Getting cheeky with it

by Chuck March 20, 2005

I've been putting this off, 'cause I've never done anything quite this drastic to my mast before. But like most things I've done on the boat (fixing the transom, building a new rudder) it was much harder in the anticipation than in the doing.

It helped that for once I had all the tools and supplies that I needed to finish without having to run off to West Marine or Coast-to-Coast for something or other.

Putting on the new cheek blocks was remarkably straight-forward. After finding and marking the location for the new blocks I drilled the holes with my cheap yet long-lasting 1/4-inch Black and Decker drill I bought 'lo these many years ago down in California. Then I used my brand new pop rivet gun to fasten the cheek blocks to the mast with stainless steel rivets. Took about an hour, most of the time getting set up and getting tools out, etc.

After dinner I went back out and installed the J-mount for my new 10-inch windex. I bought this in the middle of last summer, but never got a chance to attach it, what with the limited amount of sailing I did (so I didn't miss it) and with my pre-occupation with building a new rudder.

I also attached my new jib block to the forestay hounds. That takes care of the top of the mast for this year. It'll be fun to try them out.



Elbow grease

by Chuck March 5, 2005

Like most of my projects, this one with the mast is lingering on and on. I finally used the excuse of listening to Prairie Home Companion to go out and get some work done.

I started by buffing the rest of the rubbing compound off. I just had the lower 1/3 of the mast to do, so it didn't take very long, even though the rubbing compound had hardened up, well, hard. It took a lot of elbow grease, but eventually it was all gone. When I finished I had a quandry. The rubbing compound was gone, but the mast looked awful. White streaks, swirly marks, and even fingerprints.

Only one thing to do. I got the rubbing compound back out and did the whole mast. Again. This time I started at the bottom and worked my way to the top, so I would do my best work where it's more likely people will see it. I paid attention to keeping the pad loaded up with rubbing compound, kept my fingers out of the wet compound, and made sure I got everywhere.

This time, I went ahead and buffed off the rubbing compound right away. Sure was easier when it hadn't had weeks to set up. When it was off I surprised to see that the mast looked pretty darn good.

To keep it looking good, I broke out the California Wax that I used to use on the black Daytona. I put a thick coat over the whole mast, then buffed it out. Once again I was surprised, the mast, while not looking brand new, looked at least like it was cared for.

Overall, I'm pleased with the results of rubbing and waxing the mast. Now if only I could get the new blocks on, which is why the mast is sitting in the barn in the first place...



Port Townsend SIDI

by Chuck February 19, 2005

More later...



Stolen moments

by Chuck February 16, 2005

It's been hard to get out to the barn to work on Odysesy's mast. By the time I get home from work, get through dinner and cleaning up, help the kids with their homework, and encourage them to get out their notebooks and do some writing it's 8:30 or 9:00 before I have time to get out and do.

And by then it's friggin' cold outside. Not to mention the alley of the barn can be a wind tunnel, so if there's any breeze blowing from the west it whistles right through the barn and any coat you happen to have on.

But tonight I stole a few minutes between feeding the horses and chopping the wood for the fire to talk to Dana and to buff the polishing compound off about 2/3rds of the mast. It looks a lot better where I've buffed it. While it's still not the deep shiny black I imagine it was when it was new, at least now it's a shiny grayish black instead of a flat greyish black. I'm looking forward to seeing what it looks like once I get the wax on.



Getting the mast out of the way

by Chuck February 14, 2005

Tried to get some work done on the mast today, but it just wasn't in the cards. Dana wanted to run some errands, so I went along with her, and then in the afternoon the weather turned nasty and it wasn't very much fun to be outside. Or even in the alley of the barn.

But there were a couple of jobs I had to take care of today. The horses needed water and the mast needed to be moved out of the middle of the alley. See, tomorrow the farrier is coming to trim the donkey's feet, and she likes to work under cover a lot more than she likes to work outside in the rain.

The mast takes up an amazing amount of space for something 4"x6"x26'. The alley in the barn is 32 feet long and 12 feet wide, and the mast seems to take up most of the space, between the stick, the spreaders, and the stays.

I got out some more sawhorses and set the mast up on them, the spreaders vertical against the wall. With it scootched as far toward the back as it will go and still stay in the barn and pressed against the wall, Dana will be able to bring the donkey in tomorrow and use the cross ties.

Of course, the farrier is going to tease us, again, because the barn has yet another non-farm project going on in the alley.

I did get a little work done on the mast today. I got out the rubbing compound and rubbed out the whole mast. It takes a long time to dry when the air is only 40 degrees, so I won't be able to buff and wax the mast until tomorrow night.



Wisdom of the Web

by Chuck February 12, 2005

When I re-rigged Odyssey a couple years ago, I used an assortment of wire rings and cottor pins to secure the clevis pins on the turnbuckles. I figured one must be better than the other, so I asked on the SailNet Pacific Northwest Sailing mailing list. There is more experience and more opinions on that list than just about any where else.

In this case, however, they were pretty much in agreement. Use the cottor pins.

So I will.



Cheeky blocks

by Chuck February 12, 2005

I headed into Everett today to pick up new blocks for the top of the mast. I needed two cheek blocks, one for the main halyard and one for the topping lift, and a standard block for the jib halyard.

The original blocks were undersized and very old and worn out. I picked up a couple of Schaefer cheek blocks with sheaves about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Those are about half again as big as the originals.

