Sunday, October 30, 2011

October 29. 2011.

We woke to a bit o' sunshine and 15 to 20 knots outta the north. We took our time and were underway by 0800 with the Alibi II's 20 minutes behind us.

The forecast was for 15 to 20 dying off to 5 to 10 in the afternoon followed by higher winds in the evening. The forecast for this area includes both small craft and gale force warnings after midnight. They're also forecasting snow for the DC- Baltimore area. Yikes. Those people out at MaxProp have no idea how close things got to getting ugly.

We figured we'd go all night, getting south far enough to avoid the gale force winds and head down to Norfolk where the temperatures are supposed to be 10 degrees warmer. So we unrolled the genoa for what I hoped would be a relaxing trip down the bay. With the wind over our left shoulder we found ourselves blasting down flat seas at better than 7 knots. The sun was bright and warm, life was good. Until 1100 hours, that was when the sun disappeared behind a ceiling of low gray cold winter skies. Crap.

The wind died away until we were ghosting along at only 2 knots. Several motoring sailboats caught us and turned into Solomon Island as we passed by. We considered this option but the next 2 days are supposed to contain 30 to 45 knots of wind on the bay. Getting trapped in Solomon Island for 2 or 3 nights with the possibility of snow in the area was not an attractive option.

After me deciding to put out into probable gale force conditions the other night Christy has assumed the role of onboard weather router. She said we were not taking the chance of getting caught in the snow so we pressed on. (Good)

By 1900 hours the wind had picked up and we had to reduce sail. Our friends on First Edition had extended us an invitation to stop at their home on Mill Creek off Ingram Bay. With last nights nighttime entry into an unfamiliar anchorage still fresh in my mind we kept on going.

For the rest of the night the forecast of 15 to 20 topped out at 30 knots. We had a slice of genoa out in an effort to control our speed. The sea state was bigger than I expected in the Chesapeake. Close set 4 footers with what I swear were rogue 7 footers thrown in. Crossing the mouth of the Potomac got a little sloppy in spite of having all the wind you could want. The wind was clocking up onto our beam and the seas were rolling under us from the port-side as we flew along. It was a balance of having enough sail up to lessen the amount of rolling we were doing without having too much up and crashing along headfirst.

With about 10 miles to go to Norfolk we had to reduce sail even further in an effort to slow us down. We wanted to anchor in Mill Creek near Fort Monroe. The last time we were there the anchorage was full of crab pots so we wanted to make a daylight arrival. Alibi II opted to continue on hoping to grab a spot on the free wall at Great Bridge for the next few days of gale force storms. We were tired and the holding in Mill Creek is top notch.

Even dragging our feet we got to the entrance of Mill Creek at about 0600. With the severe overcast it was still dark as hell. We crept into the anchorage using the reflection of the nearby street lights to scan the waters surface for crab pot floats. We found 3 other boats riding peacefully at anchor and nary a crab pot in sight. By 0700 we were safely anchored, the boat was squared away and we were eating breakfast with a well deserved cocktail in hand. Thats right Mom, bagels and rum for breakfast.

We covered 123 nautical miles. The first 3 hours were what sailing dreams are made of. Then there was 8 hours of light air ghosting along and the balance was spent under various reefs depending on conditions at that moment. The autopilot worked it ass off negotiating the trying conditions often spinning the wheel from stop to stop in the blink of an eye. Its time for a nap....
October 27, 2011.

The highs and lows of the cruising lifestyle really manifested themselves this week.

We've been saying goodbye to our local friends as we've seen them during the last few weeks. Its nice to go south but it is a bit saddening to say goodbye to so many good people.

On top of that, today was my last day of work. While it's nice to be done with work for several months it really was bittersweet to walk out the door at the end of the day. The company I spent this season working for could not have been a better fit for me. The place was busy all year with a variety of work to be performed. From toilets to custom teak with every mechanical and electrical repair in between thrown in. The people there take pride in their work and it shows in their results. I gave a good effort, I learned a lot and Christy and I were accepted as family. They even put up with my unusual view on things. I really hope none of them freezes to death this winter.

