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 hounds.
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 enjoying the frigging in
the rigging of a Jack Tar
The safety meeting about 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
unnecessary 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
abaft 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)
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
Order of the gang is (from first on to last on):
  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 photo.
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 belongs.