More rails (update Oct 29, ’16)

(Plugs in, cut and sanded. Pics below).

Rail bolt holes countersunk, shims shaped.

I had intended to finish it today but the sealant that I bought is permanent, rather than semi-permanent, so I shall aim to finish next week.

I also cut some plugs to cover the bolt heads. The ends of the rails need rounding off, and the edges too

Coachbolt covered with teak plug

Stbd rail with plugs standing proud.

Plug cut down with saw. I used a steel rule to protect the top of the rail from the saw teeth, putting the ruler between saw and rail.

Port rail sanded.


Just need to round the ends off and then oil. Or Cetol, which gets lots of positive support. It has a slightly amber hue, but will be good for two years, if looked after. And I have a new tin. So I think it will be Sikkens Cetol. 

Finding Those Hidden Rigging Problems

Standing rigging is slowly decaying. Like dental decay. Regular checkups and frequent inspection will save you from DIY root canal surgery mid Atlantic!

When Frank was out of the water at St Croix Marine in St Croix, USVI, I noticed a potential problem with one of the shrouds. A strand appeared to be kinked where the cable went into the turnbuckle.

strand to left is kinked – broken inside the swage


 Jerry The Rigger was my “local” rigger in Gosport, England, as well as for the ARC, which I had intended to join, so I knew where to check. I sent this pic to him, and he advised me to get a knife or screwdriver in between that kink and check the strand. It was broken.

I shimmied up the mast using my Aloft Alone kit to check the upper rigging. All looked fine, but I had a nagging doubt and went back up to take a second look.

Sure enough, on closer inspection, the head or baby stay had a broken strand at the swage up top. 


Problem: Selden do not have an agent in St Croix, and the swages are unique to Selden.

The marina rigger did not have the right size wire, as Frank has both 7mm and 8mm shrouds. Bear in mind that the US does not do mm, and I had to translate this into Imperial. The nearest source was in St Barts (I think – will check). So I ordered swages and wire, which was flown in via Antigua after a lot of delay.

Unfortunately, the rigger had a mishap and mangled a swage at the turnbuckle. This meant that the “T-Hook” swage for the mast end of the stay, which he had already attached, was wasted. I only had one 8mm T Hook, so had to order more. 

The old T Hook Swages

The mangled new Swage


These ended up spending two weeks going from St Barts to Antigua to St Kitts to Antigua to, eventually and many calls later, to St Croix. I ordered extra!
Finally, the turnbuckle at the forestay did not fit the deck mounting. So I had to buy a new turnbuckle from the store, which they had. 

Always do a close, visual and physical check of your standing rigging, especially at the swage – the damage will be worse just inside the swage, where you can’t see it. And carry spares!

Jerry Henwood aka the aforementioned Jerry The Rigger sold me a A great emergency repair kit from Sta-Lok for use when a shroud breaks at sea, which I did not have to use, but always carry. One set for each size.

For emergencies, by the way, rather than bolt cutters to remove shrouds in case of a dismasting or other problem, I recommend an angle grinder. It can be used one-handed, so you can cling to the boat or the shroud with one hand: you might be in heavy weather. Besides, bolt cutters are very hard to use in the best of conditions – don’t believe what you see in the movies. Bouncing around in a F10 on deck with both hands gripping a bolt cutter is not going to cut it.

Onboard tools should be rechargeable, with spare cutting wheels and spare, interchangeable batteries. I have standardised on DeWalt, so that I know I will have power for cutting sawing and drilling at sea.

For more info on ARC and crossing the Atlantic : Practical Boat Owner ran this article in March 2016.

New Sail Cover! Updated 18 Sept ’16

Matt from Coastal Bend Yacht Services made and put the new sail cover on this week. 
Frank looks a lot better! Plus, of course, the mainsail is finally getting some protection from the sun. [Update: the lazy jacks are on too. Adjustable at the mast, so they can be dropped out of the way. My original cover/stackpack was torn when the jacks caught in the battens].

Zipper at the mast

Toggles underneath

I decided against a Stack Pak -$700 to save taking the cover below decks seems poor value for money. Next week the lazy jacks go on. 
I met Matt’s wife when I called in at their shop in Corpus – lovely lady. I bought 50 feet of 1/2″ mooring line to go with the new rope floats that I bought.


Because Frank is on a floating pontoon, I need a way to tie up to the pile in the pic. So I am experimenting.

It is probably overkill, but in case a storm hits (this is hurricane season..) I need a way to give Frank maximum security, especially if I can’t get there in time to move her or double up the lines. 

So I bought 20 of these floats and threaded the line through 18 of them, and lassoed the pile. As you can see, they sit on top of the blue fenders that I put there last week.

The idea is that the lines will rise and fall with the tide, whilst still holding Frank in place. Even if the blue fenders snag, the bow line should float freely. Should…

Lastly:


The newly installed Windex greeted me today, on deck.

I was surprised that it had been blown off. Mark explained that the birds (big buggers, not gulls) break them off, because they like a comfortable perch atop the mast! I wonder how long my yet-to-be installed Bluetooth wind instrument will fare..

I also took the new rails to Frank but have not installed them.