Saturday, January 7, 2017

Rigging Friday, Provisioning Saturday

The last two days involved long and arduous hours for Dawn and I, but rewarded us with monstrous progress towards being ready to leave early this week. We've been going from sunup until well after sundown both days...tonight we finished stowing provisions and were shocked to find it was already 11:30pm. We have full days planned for both tomorrow and Monday, but the end of the end is in sight.

Yesterday Dawn and I were up early, anticipating the imminent arrival of the riggers. In fact our breakfast was interrupted by a hard-charging craftsman, but it was Donnie the carpenter, who had come to reassemble the last salon cabinet. He had held off because a fair amount of moisture had leaked in through the deck while the chainplate was off and we used some big fans to dry it out thoroughly. Once he finished, the salon looked couldn't tell the cabinets had ever been disassembled, unless you looked really closely for the joint where he had sawed them with a Japanese fine-blade saw.

While Donnie was working below, Dawn and I started rerigging the boat up top. The previous day we had put on the boom and ran the outhaul and reef clew lines, but hadn't done anything at the mast. We ran into problems immediately as the pilot line for the topping lift was stuck in place. I had somewhat expected and dreaded problems with twisted and caught pilot lines, and already had the bosuns chair out; I tied it to the main halyard and climbed our 55' mast. The problem was immediately apparent: one pilot line was wrapped up in the main halyard sheave and another in the yankee halyard sheave, seizing both. Like an idiot, I had neglected to bring any tools up with me. But in a flash of brilliance I had turned on all the mast lights so I could check them up close while I was up there. It turned out the tricolor and steaming light were both out...we had just replaced the steaming light with an LED so I was pretty sure the polarity was merely reversed. After a quick trip to deck level to equip myself with tools, I switched the steaming light around and it worked. I ascended to the masthead and took the cover off the tricolor/anchor light & tried reseating the dice. I checked the voltage with a multimeter, it checked out, so I had a rare burnt out LED bulb. I had also brought the Garmin Gwind with me; attaching that to its bracket was a 20-second job. That left the wrapped up pilot lines...those were tricky business because, first, I didn't want one severing and leaving me without any decent means of guiding its assigned line down the interior of the mast, and secondly one of them was wrapped around the sheave that was supporting my weight. Our mast has steps and I was able to get my weight off the main halyard enough to get it off the sheave and unwrap the pilot line. Whew.

Once the pilot lines were sorted I just stayed aloft while Dawn sewed the bitter end to each rope and then helped her feed each though its assigned sheave. Our bosun's chair is quite comfortable so it was a peaceful, enjoyable way to pass some time in the warm sunshine. A dolphin was playing quite close to our dock all morning, and it was neat to see him swimming just under the surface of the water before breaching with a gasp of his blowhole. Piper napped on deck and paid the dolphin surprisingly little attention. Once we had the topping lift, yankee halyard and spinnaker pole hoist in place I moved down to the second spreaders where we set up the staysail halyard and dinghy hoist after a false start caused by me incorrectly remembering which went through which sheave (my notes in "The Book of Knowledge" were below). Once those were set I'd had enough time in the chair for one morning so I came down for lunch. Afterwards I applied some sunscreen, put on my cruiser hat, and went back up to run the flag halyards from the first spreaders and tie the lazy jack turning blocks to the second spreaders. Right about the time I finished up the riggers finally showed up. They weren't actually late...they'd been waiting on an overnight Fedex delivery of some parts to finish building new intermediate backrunners, which had been accidentally cut too short. Pete got the new backrunners strung in no time while George finished assembling and pinning the staysail furler, then they set about tuning the rig.

