- Rigging: Standing Rigging: Liverpool Hand Splices
- Chain Plates
- Tides Marine Strong Track
- Spartite Mast Wedge and Waterproof Boot
- Whisker Pole System
However, the main project is getting the new mast collar installed. The original opening was too large for the new mast and was oval while the new mast has more of a wedge shape. Also, the hole was off center and I needed to fill one side of the hole to ensure the mast will be properly aligned. I used white oak. This was not a complicated project but has lots of steps, measuring, grinding, mixing epoxy, fairing, tapping holes, etc. A big part of the protect is to create a flate base on the curved deck for the deck collar to sit on. Becuase the deck collar, and it's base, are cast aluminum it could crack if it is tightened down on a cuved deck. The key was to use packing tape and paste wax on the bottom of the mast collar and around the edges to make sure the collar did not stick to the thickened epoxy which will comprise the flat base. Also important is to allow the epoxy to cure fullt before trying to "pop" it off the epoxy. If the epoxy is not rigid enough the "give" in it makes it harder to separate the collar from the epoxy. I used West Epoxy thickened with 404 High Density filler. The HD filler does two things: first, it has tremendous compression resistance and; two, it acts as a heat sink helping to prevent excessive heat from building up as the epoxy cures. This is important when a lot of epoxy will be used at one time and applied in thick amounts. The steps are contained below in the photo gallery. There are few more steps to go such as tapping the threads, final fairing, and applying Kiwigrip deck paint. The cold temps are here--forecasted for 30 F degrees tonight, however, we are forecasted for some warmer weather this week.
I completed the fairing and painting of the base for the new mast collar. I applied a light coating of kiwigrip yesterday and then another with the textured roller this morning. Tomorrow, I will bed the mast collar with 3M 4000UV. The boat is in need of a bath. But, it will have to wait a little longer. The focus of my efforts has shifted back to the rig. I am working on the outhaul for the boom and prepping for splicing one end of the standing rigging.
The fairing and painting for the new mast collar are complete.
Mast Collar. I completed the mast collar project. Previously, I painted the area around the new base with Kiwi Grip. All I needed to do was to prepare the surfaces for bedding compound. I tapped off the area around the partners and bedded the mast collar with 3M 4000UV. I tightened down the fasteners, cleaned up the squeeze out, and checked this project off the list.
Though I have continued to work on the boat I have been glued to the Winter Olympics since they started so I did not have the time to post anything on the website. During the day I worked on the propane locker by continuing to fair it smooth. I also worked some more on the rudder by adding some epoxy and biaxial to the top of the rudder where the rudder post enters. I'll post a few pictures in the next couple of days.
I am just about out of projects with the weather still too cold to do any epoxy work on the boat. So, today I hauled out my splicing vise and started working on my Liverpool Splice again. Though it does take some practice to develop the skills it is not that difficult. I started this last year and put it aside once I got the boat into the backyard. I use Brion Toss's great book "The Riggers Apprentice" as my guide. I saw Brion at the Annapolis Boat Show this past October. He was kind enough to give me a lesson on the splice and helped clear up a couple of trouble areas I was having some difficulty with. We then had lunch together and went over the plans I have for some rig changes. He had some great thoughts on a few things I could do to strengthen the rig and improve the sailing performance. He also encouraged me to work towards splicing 1X19 since I would be able to use the same size rigging the boat currently uses--9/32. If I use 7X7, which is easier to splice, I would have to go up at least one wire size because it is not as strong as 1X19.
Though very few people choose to splice their standing rigging there are many advantages to doing so. First, there is no work hardening of the wire which is what really shortens the life of standing rigging that uses either swage or mechanical end terminals--a splice is flexible along the entire length. Second, a proper splice is extremely strong, often exceeding the breaking strength of the wire. Third, the splice does not suffer from rust and subsequent cracking like swage fittings and none of the wire is hidden so you can fully inspect it ( if you don't serve it). Fourth, it is far less expensive to splice your own rigging than pay to have it swaged or buy Sta-loks. Last, you can repair/replace your rig anywhere without having to find a swage machine or find new fittings for a different size wire (metric?) if that is all you can find. Granted, most folks won't do this and that's OK, but I find it rewarding. Time will tell if my splices are of the quality they need to be.
