Friday, June 24, 2005
I took the rib out for a spin the other day, because I could. I know, I know, I need to be dealing with that rust, but the temptation was just too great.
Anyway, things were all going perfectly fine until I started hauling the rib back in. I had mis-judged the height of the chain block and had to lower the rib down, re-arrange things then haul the rib back in. At some stage I had managed to get the rope jammed in the pulley on the top of the mast. I went up and freed it, but noticed the casing of the pulley was cracked. No other damage, such as bent shackles, was evident.
Immediately after starting to lift the rib for the second time, the pulley at the top of the mast failed, and the whole lot came down with a huge crash. I know I was lifting well within the safe working loads of all the equipment, so can only assume it was the rope dropping between the casing and the pulley while under load which introduced a shock load to the system, causing the pulley to break.
I was standing safely, as I've been very concious of the weights and forces involved, so I was fine. The rib also appears to be ok, as it dropped back into the soft mud.
In retrospect, I should have stopped trying to lift the rib immediately I noticed that the top pulley had a defect. This whole experience has shown just how fast things can go wrong, and the need for extreme care when lifting anything on the boat.
Needless to say, the rib will stay beside Lady Jane until I can replace the entire set of pulleys and ropes. As I've seen firsthand, this is not equipment to be taking any chances with.