David and I are sitting on the lower spreaders of Exit Only, and we are taking care of business.  Although we survived the trip up the Red Sea during the previous two months, we took quite a beating in the Gulf of Suez.  We didn't know how much of a beating it was until we hauled out in Turkey and checked the rigging.  What we found was scary.

A stainless steel strap toggle holding the headstay in place had apparently broken during the Red Sea transit.  We were extremely fortunate that we didn't loose our mast as we slogged up the Red Sea.  A Turkish craftsman fashioned a new strap toggle out of stainless steel, and we installed it to prevent the mast from going over the side at sea.  We truly snatched victory from the jaws of disaster.

After discovering the failure in the headstay strap toggle, we decided to climb the mast and inspect all of the rigging.  The inspection found broken strands of wire in an eight millimeter diamond shroud.  Rigging problems seemed to be coming down like rain, but at least we weren't off shore when it happened.  I wasn't too upset, because it's always better to deal with rigging problems while I'm in safe harbor than when I'm in forty knots of wind offshore and could easily lose the mast.

Losing a mast is expensive.  Without insurance, such a disaster could cost upwards of twenty thousand dollars if you do all the work yourself.  If you hired it done with labor rates at seventy-five dollars an hour, your cruising kitty would instantly implode.

If I lose my mast, I lose the ten thousand dollar deductible on my yacht insurance.  That's a huge chunk of cash to lay out for a problem that's probably preventable.  Before I sail offshore, I always climb to the top of the mast and check every piece of rigging to make sure there's no problem.  It's a hassle to put on a climbing harness and do a tap dance up the mast, but it's not nearly as unpleasant as dealing with a dismasting at sea.  In my time aloft I've identified broken strands of stainless steel wire on at least ten occasions, and the few minutes spent climbing the mast have paid off in a big way.

Sailboats are always talking to you.  Sometimes they whisper, and other times they shout.  When you go aloft and find a tiny fractured strand of rigging wire, your yachts is whispering a warning.  "Fix me while it's cheap and easy."  If you wait until your yacht shouts at you, it's going to be screaming things you don't want to hear.  You'll be hearing words like, "You really messed up this time.  Why didn't you check my rigging before you sailed offshore.  Now my mast is in water and it's going to cost you a ton of money.  How could something like this happen when you call yourself a mariner?"

We have sailed over thirty-three thousand miles around the world, and during our voyage we replaced damaged rigging in Bora Bora, Fiji, New Zealand, Australia, Turkey, and Gibraltar.  In each instance, we discovered a problem and dealt with it before it became an emergency.  That's the way mariners get their yacht around the world.  Eternal vigilance is our best friend and beats good luck seven days of the week.

There's an old saying, "The harder I work, the luckier I get."  I would recommend that every mariner carve those words into their main bulkhead, get them tattooed on their forearm, and have their wife repeat them at least seven times a day.  If you want to sail around the world, you must work hard to push the odds in your favor.  Good luck isn't going to keep your mast upright where it belongs.  You're the only one who can make that happen.

You earn the right to sail on the ocean of your dreams by taking good care of your yacht.  When you take care of it, it takes care of you.

Life is good.

Log 1 Peter Pan Around the World
Log 2 Weapons of Mackerel Destruction
Log 3 Pirates of the Malacca Straits
Log 4 Kissing Cobras
Log 5 Debriosaurus Rex
Log 6 Go Ahead - Live Your Dreams

Log 7 The Man Who Built His House on a Rock
Log 8 Ambivalent Eagles
Log 9 One-Shovel Full at a Time
Log 10 Hitchhiker's Guide to Planet Earth

Log 11 Keeshond

Log 12 The Red Sea Blues

Log 13 Feel the Freedom

Log 14 The Danger Zone

Log 15 Lucky Man
Log 16 Dream Machines - Land Rover Defenders

Log 17 Trade Wind Dreams
Log 18 Logs With Fins
Log 19 Everywhere, Everything
Log 20 Shark Slayer Is History

Log 21 Viking Funeral - Burial at Sea
Log 22 Improbable and Impossible

Log 23 Keep on Trucking
Log 24 Dream Machines II
Log 25 Bodysurfing Whales
Log 26 Hitting the Wall
Log 27 Surviving the Savage Seas

Log 28 The Next Step
Log 29 Welcome to Barbados
Log 30 Atlantic Rally for Cruisers
Log 31 The Man with the Unplan
Log 32 Dali Dolphins
Log 33 Flying Like a Turtle
Log 34 The Foolish Man Built His House on a Pitch Lake
Log 35 Go West Young Man
Log 36 Crossing the Atlantic in a Row Boat
Log 37 The Unsinkable HMS Diamond Rock
Log 38 Catamaran Capsize in 170 mph Winds
Log 39 When Are You Coming Home?

Log 40 Master and Commander of Anegada - Frigate Birds
Log 41 Baths of Virgin Gorda - Batholiths of Central Arabia

Log 42 Free at Last
Log 43 Stalking the Wild Manatee

Log 44 Spreaderman
Log 45 Attack of the Flesh Eating Bees
Log 46 Sharks and Coconuts
Log 47 Stingray Picnic
Log 48 Boo Boo Hill
Log 49 Whale Slayers
Log 50 Noddies (Not Naughty)


Log 51 Exumas Land and Sea Park
Log 52 David and Goliath
Log 53 Turquoise Clouds of Paradise

Log 54 Momma Nightjar
Log 55 Maximillian The Great
Log 56 Chiton Kingdom
Log 57 Flying and Holding On
Log 58 Far Horizons
Log 59 Clouds Are a Sailor's Friend
Log 60 Getting Connected
Log 61 Fear
Log 62 Grand Schemes and Other Important Things
Log 63 If Jellyfish Had a Brain
Log 64 Cousins That Don't Kiss
Log 65 Swimming With Sharks
Log 66 Perfect the Way You Are
Log 67 Space Travelers
Log 68 Aliens
Log 69 Monsters of the Mind
Log 70 My Butterfly Collection
Log 71 Somewhere Other Than Here Societies
Log 72 Five-Hundred Pound Spiders
Log 73 Red Sea Sunsets
Log 74 Gibraltar Sunrise
Log 75 Big Sea - Small Ship
Log 76 Just Cruising
Log 77 Castle Mania
Log 78 You Must Know the Sea
Log 79 Flying Like a Goat
Log 80 The Joy of Photography
Log 81 Universal Camouflage
Log 82 My Rainbow Collection
Log 83 Indian Ocean Reward
Log 84 Fiber W
Log 85 Turkish Reflections
Log 86 Mirrors and Mirages
Log 87 Lycean Tombs Rock
Log 88 Rigging Emergency
Log 89 Pamukkale
Log 90 Volcano Land
Log 91 Sniffing the Air
Log 92 Why I Don't Kite Surf
Log 93 Resurrecting Exit Only in Turkey
Log 94 Greased Pole Competition
Log 95 Tsunami Damage
Log 96 Afraid of Living
Log 97 Living on the Edge
Log 98 Borneo Adventure
Log 99 Uligamu Tree Tender with Full Benefits
Log 100 God's Fireworks Display

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This web site is a companion to Outback and Beyond.com.