sail-world.com
 
 
News Home Video Gallery Photo Gallery

 

Sail-World.com : The Ceramco Files: No use calling home for Mum

The Ceramco Files: No use calling home for Mum

'Ceramco from the air nearing Cape Town'    Ceramco NZ

This week it is the 25th anniversary of the dismasting of Ceramco New Zealand. Over this time, Sail-World is featuring a series of images and sound clips from one of the seminal moments in New Zealand yachting culture.


Chapter 6 of 'Blake's Odyssey' by Peter Blake and Alan Sefton. in which Peter Blake describes his initial reaction to the dismasting of Ceramco New Zealand in the 1981-82 Whitbread Race

I dashed up on deck. What a mess. The whole top half of the mast was over the side but still attached by internal halyards and wiring systems, plus the mainsail and jib and the headstay. Another section, probably 2Oft long, was bent over and dangling down to the gunwhale. We were left with a l6ft stump still in place.

It appeared that the port lower intermediate shroud had broken where it bent over the lower spreader. The mast didn’t have a chance and folded at the middle and bottom spreaders. But diagnosis had to wait. The top section of the alloy mast, with all its attachments, was under the boat with the wind blowing Ceramco down on to it.

There were some shocked and glum faces about, but nobody hesitated. Fenders were put over the side to prevent hull damage by the section in the water. We used the motor — first making sure there were no lines under the propeller — to reverse the boat around until the spar and entanglements were to windward with Ceramco streaming to leeward of their danger. Then we used blocks and tackles to slowly winch the mast section back on board.

With everything back on deck — we salvaged the lot — we had only three bent stanchions to show for all the trouble. But we were 2455 miles from Cape Town, as the crow flies, with only a loft stump of a mast from which to hang a bare minimum of sail.

To get us moving again, while we took stock of the situation, we set the trisail and No. 6 jib on the stump and quickly were making 4 to 5 knots in the right direction. That was something. But it was daunting to think how far we had to go - most of it to windward if we contemplated the direct route.

The gunnel-bum clinic is held aboard Ceramco New Zealand -  Ceramco NZ   Click Here to view large photo



Day 25: Tuesday, September 22. Noon position 6.12S 14.54W
Day’s run 64 miles. Course 230 degrees.
Wind SSE 10 knots. Barometer 1017.

Not one of the great nights. Everyone retired to their own thoughts, very sad about what had happened. They weren’t worried for themselves. They were concerned that they might be letting down a lot of people back home who had shown so much faith in the project. But by dawn we were ready to bounce back and the work to be done diverted everyone’s attentions to things productive.
We managed 40 miles overnight in a south-westerly direction. Not a lot, but at least we were moving and in the right direction.

Vonny turned on a hearty breakfast before we began the job of hoisting the 50ft top section into place. Most people slept reasonably well despite a lot of tossing and turning. As they emerged from their bunks though there was a fair amount of uncertainty, people mentally pinching themselves hoping it had all been a had dream. A quick look on deck quickly dispelled those hopes.


Erecting the first part of the jury rig aboard Ceramco -  Ceramco NZ  
There was a seven to eight foot swell running and quite a lollop so the job of hoisting the 5Oft top section wasn’t going to be easy. We started by maneuvering the spar forward until it was over the pulpit and right out in front of the boat. The base of the section had been trimmed off with a hacksaw, filed up neatly and was resting just in front of the stub of the bottom section which was still in position in the boat.

As a pad for the top section, which would of course be deck-stepped, we’d requisitioned Vonny’s kauri breadboard from the galley. The cook wasn’t too happy at losing such a beautiful part of his set-up, but relented as it was to be put to essential use. The breadboard was fixed in place, in front of the stub, by bolting alloy strips to it and through the deck. We then created a system of ropes and wire around the base of the top section to prevent it shooting backwards when we performed the actual lift.

Next we rigged the stub as a fulcrum with a wire run over the top of it to the hounds of what would be our new mast, up over the pulpit then back over the top of the stub to the mainsheet winch in the helmsman’s cockpit. We were almost ready, but as a precaution against the sea that was running, we rigged control lines so that we could keep a tight grip on everything when we started the hoist.