A little bit after 1700 hours Christy and I dropped our lines and headed south. We left the dock with about 10 knots of breeze blowing out of the southwest. After about 400 yards the wind completely died. We drifted for close to an hour as we ate dinner before finally starting up the engine.

The wind was forecast to be 10 to 14 from the northwest on several weather sites. While NOAA was broadcasting small craft warnings and an actual gale warning. Turned out that NOAA was right. We went straight from zero wind to Auntie Em, Auntie Em!!

Christy was on the phone with the youngest girlchild when I saw the ominous clouds coming up behind us. I reefed the genoa and told Christy that we had to reef the mainsail. Before she could even hang up the phone the wind was on us. So while the wind was topping out at 35 knots we put in a double reef and turned south. We were doing over 7 knots with very little sail up and saw over 40 knots apparent several times. It was blowing a hoolie.

I was hoping the big winds would be short lived as the front overtook us. But after a few miles it didn't seem to be the case so we decided to tuck in and try again in the morning. But where? Herring Bay was a nice downwind run from our position but once in there if the wind came around to the northeast it would make for a miserable night. The nearest place was the Rhode River. On the plus side is that it would offer great protection. Another plus was that our friends Alibi II had believed NOAA and had tucked in there earlier today and could give us a few pointers on the entrance.

On the negative side was the fact that we were already due east of the entrance and we'd have to go close hauled through 2 miles of nasty 4 footers to get there. Another negative is the fact that we've never been there before. Is it full of crab traps? Are all the markers lit? Should we enter an unknown anchorage with the wind hovering between 30 and 40 knots, in the pitch dark with a smattering of rain flyin' about. We'll take 2 mile pitch dark close hauled hell ride for $600 Alex.

The seas laid down as we approached the shoreline and we slowly motored through the winding channel in complete darkness. We dropped the hook at 2000 hours and buttoned up for the night.

So as the day went, we got to stop working for a while but we're really gonna miss the people. We also got to do some sailing but I coulda swore it used to be more fun....

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

October 25, 2011.

I was up at the shop by 0700 and told them that I needed to take care of my prop and would punch in later, they were cool with that so I got started.

I removed the non spinning spinner and headed up to the shop. I degreased everything and carefully inspected the bearing surfaces for scratches, burrs and any other anomaly that I could find. I did find a tiny dent and polished it out. Then it was back down to the boat to reassemble the unit. Once again it bound up tight, as I seated the last 2 bolts.

I painted the inside surfaces with Dychem Blue. I reassembled everything and once I pulled it all back apart I could see from transference of the blue dye exactly where the parts were binding. Then it was trial and error as I repeatedly polished away the dye and a bit o' metal in an effort to alleviate the binding.

Removing too much metal would make the whole refurbishing all for naught, so it was polish, assemble, attempt to spin, rinse, lather, repeat. After the first few attempts I could start to see a difference. It was still way too tight but there was definite progress.

After close to 4 hours I was satisfied that things were as they should be. I put the blades on and everything moved pretty smoothly. Cool. About time.
Then I sanded the shaft and put on a shaft zinc. Next up was the zinc that PYI supplied for the prop. When I flipped it over I thought I had picked up an old zinc. It was horribly corroded.
I've seen zincs come out of the water in better condition than this one. One side looked fairly clean and new while the back face was shitty. I mean, seriously, where do they store their zincs, at the bottom of the ocean? So it was another trip back up to the shop to clean up the face of the zinc.

Once both zincs were installed I applied a couple of coats of anti-fouling paint to the prop and shaft. The travel lift picked us up and while we were hanging in the slings I painted the jack stand pad spots.
While that dried, I compounded and waxed the bow sections that had been hanging out over the water while we were on the hard.

The boat was finally ready and after moving a few boats to make room we were once again back in the water. The wind genny is up, the backstay is tight, Christy washed the decks and as of Thursday evening the Veranda will be officially southbound.
And it only took all freaking day....

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

October 24, 2011.

