This is a tale warning. Last week we were racing
from Waukegan to Kenosha, 13 miles. The winds were brisk 15-20 from the southwest so it was a run downhill the whole way.
Normally, this would be a great fun for 2 hours. Only my helmsman was not paying attention and veered to starboard just enough to cause an accidental jibe. We didn't know anything was wrong for about 10 minutes. I started hearing a banging up forward. When we tracked down the noise
it turned out to be my starboard spreader. It was hanging from the upper shroud
and banging against the mast
. It happened so fast I never even knew it happened.
As it turns out, the topping lift
on the boom had too much slack. Running downwind the slack had wrapped around the starboard spreader. When we jibed the force just ripped the spreader right off the mast
. Luckily, it was on the starboard side the opposite side from the wind
. Had the boom been on the opposite side, we could have lost
the mast itself.
So, watch how long your topping lift
is or you could end up the same way.