Sunday, April 21, 2013

Beryl and the Bowsprit

I remember reading through the list of extras that came with Impetuous; ‘bought but as of yet, not fitted’ and thinking that there were a couple of items that were worth the cost of the boat alone. One such item was Beryl; our Aries self-steering system.


As I’m sure you are all now aware it has been a long and arduous task getting Impetuous to a stage that we could put her in the water.  Once in, there was only one task that, to me could wait no longer; Beryl had to go on.  After the stress of the previous weeks surely we were allowed a pleasant job.

Without a hitch and without dropping anything in to the murky water the frame was attached and then Beryl came out, bit by bit from her old home in the depths of the forepeak locker.  She was oiled, greased and assembled. Joy.



Beryl is so called after Beryl Smeaton whom was at the helm of Tzu Hang when the boat was pitch poled during the first unsuccessful attempt she and her husband Miles made at rounding cape horn; note I say first!  Beryl was washed overboard, though managed to make it back to the damaged vessel. Their Rudder was washed away.  As of course was that of Impetuous during the Hurricane Ike storm surge.  When the Smeatons realised their rudder had gone it was Beryl who said that Tzu Hang had managed to take them across many oceans and that she was sure that she would get them to safety without the rudder.  Of course they did.  An account can be found in 'Once is Enough' We decided Beryl would be a good name for our third crew.


So with a few extra feet beyond our stern, our focus turned to extending our stem; we’re just like home owners really… Our twelve foot bow sprit. We had dry fitted this prior to departure to the water but for obvious reasons had not attached it. With attention given to ensure the bowsprit points straight ahead we drilled through our previously epoxy cored sprit and deck and bolted the sprit on with several half inch bolts.
The A frame used initially for raising the rudder but now for suspending the bowsprit
This was not quite as easy as one would think.  Our samson post; the terminus of the sprit, is half an inch off the centre line; who ever thought boats were symmetrical.  We have attempted to taper our bowsprit accordingly.  Positioning it was a question of climbing in to the dinghy, tapping the end of the sprit, getting back on board and eyeballing it.... repeat as necessary... eventually a consensus was reached. The consensus being Ruth thinks the bowsprit veers slightly to starboard, whereas I think it veers slightly to port. So that’s where we bolted it.


We bathed for a few days in the glow of our glorious fir bow sprit before continuing fitting the platform and pulpit.  Though I sometimes think it does nothing for the looks of the boat, it will provide very safe access to the foresail, as well as a great diving and dolphin viewing platform.


So all is well on Impetuous.  It has taken a little time for us to pick up our pace from how we had been on land, such was the revelry in getting this far, but we slowly are. We have found ourselves a pleasant yard where no one seems that bothered by our endless wood working and boat building.  So far our only drawback is that a little way further up the canal, there is a boat who run its generator all day and all night even restarting when it runs out of fuel.  The occasional hour of it being off is a real joy.  Maybe that’s canal life. We think not.

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