Mast Removal

Having a sailboat without a mast is unnerving. Being in our slip feels like being a solitary stump amid rows of gloriously tall redwood trees. One of our neighbors asked if we are planning on having Helios shipped to a remote location to avoid enduring the voyage; others competed for cleverest mast-missing innuendo. 

The impetus for having the mast removed was to fast-track a number of projects so we can maximize the end of summer sailing season in the Bay and have premium equipment while on our voyage. So, we've been working with our friends at Hansen Rigging to remove the mast and: 

  • replace the standing rigging and check all rigging hardware
  • install the radar and radar reflector
  • install the tracking for the whisker pole
  • replace plastic sheaves with stainless steel
  • install an anemometer (measures wind speed)
  • install a VHF antenna 
  • install LED bulbs in the tricolor and steaming lights.

So, it will be awesome to have all of these things accomplished as they comprise a huge portion of our boat to-do list (and our storage space down below…), even if it will be an awkward and mildly embarrassing two weeks without sailing.

The other good news is, taking the mast out itself was a fun little adventure!  We began with a beautiful cruise down the estuary.


Then, Dominic did a pretty impressive parallel parking job, getting Helios (38 ft long) alongside a dock which was about 45 ft long and perpendicular to the fairway. 

We did a lot of the prep work the night before: removing the boom, bagging the sails, unhooking all of the electrical equipment, and stowing the furling lines. All that was left for the Hansen crew was securing the shrouds, hooking the mast to the crane, hauling her out, and laying her on a truck for transport.

Meanwhile, we were left feeling a little naked, a little incomplete, and hoping for a speedy mast return!