The pictures to the right are of some practice splices with inexpensive 7X19 galvanized wire--the bottom splice in the lower picture was created today. With the cold temps I probably just keep splicing this next week working on improving my skills. The vise I use is a relatively inexpensive aluminum vise I bought from Elisha Webb & Son Co. So far, it seems to work fine and cost about 1/4 the amount of a high-end bronze vise.
A practice splice with 7X19 galvanized wire.
I have made a few splices over the last few days just trying to make them tighter, smoother, and stronger. Of course without having it swaged on the other end and broken in a testing machine I can't really know the strength of the splice. That will come later. Nonetheless, the splice to the right is the best splice to date, by far. I think it is better because I am getting more comfortable with the wire. Also, instead of "nipping" off the tapered wire strands I am breaking them off the way Brion Toss showed my last Oct. This is a much better technique because the individual wire breaks off down in the groves between the strands on the standing end. I also finished off with an Ashley Taper which seems to make a smother more controlled taper.
I do believe though that the 7X19 may not be the best way to start learning how to splice because the wire is so flexible--maybe too flexible. Also, each strand of 19 wires needs to be tapered in a very careful and controlled manner and each of the 19 wires is very small and hard to peel out of the bundle in a manner that contributes to a proper taper. I'll be looking for 7X7 in the next few days. I also spent some time "customizing" the vise and my unlaying line and anchor point for stretching the wire out. All in all, a good day.
A much improved 7X19 splice.
The splicing continues. I have made progress and find it is getting easier each day. The splice takes me about 2 1/2 hours to make and 45 min of that is spent just breaking off all the little wires after I "fair" the splice. I think it will go much quicker with the 7x7 wire since there are fewer wires to trim.
Having make up a half dozen splices in the last couple of days I am finding the splice fairly easy to make. Today I only needed to refer to the book one time. Tomorrow I think I will be able to do the whole splice by memory. I am developing a feel for the wire and how to use the marlin-spike to make the wire "go home" more easily.
The top picture show six tucks complete. All that is left is the Ashley Quick Taper--a final tuck with just three of the six strands. The middle picture shows the splice with all the the tucks complete and the excess wires held down by a constrictor knot in preparation for fairing. The bottom pictures show the completed splice. It is absoultely smooth. No meat hooks or wires of anykind protruding to prick your hands or fingers.
Brion Toss says you need to learn to not get distracted by all the wires sticking out and focus only on the six that are getting tucked. The first few times it was difficult to not get lost. In fact I had to destroy two splices part way through because I got lost and could not figure out where I made the a mistake. It was like looking at a jigsaw puzzle. I now found it much easier to trace the wires and know where I am at all times. This has proven to be a very rewarding undertaking. I ordered 25' of 7x7 stainless wire to practice on. If it goes well I'd like to move up to 1x19. But let's not get ahead of ourselves.
Learning to see order in chaos.
Ready to fair and trim.
A finished liverpool splice.
7 Sept 11 I am starting to work around the boat again. I wacked my shin pretty good last week and all I have been able to do is hobble around the last 8 days. I have had to satisfy myself with small projects. I stripped the caulking off the deck hatches and removed the lexan lenses. I went by a glass supplier to look into replacing the lexan with tempered glass. There are some pros and cons to making the switch. Its early in the decision process so I will continue to gather info. I cut some G10 for a platform for the ABI windlass to sit on. It will have to be faired to fit the camber of the foredeck. For the last two evenings I have spent my time practicing wire splicing. This is not a simple endeavor and I am not talking about the difficulty of the splice. I basically have the splicing technique figured out . . . not that the quality is ready for prime time but with continued practice I am confident I can make a strong splice. No, the issue is parts.
A 7X7 SS 5/16" Liverpool splice with bronze thimble. Better but still not ready for prime time.
The real stumbling block seems to be finding the right thimbles. The trick with SS wire is to use an "oversized" thimble because the wire is very stiff and it is hard to bend the wire around the standard sized thimble radius. I am not sure exactly what constitutes oversized. Last year, I practiced on 7x19 1/4" galvanized wire. it was easy to bend it around standard thimbles. Then, this last spring I started practicing with 7X7 SS 5/16" wire. I found some 304 SS thimbles that were a great size at 2 1/4" long. But, they are not made for wire and are not suitable for the final product. The thimbles I need should be bronze and closed on the small end. The one in the photo to the right I found at Whitewater Marine in NZ. They are about $15 each and I bought five of them to practice on. But, I am convinced they are too small. They are only 1 3/4" long. I have scoured the internet and have not been able to find the right thimble. Port Townsend Foundry has bronze solid thimbles but they seem huge to me at 4" long and they are heavy . . . and of course that much bronze is expensive. I don't think they have to be that big . . . but I have not been able to find what I am looking for.
