• Mobile App For Android Now Online!

    Download it here. The app is searchable in the Google Play Store under Sailboat Owners.

    Sorry iPhone/iPad users, we are still waiting on Apple. :(

    Click the X in the upper right corner to make this go away

Emergency Tools

Jan 22, 2008
741
Hunter 340 Baytown TX
I'm way behind on "January sailing in Texas" videos. We left the dock for 10 races in January, only finished 8. This last weekend were the two we didn't finish. Winds were gusting to 35 knots on Saturday, 30 on Sunday. Saturday, we were too far back in the standings to risk busting gear or shredding sails in the last race of the series, so we turned around once we got out to the course and saw the conditions.
On Sunday, a different race series, I had a good crew, decided to double reef the main and run the course. At the second mark, a 40 foot navigation tower half a mile or so off the ship channel, the boat in front of us got too close and the NNW wind blew his running backstay into the manwalk at the top of the tower. It caught, the mast bent down above the second spreader and then in slow motion snapped above the gooseneck and came down. He came loose from the tower and blew clear. We took our sails down and stood by in case of who knows what. It was so hard to watch. You can't tell much from the wide angle video, mostly our reaction, and I'm waiting a while before posting any other photos or video. Another person contacted me asking if I got video of his J/24 mast folding over the previous weekend.
They had bolt cutters on board to cut it away, mine are now on order from Amazon. There will be a hacksaw, 24" bolt cutters, a big knife, and decent size wire cutters in my emergency kit. What else might be needed?
 
Last edited:
Jan 22, 2008
741
Hunter 340 Baytown TX
Bay, less than 10 foot deep in most places. Main reason I stayed with them, I could just see that mast stuck in the mud and the waves rolling their boat onto it and punching a hole. From this photo, looks like the tower is only about 25 feet tall. And since Sunday, I have heard of several boats being dismasted by it in the last few years.
CaptureX.jpg
 
  • Wow
Likes: sailme88
Feb 14, 2014
5,238
Hunter 430 Waveland, MS
What else might be needed?
We have this real handy, almost Swiss Army knife, tool and a necklace tie off, so you dont loose it overboard

15787005_LRG.jpg


WEST MARINE Performance Rigging Knife with Marlinespike and Straight Blade | West Marine

Cuts Dyneema, shackle wrench, Locking marlin spike and easy release .
_____
To grab or push stuff while staying on the boat.
WEST MARINE Floating & Telescoping Boat Hooks | West Marine

And last items , of course Duct Tape, but this Tape is amazing...
RESCUE TECH Rescue Tape | West Marine

Safe Sailing!
Jim...
 
Nov 6, 2006
8,985
Hunter 34 Mandeville Louisiana
Watched some folks do that same thing several years ago at the start of the Dauphin Island Race in Mobile Bay.. a slow motion sad mast take-down.. no one hurt, thank goodness.
 
Mar 20, 2011
562
Hunter 31_83-87 New Orleans
I had hacksaw on board when I lost my mast. lost mine at night. Valuable tools were multiple headband flashlights with red/white illumination. Also several good needle nose pliers If you’re able to pull pins on turnbuckles and a couple of adjustable wrenches to release. Also good knife to cut slugs loose if your able to salvage mainsail from mast/boom. Handheld vhf as most fixed radios have their antennas on top of lost mast.
 
  • Like
Likes: Parsons
Jan 19, 2010
873
Catalina 34 Casco Bay
Bay, less than 10 foot deep in most places. Main reason I stayed with them, I could just see that mast stuck in the mud and the waves rolling their boat onto it and punching a hole. From this photo, looks like the tower is only about 25 feet tall. And since Sunday, I have heard of several boats being dismasted by it in the last few years.
View attachment 189915
YIKES !!!! as long as it a soft bottom without any surprises (rocks etc)...and your draft is 3-4' no problemo....
 
Jul 12, 2011
922
Catalina 36 1771 Ft Pierce, Florida
Rather than bolt cutters, I have a set of wire rope and cable cutters, which are built for slicing through stainless cable, also the noted hacksaw, serrated knives, hook knife, hatchet, and other implements of destruction. Like PFD's and flares, I hope they never come out of the cabinet other than for inspection. Speaking of which, I suggest oiling or greasing heavily and wrapping in cling-film, or most of those tools will be a rusty pile when you need them.
 
Jan 22, 2008
741
Hunter 340 Baytown TX
Thanks everyone for the advice. Seeing this mast fall and watching the crew have to cut their rig and sails away has altered my reality.
My plan is to have a bag I can grab and have on deck to take care of this type of emergency and hope I never have to use it. A tool kit full of wrenches and screwdrivers I have to rummage through will slow things down, I’ve got four tool bags on the boat now. All are in decent shape, corrosion wise, including the cheap socket set.
Boat hook is always handy and there’s a flashlight on every cabinet top or storage nook in the boat, so not including them.
IMO, anything battery operated will be dead when you need it most.
So, 24” bolt cutters, folding knife like suggested above, hack saw, medium vice grips, gorilla tape, compound side cutters, all on lanyards with clips. And store it in an very accessible place and leave it alone except to inspect it.
 

MitchM

.
Jan 20, 2005
909
Nauticat 321 pilothouse 32 Erie PA
i really like the idea of carrying my ryobi 18v angle grinder. if you've ever hacked away at a forestay or side shroud w/ a boltcutter or hack saw you know why...
 
Mar 26, 2011
2,784
Corsair F-24 MK I Deale, MD
YIKES !!!! as long as it a soft bottom without any surprises (rocks etc)...and your draft is 3-4' no problemo....
Heck, we're comfortable sailing with 2' under the keel all day, no problem. It's just mud. (Chesapeake Bay).
 
  • Like
Likes: Bill19233

capta

.
Jun 4, 2009
4,200
Pearson 530 Admiralty Bay, Bequia SVG
We carry an electric grinder and a box of spare wheels. With half inch wire, I'm not sure we could cut it manually.
 
Jan 22, 2008
741
Hunter 340 Baytown TX
Yes, forgot to mention the handheld VHF’s, I keep two charging at the nav station. If I kept one in the emergency kit, it would be dead when I needed it most. The dismasted boat was in contact with us and other boats with his handheld.
Whether it was 24” bolt cutters or cable cutters he had, he made short work of all the shrouds and stays with it. Running rigging and sails took longer. And it was a Fabola 35, if anyone is wondering.
 
Jan 22, 2008
741
Hunter 340 Baytown TX
YIKES !!!! as long as it a soft bottom without any surprises (rocks etc)...and your draft is 3-4' no problemo....
My Hunter 340 is 4’6”, usually not a problem. Bigger J/boats get stuck all the time at low tide in north winds.
 
  • Wow
Likes: sailme88
Jan 1, 2006
5,548
Slickcraft 26 Greenport, NY
Those towers look like pretty knarly rounding marks. We've used day marker poles on the St. Lucie river which are not as tall. However they have a sign on them that sticks out a foot or two on each side. Very good at catching sails or running rigging. So far in my very short experience there, we've hit two. The rigs stayed up to my great surprise.