Re: Safety Equipment: Broken Mast

From: Pierre St. Hilaire (
Date: Tue May 26 1998 - 14:33:46 PDT

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Date: Tue, 26 May 1998 14:33:46 -0700
From: "Pierre St. Hilaire" <>
Subject: Re: Safety Equipment: Broken Mast
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At 12:40 PM 5/26/98 -0700, you wrote:

>However, one significant type of equipment failure which has not been
>fully discussed is a broken mast. Possibly because of the apparent
>difficulty in repairing a mast in the water, I would posit that most
>people expect to just abandon their rig in such situations. This would
>explain the dearth of posts on the matter.
>Luckily, recent advances in technology have provided a solution to this
>hithertoo intractable problem. My own experiments have shown it is
>possible to sail back from the channel at 3rd Ave. on a sail of 6.0 or
>smaller with the aid of two 500mg capsules of Viagra.

:) :)

O.K. here it is for a mast failure story.

I broke my mast last Friday at 5:30 in the channel halfway between Third
and Coyote. It simply exploded while on a very powered reach. I self
rescued in the conventional way (rolled sail, tied with boom on top of the
board) and proceeded to paddle back. By that time the tide started to
flood, and so about half an hour later I was close enough to the "sailing
pack" to call someone with my whistle. Another sailor took my boom back and
my rescuer and I proceeded for the long tow to the shore. About halfway
unfortunately my sail untied (maybe due to the repeated shocks from the
towing) and quickly sank (probably because I had tied the universal and
mastbase to it) before I had time to swim back to it.

All in all a pretty uneventful rescue. I should have tied the sail better
, obviously, - everything is so incredibly more difficult to do while
swells come crashing on you in the channel. It confirmed the utility of
the whistle, although its range is more limited that what I would have
expected (maybe 50 feet). I was sure happy to have my pouch with rescue
equipment. Just knowing I had a radio and strobe in case of real shit
definitely made me more cool-headed. I could probably have made it back
without help after sunset, but that was only because the flood helped me
(the flood is your friend at 3rd if you break down). I will definitely get
those paddling gloves. And a case of Viagra.

If anybody finds a green 4.9 Windwing sail on shore please contact me.
Also if my rescuer (his name was Ben) read this post please get in touch. I
certainly owe you a beer (or two, or three...)

Best regards,

                                                        Pierre St. Hilaire
                                                        Interval Research Corp.

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