Thanks to both of you for the kind words! Now that I am productive again, I have been really busy on clients boats or more often... on our own.
Also, the year off from maintaining Delphys had reached critical mass. After a point, it becomes hard to bring them back up to "ship shape and Bristol fashion", but I am giving it my best. For most of her almost 20 years (since we launched in '96), we have kept her condition worthy of a circumnavigation
and we both miss that, even though we have no such intention.
THE BIG CLEAN:
We live in brackish water that turns to fresh water in the winter. This is easy on the under water metals, and minimizes hard fouling, but makes the boat a mess above deck. This is especially true of the AwlGrip non-skid on the North side. It had turned greenish/yellow! Soap, a brush, and a 1,000 PSI power washer (@ 3') works like a charm, IF your paint is well stuck.
Except the new underwing paint... The exterior paint elsewhere, is 11 years old and mostly flat. Although I actually prefer the "flat sheen" aesthetics, it no longer repels stains and washes easily, as it did in its first 8 years. (We will likely re-paint in a couple more years).
THE OLD HALYARDS:
and halyards had all turned green, and in some cases, grown a crop of Lichen! All of this running rigging
was 11 years old, but I wanted to get another year out of it, so did my best to wash everything, as I have successfully in the past.
First it soaked for a week, then... On one halyard
, I tried sleeving it with a soapy rag to no avail, then used a brush. The brush got off most of the grape sized lichen but really fuzzed up the cover of the rope
On the next halyard
, I tried a Practical Sailor technique, and put the "daisy chained" rope into a pillow case, that was in turn washed in a horizontal "commercial" washing
machine machine on "gentile cycle", along with other items. (Afterwards, using "Downy" in the rinse cycle) This did not remove but about half of the lichen, and ALSO fuzzed up the already UV damaged jacket. Strike TWO!
On my most precious lines, (6mm T-900 I use for my headsail halyard and topping lift), I just used a soapy rag gently, followed with the Downy rinse by hand. Because these had less UV damage and less lichen, they are now fine for a few more years.
Everything else was simply worn out from age, and not washing
them earlier in this moss/mildew and lichen event, was the last straw.
As is usually the case, I try to replace and upgrade at the same time. On the sheets
& traveler controls, however, I would stick to good old NER Sta-Set. I use 5/16 for the traveler controls and 7/16 on the sheets, which swell to 1/2" in about a year.
Years ago... When the first 1/2" dia sheets were damaging the plastic "cap spring" on my Anderson winches, it was because the winches were made for 1/2" max lines, and mine had swelled to 5/8" over time! Regardless... 7/16" is plenty strong enough for any boat < 40', and fits best in the winch
and in the hand for us.
All of the halyards (besides the creep resistant "Kevlar" T-900 headsail halyard), were previously 7/16" Sta-set X, and I wanted something smaller in dia, but more supple and with far less stretch. The Sta-Set X, unlike regular Sta-Set, gets stiff as a board over time! I hated it.
This time around I tried 3/8" Samson
XLS Extra T (Dyneema Blend) on the staysail halyard. It was indeed supple and better than the performance of the old Sta-Set X. I did not want to go smaller, because raising the stasail is often done in a hurry with decks awash, so the halyard needed a good grip. This line was very tricky to get a good splice, but quite serviceable.
The main & spinnaker
halyards were to be NER's 8mm Endura Braid. It was a GREAT choice! 8mm is quite small in the hand, but this means less weight & windage aloft. Even though much smaller... The new line handles and coils like a dream, as well as has way less stretch and way more strength, than the previous Sta-Set X. It is a bit tricky to splice too, but not like the Samson
With Endura Braid, I found that tucking in the cover at the end of the splice, rather than just sewing it along side the splice, worked best in this 100% "core dependent" line. I still got some extra slack in the cover, however, so attached the finished splice to a pole and milked the excess cover slack down the line to the opposite end. This gave me blisters
, but otherwise worked fine.
