(Featured photo credit Andrew Dawes via Flickr)

My boat, Wild at Heart, was leaning over in the breeze and so I moved up to the high side, which I have to do when the wind is blowing in the high teens and I’m sailing alone.

Then the jib sagged five feet from where it should be.  I reached for the halyard that’s meant to hold the sail tight and yank.  Well, that was a mistake.  The sail wasn’t loose – it was completely off the shackle.  The top started flailing in the fresh wind.

Now I couldn’t raise the sail because I have no way of reaching that high.  Fixing it would be a job for another day when the boat is tied comfortably at the dock.  I took the rest of the jib down and sailed back under main only.


Plumber’s type PVC pipe was too flexible at twenty feet. See the carabiner in the photo nearby I added.

I was surprised Google didn’t yield better results for a halyard lost up the mast.  I thought some salty sailor would have posted a YouTube video or blog post by now.  I’ll have to make my own solution which I spend a couple weeks mulling over.

I had to reach a rope thirty feet high.  Finally I have a sketch in mind and drive to Home Depot for PVC pipe.  After trial and error and help from my marina neighbors — Reid and Josh  — I have the halyard down.  Nearby is a sketch and the PVC pipe I used to create a lasso.

The lasso atop twenty feet of PVC pipe. I added the tape two inches from the top to keep the lasso from cinching closed on the way up. Also, note the metal snap carabiner on the right. I clipped it to the forestay to guide the pipe, otherwise it was too hard to steady.

All of which got me to thinking, “there has to  be a better way.”  This cost me time off the water!  The size of my boat makes this tricky.  Too small to climb the mast (I weigh too much) but too big to unstep the mast or lean it over.  And since I keep her in the water, putting her on a trailer and driving next to something tall like a building or ladder would be a hassle too.

Drop me a note if you’ve found a better way to do this.