The box showed up on Monday as promised. The weight said 33 pounds, probably a new zinc inside, close enough. I opened the box and peered inside. I unwrapped the bubble wrap and was greeted by the cry of “dude, ¿que pasa?”. In spite of his quirks I was relieved to see our Max starring up at me from the bottom of the box looking fresh and revitalized. So it turns out that 6 years ago we were told we were getting an 18 inch prop and I took their word for it. It turns out Max has been a 20 all along. It was still early in my workday so I stuck Max under the boat and went about my day.

I finished up the installation of a new style wind generator. It's an AirMax and seems to be more popular on the west coast than out here in the east. It's the first one I've seen and the Taswell 44 I put it on will make an excellent test platform.
It only weighs about half as much as the newly popular D-400's everybody seems to want right now. As soon as it went on top of a new Kato telescoping mounting pole the wind pretty much died so it'll be a while before I find out how it performs.

After lunch I had to make a road call on an older Passport Yacht. I ended up replacing the raw water pump on their Perkins 4108. The noteworthy thing about this part of my day was that this 4108 was SPOTLESS. The boat itself was pristine but that is often the case. The woman who owns the boat takes advantage of the wonderful engine access and keeps her engine as clean as any I've ever seen.

That killed the day and it was back to the Veranda to reinstall Max. That's about when the wheels came off. Crap.

The MaxProp has a central hub that slips over your prop shaft. Then there is a 2 piece “spinner” that you bolt together covering the central hub. Everything was perfect until the last little tweak of the wrench. The spinner didn’t spin. It should rotate freely once its in position on the hub. Loosen the bolts just a hair and it was fine....but it ain't right. F@#k me. The central hub assembly comes assembled but the bolts are only firm. The difference is miniscule but once the bolts are tightened everything locked up.

So now instead of finishing the prop installation tonight and putting the boat in the water in the morning there’s a new plan. I'm going to have to take the morning off so I can polish the internal journals to allow clearance for the spinner to actually spin. It galls me that I have to rework this after 2 weeks and close to 2000 dollars spent.

I called PYI and spoke to the technician who suggested that I overnight it back to him and he'd polish it and turn it around ASAP. My suggestion was that maybe he should have done it correctly to begin with. I'm finding myself fantasizing about really bad things.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

October 22, 2011.

We talked to the people out at PYI about sending Max home. Now we're worried. We originally bought Max from PYI about 6 years ago. Due to Christy's meticulous record keeping we still have the receipt showing Max to be an 18 inch prop. When we sent Max out there he weighed in at 31 pounds. We've been assured that Max's rehabilitation is just about complete and he would be shipped out on Friday for an arrival on Monday. Cool.

The problem is that now Max's shipping weight will be 41 pounds rather than 31. Excuse me? How is that possible? When we posed this simple question we were told that 41 pounds was the standard shipping weight for all 20 inch props. That's all fine and dandy but what does that have to do with us, we sent you an 18 inch prop.

I was assured that the receiving dude measured Max when he arrived and found him to be a 20 inch propeller. So there’s definitely been a mistake made but what and when? Did they originally ship us the wrong propeller that we've been using for 6 years or have they confused Max with another and reconditioned someone elses prop which is now winging its way to us. That vein in my head is starting to bulge.

In an effort to allay our fears the receiving dude put a coworker, not a supervisor, but a coworker on the phone with me to try and explain that Max was definitely the right prop . I suspect that the real reason they put this guy on the phone was because of his ability to speak constantly while saying nothing. Every time I was able to speak over him to get him to shut up whatever question I asked, his answer was “I don't know anything about that”. Then why are you on the f@#king phone? At this point I was wishing that PYI had a call center in Asia rather than right here in the USA where my questions would have gone unanswered but at least in a timely fashion by someone who at least appeared to be trying to be helpful.

The box arrives Monday, will it be Max, will it be an imposter? Was Max ever who we thought he was? You let a stranger into your life and then you find out he might not be who he is purported to be.......Could Max be one of the long lost Romanovs?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

October 17, 2011.

The Annapolis Powerboat Show has come and gone. Several vendors brought their trailer-able boat to us to be put into the water for the show.
There were some pretty good looking little runabouts but nothing that really made me say “Wow”. Although I did see some pretty shoddy workmanship that did have some Wow factor. More like Wow, unbelievable, what crap.

