Heights have never really bothered me, but I still get a little nervous climbing the mast on this boat. When I am doing it solo I rig two safeties. One is called an ascender and can be picked up from any store with rock climbing gear like an REI. It has a spring loaded cam in it with teeth pointing in one direction. It allows you to feed the line through the cam and slide it up. As soon as any weight is put on the ascender the teeth bite into the line and prevent downward motion. It forces you to open the cam and slide it down step by step on the way back down. The second safety is much more low tech. It is a simple piece of nylon webbing with two carabiners. One is clipped into my climbing harness and the other is clipped either into the mast steps as I climb or around the mast itself once I reach the height I will be working at.
I just finished replacing every bulb and two complete housings for my running lights, tricolor, anchor, and spreader lights. I tried plugging in some LED lights for the nav lights, but I didn’t like them at all. They are not bright enough in all directions and you really have to be careful with the colors. For instance, do not put the “white” bulb in your green bow light. It turns it a distinctive shade of blue. I am sure you could use a green light, but I think I am going to stick with the standard bulbs for the running lights.
I keep thinking about time. I think I can be ready by the 10th as long as I keep my head down, shut out all interactions with people, and basically turn into a boat maintenance hermit. Sound like fun? I haven’t spent any time with my family since last Thanksgiving and this trip will most likely keep me away for several holidays over the next few years. I’d like to be able to take my time with a few more projects and also spend some time with my good friends and family. If I look at the next full moon in December it will really take the pressure off to rush projects and get home before I leave. I keep thinking I have to be through the Panama Canal by April to make the Pacific cruising season, but who says so? I don’t really know how long I’ll want to explore the Central American coast so why put a time limit on it?
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