I have lost the halyard several times – so now I wire it in place. It usually happens when I am reefing the main in a sudden blow, but it has happened when I have (for some reason) loosened it, and the wind snatches it from my hand, or it wraps itself around the head of the mast.
Shortly after leaving Camarinas, in a blow, as I was reefing, I heard a “ping!” As the shackle pin went flying one way and the shackle another. I took this photo of the halyard.
I used my Aloft Alone kit to climb the mast mid Atlantic, somewhere off Portugal, but could not untangle it. I used the topping lift, as the halyard shifted position for several days, looking like a python, languidly lazing in the standing rigging.
Then, as I approached Porto Santos, it just fell loose!
I raced to the mast and grabbed it, still wrapped around the mast but in my reach at last, and tied it to a shroud before shackling it securely at the foot of the mast.
Below is Frank in Porto Santos, to the north east of Medeira. I stayed 12 hours to dry out and secure the halyard shackle pin with some seizing wire and headed on to the Caribbean.
I heartily recommend Porto Santos – the marina is reminiscent of Portland, being an ex NATO base – not used much, sheltered and friendly. The beaches are wonderful and the shops nearby are superb. Apparently, finding a berth Madeira is hard but Porto Santos is great.