And this brings me to something I have learned over the course of the rebuild of the Far Reach . . . some of the old style ideas I have tried to incorporate to keep the boat strong and simple are not so easy or inexpensive to achieve. In the old days splicing was common and I am sure there were lots of suppliers to help sailors, builder, and riggers get the items they needed to get the job done. But, there are so little of the "old ways" being done that when you can even find the special things you need they are very expensive. I have found it increasingly difficult to break-away from mainstream boat building techniques. For the last couple of years I have been watching with great interest the development and use of Dynex Dux synthetic line as standing rigging. I have talked to some folks that have used it. Most of what I have heard has been very good. It is expensive but it is very easy to work with. It is super strong (twice as strong as steel wire of similar size) with almost zero stretch though it does have what is called creep. The real question for me is UV longevity which Colligo Marine states should be at least 8-10 years in the tropics maybe more since it has not been used that long as standing rigging. I have heard some frustration with thermal expansion and contraction--in other words as the temps drop the rig can get slack if you use dead eyes to tension the rig. But, Brion Toss seems to think it has a great future. There have been interesting discussions on the "Spar Talk" forum about the pros and cons of synthetic rigging.
I still have time to decide what I am going to do but I am beginning to feel like I am swimming upstream with regards to standing rigging. In the meantime I enjoy the splicing. It's not that hard and it is very satisfying to create a nice splice. Now, if I can just find those thimbles.
I finally found the right kind of thimbles for splicing my standing rigging. I ordered them a couple of weeks ago and a bag fully of newly cast thimbles arrived in the mail. I tested a couple of different thimbles over the past two years but was not satisfied with them. These should be perfect and were not that expensive. The are bronze meriman style. They are very strong and are sized properly for the 7x7 5/16" SS wire I intend to use. Splicing the rigging will be one of the last projects I do before we launch the boat. I can see a little light at the end of the tunnel. I still need to order the additional turn buckles, the wire rigging, and the X and the Y and the Z . . . "some day this war's gonna end."
I decided to try splicing vertically vice horizontally. I think it is easier and it leaves more room in the shop. I also think I could splice right on the boat when we install the new mast. The splices are better, though they still need to be smoother . . . and faster. I think I could do one in 45 minutes though I am in no way ready to push the time. I still am working on the basics. I am still waffling between the dynex dux and spliced wire. Dux is better for weight, breaking strength, and simplicity. The wire is better for durability, longevity, and expense. SS 316 5/16" 7x7 is nearly three times less expensive than 9mm dux. Plus, even if I went with dux I'd still need wire for the bob stay, sprit-shroud stays, and head stay. Hmmmm . . . .
I decided to try splicing vertically. I think I like it better than horizontal, which was the way I learned.
This is a better splice but there are problem areas. I am still learing how to unlay the wire for the tucks. I am still mangling the wire in a few spots. Better but not there yet.
I made another splice today. I took my time working to avoid mangling the wire . . . using a little more finesse, I did not open the lay as much. The tapering process seemed more straight forward which, along with some finesse, produced what I think is a cleaner smoother splice. It is the best I have done so far. I also got a little more comfortable with the vertical mounted splice. I think, for me, it is better than having the vise horizontal. I can see all the wire bundles and tucks more clearly. Dux or wire . . . I need to decide. I am thinking spliced wire. What do you think?
Front side of splice. Mo better.
The back side of the splice.