For about the same price
as my old halyards... These new smaller dia halyards make for a vastly superior line, that has a MUCH smaller coil hanging from the mast
. It leaves more room to pass in the cramped space next to the mast
, which is really nice when they are wet and I am not!
The first order of business was to climb and inspect the rig, (which was perfect), and wash it on the way back down. It too, especially under the spreaders, was covered with green mold
... I do this cleaning
by taking up a stack of about 50 folded paper towels that are soaked in 70% iso alcohol, that is in turn stuffed in a huge freezer
baggie. This baggie is hanging in the bosun's chair right pocket, and the used ones go in the left pocket.
After an hour and a half, the little bit of isolated mold
, and complete covering with chalky paint, is nice and clean. The mast's paint job is 20 years old now, so it also is due for a re-paint in a couple of years... (when I change out the 20 year old standing rigging).
MY BOSUN'S CHAIR RIG:
Having been mostly single
handed on my first two multihull
cruisers, (until I met Mariam 25 years ago), I had to have a solution to the single
handed mast climbing gadilla.
I have two chairs. One is the old West Marine
Deluxe model which we have beefed up with doubled webbing, after a safety
re-call. It is a great chair, with two huge double pockets to take stuff up in. I can spend hours working in this chair, because it is so comfortable.
On a client's boat... To get to maximum height, I have a set of 2" wide webbing "stirrups" that I temporarily attach to the mast head. In these I can stand up above the mast head if needs be. On Delphys, I have two folding mast steps mounted at the top of the mast, that are positioned perfectly for the same purpose.
For shorter but far more acrobatic trips aloft I use a SpinLock repelling style rig that is uncomfortable, but impossible to fall out of. It is great for working laying down, like to get to the end of spreaders. This chair, btw, connects up about 18" lower down, so gets me higher up the mast.
The mast climbing rig configuration I have used for decades is a 3/1 purchase
block & tackle, utilizing Harken
ratchet blocks, and 1/2" line with a really rough texture for good grip in the hand and over the block's "one way" sheaves.
This one shown is 20 years old, and still works perfectly! I now use NER Regatta
Braid Polyester for low stretch and better sheave grip than the Samson Trophy Braid I used 30 years ago.
It uses Harken's #1549 and 1550 ratchet blocks. They have a 1,800lb working and 5,000 lb breaking strength. Do not be tempted to use their smaller blocks! I did on my previous rig, and one of the 750lb wl blocks CRACKED!
I hoist the upper ratchet block (the one with the becket), using my new LOW STRETCH halyard. (If it is someone else s boat, or in question at all, use a bowline rather than the shackle). Mine is SO massive, I use it.
Next, you attach the lower block to your chair, and remember... both ratchets are carefully engaged.
With this rig, each pull is with both hands, rather than hand over hand, and the ratchet blocks hold you between pulls. You can probably even let go, but I don't do it.
When I want to stop somewhere, I fold 2' of the bitter end leg and put a loose half hitch through the bosun's chair ring. Then I can un-do the hitch and get moving again. Either job takes about 5 seconds!
To come down, I actually have to shake that final tackle leg's line, to get it slipping. If I am coming ALL the way down, I switch off the lower block's ratchet, and let the line slip through my fingers.
For this system to get you hurt, BOTH blocks' ratchet features would have to fail, which is not likely. These days, however, I get Marriam to handle a separate "safety" halyard, just in case... It has been a very long time since I used to climb the mast with NO chair OR tackle, by grabbing a halyard and going up hand over hand!
This system works better imo than ladders, or permanent mast steps, (even the ATN trick, or rock climbers handles). This is because with all of these, your hands, feet, or both are occupied in going aloft. With my rig, my feet are always available for fending off, and most of the time, my hands are too!
Oh yes... BE SURE to make your 3/1 tackle's rope 3X the maximum height of the tallest mast you intend to climb.
I STILL have rigid mast steps in order to go to the lower spreaders for spotting coral
... and two folding steps at the mast head, and under the mainsail
Hope there is something useful in here guys,