Picture of Free Yacht Chapter 11: Dismasted!
Sailing along with 10 people aboard, dum de dum de dum. Suddenly, CRACK! CRASH! Sails all over us! The boom falls onto the cabin top right next to us! The mast crashes into the water! Cables everywhere!

Thanks to Cynthia Rauschert for the photos from that night.

continues the Free Yacht saga begun at How to Get a Free Yacht

Here's the table of contents of the whole saga:
Chapter 1: How to Get a Free Yacht
Chapter 2: Maiden Voyage of the Free Yacht
Chapter 3: Fix Broken Stix and other Trix
Chapter 4: Outboard Motor Mutilates Foot
Chapter 5: It's sinking and it's on Fire.
Chapter 6: How To Give Away a Free Yacht
Chapter 7: Get an Even Better One and Fabulize it.
Chapter 8: Celebrate Freedom
Chapter 9: Technicolor Dreamboat
Chapter 10: Privateer Knot
Chapter 11: Dismasted!
Chapter 12: Kiteboat!
Chapter 13: Mast Raising!

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Step 1: The View From the Cockpit

Picture of The View From the Cockpit
The mast is in the water, the boom fell to the deck. Shannon and I were sitting on the lee side talking about geopolitics and Cheez Whiz.. We had to crawl out from under the sail. Fortunately everyone else was on the windward side and no one was hit or tangled.
The sails in the water filled with water and slowly dragged more stuff over the side.
What a mess. How could all that crap do that and not hurt anyone? We got lucky.

Step 2: Gus' Narrative part 1

Picture of Gus' Narrative part 1
photos: Gus, Dav and Tim out on the lee float trying to decipher tangled cables and unhook the sails.

Captain Gus Holcomb writes:
Subject: :(

Well, Last night didn't go well. Everyone is thankfully ok, but Solara was
demasted last night in the bay.

On the way back from a Red Rock sight seeing trip the wind picked up to
20-25. We were close hauled and heading to TI. We were sailing fast, but the
boat felt balanced. The starboard ama was skipping the surface of the water.
I didn't feel like we were overpowered; Modest weather-helm.

Not sure what happened first, but one of the stays pulled free and the mast
shattered about 1/4 of the way up.
Gus' email continues on next step...
ex_mo5 years ago
you guys really know how to keep your cool.
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dacarls ex_mo5 years ago
Please tell us why the demasting ocurred. Usually the sidestays pull out, if they have had no attention. ( Very likely on this rig?) I have even seen heavy stainless steel stantions for sidestays corrode OFF below the deck.
TimAnderson (author)  dacarls5 years ago
We don't know why it happened. The break was pretty low on the mast, just below where the cables from the diamond spreaders attach. Two passengers said they saw a big crack there before it fell but they thought that was normal (!). There doesn't seem to be any damage to cables or chainplates. After it fell multiple people were disconnecting cables and not counting them, maybe a pin could have wiggled out. The cable ends all look good. I think the mast broke first, then fell over.
TruthHunter4 years ago
Free Yacht Chapter 11 Dismasted

When I first read the title, I thought you went bankrupt!
Excellent coverage of all the things to encounter owning a Yacht.  I have thought of it for a while and see what I am in for.  I also was glad to see no one was hurt since I enjoy all the experiences you all have!!
Whales5 years ago
In the picture it looks like the city is burning behind you.
ex_mo5 years ago
this is a bummer dude!
kc4zvw5 years ago
Could you re-build the mast with new wood and transfer the hardware off the old one.
lol i have read all of these... i feel like if i ever saw the solara i would know everyone on board.
Ditto. Makes me wish there was an RSS so I could track updates. Finally checked back since I read them and there's 2 more chapters!! Why wasn't I informed?
trebuchet035 years ago
Oh No! Glad to hear everyone was safe.

So will the Solara have a traditional mast? Or will we be seeing something more like this nearby Kite Boat
woodyardboy5 years ago
I always wondered what "shiver me timbers" and "heave ho me hearties" was all about, and now I know :)
Del5 years ago
Any more theories on why the mast failed? Signs of rot? Was the wind stronger than you expected (you could review conditions recorded by some local weather station(s))? Congrats on a collective cool head and safe return.
That gives me an idea for my old parachute...
gub20005 years ago
I'm in awe that no one was hurt.
Stew25 years ago
Wow! Amazing (and most fortunate!) that no one got hurt!
fwjs285 years ago
great series...i'd love to see it continued...maybe a trip to someplace for a vacation...