It was quite an operation with a few anxious moments, but slowly the top section was ground to the vertical, in position in front of the stub. Chappy went up and lashed the new’ spar to the top of the stub while Jaws wired up the bottom. We then pulled it all tight with blocks and tackle and made sure it would remain in position by adding bands of wire and big bulldog clips. Midway up the stub, we bound the two sections together with hefty wire and again tightened this up with blocks and tackle.

To make sure the bottom of the new mast couldn’t go anywhere, we block-and-tackled it out to the sidedecks.

We had already rigged forestay and backstay spare halyards and kite braces — from the top of the mast. Now we added shrouds from the mast top and from the hounds, using a jockey pole as a spreader on the port side to improve the load angle on the main shroud on what would be the weather (windward) side of the boat. As we tensioned it all, the new mast seemed to be standing well, so we rigged an inner forestay and prepared to try some sail.
On board Ceramco. Chappie is up the mast again. On the right a spinnaker pole is rigged. -  Ceramco NZ  


Using light cord, we lashed the No. 6 headsail — through its eyelets to the forestay and hoisted it. Next came the storm jib, set on the inner forestay (all the stays connected through blocks to the big grinder winches aft). Immediately, the boat steadied down. We had power on and Ceramco felt like she was a going concern again, her speed potential albeit reduced. The trisail came next, hoisted to the top of the mast (with no ties on the luff) and sheeted to the quarter. The speedo shot up to 7.5 to 8 knots. We felt pretty pleased with ourselves. It was now noon on September 22 — 24 hours since that ominous crack which had threatened complete disaster. We’d covered only 64 miles, what was to be the worst run of the leg. But it wasn’t too bad I guess when one considered that the previous worst run had been 85 miles, noon to noon, in the Doldrums.

The work was far from finished however. Now we had to strengthen the rig to make sure it would stay there and take the loads. The top of the mast was already tending to wiggle around quite a lot.

Log extract and text from 'Blake's Odyssey' reprinted by kind permission of Alan Sefton. Sound recordings kindly provided by Peter Montgomery from his personal archives.


Watch Captain Keith Chapman on the dismasting - Click play button twice to listen



Watch Captain Geoff Stagg talks to Peter Montgomery on the Ceramco dismasting - Click play button twice to listen



Richard MacAlister talks to Peter Montgomery - Click play button twice to listen



Trevor Agnew talks to Peter Montgomery - Click play button twice to listen



Top journalist Bob Fisher tells of seeing Ceramco for the first time under jury rig - Click play button twice to listen


Windows Media Player is required to play this file.
Windows Media Player (Windows 98/ME/2000/XP)
Windows Media Player (Windows 95/NT)
Windows Media Player (Mac)





by Peter Montgomery, Alan Sefton and Sail-World

  

Click on the FB Like link to post this story to your FB wall

http://www.sail-world.com/index.cfm?nid=27585

11:38 AM Sun 18 Sep 2011 GMT






Click here for printer friendly version
Click here to send us feedback or comments about this story.

Click for further information on
2011-12 Volvo Ocean Race

Related News Stories:

21 Aug 2012  Volvo Ocean Race: Official Video of latest edtion
21 Aug 2012  Volvo Ocean Race: All-Women crew announced for the 2014-15 edition
31 Jul 2012  B&G helps Volvo Ocean Race winner to victory
18 Jul 2012  Volvo Ocean Race: And when the race is over.... + Video
18 Jul 2012  Volvo Ocean Race: Calling up the Reinforcements
16 Jul 2012  The most successful Volvo Ocean Race yet
16 Jul 2012  Volvo Ocean Race: Sanderson wants to go again
16 Jul 2012  Volvo Ocean Race: Reluctant hero Marsh takes seamanship honour
16 Jul 2012  Volvo Ocean race: How the closest ever race was won
10 Jul 2012  Volvo Ocean Race - Perfection never enough for Franck Cammas
MORE STORIES ...

