How to lower your mast in one easy lesson!

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Warning! Children and people with weak hearts should not view these pictures. 
If you think you can stand the stress of seeing a perfectly good sailboat trashed, click any picture to see a larger view.

This information is provided as a public service to educate those who have never seen a dismasting, to humiliate and embarrass the owner of this sailboat, and provide a cautionary tale regarding the competence of some municipal decision makers.

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Scene of the Crime


Don't think this could happen to you? Read on and decide...

Location of Demasting: Liza Jackson public launch ramp, Ft. Walton Beach, FL.

Cause of accident: Fatigue, inattention, lack of familiarity with launch ramp, operator error, faulty launch ramp design.

Background: Spent a month in the Keys and on the way home to Michigan we decided to visit some friends in nearby Mary Esther FL and spend a few days sailing on the ICW. I was told the Liza Jackson ramp was a good place to launch my boat. When I arrived, I noted a power line strung across the entrance to the launch ramp that serviced a security light in a picnic area. I successfully avoided contact with the power line during launch and made a mental note to avoid it upon my return.  

After several days of sailing I arrived back at the ramp on a busy Saturday morning. Since the area where I stepped the mast earlier in the week was filled with impatient boaters, I decided to pull forward to a less crowded parking area near the highway. In my haste to clear the ramp, I forgot about the power line. When the jib struck the power line, it separated at the swag and the mast collapsed backward. As it fell, the mast struck the crutch and wheel, broke into two pieces, then broke again when the head of the mast hit the ground. 

No one was injured, and there was no property damage except to the mast. Apparently my insurance company gets lots of claims like this because, except for requesting a few pictures, it quickly sent me a check. Getting a new mast took three months because the first one sent by the factory arrived damaged.