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Old 29-08-2011, 23:23   #1
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Coin In My Masthead

So.... My mast came down while at the slip. Long story...

But, when looking in the mast head, we found a quarter! A quarter of all things!

After everyone helped me pick up the mast (still in one piece, need to sleeve it and put it back up), and the boom and all that, we were joking about the coin causing the issue.

Looking on line, it is supposed to be a silver coin. Some of us at the marina disagree and think it should be a gold coin, but then that was said to be only for a keel stepped mast (mine is deck stepped).

To avoid this accident in the future (aside from good engineering and quality equipment), what should the coin be? Silver or gold?

Just want to follow some sort of tradition.
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Old 29-08-2011, 23:47   #2
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Re: Coin in my masthead

Greetings,
It really does not matter. both were used in the old days. I have 3 silver coins at the base of my keel stepped mast. Not wealthy enough to use gold. would likely use that for a new something or other for the boat
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Old 29-08-2011, 23:51   #3
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Re: Coin in my masthead

PS
wonder what the heck it was doing in the mast head ?? maybe the last owner pitch poled at some point ?
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Old 30-08-2011, 00:29   #4
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Re: Coin in my masthead

Ahhh... good catch. Mast step. My bad.
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Old 30-08-2011, 01:21   #5
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Re: Coin in my masthead

Ah, and I was thinking an owner had wanted to placate gods of both sea and air, grin!
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Old 30-08-2011, 08:22   #6
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Re: Coin in my masthead

I have an old silver dime under the mast step of my 33 footer. Probably worth five bucks now. I think the notion (without resorting to the internet) was to "pay tribute" to Neptune for a safe passage, just as pennies on the eyelids of the dead was supposed to compensate Charon, the ferryman of the river Styx across which all the souls of the dead were required to traverse.
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Old 30-08-2011, 12:07   #7
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Re: Coin in my masthead

When we stepped the Spruce mast on our first boat, an elderly gentleman who served as a watchman in the yard that had worked on the last of the wooden Alaska fishing schooners out of San Francisco during the depression asked me if were were not going to step the mast on a gold coin. Why ever would I do that, I asked. So that if you every loose your mast and have to pay for repairs or a replacement you'll always have the money you need. Otherwise, how will you get home? (Evidently, the practice goes back to the age of discovery.) We didn't have a gold coin so we settled for a Silver Dollar.

FWIW...
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Old 30-08-2011, 12:41   #8
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Re: Coin In My Masthead

I helped step the mast on a Navy destroyer in the mid 60s and a bunch of us sailors put several coins under the mast. Its a time honored tradition just as your watchman has said. How else will you pay for repairs or have money to passage for home if you are shipwrecked on a beach? I guess you could put a credit card there too just in case.
kind regards,
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Old 11-09-2011, 15:09   #9
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Re: Coin In My Masthead

Sorry to hear about your mast coming down. It would be good to hear the story sometime (there don't seem to be word limits on this forum!).

I've heard of several Pearson Triton owners finding silver dollars in their mast steps.

I had my mast completely apart this summer and kept an eye open for silver, but no luck.
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Old 11-09-2011, 15:42   #10
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Re: Coin In My Masthead

Knowing that no accessible coin would pay for any serious repairs these days, and having concerns about electrolysis, and having spent so many good days in French waters in the Pacific... we use an Aluminium 5 Pacific Franc coin under our mast. Worked so far!

Jim and Ann
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Old 18-09-2011, 19:21   #11
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Re: Coin In My Masthead

The marina where I am at usually puts a silver dollar at the base every time they step a mast. Most customers are pleased with this time honored tradition.
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Old 18-09-2011, 19:33   #12
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Re: Coin In My Masthead

Considering that gold and silver are 2 to 3 volts away from aluminium on the corrosion table one should take appropriate precautions regarding losing either the money or part of the mast step.
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