18 Nov 14
Splicing the Standing Rigging.Photos below. For more on splicing, click here.My goal is to turn out consistently serviceable splices in 5/16" and 3/8" 7X7 316 SS wire. I counted up the number of practice splices that I made before I spliced the first wire for the boat two days ago. I spliced 24 practice eyes. About ten were in 1/4" galvanized wire to learn the basics. Then, about 14 in 5/16" SS. This was over a period of about 2-3 years while I worked on other projects. In the last three days I have made nine splices for a total of 30 splices. I now have a pretty good grip on the science of splicing, for the type and size of the wire I am using. In the last few days, I have learned a lot more about the art of hand splicing. I no longer get lost. I can "see" the next step and find my way around the wire easily. I am neither using any notes nor do I need to have "The Rigger's Apprentice" open for constant reference. I have the steps mentally locked down. I can pretty much see when the splice is not developing correctly and, importantly, have some skill in correcting it. The splices I am producing are not perfect by any stretch of the imagination. But, I am getting a much better feel for the wire, what each step is supposed to look like, and some skills in how to massage the wire to get a more consistent result. Every splice reveals something new for me so my learning curve is still rising though not as steep as it was just two days ago. For me, I think consistency is the key. I am pleased with what I am producing though not satisfied, if that makes sense. Creating a consistent ribbon through unlaying the individual wires is still hit or miss. Now would be the perfect time to get some one on one instruction from Brion Toss. I think I am at a place where a little instruction would really resonate. However, as I said, I think these are serviceable splices that will keep getting better over time. I should have it figured out about the time I install the last piece of standing rigging on the boat.
I have completed the three complete wires (six splices) with 10 more to go: Starboard and port side spritshrouds (bow sprit shrouds) and the bob stay. The sprit-shrouds are in 5/16" wire and I completed them on Sunday and Monday. I completed the bobstay today (Tuesday). It is 3/8' wire . . .much more stout wire. It will wear you out if you try to man handle it. I am learning how to finesse it. Make it go where it wants to go. Brion Toss sent me a video link to an Aikido demonstration as a reminder to not fight the wire . . . to deflect and redirect its energy where you want it to go. This is the art part of it.
If you are interested in splicing buy his book, "The Rigger's Apprentice," and get his video, as I would not even attempt to describe it here. But there are a few things that stand out for me and I list them below as much as a reminder for me as for anyone else that is just beginning to learn this wonderful skill.
- Use a #7 Snap-On awl and file the point flat like a duck bill. Then sand the file marks out. It needs to be very smooth.
- I am having good success with my Elisha Webb aluminum splicing vice. I had to tune it up some but it seems to be working well at this point (just for saying that it will probably break-in-half tomorrow). I paid $200 for it new. I think it is up to $250 now. Still, it's a bargain when all the other vises I could find start at about $1000.
- I tried splicing horizontally and vertically. They each have some advantages. I started horizontally. After about 20 splices I tried vertically, which was immediately easier. Splicing vertically has helped me better able to see all around the splice without bending over or under. I am told, I can use the vertical method to splice on deck or on the dock next to the boat. Probably most important, in my little shop, horizontal splicing just clobbered the shops limited space. Vertical splicing takes up very little room.
- The first tuck, the #6 wire is the key. I had a tendency to insert it too far inboard into the standing side thinking that's "where it wanted to be." I have found that inserting it more outboard (up to two more strands outboard than I think it should be) makes for a much better splice. This, so far, has been a very important discovery.
- The first set of tucks, to include rolling in the heart, is about 90 percent of the splice. If the first six tucks are right, its simple after that. Larry Pardey says splicing 7x7 is as simple as knitting . . . I would only add that, for me, at this point, simplicity starts after the first set of tucks. Once you figure out what you are doing it's just a matter of making enough splices that you become comfortable with what you are looking at from start to finish. This takes time. All those strands being pulled out for the taper looks like the essence of chaos. It is easy to get distracted by all the little wires. The first half dozen splices were like a rubics cube. But, patience and persistence provided a clarity. I don't even notice them any more.
- Use the duck bill on the splice to massage the wire into place and to lay flat against the wire you are spiraling around. The spike does a lot more than just pry apart the wire. I am still learning it's many capabilities.
- Breaking the lay and understanding how much or how little is a real art and takes some finesse. I am still learning how to make the wire do what I want it to do. How much to open it. When is too much. The wires respond differently as they thin out during the taper. I kind of jog back and forth across that line . . . a little to much on this one . . . not quite enough on that one.
- Both index fingers were raw from pulling and handling the wire. I finally wrapped the some white athletic tape behind the first knuckle (on the second digit) and that has provided a lot of relief. I suspect some of the tenderness is simply from trying to man handle the wire. Though I am using a lot more finesse now, I am sure it is all relative to one's experience.