I picked up a Harken bullet block for the jib halyard. It has delrin bearings, which makes it spin remarkably well.

It'll be interesting to see how the new blocks will improve sail handling. I'm hoping that the new main halyard block will make it easier to hoist the main all the way to the top of the mast track. Because the halyard block is out of line with the mast track, as the sail reaches the top of the mast it starts to bind in the track and stops going up. With the new blocks I hope that the friction in the blocks will be enough lower that the hoist will be higher before it binds.

Anyway. Next I need to learn how to attach the cheek blocks with rivets. I bought a rivet setter and stainless steel rivets to put the blocks on with. I need to get some Tefgel or something like that to keep the two dissimilar metals from reacting and causing corrosion.



Mastless in Monroe

by Chuck February 11, 2005

Tonight after work I started my project to replace the halyard blocks at the top of Odyssey's mast. The first step is to unship the mast and move it to my work area.

On any other sailboat, "unship the mast" would mean a huge undertaking, involving cranes, great big mast bolts, and probably a team of professionals to make sure nothing went wrong. On Odyssey I just undid the turnbuckles for the backstay and the side stays and slid it over her side and onto the ground. Yet another advantage of a trailerable sailboat.

After I had the mast off the boat, Dana came out and helped me carry it down to the barn. The 26-foot mast takes up an impressive amount of space in the barn alley. I laid it on the floor to start with, but when I work on it I lift the part I'm working on up to a sawhorse.

The first order of business was to remove the old blocks for the main halyard, the jib halyard, and the topping lift. While I was there, I went ahead and took off the block that is shackled on for a spinnaker halyard, since it will be a few more years before I can afford to buy a 'chute.

The spinnaker halyard block came of the easiest. It was attached to a padeye on the mast with a clevis pin. I just removed the split ring and the clevis pin slipped out and so did the block. The block is in pretty good shape, so I'll keep it around for a while and see if I can put it to use.

The jib halyard block was next. The bolt that holds the forestay to the mast went through a hole in the block, so all I had to do was undo the lock nut, slip the bolt out of the block, and re-tighten the lock nut. Again, simple, once I'd found the right tools. It took me longer to find my 7/16 socket than it did to take the block off.

Finally, I removed the cheek blocks for the main halyard and topping lift. I had to drill out the rivets that hold them in place. Not hard, the rivet heads popped right off, but the rivets remaind proud of the mast body and I can't figure out how to get them the rest of the way off. I figure I'll post on the Cascadia list, someone there will know.

All told it took about half an hour to get the old blocks off. Tomorrow I'm off to Harbor Marine, Popeye's and West Marine to find replacement blocks.



Once more into the boat show

by Chuck January 16, 2005

Father-in-law Ron and I headed in to the Seattle boat show again this year. I tried to get him to take someone else, 'cause we gave him tickets to the show for Christmas and I felt bad having him use his extra ticket on me, but he insisted, so...

Just inside the North entrance was the highlight of the show for us. A 28-foot Stancraft wooden runabout built in Post Falls, Idaho. Man that was beautiful. No price listed, but I guess if you have to ask, you can't afford the upkeep on a boat like that.

In the sailboat corner (much larger this year), I liked the new Hunter 27 quite a bit. Nice size for our family, not too big to afford the moorage, and pretty to boot. Now if only I had a spare $80,000 to spend. I also spent a good 15 minutes crawling over the West Wight Potter 19 they had on display. Every book and Web site about trailerable sailboats sings the praises of the Potter, and I'd never seen one. Pretty little boat, and quite reasonable in price (for the base price, anyway). The one they had on display was quite dolled up I must say.

Had an intersting conversation witht he folks at Nexxus Marine. Instead of the usual $250,000 24-foot dream boat they usually show, they had a 16-foot dory that started at $5,700. Nancy said they were interested in building boats for "real people" again, and David said the people that buy the expensive boats "treat them like the kitchen help." I can't imagine treating a craftsman like David like kitchen help, but then I can't afford a $250,000 boat, either.

Only spent a little money this year. Bought another dock line from TopKnot. Bought a pair of gloves from Popeye's. Spent some time complaining to Cap't Jack's that they aren't printing their tide book.

And of course we ogled lots of boats. Big boats. Little boats. Wood boats, aluminum boats, plastic boats. Boats. Boats. Boats...

Sorry. Have to go lie down now...



Cascadia Everett Crawl-In

by Chuck November 21, 2004

I decided it would be interesting to meet some of the people that post regularly to Sailnet's Pacific Northwest mailing list, a group that formed a virtual society called the Cascadia Association of Sailors. I headed in to Everett, cleverly timing my arrival at the restaurant so that the others would have already arrived.

It was a little odd at first, because no one at the table really knew who I was. Once I explained that I was mostly a lurker, they were more comfortable with me there. And I was able to start a couple of conversations, which always helped.

It was interesting to see how many things the sailors at the table had in common. Two of the guys were bicyclists, two others had done really long (2100 and 2600 mile) rides. There were kids, and dogs, and of course sail boats.

Afterwards I went with Ron and Greg down to Allegro, Ron's boat moored at the marina. Ron treated me to a beer, and the three of us talked for another hour about getting by, making a living, and, of course, sailing.

I had a good time meeting the other folks from the Cascadia list, and look forward to getting together with them again.



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