The mast on No Tan Lines (“Tanny”) is 67 feet tall, and weighs several hundred pounds. We had it removed about a month ago for repairs. The mast step (or i-beam) is a large, steel box in the bilge that supports the mast. It weighs about 250 pounds, and was also removed so we could have a new one manufactured.
A few days after the mast was removed, the wind picked up. We woke up one night to the boat pitching wildly left to right, left to right. Since we lay with our heads to port, and our feet to starboard, it felt like we were doing involuntary sit ups.
The lines on deck above our heads were straining and complaining against the stern cleats. I jumped up with my trusty flashlight (which is always sitting on my shelf), and peered out all the ports, making sure were weren’t bumping the dock or, worse, a neighbor’s boat. Everything was okay but it was VERY difficult to get back to sleep with the violent lurching. I wondered how our marina neighbors were faring in this odd weather change.
The next morning, as I was crawling out of the cockpit, our next boat neighbor, Vince, said, “What’s going on with your boat?!” I looked and his boat was hardly moving. I turned and our other neighbor’s boat was also stable. Yet, Tanny was still pitching violently. It only took a second for my brain to put two and two together.
Once I turned on my laptop, I contacted the riggers to ask when the mast step would be replaced. They still hadn’t sent me an estimate and they had guys out sick with the flu. Ug! How long were we going to have to live on this roller coaster before things got back to normal?
Brian showed up for work shortly thereafter and, after using the head, commented that our toilet was a bucking bronco. He was RIGHT! We have to hold onto the counter top and shower wall just to pee!
The rigger’s guys were working on another boat on the dock the following day and they said they towed a boat once without a mast and they couldn’t believe how much it bounced around. The mast is not only heavy, providing stability, but it also acts as a pendulum, helping to even out the boat’s movement.
After a few days of very subtle nausea and a sore lower back (because I’m constantly trying to sit still while working, fighting the movement of the boat), I figured out the formula. If the wind is blowing from the east or west over 10 knots, we start dancing. If it’s under 10 or blowing from the north or south, things are pretty stable.
Today, we have an east wind blowing steady at 14 knots and my back is KILLING ME. I’m emailing the riggers almost daily to ask for updates because, while I love a good bounce now and then, hours and hours of constant movement, while constantly checking the lines, is exhausting. Don’t even get me started on the sleep deprivation part.
But, I must say…all of this sure beats the multi-thousands of dollars we are saving by not living in a house! 😉
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