Skip to content

When You Need a Step Up: Neighbors to the Rescue

John Kearney solved the masthead Windex problem on his Express 27 Salty Hotel with help from his neighbor’s boat, Michael Moradzadeh’s Santa Cruz 50 Oaxaca.

John Kearny Up the mast of Oaxaca
Everything was fine on the neighbor’s mast to the left. The problem was at the top of the Express 27 mast.
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John

Sailors are known as can-do, resourceful people. That’s because sailboats can be a bit complicated and often require on-the-spot fixes crafted from whatever a sailor has at hand. When the Windex at the top of John Kearney’s Express 27 Salty Hotel wasn’t functioning properly, he took advantage of the tall, neighboring mast and the help of crew on the docks to make things right.

Salty Hotel - come on over
Moving closer to a solution.
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John
Oaxaca and Salty Hotel
Time to meet in the middle.
© 2023 John
Express 27 Salty Hotel
The stretch. Once free, all is good at the masthead of Salty Hotel.
© 2023 John
Masthead fly is fixed
Catch and release. Project complete.
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John
Salty Hotel Drakes Bay Race
Salty Hotel doing what she’s supposed to be doing. This shot is from the 2018 Drake’s Bay Race.
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris

Sailors can do a lot with duct tape and the improper use of a winch handle, so we’re rarely surprised by, and always appreciative of, the creative ways they find to solve a problem. It reminds us of the guy who stepped his mast by driving his boat under the Petaluma River bridge and dangling the mast from the bridge with a block and tackle.

What’s been your most creative boat fix?



  1. Kelvin D. Meeks 11 months ago

    There was that time in Mazatlan, when I needed a mounting bracket for an outboard, on my stern rail…but didn’t want to pay marine supply store prices…

    So, I went to Walmart and purchased a wooden toilet seat, and some U-bolts.

    I call it “Hillbilly Ingenuity”.

  2. milly Biller 11 months ago

    My wonderful crew and splendid sailor in his own right- Steve Clark, made a new mast partner in less than 1 minute out of our dock lines after the wooden partner was reduced to splinters. This was while we were in third place in the race during the 2021 110 Nationals in Hull Mass. His quick work saved the mast from breaking and we only dropped one place in the race !
    Plan on Improvising

Leave a Comment

The Sounds of Sailing
Alli has sailed four Transpacs and is on the board of the Transpacific Yacht Club, the San Diego Yacht Club, and the Cruising Club of America. Hear her thoughts on everything from Transpacs to life lessons.
Sponsored Post
What can QuickTrim™ do for you? Check the link to discover the latest innovation in sailing hardware.