Re-Rigging and More!

November 12, 2011

Last month’s qualifying offshore trip didn’t happen, but hey, I turned fifty!  We had a great party at the house with food, beer and music from one of the bands I play with (shameless plug:  Check us out if you need a band for your party, regatta, or whatever.  We’re actually very good.  We charge a fortune, though, and there are no hot babes in the band.  Also, we’re all middle-aged and surly.  And we’ll probably drink all your beer.  Still, we’re good.

Bass Masta. Hire us, we don't suck!

So, about my mast.  Long story short, I had ordered a bunch of parts online.  Spokane has only one West Marine, and their inventory of sailboat stuff is a little light.  My orders took longer to arrive than I’d expected–much longer.  In fact, of the three large, well-known suppliers I used, the only one I would buy from again is Fisheries Supply (shameless plug:  They fulfilled my order the day I placed it, and the box of stuff came within a few days.  Their prices are as good as anyone else’s, and since I visit their retail store when I’m in Seattle, I know they’re nice folks.  I didn’t order anything from West Marine this time, but I’ve had good experiences with them too.  It’s just that their prices sometimes seem kind of hit or miss.

Once I had everything I began assembling the rigging.  I replaced almost all of the fasteners, using Tef Gel to ward off the galvanic corrosion that wiped them out in the first place.  I replaced a few clevis pins, a few sheaves, all the cotter pins and split rings, and a turnbuckle.  I fabricated aluminum mast gates so my new luff slides will work with lazy jacks.  I made up lazy jacks and rigged them.  I added messenger lines for future masthead electrical additions, for the topping lift (which had been removed; I’m going to add a spare main halyard in its place), and for the spinnaker halyard, which I removed to the outside of the mast.

I want that messenger line for the internal spinnaker halyard to be there in case I ever want to re-route the halyard inside the mast.  I moved the halyard outside because it kind of took a tortured path from the cockpit through the deck organizer, the mast base sheave, up the inside of the mast, out a funky double-sheave exit box, and through the masthead block.  The PO had used 3/8 Sta-Set, which is a little large for the sheaves, and there was a lot of friction.  Now the halyard runs through the deck organizer, through a deck-mounted block in front of the mast base, and then on up to the masthead block.  MUCH nicer.  Not only is there very little friction, I can also jump the halyard from the  mast, which turns out to be much easier for me than doing it from the cockpit.  So why didn’t I just go to a 6mm halyard?  $$$  Maybe someday, but the 3/8 Sta-Set run outside the mast is working for me for now.

I also re-rigged the boom while I had it off.  I’d been having a lot of trouble with friction in the outhaul, and after sitting on my porch and staring at it for a while I figured out why:  when I’d rigged it originally I’d had the blocks attached to the boom end fitting and to the pin inside the boom.  Don’t laugh!  I’m not an idiot, but I’m not really an engineering kind of guy either.  Julie, my lovely wife, and I had just seen a Leonardo daVinci exhibit at the Museum of Arts and Culture in Spokane, where I’d spent some time playing with the hands-on block and tackle exhibit.  It hit me like a smack to the head, right there as I sat on my porch staring at my boom.  With both of the blocks in fixed positions there was no mechanical advantage.  I’d just been running my outhaul line through the blocks, adding a lot of friction and nothing else!

Well, I fixed it tout suite.  Now I’m enjoying the easy-action outhaul I always dreamed of!  While I was working on the boom I also added eye straps for terminating the reefing lines.  I won’t described what I used to do to reef, but my new setup is pretty standard and works great.  The lazy jacks were simple to fabricate with some line, eye straps, blocks, and cleats.  They work exactly like I thought they would, and I can pull them completely out of the way when they’re not in use.  Disclaimer:  I pirated the concept from Port Townsend Rigging (shameless plug:  I’ve met the owners, bought things from them, and had Lisa do some splicing for me.  They’re nice people and good riggers.  Buy stuff from them.

New Lazy Jacks--Homemade!

I packed everything up and headed back to Olympia to step the mast and put it all back together.  I had my brother, Chris, who is not a sailor, helping me at the marina.  I hadn’t thought much about what a long aluminum tube with eight stainless steel wires and a bunch of colored rope coming out of it must look like until he said, “Hey Kevin, how do you know you have all this going to the right places?”  He looked concerned.  The mast lay on the deck supported by the bow and stern rails.  Wire and rope were everywhere.  It really did look like a mess.  The sidestays were attached, as were the aft lowers and split backstay.  I don’t think he believed it was all going to work.

It did, though.  We got it up without much cussing, got everything attached, and sat back to admire our work.  I glanced aloft at the wind indicator, which for some reason I’m obsessed with–it’s my primary trimming tool–and then the cussing began.  Somewhere along the line it had gotten out of whack.  I stared at it.  I willed it to center itself.  I swore at it, and in return it mocked my carelessness.  So that was it, the day was over for me.  We packed up, closed up the boat, and went to dinner at The Quality Burrito in downtown Olympia.  Clever name, great burritos.

#@!!% Crooked Wind Indicator!

I didn’t have time during that trip to tune things up, or to do anything else for that matter, which is frustrating.  I like to have time to sit and stare at things until solutions come to me.  That didn’t happen this time, but I’ve been back since, and I’ll tell you about that next.

As always, more later . . .

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