- Breaking off the wires is an important skill. Done correctly, there are no meat hooks. The finished product is absolutely smooth to your hand. The key is to pull the wire down into the slot between the wires and to quickly rotate the wire 180 degrees, while pulling on it at the same time. The wire snaps off down below the surface of the strands from which it emerges. It is all technique and not that hard to learn but when you mess up you are left with a barb that extends beyond the surface (a meat hook if you will) that has to be dealt with. So, practice it while you are learning the splices and master it. You'll have plenty of practice. You have to snap off 49 wires, I think, for each splice.
The next step is to pull the mast out of the shed on to saw horses in the drive way. Install the spreaders. Make a jig that reflects the level of the chain plate off sets, and measure for the shrouds. My plan is to splice one end of each shroud and head and back stay. Then, cut about the wire about 6"- 8" longer than it needs to be, after leaving enough for the thimble circumference and the splice tail for the second splice. I'll splice the other end after the mast is in the boat. In other words, I will install the mast with the the spliced end of the wires installed on the mast. I'll position the mast in the boat with halyards and then physically mark the wire dangling wire to the extended turnbuckle (with the thimble to be spliced actually installed on the upper end of the turnbuckle). It is definitely more difficult this way, but several riggers have suggested it is the best way to ensure you get it right when you are dealing with a taller mast and no pre-existing wires to duplicate. I couldn't be at this phase when the weather was nice . . . that would be too easy.
28 Nov 14
I have completed all the splicing for this phase of the rigging project. The sprit-shrouds (bowsprit stays) and bobstay are complete and are temporarily installed. The remaining standing rigging (two D-1 forward lowers, two D-1 aft lowers, two D-2 uppers, two cap shrouds, the head stay and back stay all have a thimble spliced on one end and the wire is cut long enough to provide for a splice on the other end with about 6" extra length to mark the wire on the boat before I spice the end. The forestay (staysail stay) will be synthetic Dynex Dux, running back stays will be Amsteel Dyneema--I'll deal with them later.
This has actually been very enjoyable work though, my hands are in pretty rough shape. Partly it is due to pulling on the wire, tucking it, unlaying the strands before each tuck, and breaking off the individual wire strands. But, the weather has also turned cold and is much drier and that is also hard on the skin. It's a minor inconvenience.
No sissified hands here.
Attaching the sprit-shrouds to the kranze iron posed an interesting challenge. Normally, you would use double jaw toggles for something like this. I looked at dozens of SS ones on-line but I did not like any of them. I could not find any bronze ones though I am sure if I did they would be ridiculously expensive. After checking with someone I trust I decided to use shackles, of which I have plenty on hand. To get the eye of the shackle through thimble, U had to cut part of the solid thimble away. There is still plenty of meat in there and the loads are not that great anyway.
I cut a portion of the solid thimble out so I could insert a shackle to attach it to the kranze iron.
If you look closely, you can see the SS shackles used to attach the sprit-shrouds to the kranz iron. I think the new bowsprit looks pretty good.
Barring the splices coming unwound and the rig falling down ("God between us and evil" as Jack Aubrey would say) I have to say I am very satisfied that I spent the time to develop such an interesting and versatile traditional skill and pursued this project. It's easy to argue that it would be much faster to have used 1x19 wire and mechanical fasteners such as sta-loc ) or some other compression fitting) or swages--which of course would be true. However, everything I have read suggests that, all things considered equal, spliced rigging should far outlive mechanical fasteners as it pretty much eliminates work hardening (the real scourge of mechanical fasteners and the reason most wire fails) as the spice is flexible along its length while mechanical fasteners have a hard spot on the wire where it emerges from the mechanical fastener (that is where the wire strands eventually break) on 1x19.
Learning to see order in disorder. In this photo, I have just returned the splice to the vise after I "faired" it with a mallet on a wood block. This is the final step before breaking off the individual wires.
One of my recent splices. I am now turing out a much more consistant and tight splice.
Unlike swage fittings, there is no worry about water getting into a hand-splice and cracking it (which I have experienced with swage fittings) or a compression fitting failing. Also, nothing is hidden. You can see the splice and inspect the wire from one end to the other, so if there is a problem, you should be able to see it and take action before it becomes a problem . . . as long as you routinely inspect the rig.
The cost of the 7x7 is less than 1x19 and the thimbles cost about 1/3 as much as compression fittings. The bronze thimbles will never rust. The cost of the wire and thimbles was about $1400. Now that I have the reusable thimbles a complete new rig would cost about $750. I can also splice a new rig anywhere--as long as I can get wire. This is not to suggest it is for everyone as it is seldom used these days. But, for those willing to invest the time (not a small thing to be sure) and who enjoy working with their hands it is very rewarding.
