So simple. You switch off the power, remove the old bulb and replace with the new one. Job done!
But it’s different on a yacht.
Especially when said bulb lives at the top of the mast 16 metres in the air.
So you may ask yourself, how is it done?
Well first of all you need to find a willing volunteer. Next you’ll need two ropes which lead to the top of the mast, that for us was a Halyard and a Topping lift. You need to use two lines just in case one should break, which is not good for the person attached to the end of the line or for the person standing below.
These two lines are secured to a very uncomfortable bosun’s chair and the willing volunteer is then winched up to the top of the mast whilst sat in this chair by either one or preferably two crew members. It’s never a good look with most asking “does my bum look big in this?”
Obviously arriving at the top without tools or the necessary replacement light bulb would be a disaster so a handy shopping bag can be used to keep all of the vital equipment in, attached also to the bosun’s chair.
Beware! Crew members walking around on deck making the yacht move albeit very slightly can have a very dramatic effect at the top of the mast, when you’re perched 16 metres or more in the air trying to unscrew a light bulb, this can be very disconcerting. Equally, should the person sat at the top of the mast accidentally drop something, and it’s easily done. Make sure you’re never in a position situated directly below him or her.
Prior to our volunteers descent it’s wise to check the bulb works before he leaves his post. You won’t want to be winching his 15 stone worth of weight back up the mast and he’s unlikely to volunteer again.
Once the task has been completed the next trick is to ease the lines around the winches and let the person come down to the deck smoothly. One person working each line on separate winches is ideal. If the decent is handled in a jerky manner the earlier willing volunteer will not be impressed, smooth, controlled and quick is the way to go.
Once the happy volunteer has landed safely back on deck it’s time for a cold beer…