On Saturday afternoon it was blowing between 20 and 30 knots while Christy & I sanded our brightwork. We're right at the waters edge and had front row seat for some nautical mayhem.

One of the nearby brokers was taking a pair of prospective buyers out for what he probably thought would be a rollicking good day of sailing. As they cleared the protection of the fairway and the wind hit them on the port bow things went seriously amiss. Or I guess it might have all gone according to plan if the brokers plan included hitting 2 other boats and more than a half dozen pilings.
My attention was drawn by the extended screaming of the Bavaria’s bowthruster. The bowthruster was completely overpowered and the boat was pushed across the fairway to the leeward side. I watched in disbelief as the Bavaria sideswiped and was pinned to one of the big Leopard catamarans tied to our dock. This particular Leopard has just completed the commissioning process and was due to be picked up by the new owners on Monday. Oops.

Christy grabbed the camera while I got down off the boat and ran down to the Leopard and jumped aboard to start trying to fend the Bavaria away. Once clear of the Leopard the broker opted to skip the daysail and retraced his route and backed down the fairway towards the slip they had just departed from. Except that on the return trip he bounced and whacked off every piling on the leeward side of the fairway.

Since they didn't successfully get out of the fairway there was no sail. And I'll bet that since they didn't successfully get out of the fairway there was no sale.

Still waiting for our propeller.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

October 13, 2011.

We received a postcard from our propeller out on the west coast. He is enjoying the reconditioning, so much so that hes decided to stay out there another week. Crap.
Looks like we'll be here for an additional week. But on the bright side we'll both be working which should help to offset Max's extended stay.

I had a little feedback from another eyewitness to the boat show breakdown *incident*. It seems like the captains version of the story might just be a bit inconsistent with the facts. Our friend Lana had a front row seat as the crowd tried to warn the captain that he was still tied to the dock as he hammered the throttle. The resulting embarrassment seems to have been well earned and enjoyed by many.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

October 12, 2011.

Wherein lies the truth?

There was an interesting *incident* during the sailboat show break down. Fortunately, nobody was hurt, although one mans ego may be on life support depending on which view of the incident you believe.

First a little back ground info...... One of the new 50 foot sailboats in the show has an interesting new drive system. Instead of being shaft driven, the this boat has a sail drive. While sail drives aren't all that new or remarkable this one has a new twist, the sail drive can rotate 360ยบ. This enables the boat to be pivoted in its own length. The boat can practically spin around its own axis. This action is done with a “fly by wire type of system” that is controlled by a tiny joystick much like on your kids gaming console.

The Captains version of the incident was that he and his deckhand were untying the boat to depart the boat show. His companion was standing at the bow when the captain tossed one of the stern lines onboard. His clumsy toss landed the line right on top of the joystick. The joystick was bumped forward immediately engaging full throttle in forward. Yikes. The captain valiantly jumped aboard as the boat pulled a nifty holeshot and lurched forward.

Fortunately, there was nothing but open water in front of them. Unfortunately, there was still one dock line tied to a stern cleat. The captains version is that before he could stop the boat the slack in the remaining dockline was gone and the boat came to a screeching halt. For a moment. And then the piling ripped from the bottom. LoL The piling was cut away and the furious captain and his deckhand felt fortunate to survive an encounter with obviously faulty yacht design.

Great story, but is it true? Fortuitously one of my friends happened to be standing 12 feet away as these events unfolded and since he wasn't involved he might be a bit more unbiased.

A little more background info. The breakdown of the boat show has become an event unto itself. There’s quite a bit of one-up-manship and ill perceived bragging rights to be gained by leaving the show with a show of your “expertise”. Women swoon over this or so seems to be the perception. It is not unusual to see boats backing out of the show unnecessarily, making ridiculous maneuvers for no reason or even hoisting a brew or two while throwing tee shirts to the crowds at the nearby waterfront bar. I'm getting moist just thinking about it.

