I guess first off I should say that that is not me climbing my mast, but it is my bosun’s chair.
One thing to get used to while living aboard a boat either at anchor or dockside is learning how to keep yourself from being startled when you hear someone (seemingly out of nowhere) come-a-knockin’. It is always a couple good raps of their knuckles on the side of the hull which can actually be quite startling. It echoes throughout the fiberglass structure and can make one hop out of their pants. The other day the “knocking” happened and I jumped up and went to the overhead hatch. It was a dock neighbor asking if I had a bosun’s chair… some call it a boatswain-chair. I told him yes after a moment of thinking. A new Harken #2234 Deluxe Bosun’s Chair that has only been used once (something the person riding in the chair likes to hear.) I rummaged under the aft under-sink cabinet and pulled it out. We chatted quick about his plan and of course told stories we had heard about others killing themselves while undertaking mast work using one of these things.
While retrieving said bosun chair, I admired how nice and new looking our chair (only been used once) was while I was wrangling it out of it’s storage cubby. I thought, “well damn, should I let him use MY nice new chair?” A way to climb your own mast as a sailor is a pretty important thing (that’s why I spent a bunch of cash on a nice new one.) Now he wants to just snag it and dirty it up?! I really wanted to say no but did not want to be that unfriendly neighbor. So I handed it over. As he was walking over to his boat I could hear him tell the guy that was going to be sitting in it that it was a nice new one… so no worries.
After sitting a while in the boat listening to the banter a couple of slips down, I could tell that they were having problems. The owner has a bad arm and it was going to be pretty hard for him to winch his friend up the mast. I decided to go over and lend a hand. We both took turns cranking the winch and finally just ended up both cranking the same winch together at the same time. The guy finally made it to the top of the mast. I was sweating profusely.
After I was sure that all was good I went back to my boat and waited for them to finish up with whatever job they had going at the top of their mast so that I could get my hands back on my chair. I ended up getting it back with a couple more scuffs on it than had been, but all was ok as I knew it would be but it was quickly becoming less “new” than it was. Soon I was not going to be able to say it was a nice safe new chair!
I guess the whole point of this post is to ponder to myself about the concept of lending things out to others. A cup of sugar? Sure… but expensive boating equipment… hummmm. Not so sure about that! Time will tell if I keep being the “nice” neighbor. Call me a scrooge.