Blue Opal has a topping lift, 10mm braid on braid. I made the choice, when getting all the ropes changed out, to keep the shackle that was already present. This turned out to not be a great idea, as the stormy weather in Ireland over winter has resulted in the shackle vanishing – literally, there are no remnants of it on board – and the topping lift vanishing down the mast. I retrieved the topping lift a few weeks ago, and called my local friendly riggers to get a new shackle and have the topping lift run back down the mast.

Halyard eye, sans shackle

They showed up today, and did the whole thing in about 30 – 45 minutes while Blue Opal was alongside. One fellow up the mast in a chair, a mouse line dropped down, the topping lift pulled down on the mouse, and a new shackle spliced in, job done.

Getting back on the mooring was a little bit more hard work than I wanted, with winds gusting up in to 30 knots. Where Blue Opal sits, there’s a big harbour wall in the way, and it causes some interesting deflections in the wind. I’d get up to the mooring, neutral, zip forward to try and pick up the float, and she’d be falling way before I could even get my hands on the boat hook. In the end, I managed to get the polyprop line on board, and then used a length of rope and a sheet winch to winch the steel strop on board. Worked a charm.

Re-running the topping lift
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