Mayflower II’s Main top mast

The main topmast is rigged much in the same way as the fore top mast. Two main differences are the weight of everything on the main top is at least fifty percent heavier than the fore top mast and the starting location of the spar.rse is different.

main top mast in the exhibit

We have to take part of the dock side exhibit down in order to wheel the spar into place. The louvered panel in the picture has been removed and slide sideways to allow the cart with the top mast near the ship. While the top mast is big, the next spar, the main yard, which we affectionately call the “Big one” just fits into the exhibit space. More on that tomorrow.

So, the process, once the spar is in place is much the same as the fore top mast. We swing the mast over to the ship, raise it through the main mast cap and dress the mast with all the gear necessary before raising the mast up and setting the fid in place.

Couple of things that can go wrong. Too much wind will cause the unstayed mast to cant over one way or another as it goes up, placing either the gantline, snatch block or fair leads in the wrong position will result in having to lower the mast and redo the whole thing. Another fun thing that can happen, so I’ve heard, is an over zealous volunteer might make off the slack flag halyards before the mast is up, then when the over tight line snaps the mast could jump up about two feet. Ha, ha, that could be funny, especially if your in the working top and you see the mast leap upward all of a sudden. Ha, ha…

fairleading the gantline out to the truck.Anyway, we have to fair lead the gantline out to the truck in order to raise the mast. The driver of the truck cannot see any of the action as he is lifting the mast. Communication is key here between the driver, the riggers and everyone on deck keeping and eye on all the loose rigging as it goes up in the air.

Dressing the mast

This is the start of dressing the mast. The topmast is hanging inthe heal rope in front of the main mast. Two of us are in the working top receiving the gear and placing it on the mast head in the right order and three or four people are on deck hauling things up as we need them.

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s exciting episode… Rigging the “Big one”….or “that yard weighs nearly a ton you know.”

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