Saturday, June 27, 2015

The Agony - Part II

Preface:  Sometimes we take things too seriously but when you are spending thousands of dollars on replacing new sails and rigging, I think it prudent that the results should be what you want, not what you have to settle for.  I am writing this particular blog so that perhaps it can help other aspiring Captains from making the same mistakes I did.

Well, everything has been ordered.  Bought everything but the rigging through the internet.  Took the original rigging down to a well know vendor in Annapolis and contracted with them to have a new set of rigging built.  They have a contractor named Winston, who purportedly does excellent work.  I found this to be true.  Winston is meticulous in every detail.  The Hood furler I had was also in need of replacement so I bought a CDI 6 furler with 1/4 inch sheath.  (I would not recommend 1/4 because for the average guy, its too small in the hand.  In hindsight, I would have gone with a CDI 7 which accommodates 3/8").  It is what it is.  I asked the vendor to mount the furler on the fore-stay for me.  They would do it for no charge.  Nice.

Meanwhile, back at the boat slip, the mast was on a dolly right near the slip and my other contractor was prepping the mast to receive the new wiring and lights.

Phopah #1 - While waiting for the parts, the vendor noticed that the fiberglass surrounding the mast step was significantly de-laminated.  He decided to build up the fiberglass and so removed the mast step.  He then went below decks and removed the teak fascades around the compression post to access the area from below.  In repairing this area, the mast step area was raised 1.5 to 2 inches. That information never made it back to me so I could pass it along to the rigging vendor, who was told to duplicate the exact dimensions of the old rigging! (Remember Captains how many time rigging gets completely replaced on an old boat).

Lesson learned - maintain communications with your contractors through all phases of the work.  Ask questions to confirm status and communicate, communicate, communicate.

Everything else proceeded as scheduled while we waited for the rigging.  On the prescribed day around the third week in June, I made my second two hour trip to Annapolis.  I picked up the assembled rigging from my general contractor and was excited to also see the furler mounted onto the fore-stay.  The way the perpetual motion CDI furler works is that it has its own halyard inside the fore-stay that pulls the Leech end of the sail up to the top of the mast.  Of course, as with most furlers, this action only needs to be done at the beginning or end of the sailing season.

I dropped the new rigging off with my vendor and proceeded to work.  Soon later, I got a voice mail stating that we were two inches short on the length of the shrouds.  I could not believe it.  It could not be true! The mortal sin of all sins was committed and it happened with my own boat.  During my career, I have been a leader of men in most of what I did for a living.  I knew that the buck stopped with me.  To blame anyone else would have been a lapse in character.

I rushed to the boat yard after work and compared the old shrouds to the new ones.  They were exactly the same length.  We had five days to go before the club cruise on the 4th.  I called Winston and he said that he could locate some "extenders". I told him I would be at Annapolis at the general contractor by 5pm.  Could he meet me there with the extenders?  He agreed. So, I made my third two hour trip to Annapolis.

Phopah #2 - I met Winston at the store and gave me the extenders.  Only problem was that three were 4 inches in length three were six inches in length.  After paying an additional $223.00 for the extenders, I returned to my home that same day.  The next day, I met my vendor at 0800 at the boat yard and delivered the extenders.  We went through all six shrouds (the fore-stay and back-stay with splitter fit just fine) and customized the lengths for each to minimize their appearance on the boat.  I left for work.

Well, there we were, done.  It was mid-day on 30 June.  New rigging (with shiny new extenders), new radio mast, new LED anchor light, new LED combo spreader/steaming light, new shiny brass radio connectors, new halyards and sheaths all around.  Man, the Constance Marie looked good.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

The Agony - Part 1

These next two blog entries will not be easy for me to write.  It will span the continuum from hope, excitement, concern, worry, despair, misplaced feelings of betrayal but feelings nonetheless moving on to thankfulness and relief. Not sure joy was ever felt. Some of you have stories like this, but this is mine and I learned a lot about myself during this particular journey.  

Figure 119 Old VHF radio antennae
It begins on 6/3/2015. I met with a vendor at the boat yard who had a great reputation for supporting boat maintenance projects. We laid out a plan for upgrading the mast lights to LED. Found some great buys on the internet for the Anchor light and Steaming/Spreader combination light. Given the condition of the unraveling fore-stay, I made a decision to procure new rigging all around. I wanted to upgrade my fore-stay and back-stays to 1/4" from 3/16".  All new turnbuckles included. Around 6/10/15 I located a rigging vendor down in Annapolis. I wanted to use a local rigging company that has a sterling reputation but their schedule could not accommodate getting to my boat until July.  I was determined to make the July 4th club cruise up the Sassafras River to Georgetown, MD for the fireworks.

Figure 120 - Old VHF radio connector

Figure 121 - Original mast wiring connector

Normally I am a very hands on guy.  Obviously you can see that from all the past blog postings.  Things were pretty busy at work so I thought I would outsource the complete project minus the few purchases that I would need to make.
  1.      LED anchor light
  2.      LED spreader/steaming light combo
  3.      Brass VHF connectors (male and female)
  4.      Wind-vane
  5.      Full set of wire rigging with new turnbuckles
  6.      New halyard sheaths
  7.      New wire to run through mast
Figure 122 - Old steaming light

Figure 123 - Old anchor light

Figure 124 - Wind vane broke off
Figure 125 - Original top of mast

Well,  the story develops with the next blog.......

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Patience Is A Virtue

Took some time off from the boat.....had some business to do in Annapolis.  Always fun for an Airborne Ranger to visit the the Naval Academy.

Figure 110 -If you know my family, then you know we love playing the sport of Lacrosse!

Figure 111 - Up the Severn River

Figure 112 - Looking toward Whitehall Bay and Chessi

Figure 113 - At the Point

Figure 114 - The Mark XIV Torpedo

Figure 115 - Looking toward Annapolis Harbor

Figure 116 - A well placed anchorage

Figure 117 - The moorings at Annapolis

Figure 118 - Hmmm...Chick and Ruth's Delly
It's good to take some time off and just enjoy life.  To slow down and take time to appreciate the finer things of life.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

What Goes Up, Must Come Down

Figure 101 - motoring to the yard

Figure 100 - A Captain's decision

It was five days later and a cool gloomy day. My oldest son would call this kind of day a "Hartford Day".  I felt like Admiral Halsey that day. I had to take the Constance Marie to the boat yard for repairs.  Kind of like the USS Enterprise after taking on Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto's fleet the first time "in the slot".  It was a day of mixed emotions knowing that sailing season was well in progress.
Figure 102 - De-masting begins

Figure 103 - Does it hurt?
Figure 104 - Walking the mast.
Figure 105 - Don's Cash Cow
It was a rainy cool day for June.  Don't crew had the mast down inside an hour from start to finish.
Figure 106 - Grabing hold

Figure 108 - It's done

Figure 107 - Putting the mast on the dolly

Figure 109 - YIKES! The main halyard was ready to snap!