Thursday, January 19, 2012

Preparing to sail

Salty Shores

Having a boat might be a lot of fun, but it's mostly a lot of work. Since we fixed the car we've been working to get Salty Shores prepared to go down island. Last year, when Jim went back to the US, he had to take the sails off and put everything away for hurricane season. He tied 6 big lines with chains around the pilings and to the boat, took wind instruments off the mast, put the dinghy in storage, and the list just goes on and on.

To have a clear idea of what having a boat means, every little thing turns into a big project. Couple of days ago, Jim needed to change the bobstay fitting, a stainless piece that goes underneath the bowsprit, because the old one was cracked. This piece has a very important function, it attaches the bow of the boat to the bowsprit, on top of which is attached another metal piece called bowsprit fitting, where the roller furling attaches, (the genoa sail attaches to this in order to be rolled in and out). Uff! That little piece (bobstay fitting), provides downward pressure to keep the bowsprit in place when the genoa is open and the wind is making a lot of upward pressure.
Bobstay fitting

This work looked like it was a piece of cake, so Jim's friend, Johnny Valencia from Venezuela, offered his help: “Between the 3 of us we get that done in a half an hour.” First, they loosened the pressure of the bobstay, took the nuts and washes off, but... the new bobstay fitting wasn't attaching to the bolts because the pressure of the mast was pulling the genoa up. Then Jim said: “Shoot! We should remove the furling from the bowsprit fitting.” So he tied a rope to the furler and attached the main and geneoa halyards to the forward deck cleats.
Furler and bowsprit fitting

When the piece was changed, our big problems started. It was time to put the furler back, there was a rope tied to it that I had to pull, Jim was pulling down the main halyard and Johnny was trying to put the clevis pin in. We tried for a few minutes, but it didn't work. Not thinking too clearly, a guy walks up, says hello. He looks at our situation and suggests that we loosen the backstay. Once loosened the mast came forward, the furler went down and the clevis pin slid right in place!
Finally we got that “little” project done three hours later. Everyday is just like that, a lot of work to get ready to have fun.

From the USVI, learning a lot.