Friday, 25 December 2009

Etihad Stadium Mast is Up

by Jody O'Brien

Thirteen days after dismasting in Bass Strait on the delivery sail from Melbourne to Sydney, the Etihad Stadium maxi is now looking like a 98 foot ocean racing machine again.

The 44 metre mast was successfully installed just after 3am on 24th December with a very large crane and all hands on deck at Sydney City Marine.

Skipper and owner Grant Wharington is pretty pleased with the outcome.

“We’ve managed to do what many have been saying would be impossible – a big thanks to the boys from Hart Marine and the Southern Spars project team – they’ve done an absolutely sensational job” he said.

“And to our fantastic crew who have all played a very significant role – without their help, their skills and their shared passion to get to the start line, we simply wouldn’t be where we are now – and that is with the mast back in the boat and sails ready to be put on later this morning “ he said.

The basic installation of the 44 metre mast is complete, and the crew are now getting some sleep before re-convening later this morning to being the process of tuning the rig – adjusting the tension on ropes and stays, as well as checking and re-checking all the fixtures and fittings.

“We’ve still got a fair bit of work to do, but we’ll get there !” said the exhausted skipper.

In the midst of the crane delicately lowering the mast into the deck, Grant remembered the special coin that needed to be placed on the bottom of the mast before it was fixed in place.

Salty sea dog superstition and folklore indicates that placing a silver coin on the bottom of the mast before stepping it into the boat brings good luck, with the coin needing to be of sentimental significance.

An Australian ten cent piece, date stamped 2003, was used – the significance being that the boat’s sail number is 10 and in 2003 they won line honours in the Rolex Sydney Hobart when the boat was known as Skandia.

“We figured that after the run of not so great luck we’ve had over the last couple of weeks, and given that we’ve all got a bit of a superstitious streak, it was a good idea to do it !” said Grant.

“All going to plan, maybe some of that good luck generated from the coin might come our way in a few days time when we head south in the Great Race” he said.

The crew will spend the morning at the marina, and hope to get out on the water for a test sail in the early afternoon. Timing for this is yet to be determined and will be known later this morning.

Etihad Stadium/Wild Thing Yachting

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