New Spreader Boots

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The most common question I get asked by curious non-climbers is, “Why?” By which I think they mean, “”What would compel a sane person to want to spend as much time as possible dangling off the side of a cliff?”

I could answer something along the lines of how you are never fully alive until you look down between your feet to see… nothing. Or, how standing on top of a mountain makes you feel simultaneously invincible and insignificant. Or, how there is simply no better way to spend a day than by being outside… But I won’t. What I discovered recently is that there is a very practical and sensible reason to be happy in high places.

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Raring to go up the mast! 

A few weeks ago we were out on my daughter and son-in-law’s sailboat. We tacked just as a big gust caught us and handily fouled the foresail. In the aftermath (which involved a lot of flapping lines and waving arms and scrambling around to get the sail back where it was meant to be) we managed to send a spreader boot flying off the end of the spreader and into Finlayson Arm where it sank in hundreds of feet of icy cold water.

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Not a sharp photo – sorry about that. But you can see the state of the old spreader boot (the one that didn’t fly off into the water). It was disintegrating and held on only by a single ancient cable tie. That cable tie popped off when I touched it, so it was a good thing we replaced both while I was up there.

After procuring new pair, I was delighted to be sent up the mast to install the shiny new spreader boots. Securely fastened with rigger’s tape, they will help provide a smooth non-snagging surface for wayward halyards.

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The view from below. 

See? Slipping into a climbing harness and heading up, up, up is about the most fun a climber can have on a boat!

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The view from above…

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