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Saturday, October 29, 2016

October 29, 2016-Changing Seasons

wingssail images-nick white
Reaching with the new kite

October in Banderas Bay brings the change of season. September is still summer and is hot and sweaty. We continue to swelter even into October but the nights start to cool down and by the end of the month the seasonal change is upon us; the cool and wonderful winter weather is just around the corner.

The other change which happens in October is that we start to convert Wings back to a racing boat.

During this last summer we did a lot of work to complete our project list; amazingly we got them all done, but at the end of it we were still a cruising boat. All the cruising equipment was still fitted and we had our cruising sails on board; that wouldn’t do on the race course. The racing season is almost upon us so we must hurry to get the boat ready for the competitive season. It’s time to get down and dirty.

First, the annual haulout: One Friday morning in mid October we took the boat over to the La Cruz Shipyard and Alexandro’s crew placed the slings under us and lifted us out of the water. Because we wanted to take the rudder out for a bearing replacement I stayed aboard while the travel lift had us up in the air to unbolt and drop the rudder. That was a first for me, being on the boat while it was in the slings, but it went smoothly and we lowered the rudder out before setting the boat down on the stands. When they finally placed a ladder against the hull and I could climb down the rudder was on the ground and the workers were already sanding.

wingssail images-fredrick roswold
Looking up the rabbit hole

What a pretty bearing

Doing the thru-hull replacements was hard but after a few hot and sweaty hours with both of us slithering around together in tight places getting knuckles skinned and muscles strained the job was done. The rudder bearing replacement also went reasonably smoothly, other than the difficulty of getting the old bearing out and other than the doing final fit of the new bearing. I expected to get the old bearing out by simply sliding it down. Instead I found it completely stuck and I spent several very hot and exhausting hours with a 4lb sledge in one hand and a chisel in the other banging over my head trying to cut it out. In the end I was knackered and it still wasn’t out. I asked the boat workers to finish the job for me and Judy and I retreated to the coolness of the La Cruz Inn.

By next morning the bearing was out and I took my measurements and ordered a new one. Unfortunately we couldn’t test the exact fit of the new bearing until I could work the rudder and bearing assembly back up into the boat, and that required the boat to be lifted again for the return trip to the water. Then we found it didn’t fit as well as we’d hoped: it was a little loose, better than the one we took out, but not perfect. We decided to go with it. To halt the project at that point and get another new bearing made would almost double the cost and time of the whole project, and besides, we weren’t sure how it would feel when we went sailing. Maybe it would be OK.

We launched on October 19th and spent a few days cleaning and putting racing sails on board.

On the 25th we collected some crew and went sailing. The main goal was to test the new sails, test the rudder, and see how everything worked.

Ahh, Carbon Fiber Flat

I have to say that the sail testing trip was a complete success. The weather was perfect for a light #1 and after an hour the wind increased enough to test the #2. We put new marks on the deck for the jib cars for both sails. We sailed back to the marina with the new S3 1.5 oz spinnaker and it reaches like a bandit.

The sails looked good and the rudder was smooth although we still won’t know for sure about it until we get into some heavy weather upwind work and we don’t know when that will occur. For now it’s fine. Everything else, with the exception of the new halyards, worked perfectly.

The only problem we had was that the new Dyneema halyards seemed to creep or slip. This was not totally unexpected but it was still disturbing that after a few minutes of sailing the luffs of both the main and jib seemed to slack off a bit. Mike warned us about that and it seems he was right. We’ll work on pre-stretching them a bit, which he said would be needed.

All in all we had a great sail and we are totally pleased with all the work done and the new sails. By the end of the day when we sailed back into the La Cruz Marina we were all hot and tired from a day on the water but very happy. We are looking forward to the new racing season.

Click here to see tons more photos.

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, La Cruz Huancaxtle

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