The 7x7 wire is heavier/larger diameter than 1/19 to get similar strength but as Brion Toss has pointed out, it maintains higher strength over the course of it's life than other methods as it eliminates work hardening. Of course, I will feel a lot better about hand splicing my own rig after I have sailed it in significant wind and the gained confidence in it that will only come after it has been put to the test.
After I spliced an eye in the wire, I took the spool outside and ran the wire along a 100' tape measure. After allowing for the amount of wire I needed to splice the other end --17"-- (as well as an additional six inches) I marked the wire with some electrical tape and used Swiss made Felco C-16 wire cutters to cut the wire. The Felcos are expensive but are considered to be the Cadillac of wire cutters--capable of being handed down from generation to generation. I have been very impressed with their performance. I got a good price on them from Seco South in Florida. I don't think you ever regret buying a good tool. But you almost always regret buying a cheap one.
Running a cap shourd out for cutting. The Felco C-16 wire cutters are impressive.
A 47' long cap shroud ready to be installed on the upper end of the mast. I'll splice the bottom end once marked by stretching it down to the bottom thimble installed in the turnbuckle.
Elisha Webb Splicing Vise. The vise continues to hold up well, though as I have mentioned before it is not a high end peice of equipment. So far, it has prooven to be a great value for my purposes. Also, it's aluminum, except for the threaded bolts that adjust the clamping arms, so it won't rust.
I have made several minor modifications to help it perform a better. First, the vise came without any grooves in the camping arms necessary to hold the wire securely in position. A SS wire bent around a thimble exerts a fair amount of pressure on the camping jaws without the grooves the wire can wiggle and even slip out of position. There is constant twisting forces applied to the wire, and subsequently the camping arms, as the spike is twisted and turn back and forth as you insert wires and seat them with the spike. I initially used some of my rat-tailed files to make small grooves. Because the clamping arms are curved I could not get the file down into the concave area. I used it like that for a while, which worked fine with the galvanized wire, but the 316 SS wire needed to be held more securely and I felt like I was really torquing down on the clamping handles to keep the wire and thimble held securely in place.
Thus, second, I deepened the grooves and then smoothed them out with a conical shaped abrasive stone in my Dremel. That additional step made a big difference. The wire is firmly held in position with normal clamping pressure.
You can see the grooves I cut into the clamping arms to hold the wire more securely.
Today, we had rain and we are expecting more over the next couple of days. So, at the moment, no trips planned to the boats until the weather improves.
This afternoon, I spliced the bottom end of the cap shrouds, thus they are ready to be installed. When I install them, I'll also take final measurments for the headstay and backstay. I now have only two more splices to do out of a total of 26 splices required for the mast and bobstay. I have come to enjoy splicing. It is low stress, relaxing, and infinitly rewarding. They continue to get easier as I now rely more on technique than muscle.
I need to think about ordering some equipment to have the Far Reach in compliance with Coast Guard regulations when we launch her--flares, fire extinguishers, throwable cushions, horn, etc. We also need to think about installing some of the items we took off the boat when we had it transported from the backyard to the boat yard--anchors, nav lights, etc. I have some small projects to work on over the next few days. More on that in the next post.
The splices continue to get easier and smoother.
Another finished splice. Only two more to go.
One of the things on the project list was to reinstall the chain plates. Interestingly enough the most challenging aspects of the project was to find the right fasteners. The chain plates are manganese bronze from Spartan Marine Hardware. All but two are original to the boat. The original fasteners were SS and though they seemed to be in pretty good shape it seemed prudent to replace them. I thought about replacing them with bronze but unable to find domestic made bronze that did not require taking out a loan I decided to replace them with 316 SS. Though 316 is slightly less strong then 304 I wanted the extra corrosion resistance. After contacting many manufactures, starting about six months ago, I learned that it is very difficult to get any one to certify that their bolts (Jamestown Distributors, McMaster-Carr, McFeelys, Bolt Depot, etc) are made in the US. They would say it, but would not put it in writing which to me, call me silly, means they are not made in the US. OK, but where are they made? B &S Bolts in Norfolk sells lots of milspec and ISO 9000 certified fasteners but not in what I was looking for--flathead, 316, 3/8" and 1/2", etc. But they would certify they were made in Sweden, Canada, Belgium, etc. And, they would put it in writing. That was the best I seem to be able to do. Once I had the bolts it was pretty simple to install them. Once again I decided to bed the hardware with butyl rubber. Check another project off the list.
