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Down for the first time in 50 years, and four hours later, back up!

A well-known local landmark along Rough Firth in Kippford, the Solway Yacht Club’s Race Officer’s Box mast, had stood for over fifty years marking the end of the Club’s start and finish line. However, its rigging was showing its age and while previous minor maintenance had been done off a ladder, more substantial work was needed that required it at ground level. Made of a heavy metal section that was once part of a large ocean-going yacht, lowering it safely without a crane was potentially tricky. After careful preparation and in fine early Spring sunshine, a team of experienced members were briefed, and work started, rigging temporary ropes at key points secured to the shoreline rocks.

Saturday morning visitors to Kippford then watched the mast slowly lowered before coming to rest on trestles set up to receive it. Once down, the team set to, checking the fittings, most in surprisingly good condition, and replacing fewer than anticipated. With new shrouds fitted and securing bolts replaced, it was time to raise it once again. The process was reversed and with the help of one particularly strong member, seemed easier than anticipated. Shrouds were then secured, and the halyards safely fed and cleated inside the “Starting Hut” ready for the new season, starting over Easter. The team then enjoyed a well-earned break with one or two younger ones looking forward to doing it all again in another fifty years!

Ian Purkis

Mast Team Leader

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