After a few discussions; Willow, Tom (Nomad) and Mic (Lotha) decided to attempt the mast raising for S/V Lotha here in Vero Beach. It was a dangerous task, but seemed logically possible.
Lotha has been without her mast since navigating south through the Erie Canal from Canada. Due to the extensive damage of many areas and marinas on the east coast from Hurricane Matthew, it has proven difficult to gain access to a marina with a crane to complete this task before now.
**What is a sailboat without sails? A power boat! No ability to sail takes away from the experience. It is a huge difference in life at sea.
The mooring field in Vero Beach Harbor is calm, providing for less chances of being waked while attempting to hoist the mast into place using this technique.
**Lotha is 45 foot, concrete sailboat with a 54 ft mast (from the waterline). Willow Mist is 44 ft from the waterline and I do believe Tom said Nomad is 42 ft from the waterline. Those things that make you go hmmmm comes in play here! The mast of Lotha probably weighs at least 400 pounds.
Using two boats to lift the weight of another mast was not normal procedure for stepping a mast. Logically, it seemed possible. Logically, this could work. Therefore, this attempt was about to happen!
Willow motored up to the port side of Lotha to raft up, while Tom rafted up to the starboard side. They spend about an hour removing all the lines and plywood that had held the mast securely down on the deck of Lotha.
Willow and Tom used halyard lines of Willow Mist and Nomad to lift the mizzen mast and move it to the starboard side, out of the way. Mic (Lotha) also had friends aboard for the rest of the day to help as well.
The Captains worked through the steps for getting the rigging secure as soon as the mast was stepped back into place. They communicated the plan several times to make sure everyone knew what would take place if everything went as planned along with what would happen if it didn’t.
As the mast started lifting into the air, Tom noticed his aluminum mast was starting to bend under the pressure of the weight.
At this point, they made the unanimous decision to stop. THey did everything perfect. Had Nomads mast bent under the pressure enough to break, a chain link reactions of events could have happened to cause damage to all three boats. It was not worth the determination to lose all boats in the process.
The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a man’s determination”.