you're reading...

Mast Hysteria

Well it is almost a month since our accident with the bridge.  It is challenging to catch up so many weeks in a blog and to express the range of emotions and actions.   Our blog has always been open and honest and nothing that happens will change that.  We have learned so much about our boat and ourselves as sailors.  We have listened to all the comments and views from those more experienced and we continue to learn.  It is of course not always easy – like all adults we love to learn but we hate to be taught.

We are members of the CA and this has mostly been a great experience.  We shared our accident report on the MedNet Forum and got a lot of helpful advice and support – there was some bashing as well (as if we haven’t been bashed enough but hey ho the internet is a free space for all sorts)  But also there were some wise and supportive voices – one of which was Jim B whom we have come to admire and respect.   This is what he said on the CA about our accident

“Almost all mishaps have two or more causes. First, an un-anticipated event or events create conditions you’ve never met before. Second, your training did not prepare you to handle this situation. Third, your ingenuity or experience may (or may not!) have rescued the situation. So there are usually two or three ways of avoiding accidents or mishaps.

(1) Prevent the situation. Don”t cross Biscay in Winter. Don’t insist on operating procedures for a bridge which put users into difficult situations. Don’t try to sail around the world. Don’t sail at night. Don’t go to sea in F5 or more. Don’t exceed the speed limit. In other words, accept limitations on what you attempt.

(2) Train people to handle more likely situations. Colregs, reefing, alongside manouevring, dragging anchors, going aground – the list is endless, and cannot cover unlikely needs. Such as the need to do a tight 180 in a narrow waterway because a bridge won’t open and the current is behind you. So:

(3) Learn through experience. Otherwise known as pushing your limits and making (or nearly making) mistakes. And then sharing them with others so they can learn too.

But please, no blame culture. That’ll shut the door on learning through other people’s mishaps.


Thank you Jim

Peter Keeping and his expert team carefully move the Mast

Amongst other things we have learned we have learned that we are strong – Mark and I work really well as a team and we have worked together to get Magic back in the water.  We moved into an apartment and we moved Magic on the hard. We worked with the surveyor, the yard, the rigger and the insurance company – Admiral Marine to get everything moving.  Just for the record – Admiral Marine have been amazing.  We got in touch with them within 20 minutes of the accident and their Managing Director called us personally to reassure us that all would be well (How cool is that in these days of call centres)

Once all the surveys were complete it was declared that a new mast and standing rigging was required – the bad news was that it would be 10 weeks.  I had to make the painful decision to call my kids and cancel their trips out to see us in Cartagena, Spain.  We had been due to leave Lagos on the 10th March and move West.  We also had to let down Lottie and Nissa who were going to sail with us.

Cranes preparing to Demast Magic

Cranes preparing to Demast Magic

Peter Keeping and his expert team carefully move the Mast

Peter Keeping and his expert team carefully move the Mast

On the Hard De-masting is a major undertaking

On the Hard De-masting is a major undertaking

Carefully moving the Mast to Horizontal for inspection

Carefully moving the Mast to Horizontal for inspection

Now the 10 week delay was settling in our minds we worked our way over the disappointment and though to thinking of ways we could improve Magic.  There are literally hundreds of jobs that need doing on a yacht all the time some big, many small.  Everyone who cruises talks about their list of jobs and how when you knock things off the top more get added to the bottom.  So we thought we would use the time to work on our list!

Little did we realise that doing this would be a potentially life saving task.  We have been doing everything as mundane as scrubbing fridges and bilges and clearing out food lockers. But also we have been running though our safety equipment.  For example we have checked our emergency tiller and our emergency bilge – good thing too.  The emergency manual bilge pump which enables you to pump water out of the yacht was the wrong way around.  From the factory it was set to pump water IN

Can you imagine being in a situation where you were having to pump water out and it was pumping water IN

Next up was the rudder – the rudder was taken off for examination and it was found to have had no damage. However the rudder bolts which secure the rudder to the yacht were found to have only been finger tight – that is when they removed it they did not need spanners they could just easily undo the bolts – this is scary as if your rudder falls off you can be in big trouble.

As we are sailing across the Atlantic later in the year we can’t help thinking that this frustrating situation was a blessing in disguise.

We will have all new Standing and Running rigging, our rudder will have been checked and all our safety systems.

Practically we know that this is all good – We have Time

Time to play – I love the sea and swimming and Lagos has the most amazing beach

Bliss Swimming in the Sea with the Sun shining

Bliss Swimming in the Sea with the Sun shining

Learning to Body Board

Learning to Body Board

Time to reflect on what happened and what we have learned.

