We have felt a little like Mr Benn at times; not that we have been time travelling; but that we keep having glimpses of other lives. From metal worker, painter, hauliers, Fibre glasser, plumber, carpenter, the list goes on. Our current foray has been into the life of a rigger; like so many trades there are really cool toys to play with.
We opted to have mechanical fittings for our rigging wire and chose hi-mod. Once the wire was cut to the desired length using a thin cutting blade on our angle grinder, the wire is un-wound exposing the inner twist of wire, a former is placed over this and the wire is twisted up again, a crown is fitted to order the wire ends and the end is screwed on. It couldn't be simpler. The most difficult part is to get the wire to twist appart as our wire is 5/16". We've a few offcuts of leather to help us along and Ruth finds it helpful to use monkey or molegrips with this.
There has been a long list of jobs to be done before the mast goes up and we have been methodically plodding through them. We have assembled the new roller furling system that came with the boat which fitted together beautifully.
The crosstrees are now bolted on to the mast complete with copper sheaves for the shrouds.
One unrelated task has been gluing teak veneer to the the navigation station and installing some of the electrics; a task in which we found use for all of our now two lengths' of chain. Who needs fancy clamps?
Not all carriage bolts are created equal and our quick job of 'just' bolting on the chainplates has turned into a few days saga. I had cut all the square holes for the carriage bolts using our old stainless bolts as a gauge for size. Turns out our bronze bolts are bigger but we only realised once we'd got one stuck, threaded it and had to cut it out; all in a confined area. Argh! The chainplates in the head are particularly awkward to tighten the nuts on, Ruth was sick of sweating away over them and coming out with scraped fingers so in the end I unbolted some of the plumbing to make it easier, mindful that this could easily have become a new can of worms it worked out.
We are sealing the chainplates with butyl tape. We are so pleased to have been recommended this stuff by Ivan as it's so much easier to work with than any caulking we've used before. The clean up is simply trim the edges and pull it off rather than sticky messy chaos for hours! We've no experience of it so lets hope it works.
Whilst completing these sizeable milestones, in particular the chainplates, which we had never thought would need replacing until we saw the cracks they had. We have had other smaller though also integral to the mast going up work to be completed. The collar which needs to be solid enough to have chock's drifted in between it and the mast at deck level has needed to be modified and have some means of attaching a water proof gasket to it. The deck has also needed enlarging; though the overall dimensions of the mast are the same the radius' are different. The old mast heel had to be replaced with the new one and new bolt holes drilled to accomadate it. Even the coins which will be placed under the mast have been chosen.
Of course as is so often the way, to do these jobs, lockers have to be emptied and the contents put somewhere. The saloon resembles a kind of perfect chaos currently, at first glance it looks like clothes, tools and books have been emptied in to it and then a path pushed through the middle, upon closer inspection one realises that each pile was once the content of some locker or another.
Finally, we have almost everything sorted and fitted. We have dressed the mast short of a few extra halyards that will go on tomorrow. We need one more run to Blackburns for a few odds and sods then we are in business. The crane has been booked for three with the understanding that we will probably sit in the dock for most of tomorrow evening as we cut the wires to the correct length and attach the mechanical ends. This should not be a problem as there was a holiday today, (Monday) the yard is quiet, everyone aiming to be on their boats for the holiday. The extra time (delay) has given us some time to run some wires whilst the cupboards were empty It is now our luxury to have two fans in our fo'c'sle; I woke up one morning last week with my ear full of water; it took a few moments to realise that this was sweat! Texas weather is gaining on us! So if all goes well tomorrow we will have the windscoop up which will make the cabin much more bearable.