Friday, June 21, 2013

Re-masting, part two!

Alas...despite Nick's help initially, and my possessed work pace for the next 8 days, I simply ran out of time before I needed to return to Orcas and prepare for a two-day Longboat Surfing class through Body Boat Blade.  It was literally as close as this:  I had 2 hours before the crane was scheduled to arrive, and four hours of work to complete...I had to call it off.

So I motored the newly christened "Lung-Ta" back to Orcas--a beautiful little trip with the sun beaming on my face as I felt the relief and wisdom of knowing when to let go of a deadline.  My poor boat looked as though she might have felt naked in a new land.  Sailboats just don't look right without a mast.

Mastless...for a while.
The class was a true success;  we had near perfect conditions, a GREAT group of students who truly wanted to develop their surfing skills, and I had the privilege of co-coaching with BBB's newest coach, Don Chayette.  Don and I stayed an extra night so we could fit in one more solid surf session and our friend and a student on the class, David Kau, stayed as well.

Don catching a nice one.

Back to Orcas, back to the boat, and discouragement set in....What the hell was I thinking?  What was I doing with my life?  Where was the ingenuity and excitement I had felt at the onset of the project?  The whole plan was all about living on the water again, and creating more space and time in my life, not less.  Here I was floating on a mastless boat in the cold drizzle of early spring, and I was pretty bummed.

Hhhmmm....Well, when we encounter such feelings we can give up, or finish what we have set out to do.  So, I packed all the tools up again, motored the boat back to Anacortes, then hopped back to move my truck there as well.  This "second round" was really a gift;  I had worked so hard before, but had been very attached to the outcome I wanted, and that had tainted the whole experience with a bitter flavor.  I had been hustling, brows furrowed, going to bed exhausted.  My unfinished tasks from each day got tacked onto the ext day's list, making it feel like I was getting further behind rather than the truth:  I was making progress, just not as fast as I had hoped.  Now, engaging with it after a break, my enthusiasm returned, and I vowed to try to have more fun with the rest of the project.

Lists to help sequence the events

It worked!  Even with some changes in my plan, and a lot of extra $ spent to get the job done, I had  a good time.  All of the guys at Northwest Rigging are knowledgable, and dedicated sailors.  My day always started at their shop and their smiles and humor were contagious--they seem to love what they do.  I could tell they wanted to see my project succeed as much as I did.

The day of stepping was nigh -- I was excited and a bit nervous.  One error made in the process could end in someone getting hurt, or the new mast and my boat being damaged.  After so much hard work and money that would be a shame.  I knew it would be asses and elbows for a brief spell, but that it would end with my mast up and secure, and that's exactly how it went.

Kent, Dean, and Mareck doing what they do.

I had a few more days tied to the dock in Anacortes to finish some facets of the project with the mast up, install the StrongTrack mainsail track, install the boom, and fasten and bed 8 chainplates.  One evening I finished my day at midnight and was asleep as my head hit my "pillow".

Looks just right

My friend Kimaya offered to come over and share the boat ride back with me, and we had a great time feeling the warm sun, and I basked in the feeling of a project done.

Mast up, boom on, new rigging

"Lung-Ta" still isn't quite sailable yet, but with a newer mainsail getting modified at San Juan Canvas, and a bunch of necessary deck hardware ordered it won't be too long before feeling the magic of sailing  again will be a reality.

Note spreader width

RE-Masting, Sail 2 Surf

The decision to remove a functional mast from my trimaran (the platform for the Sail 2 Surf project) and replace it with a different spar was a tough one.  The driving factors were 1) the existing spar, though strong and functional, was significantly shorter than design spec, thus sails and sail area were below design spec, 2) A new suit of sails is needed anyway, so might as well be of the correct dimensions and 3) with the goal of zero fossil fuel use, the boat needs to be able to move in light air, since roughly 50 % of cruising is done in winds under 12 knots.

I'd been saving up for this project for the last month and a half, working full-time doing finish carpentry and deliberating for ages about how to rig this mast on my boat such that it would be as functional, safe and strong as possible.

Design showing proper mast height.

Andy and Kent at Northwest Rigging Northwest Rigging, in Anacortes have proved invaluable in the project thus far, offering some yard space, product consult and ordering, swaging and shop needs, and expertise.  If you are doing anything with rigging I can't recommend them highly enough.  They are also DIY friendly--but do everyone a favor and have yourself sorted beforehand.  Also, plan to tackle your project before May, as most marine service businesses get swamped for the first couple of months of the boating season.

Nick Scoville offered to come up to Orcas, from Portland, and help sail the trimaran over to Anacortes, and help me out for a couple of days with the re-masting.  We decided to turn it into a bit of an adventure, so departed Orcas on saturday afternoon, sailing into Obstruction pass that evening.  A short hike away was a good friend's birthday party, and some new friends for Nick, then a moonlight paddle back out to the boat to crash.

The following morning dawned sunny and warm, but quickly turned cloudy and windy.  We hopped onto the strong ebb and made it to Anacortes in 3 tacks, a stomping sail averaging about 8 or 9 knots (with shamefully sloppy sail trim!).  We snuck into the lee of the penninsula which most of the town sits on, and felt our way closer to the docks in very shallow water.  I love the daggerboard and kick-up rudder for this reason.

After anchoring the boat, we reconned for a public dock to tie up to, and sort out where the lifting crane was.  Nick returned to Orcas for his truck full of my tools, and I made arrangement to pick the mast the following day.

Removing the older mast.

Nick proved to be pivotal in these first couple of days, and, though deeply appreciative of his generous time,  I was sad to see him go--the guy is an exceptional boater and waterman.  THANKS NICK!

The old mast after un-stepping with the "Figh-dollah crane"

We were able to remove the old spar, strip it of hardware which can be re-used, completely service the outboard engine, layout the new rigging plan on the new mast, and fortify the hull and decks with backing material to accommodate new rigging attachment hardware like chainplates, etc.

The next three days will be filled with getting the new masts hardware attached, bedded, and insulated (electrically), mast base plate attached, and (fingers crossed) the mast on the boat by late friday.

Like so much in life, this is one of those projects which can't be put on the shelf half-done...but as circumstances would have it, I need to be adaptive.