Time to consider what Magic needs for our Atlantic Crossing

Time with the people we love hanging out with in Lagos

Time to work – Mark and I have both done some consultancy work

Time to research – we are looking into what we need for the ARC and considering our equipment including a generator and water maker

Time to be creative – we wrote “The Lagos Bridge Blues” and our fellow live boards joined us to perform it – that’s what I call therapy

The Lagos Bridge Blues

I woke up one morning   *

Sun was in the sky   *

Who wants to go sailing

I do said I

I’m singing the Lagos Bridge Blues

Lets make a little Magic *

Lets go to sea *

Lets play with the dolphins

And just be free

We were a little hungry *

We packed the fridge   *

We heard voices calling

Lets take it to the bridge

I’m singing the Lagos Bridge Blues

Called Channel 9   *

Please open the door *

3 minutes only

Why was it 10 more?

The river was running *

The gulls in the Sky   *

The bridge wouldn’t open

Why oh why

I’m singing the Lagos Bridge Blues

The barnicals crunching   *

Our rigging was bashed   *

Oh holy shit

I think we just crashed

Now we’re staying here *

Our boats on the yard   *

And now we find out

why it is called the hard

I’m singing the Lagos Bridge Blues

So we’ll see you round *

Cause we’ll still be here *

In fact we may be here

For another year

We’re singing the Lagos Bridge Blues


Channel 9

So we will be here in Lagos until around the middle of May.  We plan to live aboard again as soon as her body is repaired and painted.  Then we can be amongst our friends again. That should be around the end of March or early April.  During the 5 or so weeks we then have as a motor boat – we will have our water maker and generator fitted and we may even have our heating finally fixed!  Not that we will need it by then!

When the mast comes on May 12th (not that we are counting!)  We will need a week of rigging and sea trials.  Then we will leave Lagos and go West.   Our plan is to do a modest amount of sailing in the Med and return to Lagos in September to begin our ARC preparations and collect Jana who is one of our crew.  We will then sail down to Grand Canaria where we will berth in Las Palmas from the 9th November until we leave on the 22nd November. at 13.00

About Love adventure and creativity

mum, wife, sailor, animal nut, author, teacher, adventurer, stand up comedian, friend, entrepreneur.... I love creativity and fun - experiencing new things - walking my dogs - laughing with friends - building and making things like...friendships, businesses and dreams come true


5 thoughts on “Mast Hysteria

  1. Brilliant post Tina, and well done turning it into a positive. I always believe everything happens for a reason, and you know your boat so much better now. I saw Jim B post on CA forum and agree it was really well written, no blame culture and having a forum where you can openly confess your mistakes and learn from them is so valuable to those of us at the beginning of our adventures. Good to know Admiral were supportive as well, we are insured with them. Good luck with everything, maybe our paths will cross one day, Jackie, Yacht Rivalady


    Posted by Rivalady | March 18, 2015, 9:31 am
  2. Thank you Jackie – we do hope we will meet you guys out there
    We have loved watching your plans and preparations coming together
    You are right we do know our boat better now !



    Posted by Love adventure and creativity | March 18, 2015, 9:39 am
  3. Hey it is strange how a bad experience can turn into a happy ending, loosing a rudder would have been catastrophic half way across the Atlantic, and now you must know every inch of Magic, As we know Blue Magic through out.
    And your right the jobs never stop coming, good luck working through your list.
    Best regard



    Posted by Mark Dewey | March 18, 2015, 10:53 am
  4. Thank you Mark – you are right there is not a single corner – panel or screw that we don’t know now 🙂


    Posted by Love adventure and creativity | March 18, 2015, 10:59 am
  5. It’s funny how mishaps happen for a reason. We had engine failure just outside Brest and were towed in by the Customs chaps. We then spent a month there but had really good service and they ‘found’ a new engine for us instead of having to wait six weeks from Penta. It would have been much longer pretty much anywhere else and it failed in a river where we could easily anchor rather than going through Raz de Seine or somewhere. We spent that month doing all sorts of chores on the boat as we reckon there are always about 50 things on the to do list at any one point.

    Glad you are enjoying Lagos – we did. Enjoy the Med as well, there are some superb anchorages in the Balearics so it doesn’t have to be expensive! I really enjoy your blog and it’s refreshing that you are completely open and honest. Don’t worry about those commenting on the CA forum, for the most part I have found the CA brilliant for camaraderie and information. You’ll always get the doom sayers in any yacht club bar.

    S/Y Nimrod


    Posted by Jo F | March 18, 2015, 11:52 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 945 other followers

%d bloggers like this: