SHTP2 trainee Ben puts the stopper on Blue Mermaid’s stayfall after heaving up.

After servicing the windlass and lowering down, the opportunity was taken to varnish the topmast and touch up the paint on mast and sprit. After the stopper went the two bulldog grips and then the stayfall flew easily off the beautifully free-running windlass.

At the end of last season it still looked like the mainsail needed the sprit to be peaked up more. So while the gear was down one of the five inch links in the standing lift was replaced by a three inch shackle. The geometry means that two inches here will result in five or six inches at the peak. This will be more than the sheet angle of the topsail can cope with to keep that right. To help here, the 5/8 chain at the throat collar has been replaced with a piece one link longer to have the effect of dropping the peak an inch or two. If more is required there is scope in easing the deadwire. It is quite exciting looking forward to putting this to the test in crew training when conditions permit.