Ship Balclutha
On June 30, 2009 the crew of the ship Balclutha and staff
members from San Francisco Maritime National Historical
Park swayed aloft the mizzen topgallant mast.  

The day dawned cold, damp and dreary until the sun made
a brief appearance before retreating under a cloudy sky.  
Rigging in San Francisco in the summer is all about
sweaters and sun tan lotion.
The day began with damp foggy
weather.  Golden Gate bridge is just
visible in the background.  Notice that
the mizzen looks to be mizz'n a mast...
a little rigger humor
The top rope and safety (preventer)
line rigged.  The yellow slings and
shackles are the top rope lizards to
prevent the spar from capsizing as it is
hoisted into the vertical position
A closer view of the top rope lizards
and preventer lashed lizard.  2 lizards
are rigged; one at each halyard
sheave at the royal and t'gallant
The various blocks at the topmast
head for reeving the top rope and
The view underneath the topmast
spreaders toward the West and the
Golden Gate bridge.
At the trees
... a few more gray hairs, but still
enjoying the frigging in the rigging of a
Jack Tar
The safety meeting aboaut to begin...
and then the command "Heave round"
and then the ....
...the topgallant mast sways aloft.  Use
of a heave a head helps to prevent
unnessary banging on the way aloft.
...and the strong back of a shipmate.

When did the Sun come out.
View from aloft to deck and the
topgallant mast waiting to be swayed
aloft.  Notice the leads of the top rope
abat the yards but forward of the main
yard lift.  VERY IMPORTANT
No Courtney, it's the mast abaft us.
Approaching the cap iron (ring at
topmast head)
Mast belayed in position to cast off the
first set of lizards from the top rope.
If this task is overlooked, a busy and
frustrating day lies ahead.  If the
lizards are not cleared away before
they enter the gate, they can get
permanently jammed in the gate -
requiring them to be cut away...not fun
Preparing to pass the rigging eyes
over the white pole section of the
topgallant mast.
The first eye is passed.  The order of the
gang is:
  1. Mizzen T'gallant stay
  2. Starboard T'gallant shroud
  3. Port T'gallant Shroud
  4. Starboard T'gallant Backstay
  5. Port Topgallant Backstay
  6. Topgallant Yard Lift Strop
  7. Mizzen Royal Stay
  8. Starboard Mizzen Royal Back Stay
  9. Port Mizzen Royal Back Stay
  10. Mizzen Royal Yard Lift Strop
  11. Starboard Gantline Block Strop
  12. Port Gantline Block Strop
Spinning yarns at the capstan during a
lull in the action.
...back to many more feet???

The mast now weighs well over 2500 lbs.
with the combined weight of the spar and
all the wire
Rigging gang all settled and the mast
continues it's trek skyward
...and the fid is passed through the fid
hole at the heel to rest upon the tresstle
trees.  Only thing left now is to settle the
spar upon the fid by slacking the top rope.
Note - the purple sling that is acting as a
preventer in case of the top rope & safety
line parting.  A prudent sailor is a
testament to the art of seamanship.
Slacking the top rope
Almost home, just a few more feet.
This is the most critical and dangerous
part of the evolution.  The FULL weight
is upon the top rope. The spaces within
the gate and the cross trees is fast
diminishing and can pinch and part a
top rope.  Rig a heel preventer sling to
act as a fail safe as shown in the next
A very happy and satisfied rigging boss - very proud of the yeoman's
job performed by the crew and the level of seamanship displayed by all.  

Bravo Zulu
The mizzen topgallant mast back where she if only the Sun was...