Thursday, 30 September 2010

It's not all plain sailing..

..as a matter if fact, there's been no sailing at all since the trip when I saw the seals..!

My plan as the season draws to a close (and I know there are some that sail throughout the year - but it's just too damn cold for me!) was to get as much sailing in as possible, but it seems that a windy summer is turning into an even windier autumn... When I got to the boat last Sunday it was blowing a solid 6 gusting 7, and that just isn't fun... so once I got to the boat I put the kettle on and got down to doing something that I had originally planned for the winter lay up - replacing some running rigging..

Happily my mast is nowhere near as complicated as that one pictured - with no spinnaker I have just mainsail and jib halyards, and a topping lift running through the mast, seemples... Mainsail was the worst, so I started with that..

~ using the longer of the two hanks of rope I picked up at the Southampton Boatshow I first of all sewed (normal needle and thread) the new rope to the end of the old rope so that the ends were butted together - all you do is a simple blanket type stitch from one rope into the other... at the end you have what looks like a single length of rope, ends butted together so there's nothing to catch..

~ at the head of the mainsail I undid the shackle holding the other end of the mainsail halyard, slipped the eye of the halyard off, and reattached the shackle to the sail (not for any nautical reason other than so I didn't lose it!)

~ you can then start pulling the new rope through from the 'mainsail end' - keep pulling and the new rope will follow the old rope, up through the mast slot, up the mast, until it eventually gets to the pulley at the top of the mast - mine came through trouble free - at which point I then had both ends of the new rope in my hand, threaded through the mast... you can heave a huge sigh at this point as if it comes undone before now your faced with the possibilities of having to get mast down to try and get rope out etcetcetc

~ I then retreated to the cabin, pulling it all in after me, for another slurp of tea while I cut the plastic eye out of the end of the old halyard, and whipped it into the end of the new rope - I then reattached it to the shackle and the top of the sail - took on the tension to tighten everything up, and tied it off...

Job done... took about an hour but I wasn't rushing... I'll keep an eye on the whipping for the time being to make sure it doesn't come undone, but I'm happy it'll last.

Jib halyard will definitely wait - I have roller furling so it involves unfurling the jib to get it down so I can get to the halyard at the head of the sail - and as it's up and not giving me problems it can wait for a week or two...

The topping lift is OK, but given I have a length of new rope I may well do that at the same time...

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