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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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