Rigging Failure

  1. If the engine is on, immediately put it into neutral
  2. Tack or cast off the sheets to luff the sails and immediately alter course so that the broken stay or shroud is to leeward:
    • Port shroud - go on the starboard tack (wind on the starboard side) and tighten the spare main halyard on port midships
    • Starboard shroud - go on the port tack, tighten the spare main halyard on starboard midships
    • Forestay - head down wind, lead spare halyard forward and winch it tight.
    • Back stay - head into the wind and tighten the spare main halyard from the backstay cleat.
  3. If the mast breaks, cut everything away to keep it from holing the boat. Try to preserve the sail if possible, and some of the rigging. It may be possible to corral the mast along the side of the boat, and lash it there well fendered and clear of the water. This requires removing spreaders etc.
  4. Other dismasting strategies:
    • Anchor, if you're in shallow enough water while you deal with the situation.
    • Cut the mast loose and abandon it – notify the Coast Guard or issue a "Securitae" to warn other boaters of a potential hazard.
    • Tow it behind, using it as a kind of sea anchor. Don't tow it with the engine on unless you're absolutely certain nothing will foul the prop.
  5. After a dismasting, get some sail up to dampen rolling. Climb carefully up the mast steps as far as you can and make a lashing at the top to which you can secure the head of a sail. Lash the boom or the whisker pole to the remnants of the mast if needed–you will need to secure the foot of the extension very carefully and tightly at the bottom. Look in Handling Troubles Afloat for ideas.
  6. Rig the emergency VHF Antenna per its included instructions (hopefully you've read these ahead of time.)
  7. See the Cruising Club of America's Memorandum on Offshore Communications for instructions on how to rig an emergency antenna for the SSB. Use the SSB emergence cable on board.