The Stewart family buy a boat, jack it all in and go sailing!

*Do* pay the Ferryman? Re-stepping the mast

Today is an exciting day for us:  the main mast is going back on the boat.

For a while now we’ve been having repairs done to all the rigging and the main mast.  The team over at Marlin Marline have done an amazing job over the past few weeks and have been fitting us into their crazy schedule.

All that’s left to do is re-step the mast and attach the new shrouds (these are the guy-ropes that hold the masts up), then we have JUST two more stays to replace, the cap shrouds on the mizzen.  We’ve also taken the opportunity to replace a lot of the halyards (the ropes that pull the sails up the mast) and also put in new nav and deck lights on the mast.

So today we’re heading over to Hawkes boatyard again; we’ll sit in the water at their dock while the crane drops the mast mast back in.  When we took the mast out we found a coin underneath; age had turned it a dull black. We cleaned it up and found an Australian 20c piece from 1981, the year that the build started on Iron Will.

We wondered why it was there – some kind of good luck token?

And why it wasn’t a larger denomination: why not a $1 or $2 coin?

Professor Google revealed all. There are various reasons given as to why you need the coin under your mast:

  • to pay the ferryman to cross the river Styx
  • currency in time of need
  • to bring good luck
  • because copper and silver are lucky fungicides
  • as payment for Neptune to look after your soul

And as one person wrote: “You don’t need to use rare or expensive coins. In fact, in the days of wooden ships, when even skilled artisans earned comparatively little, it was regarded as imprudent to use gold.

Besides, there wasn’t much point in paying Charon more than he could find change for. Rather, select a coin that means something to you, one that was minted in the year the boat was launched perhaps, or one from the year you were born.”

So back it went, on its little rubber gasket that the original builder must’ve carefully put there.

We noted it in the log book, and Sasha added a rubbing of the lucky coin.  Not that we’re particularly superstitious or anything, but really, what harm?

Now we just need to get the mast back on.  We’re all organised so everything should go smoothly.  Touch wood …