Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Winter Mode

Gardens has been put away for the winter. Elmer the Gantry was useful in getting Gardens back on her trailer.

The mainsail was unbent from the boom & yard. The spars were stored in boat. The sail was folded, placed in a plastic storage bag and placed in a cardboard box, and stored in an upstairs closet (all this intended to avoid driveway sail repairs next spring necessitated by wintering mice). The mizzen sail was left wrapped on the mizzen mast, wrapped in plastic (to guard against mice...) and stored in the boat.

Obviously, the mast, in its travel mode, supports the tarp. And, just as obviously, the tarp can be pulled back for any work (minor tasks) I can attend to over the winter months.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

An Early Winter

Daytime highs have been below 50* since mid-October - and trending lower: highs in the mid-30s this past week; lows in the high teens; highs this week in the mid-20s. Nothing in the forecast suggests a warming trend any time soon. Last Wednesday's light snow disappeared before yesterday's 5-inch snowfall. Winter is settling in.

Epoxy work and painting are now on hold until next spring. There are a few tasks to work on - at least until I'm snowed out of the barn. Lazy-jacks can be rigged; shop cleaned up; spars/sails can be stowed (mouse-proofed?); and Gardens can be tarped for the winter.

Maybe an early winter will bring us an early spring. One can wish...

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Full Circle (On One Small Task)

Gardens' original mainsheet fiddle-block wasn't fitted with a cam cleat, which meant I had to hold the mainsheet (which meant my hands would cramp up while sailing), but was fitted with a stand-up spring to keep the block from flopping around:

The replacement fiddle-block with cam cleat seamed to be the solution:

But... I couldn't get the fiddle-block installed with the stand-up spring: The spring was too stiff, the space was too tight, the shackle was too small, the swivel post was even smaller, and the threaded shackle pin was smaller still - it all worked against my fat fingers... My solution was a short section of pool noodle foam wrapped around the block and base:

That worked but not as well as a stand-up spring. Someone saw a photo of that "stand-up-foam-base" in a post on John Welsford's Small Craft Design Face Book page and suggested/recommended using a stand-up spring. I decided to see if I could find a "right-size" spring... The local hardware store - to my surprise - carries a fairly wide variety of small springs. But they didn't have one that would work. An Amazon search turned up a smaller (shorter, slightly smaller diameter) Harken stand-up spring but when it arrived, it didn't fit over the pad eye in the base. I decided to try the original spring again.

After several failed attempts I figured out that if I completely disassembled the base, started with the block upside down, and worked from the "inside out," I could (possibly) get the block, spring, and base connected and put back together. I only needed two more hands... My wife came to the rescue and together we got the whole thing re-assembled!

The path to this improvement to handling the mainsheet took me full circle back to the parts I had on hand when the fiddle-block w/cam cleat arrived. Buying the new fiddle-block with a cam cleat was part of the solution I was seeking. But finding a solution doesn't always mean buying a solution - I had that stand-up spring all along.

The mizzen mast project is on hold: Winter is settling in here in central Michigan: high temperatures in the mid-30s; lows in the 20s; and warmer temperatures are not in the forecast. It will be spring before I'll get back to work on the mast.