est la vie.
Edgar, the rigger, whom we thought would appear sometime in the morning, showed up around 3pm and got right to work. First, he checked each chainplate on deck and then took a close look at each shroud and stay and the associated turnbuckle and shackle that attaches it to the deck. If something goes wrong at sea, this is a vulnerable point and, if weak, could cause a sailboat to lose all its rigging and mast. Not a pleasant thought.
After checking the mast fittings, he proceeded to check out the boom and all of its fittings in turn then took a look at the traveler. He rigged himself up and ascended the mast in the same fashion that David does … with ascenders. Up he scampered to the top of the mast, stopping to check things along the way … the mast itself, the spreaders, the shroud and stay fixtures, hardware and attachments.
He came below to check the base of the mast below the floorboards. His inspection was efficient and comprehensive and Nine of Cups (and her captain) got all A's! She's ready to tackle the Indian.