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.