Wild Rumpus‘ mast broke yesterday during Race to the Straits. It was the most dramatic toll the conditions took on the large fleet. With your help, we’ll try to get a full report online. Please send photos and comments, and we’ll compile them.
In the meantime, here’s skipper Stephanie Schwenk’s account of the event.
Kudos to all those who helped Rumpus. The unwritten law of the sea about helping fellow mariners is alive and well. No doubt Andy Schwenk and Steph will get to the bottom of why the rig failed and let us know.
From Stephanie Schwenk:
We had rig failure at Bush Point yesterday, which is a sad day for the Wild Rumpus, but the real story is about the guys who came immediately to assist, and stayed with us until we were secure and towed back to Shilshole. I could tell something was happening to the rig, but couldn’t figure out what. I kept checking all the usual spots… plenty of backstay? yes. put on the babystay? yes. But the rig was still slightly inverted, then bang! – it folded at the spreaders and goes down.
Wayne Foley and Dennis Canty were first on the scene to assist, on Priorities. They got on the radio to let the race committee know what happened, and circled us, trying to help make a plan. They stayed on site as communication boat during the whole event. Wayne is a fellow BZ sailor, and Dennis is a longtime Thunderbird racing friend. Both with smiling faces, ready to help.
Next on the scene was Cleo Na Mar. They were 1st place overall winners on Saturday, and doing well when they dropped out to help us, just a few minutes after the rig came down. John Phillips got on the radio, and dropped off his crew Ron (I need more information on Ron, and I’m only 90% sure that was his name, but he was the hero of the day. I should remember his name for certain, but I had a lot going on at the time…). Ed Note: Can anyone help with his name? Ron stepped aboard and immediately helped us make a plan. He helped survey the damage and check what was holding the rig on the boat. He helped us add extra support to keep the mast base on deck, then helped us realize when it was time to cut the jib halyard. We got the jib down and into the boat. The next step was getting the mast on deck. Ron called for a snatch block to put on the bow. We used it and the babystay to get the mast on the deck. The windex was still on, and functional! We carefully moved the mast butt to the stern pulpit, and the next step was getting the main down. No easy task with the mast bent in the middle. The three of us worked together and got it below as well. Ron helped us secure the rig and get the boom off, and then John came back to pick him up. Cleo Na Mar, Priorities, and Last Tango circled us during the whole procedure.
I can’t say enough in support of Cleo Na Mar, and Ron who came aboard. Absolutely amazing, and very worthy of everyone’s respect. I’m not sure how to explain it! He cracked jokes, smiled, organized us, was patient with us, calmed me down when I’m sure I was in a panic, offered helpful advice, came out of it cut and bleeding all over his hands, covered with bruises I’m sure. It’ just the kind of thing you really don’t see very often. He will get a thank you note and hug and bottle of rum, but I encourage everyone to thank them when you see them.
Lastly, Jim and Lisa on Last Tango towed us all the way back to Shilshole. 5 1/2 hours of towing us upwind in the rain, through tide rips, going half speed for them. We were just going to use our outboard, but Ron convinced me that my outboard would cavitate in the chop and if it failed I would be totally stuck. Jim and Lisa towed us carefully and kept checking back on us and occasionally waving at us and smiling.
We got all settled in at Sail Northwest at 6:30. Thank you to the nice people from Seattle Sailing Club for helping get the boat secure and in a good spot for the night. Thank you to (Northwest Yachting Racing Editor) Ben Braden for making it happen. Today we haul out and rebuild! Everything was salvaged, except some rigging and a halyard! The mast can be welded, all the sails are fine except a small tear in the main at the break. A very very horrible day, salvaged by some very wonderful people who took the time to care about us yesterday.
Viva la Rumpus! Bless the Cleo Na Mar, Priorities, and Last Tango.
There is now a new Race to the Straits story to trump the underpants.