Chainplates installed and bedded with butyl rubber.
2 July 14
We spent part of last week working on the interior--installed the back rolls for the settees and we now have the pilot berth and quarterberth cushions. They look great. Still some more work being done on the settee cushions and we will have them soon. Will post some pictures when it's completed.
But, the big news is we have the new mast and . . . we also have a date for moving the boat to the boat yard to rig the mast, splice the standing rigging, make final preps and yes . . . launch the Far Reach. Baring something unforeseen, we have tentatively arranged with Town Creek Marine to transport the Far Reach towards the end of the first week of Aug. Then, a couple weeks on the hard at the Beaufort Marine Center and then launch. That's the plan.
The mast. My good friend RQ built our mast over the last six months. We spent the last eight or nine months exchanging drawings, sketches, numerical calculations, etc. I hired Brion Toss to check my layout and he gave it the thumbs up. RQ and I talked several times a week for months. He had lots of great ideas and worked hard to build us a strong mast that would still be light enough to provide a good range of performance. I'll write more about the design and construction separately. But, the first challenge was to get the mast 300 miles from his home to our home. We did that with the support of another friend that loaned us his boat trailer for his 24' Carolina Skiff. A long trailer was important as the mast is in two sections 27' and 25'. We also needed to transport the boom. We built a cradle from scrap 2x4's from the shed and then cut yokes to fit the mast profile, which we had on hand. We used rope to secure the cradles to the boat trailer. Then, we drove 5 1/2 hours to RQ's house. We wrapped the mast in plastic and lots of padding then loaded the spar sections onto the cradle. We then installed the yokes to the cradle on site using deck screws. We strapped everything down with more rope and ratchet straps. RQ explained all the parts, screws, attachments, etc. Then, we made the long drive home. Total time on the road was about 11 1/2 hours plus about four hours at RQ's loading the spar. It was a long day but the event was completed without drama.
We left the mast on the trailer for a couple of days. We scouted the boat yards and met with a boat transport company that conducted a site reconnaissance of our boat shed and yard and determined they could transport the boat without a crane . . . just using their hydraulic trailer. But, we need to take the shed down first so they will have all the room possible to maneuver the trailer under the boat and then make the turn around the side of the house. This will be so much better than what we went through to get the boat into the yard five years ago. We met with the painter that will paint the mast and went over the protocol for the painting as well as the materials we will need. We got a bunch of supplies ordered.
Today, we unloaded the trailer and placed the mast in the boat shed as we make a few minor preparations for the arrival of what is expected to be Hurricane Arthur. Hopefully, this unwanted storm will not cause us any problems. Then, we spent the rest of the day drilling holes in the deck of the Far Reach to install the windlass, forward rope chain pipe, and bow and stern cleats. We drilled oversize holes and filled with epoxy. Tomorrow we will drill for the fasteners. I'll post pictures when it's complete. With luck, we hope to knock out the mast painting next week. More to follow.
We built the mast cradle in three sections and strapped it down to the boat trailer.
We transported the spar sections without fanfare. The long trailer was key. Fate smiled on us. No flats and no tickets.
We placed the mast cradle and spar sections in the boat shed and waited for Hurricane Arthur.
10 July 14
Hurricane Arthur turned out to be a non event here with the eye passing 30 to 40 miles to the east. There was, however, significant flooding up in the Core Sound and along parts of the Outer Banks. I am quite relieved that were spared what could have easily been a very destructive early summer hurricane. Peak winds only reached about 50 mph in our coastal community. Once again, the bow roof shed performed magnificently, though the covering is showing signs of wear at five years.
We needed to get on with the painting of the mast. So, all our efforts since picking it up have been aimed towards that end. The mast has a number of small pieces--spreader tips, winch bases, access and reinforcing plates, doublers, etc. Though anodized, all or some of these parts need to be painted to match the spars. We started off building a rack from PVC pipe to hang the parts for painting. But, it occurred to me that we could make this a lot simpler if we could powder coat some of the small parts. With a little research, we located a local powder coating business with an impressive facility. It is owned and operated by a retired Marine. I dropped off a 10" cut off section of an anodized mast and asked them to powder coat it. When I get it back I'll test the bond. If it is a tough bond then we will powder coat the small parts to match the color of the mast.
