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Saturday, June 25, 2011

June 25, 2011-Update: Mast is finished

wingssail images-fredrick roswold
Refinished and re-assembled

We have had a few really nice days just doing mast work under the coconut trees on the yacht club lawn. We have a work table set up and we have all of our tools handy and the work is going smoothly. It is warm and quiet and very satisfying to work here each day.

We have now completed all the work on the mast and it is ready to go back into the boat. All we have to do is get the boat ready for the mast; the keel bolt backing plates (those which live under the mast) need to be replaced. We've taken one out and have had a new plate made. There are two more which we will do as soon as the first one is back in. It makes sense to do these even though they don't need it yet because they are showing some deterioration and probably will need replacing in the next few years. We'd have to pull the rig again to do them then. Might as well do them now.

"Cruising: doing boat work in exotic places"

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Richard's Bay, South Africa

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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

June 22, 2011-Painting the Mast

wingssail images-fredrick roswold
Judy Sanding

We previously painted Wings’ mast eighteen years ago at Seaview East Boatyard in Seattle. We sanded it four times back then; once at the beginning and then, due to our poor painting skills, three more times as the Sterling LPU paint had to be sanded off and reapplied to get a smooth finish. Now, in Zululand Yacht Club, in South Africa, we are back at work on the mast sanding and painting.

It seems like the old days: here we are sanding the mast again, and, again, we have to re-sand the finish coat to get it smooth.

This time we blame the weather. Right in the middle of the final spraying the wind came up and made the spraying quite difficult. Andrew, our painter, did the best he could but the finish was not perfect.

We’ve decided to hand sand it smooth, using 1000 and 1500 grit wet and dry paper, and then to polish it with fine cutting past.

We don’t mind this, we’ve done it before.

Click here for more photos.

Other mast work in progress:

Patrick described the work we have to do as similar to “an aircraft maintenance check, dismantling, cleaning, inspection, appraisal, replacement, painting and reassembling”.

We agree with him and we are well underway following that pattern; now we are doing the replacements and painting. In addition to painting we have:

-All corrosion has been sanded, brushed, and acid cleaned
-The mast head sheave guard has been re-welded.
-The boom has had some welding to fix cracks where it attaches to the gooseneck
-New bearings for the mast-head sheaves have arrived and will be installed today.
-New windex and mast head light have been received and are ready for installation.
-Most of the fasteners have been replaced
-The rigging screws have been cleaned, polished, and re-lubricated
-The mast step has been removed and will be rebuilt due to corrosion found on the underside.
-A new hydraulic boom vang has been ordered.

And (unrelated) one of the keel backing plates (the one under the mast step) has been removed and a replacement is being fabricated.

By tomorrow we start the reassembly. If all goes well the mast could be back on the boat in a week.

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, South Africa

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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

June 15, 2011-Friends Check In From Paradise

haere maru image
Stephane, Valerie, Patrick

Our friends Patrick & Valerie, from the yacht Haere Maru, sailed from Mauritius to little a bit of hidden paradise in the Indian Ocean, St. Brandon Rocks, and sent us a brief report.

"We went later with Valerie and the kids and Stephane my Mauritian friend that you met in the marina, to St Brandon , nice weather but not a lot of wind , I used my engine for 120 hours to help the lazy sailing... Everything went very well on board , were fishing every day and were like Robinson Crusoe's, it was exceptional. " Patrick and Valerie

When I say that this bit of paradise is "hidden" it is because it hardly shows at all on any charts. I couldn't find it anywhere in the Indian Ocean. Looking north of Mauritius where, based on reports from local sailors it had to be, I found nothing but deep blue sea. But the sailors in Mauritius would still talk about this magical place north of Mauritius called St Brandons and I had no idea what they were talking about. I wondered if it was imaginary. But it is there and when they explained exactly where it was I finally cracked the code. You zoom in far enough on the chart and there is Cargados Carajos Shoals, which is known to the locals as St Brandons Rocks.

Lat 16.36.8 Lon 59.33.8

From the photos Patrick sent it looks georgous. I wish we could have gone there.

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, South Africa

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Saturday, June 04, 2011

June 4, 2011-Another Project

wingssail images-fredrick roswold
What is missing from this Photo?

I don’t know when the troubles with the main halyard started, when the friction began to get bad, probably on the first Indian Ocean leg when we were crossing from Sumatra to Mauritius, but I do know we were aware of the problem before leaving Mauritius. A few times in Mauritius the sail was tough to put up or down but not impossible. I guessed the problem was in the sheave at the top and in the track itself. Maybe we could have repaired it in Mauritius but I knew the repair would require the mast to come out and I thought that this was impractical in Mauritius. I thought we could manage it until Africa. So we took the risk and left it as it was. It got worse on the next leg, from Mauritius to South Africa, but it never failed completely.

Despite my belief, or hope, that it would be OK every time on that passage that we put up the main, reefed, or took it down I half expected it to jam and become unmovable which I knew would be a disaster. I was in dread of that and it always was a tremendous relief when the sail actually moved when we needed it to; if it was not smooth at least it moved. Because of that very great worry we were very careful never to raise or lower the sail when there was a heavy load on it, going to extraordinary measures like coming all the way up into the wind while reefing or unreefing just to get the main to luff and relieve the pressure on the track and halyard.

The strategy worked and we had no major problems but I silently breathed a big “whew” when the main finally came tumbling down for the last time after we charged into Richard’s Bay on that stormy night in April. Once the sail was on deck at the end of that passage I knew it wouldn’t go up again until I’d had a chance to fix it.

Now we’ve started that project: The mast came out today; we hired a crane and, with just George and Ellen to help us, did it ourselves. That which was a bit nerve wracking because we haven’t pulled the mast ourselves before, but now it is sitting on the lawn at Zululand Yacht Club. It will go back in when we have replaced the main halyard sheave, repaired the mast track, fixed a couple of other items, checked everything else and painted it. It is another big project for us.

wingssail images-judy jensen
Working Under The Coconut Palms

But we’ll do it.

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, South Africa

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