Anyway, my friends version of the incident was as follows. The captain and his deckfluff, er, deckhand untied the boat and with the captain firmly at the controls he slammed the joystick full forward to accelerate as quickly as possible to the excitement of the crowd. The machismo, the adrenaline, the bravado, the adoring crowd, the testostero.......the slack gone, the immediate but short lived stop, the panic, the piling ripping free from the bottom, the roar from the crowd, the remaining dock line being cut away and finally Captain Buffoon motoring away to the laughter of the crowd.

While both stories are entertaining, I know which one I believe. The only indisputable fact is that an unfortunate piling won't be going home to its family tonight. Its always the innocents....
October 10, 2011.

After we pulled the boat on Thursday I pulled the propeller off. On Friday it was winging its way across the country to be reconditioned out in Washington state. Since we needed it to be there on Monday morning we had to pay for magical expedited shipping to the tune of $255. I think I may have been able to fly there with the prop as carry-on for less than that. Crap.

Anyway, with the prop vacationing on the west coast we decided to hit the boat show. A disturbing trend that I noticed is that a lot of monohulls are getting fat asses. In the past the Shannons seemed to have the market cornered as far as ridiculously fat sterns went but a few more “sailboats” showed up this year looking like they needed to spend a few hours in the gym. This Moody 45 is a prime example. If you look closely at the woman in the blue top at the helm you will see what I find so disturbing; she can't see a god damned thing.
They put 2 helm stations in the cockpit and you really can't see shit from either wheel. Either side of the cabin is directly in the helmsman’s line of sight. Better yet is the fact that they flatten out the trailing edge of the roof line so they can utilize the space as dual nav pods.

Did you ever wonder how they weave double braid? Yeah, me neither but it was cool to see.

The boat show is always fun but more for the renewed acquaintances than the actual boats. We had meals with friends and saw people we haven't seen in about forever. We also missed seeing people that we were looking forward to catching up with. Everybody is running into different friends here and there; its just so hard to coordinate. On Saturday night we once again attended the Eastport Yacht Clubs Boat Show Bash and as always we had a real good time. Music, friends, eating and a bit o' drinking. On Sunday we put in a full day of boat chores. I compounded and waxed the entire hull while Christy Flitzed all of the stainless.

The Veranda hasn't been out of the water for 2 full years which means she hasn't been waxed in that time.
She never really struck me as being ratty looking but she must have been because shes looking pretty spiffy now.

While I was at work on Monday Christy spent the day preparing our brightwork for its yearly rehabilitation. When I got home I finally got around to replacing the main sheet. 4 years ago my brother in law, the racer, proclaimed it to be an antique. Due to the passage of time the old main sheet was now an official fossil so after applying some of my newly acquired mad splicing skills we are now in possession of a new main sheet.

Tonight we watched from the bow as the 42nd Annapolis Boat Show ended. Less than a minute after closing, the docks are moved to release the boats from their temporary captivity.
There’s a little bit of mayhem as so many boats jockey to get out of the confines of the show. Once all the sailboats are gone, the docks will be reconfigured to accept the boats due to be displayed at the Annapolis Powerboat Show which starts on Thursday.

Friday, October 7, 2011

October 6, 2011.

The last 2 or 3 days before the boat show opened were very hectic. Brokers and other yachties were running about like chickens without their heads trying to get everything taken care of before the show.

Karl and I were even semi abducted when the call came in for the boat we were on to report for dockage in the boat show. We had just stepped onboard to install the mainsail when they got the call and had to head out immediately. I called my boss on the phone and he said “okay, go, I'll pick you up in the skiff in 10 minutes”.

The 3 minute crossing of Annapolis Harbor was one of the most harrowing crossings of my life. We were going 300 yards, tying up the boat, bending on the sail and being picked up, simple enough. Except that the broker/captain of this little adventure showed up with his wife and 2 hyperactive and probably ADD diagnosed kids. I considered tossing one of the kids overboard to see if the other one would straighten up and fly right.

The foredeck was littered with tables, chairs and potted plants for the show. The children were literally running around the boat as the captain negotiated the mooring field as we headed to our assigned dockage.