News - USA and the World





















HUD Vision: An interview with Afterguard Marine’s Alex Moret *Feature by David Schmidt, Sail-World USA Editor, Seattle














America's Cup: Expected de Ridder penalty should be reduced *Feature by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World.com/nz, Auckland, NZ
















Congressional Cup - Victory for Taylor Canfield and crew by Rich Roberts (As Amended by ISAF),




2014 Halifax – Saint-Pierre Ocean Race by Patricia Nelder, Nova Scotia












Charleston Race Week - Photos by Chris Howell
Image Gallery: Stratis SL33 flies on the Waitemata
Audi Melges 20- Sperry Topsider Charleston Race Week - Light final day
Clipper Round the World Yacht Race - PSP Logistics prepares for USA
ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyères - Crème of the crop to compete
Congressional Cup: Luna Rossa makes podium in first event
Int 14 World Championships 2015 launch new event website
International Optimist Regatta Clinic and Team Race - Register now!
Congressional Cup: World top rankers finish that way in Long Beach
Sperry Top-Sider Charleston Race Week Day 3 finale
America's Cup: Gino Morrelli outlines the new AC62 design
Doyle Sails New Zealand signs Andrew Brown as One Design Manager
America's Cup: Dean Barker's Blog - A sail with the Duke and Duchess *Feature
29er World Youth Sailing Week Easter regatta - Day 1 and 2 overall
C Thomas Clagett Jr Memorial Clinic/Regatta - Entries start to roll in
50th Congressional Cup: See the delayed coverage and media conferences
Clipper Race 10 Day 27: Closing stages - Qingdao to San Francisco
Canfield, Williams, Bruni, Swinton in Congressional Cup final four
Sperry Top-Sider Charleston Race Week - Day 2
Audi Melges 20 Charleston Race Week - Perfect conditions in Charleston
Oyster Regatta Antigua - Full on ocean conditions for day 3   
PWA World Tour - A taste of things to come at La Torche + Video   
Women's International Match Racing Series kicks off in June   
Melges 32 Audi Tron Sailing Series - Action shots by Max Ranchi   
Clipper Round the World Yacht Race - Frustrating conditions   
Man rescued after falling overboard in Pacific taken to hospital   
Sperry Top-Sider Charleston Race Week 2014 - Youth leading Melges 20   
Congressional Cup - Canfield leads toward Congressional Cup sailoffs   
Sperry Top-Sider Charleston Race Week 2014 - Perfection for Day 1   
America's Cup: Coutts claims ISAF Jury on a crusade, backs Kiwi report *Feature   
Clipper Round the World Yacht Race - Will light winds hamper progress?   
Les Voiles de St. Barth - Preparing to rock Saint Barthélemy waters   
Clipper Round the World Race - OneDLL and Qingdao now in San Francisco   
America's Cup: Emirates Team NZ up against funding hurdle for year *Feature   
Melges 32 Sailing Series Napoli - Day 1 images by Stefano Gattini   
50th Congressional Cup: View the Live racing here   
Melges 32 Sailing Series - Napoli action shots by Max Ranchi   
Volvo Ocean Race - Team Alvimedica launch new boat   
Emirates Team NZ: Royals duke it out on the Waitemata   
2014 Charleston Race Week - Thousands of sailors descend on Charleston   


For this week's complete news stories select    Last 7 Days
   Search All News
For last month's complete news stories select    Last 30 Days
   Archive News







Sail-World.com  


















Switch Default Region to:

Social Media

Asia

Australia

Canada

Europe

New Zealand

United Kingdom


http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/Twitter_logo_small.png http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/FaceBook-icon.png  http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/RSS-Icon.png

United States

Cruising Northern

Cruising Southern

MarineBusiness World

PowerBoat World

FishingBoating World

 

Contact

Commercial

News

Search

Contact Us

Advertisers Information

Submit news/events

Search Stories/Text

Feedback

Advertisers Directory

Newsletter Archive

Photo Gallery

 

Banner Advertising Details

Newsletter Subscribe

Video Gallery

Policies

 

 

 

Privacy Policy

 

 


Cookie Policy

 

 



This site and its contents are © Copyright TetraMedia and/or the original author, photographer etc. All Rights Reserved.  Photographs are copyright by law.  If you wish to use or buy a photograph contact the photographer directly.
X6XL NEW US