Meanwhile Dawn and I rigged up the dinghy hoist block & tackle and then pulled out our new Doyle mainsail and the stackpack and got each in position on the foredeck. When the riggers were finished George took off for another job but Pete stuck around to help us get the sail bent on. We were racing diminishing daylight but I really wanted to get the sail on while it was calm, as we had a big blow forecast for the next two days with the passage of a major cold front (referred to as "Winter Storm Helena" by the hucksters at the weather channel). We ended up taking the boom off the gooseneck to help get the sail on. It was a bear even with Pete's help, but we eventually got it slid into place and we bid him goodnight. Then in the gathering dark we got the main halyard hooked to the head of the sail and started feeding the slugs onto our new Strongtrack. As soon as we did so, the wind picked up markedly. It was a bad feeling being right in the middle of a big job that depended on calm wind, knowing it wouldn't abate for a good 70 hours. Nevertheless we got the entire sail may have been the only time I've heeled 15 degrees at the dock! We got the lazy jacks attached to the stackpack and attempted to insert the stackpack battens only to discover that the canvas guy has stitched the openings shut!!! We said "screw it," released the mainsheet, dropped the sail, and set about cleaning up. When I went to zip up the stackpack, though, the fabric split in the exact spot it split last July! Ugh. I'm going to try to repair that with backing fabric tomorrow.

At this point it was 8pm, pitch dark, and starting to blow hard. After a hugely productive day our spirits were rather low, we were hungry, and neither felt like cooking dinner. So instead we went to the local sports bar, Gators, and felt much better when we got back. I called my mom, Dawn did some reading, I turned on the radiator-style electric heater, and we tucked into bed.

This morning was cold, windy, and rainy; it got colder yet throughout the day. I took Piper out to go potty and made a detour to the boatyard office for Keurig coffee, and ended up staying over an hour talking airplanes with Bill, one of the boatyard managers who is a Private Pilot who lost his medical. When I got back I reinstalled a speaker that had been removed from the port salon cabinet when it was taken apart; interior music restored, Dawn and I tackled putting away the provisions she had bought Thursday while I was in Boston. She had been out with Isabelle from Epiic and so had limited herself to one cart containing $450 (!) of cans & dry goods; it was a daunting amount of food, but Windbird swallowed it up into two lockers behind the port settee. After lunch we headed out to Dick's Sporting Goods, Kitchen & Company, Ace Hardware, West Marine, and finally Walmart for finishing provisioning. We were nearly able to finish buying cans, dry goods, beverages, soda and beer for 4 months, meat for a month, and produce and dairy for 2 weeks for an extra 2 carts and $550 (!!), then went to Harris Teeter and found the missing pieces before heading home at 8pm. It was a very full truck and I was astonished that we were able to get it down to the boat with only two heavily overloaded dockcarts.

After a late dinner of leftover chili (yum!) we worked together to stow the mountain of provisions in a couple of hours. We remove all extraneous packaging - the better to avoid extra garbage in remote places where its not easily disposed - often transfer the contents to Ziplock bags or Lock-n-Lock containers, add bay leaves to discourage creepy crawlers, and find a good spot in the most appropriate place. All of our food storage is in the freezer, refrigerator, or dry storage space under the galley counter; in the surprisingly-deep cabinets on two sides of the galley; in fruit & veg hammocks hanging from the galley and salon ceiling; under two sections of the port settee; in two lockers behind the port settee; or in the aft cabinets above port and starboard settees. Non-food provisions go in forward and aft heads, except booze and mixers which go below our berth in the aft cabin. We use our labelmaker to make labels for anything that's not instantly identifiable from the outside and also for the outside of all deep storage compartments. I was a little skeptical everything would fit - Dawn was quite nervous about it - but again Windbird just swallowed everything up. The freezer and refrigerator are only maybe 2/3 full each, and two of our designated food cabinets are half-empty. Absolutely amazing. I can see how you could easily provision this boat for any ocean crossing on earth, especially utilizing the V-berth space (which is suddenly getting empty for the first time in months!).

Tomorrow is supposed to be still bitterly cold and somewhat breezy but I have a fairly long list of outside tasks...and inside tasks...and a couple errands to run. So I'm going to sleep quick. We don't have a ton to do Monday except take a quick test sail with the riggers to make some final tweaks to the rig, and pray that the electronics guy shows up to finish the autopilot installation. Assuming that rather crucial detail works itself out, we should be ready to head out Tuesday. The forecast isn't nearly as good for going offshore as before...nothing nasty, just much lighter winds than previously I suspect our overnight to Fernadina Beach FL will be one long motorsail. I don't care. I can't wait to get out there.

1 comment:

  1. It looks pretty cozy and very well organized! Seeing the sequence box brings back memories! Before you know it, you'll be setting sail!