Part of the boat show preparations are the installation of probably 50 pilings which are used to hold the large temporary docks in place. We missed one by less than a foot. Karl asked “Captain, didn't you see that?”. The good captain replied “that never used to be there”. I'm thinkin' “how about we live in the present, Captain?” but I hold my tongue. Then we came within a foot of tee-boning a dock. The people on the dock fended us away like crazy, either out of self preservation or pity, I'm not sure, either way I was embarrassed to be there.

Finally, mercifully we got tied up. Karl and I bent on the sail. The good captains wife actually had a clue about clews, pitched in and made the sail installation much easier.

I snapped a few pictures of the last minute boat show preparations as we waited for our ride home.

Traditionally at the onset of the boat show the work around the yard slows to a more manageable pace. So this is when we decided to haul the Veranda. We motored over from Back creek and spent the night on the wall with the plan to be hauled this morning. So not quite according to the plan I cranked the engine this morning and *nothing*. Crap. She cranked just fine but no starty. Crap. There wasn't time to change fuel filters so we pulled the boat down and around the docks by hand and into the lifting well. I'm a little agitated and pretty embarrassed but I'll get over it, probably. We drop the forestay, the travel lift moves into position and the mast is in the way before the travel lift is far enough over us to pick us up. Crap. This means we have to turn the boat around and back in. We hook the forestay back up and for the hell of it I turn the key and the Veranda starts right up. Cool. I back away, turn around and back into the well. Now the backstay has to come down. Which it does with very little effort. Cool. Once out of the water and power washed the Veranda was blocked as low as possible to allow the travel lift to back away without me having to drop the wind generator. That part of the plan didn't work either but after dropping the wind genny we're now sitting high and dry with a front row seat overlooking the harbor.

We haven't hauled the boat in 2 years and I was happy to see how good the bottom looked. We had 2 years on the Petit Trinidad SR and the bottom was pretty much growth free. But, I was a little disheartened to see how much slop there was in our 6 year old MaxProp.

We'll spend a week out of the water while we get the Veranda ready to head south once again. A bonus while we're on the hard is our outstanding view of the now opened Annapolis Sailboat Show.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

October 4, 2011.

Oops! It seems there was a little bit of a mistake (not mine). The new traveler system that I was ridiculing the other day turned out to be WRONG.

The US representative for Jeanneau came to the yard with a blueprint for the new traveler system. The 2 bails that were the anchor points for the 3 boom hung blocks were mounted out of position by 30 inches at the factory. Plus, there was supposed to be a third bail that had never been installed.

I drilled out the rivets holding the bails in position and mounted all 3 bails where the new blueprint showed them. After drilling the new holes and riveting everything in place the boat immediately headed across the harbor to be received into the boatshow. Nick o' time, embarrassment avoided.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

October 2, 2011.

Someone wrote and asked about “building” a mast. Since I had yet another boat show mast to get ready I snapped a few pictures.

This mast is going to be stepped on a Jeanneau 43 footer.
Once the boat arrived here it went straight into the big tent to be painted. The mast arrives in a long PVC shipping tube.
The standing and running rig are all rolled up and crammed into the cockpit lazarrettes on the boat along with the annometer and the lights. The foils and the rest of the roller furler assembly are usually found down below in the main salon.

The yard uses a crane to pull the mast out of the tube and to put it up on saw horses. I try to gather up all the crap I'm gonna need before I get started. The first thing I like to do is to install one spreader on the mast to make it a little more stable to work on.

With the mast stable and laying face up I install the radars cable. This mast arrived with a hole drilled in the face of the mast and a small “messenger” line in place. I'm supposed to take the messenger line, tape and tie it to the cable and then in theory I should be able to pull the cable gently through the mast down to the foot of the mast.

Predictably it wasn't to be as simple as it could have been (it rarely is). The radar and its cable are shipped here with the boat.
They know how big the cable is but when they drilled the hole in the mast they made it too small for the wire to pass through. So now I have to push the messenger line back into the mast so I can re-drill the hole to an appropriate size to accept the cable. Then I have to go fishing around inside the mast to find the messenger line to once again pull it back up through the hole. If they're gonna drill the hole in the first place why not use an appropriate sized bit. Its a simple enough fix but 5 minutes here and 10 minutes there start to add up. I'm not sure if they don't think it through or if they just don't give a shit but it could all go so much smoother with very little effort.

After the cable is in place I install the mount and then the radar. After that I mount and wire the deck/ steaming light. While the mast is still basically a stick I run the genoa and main halyards along with the topping lift and the spinnaker halyard.

After that I start on the masthead crappola. This usually involves pulling several different wires down through the length of the mast. This mast needs an anchor light, a VHF antenna, the annometer, a windex and of course a television antenna. This style tv antenna is one of my favorites.
It works well and it gives the birds plenty of room to sit at your masthead while they take their morning dump all over your boat.

After the masthead is done I roll the mast over so the radar is hanging down. Then I install the rest of the spreaders followed by the upper and lower shrouds. Then I unroll a 60 foot strip of carpet to lay the roller furler on during assembly. Once the furler is ready I connect the top of the headstay to the mast.
Then the backstay is connected. If there’s any bullshit like burgee halyards I install the blocks on the spreaders now. The last thing I do is to check all the lights on the mast with a 12 volt battery to see that everything works as it should.

Reading back on this it all seems pretty simple. All the little tedious things like drilling holes, tapping holes and soldering cable ends adds up and I spend between 7 and 10 hours getting each mast ready to stand.
The timing worked out perfectly as the mast was ready to stand immediately after the newly painted boat was pulled out into the light of day.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

September 28, 2011.

First and most importantly, Happy Birthday to my better half, Christy. Now lets make fun of the French....

I had to install all of the running rigging on a new sailboat bound for the boat show. I've done quite a few and I even live on a freaking boat so I’m pretty familiar with the way various lines need to be run. That was until today when I realized that this new boat didn't even have a traveler (the sliding thing used to control the mainsail).

I got a bag with 4 small blocks and another 9 large blocks (pulleys). Everything runs back to the electric winches (labor saving device allowing lightweights to adjust lines even when under incredible loads which will probably lead to an upswing in the number of torn sails) in the cockpit. I ran the genoa sheets (ropes that unroll and control the big sail up front) and the furling line (the wee line to roll the genoa back up). Then I ran the main halyard (rope used to raise the mainsail) and genoa halyard (rope used to raise the genoa, usually once a year) along with the topping lift (line used to support the end of the boom). Then there was the mainsail furling line (used with a roller furling mainsail) and the boom vang control line (a vang is used to make the area directly aft of the mast unusable for any other purpose).

So I was moving right along until I tried to figure out the traveler. After a lot of trial and error I ended up with a birdsnest of lines that uses 7 blocks and an additional pair of cheek blocks to get both ends of the line into the cockpit.

I pictured the boat designer, Jacques Lackluster sitting at his desk in France trying to come up with a radical new design to make his mark on this particular new yacht. Read this next section with your most obnoxious french accent---> Let me zee, what can I do to completely revolutionize zee yachting industry. Oops, its time for my 9 wine lunch. I'll draw up my new traveler design after lunch. Three hours later.... The wine, she was perfect but now its back to reinventing zee wheel. Let me think, the traditional traveler that most yachts use is too efficient. It's simple, uses a minimal amount of hardware and is infinitely adjustable. I will make my mark by getting rid of it altogether.

My parents were wrong, I am brilliant. Back to English unless of course you choose to use the french accent for the rest of the evening. C'est votre choix.

The new “traveler” has no car or track and completely relies on a series of blocks.
The main sheet is about a mile long and has 2 ends running into the cockpit. It looks a lot like a giant spider web with plenty of opportunities to trip if someone decided to move forward on the cabin top. The installation of a dodger would be interesting and with a line running down each side of the boom I'm thinkin' there’s no way to install a stack pack. Well done Jacques, well done.

I tease about the French because I'm not under any contractual obligation not to. I've actually enjoyed the time I've spent in the company of people from France but none of them was a yacht designer.