The mast sections are fully primed--one coat of Awlgrip Wash Primer CF and two coats of Awlgrip 545 Epoxy Primer.
The next step was to thoroughly wash the mast section and the two part whisker pole. We used hot soapy water and a power washer. We left it to dry in the sun. The painters were scheduled to arrive the next morning to paint. In the morning, we wiped the spar sections down with Interlux 202 dewaxer using the two rag method. I then sanded the mast sections with 120 grit on my random orbital sander. We sanded the two part whisker pole by hand. We were careful not to touch the mast keeping our nitrile gloves on during the sanding. As previously arranged, Gary, the owner and operator of G&G Marine Services, showed up at the house with his trailer and an assistant. We were concerned about rain which, depending on the forecaster, might start early or later in the day. As it turned out, we received only a brief sprinkle (we hauled the spars into the garage and set them on racks we positioned for just such an event).
We used the compressor to blow the sanding residue off the spars. We did not perform a final solvent wipe down as both the Awlgrip instructions and the tech rep were adamant that we not wipe the spars after sanding due to concerns about small cloth fibers getting caught on the microscopic edges of the freshly sanded aluminum and serve to wick moisture into/under the paint surface.
Though I remain somewhat skeptical, there are new products replacing the previous method of acid etching with "alumiprep and alodine" followed by applying zinc chromate. All of those products are very dangerous for humans and for the environment as well so they are being replaced by less dangerous coatings. OK. But will the new products work? Awlgrip advertises the new stuff, Wash Primer CF, as chromate free and which uses a cross link chemical fusion process to bond the aluminum surface to the primer which the top coat paint will be applied over. Somehow, it also etches the surface of the metal. Anyway, the painters applied a single coat with two passes, the first one light and the second one heavier, in accordance with the instructions. The Wash Primer was left to cure for a little over an hour. Next, the painters mixed and sprayed two coats of grey Awlgrip 545 Epoxy Primer. The task was completed. G&G appear to have done a nice job. The surface looks perfect. Not a single drip or run and no gaps in coverage. With the painting completed, they packed up and departed and we left the spars on the racks for the remainder of the day to cure. Later in the afternoon, we moved the spars to racks in the garage. I am pleased to have this phase of the painting completed. The next phase is to lightly scuff sand the spar surfaces. G&G will then return in a few days (the next two days are forecasted for rain) and apply three to four coats of snow white Awlgrip top coat and we will declare victory and move on to the next task.
14 July 14
Gary Gargone (GWG Boat Works) with his assistant Rick did a first class job of spraying three coats of Awlgrip on the spar. They were professional, thorough, and contentious. We again dodged some thunderstorms but it all worked out. We let the spars bake for a few hours in the sun then hauled them into the garage and left them suspended overnight. Next day, we moved them into the boat shed where they will remain till at least a few more day. Then, we will start bolting on some of the hardware. The mast build may well get a bit delayed as we waiting to have some of the parts and the boom powder coated. Check another item off the list.
Top section. No drips, no runs, no errors.
Lower section. Looking down the luff groove.
21 July 2014
The last four or five days have been focused on assemblying the mast.This is a multi-phase project and will require another week or so of work here plus some additional work after the Far Reach is transported to the boat yard. This face required us to assemble the spar and install the components. Some parts will be left on--spreader bars, exit box guards, trysail track, shroud support plates, etc. We will pull the splice apart as the mast will be transported to the boat yard in two parts and final assembly will be conducted there. I'll write more about it as we go. There is a photo gallery below with some additional info provided when you click on the pictures.
We decided to assembly the spar on the drive way since it is relatively flat. We knew it would be hot and that it would be a long project too so we decided to erect a portable canopy/shelter over the spar. We moved it around as necessary to provide as much shade as possible. It turned out to be a good move.
We padded the saw horses with 1/4" thick blue board. I also clamped in place some wood T blocks to keep the spar from rolling off the saw horses and to allow us to position the spar on any of the four sides necessary. Then we laid the spar section out end to end.
The mast is assmbled. It was great to see it put together even if we had to pull it apart again for transport to the boat yard.
Next, we installed the three part splicing sleeve in the lower half of the spar. We used 6mm x 16mm SS flat head screws (about 1/4" x 5/8") to fasten the splice. RQ, the spar builder, explained that he liked the 6mm for this application due to the slightly larger thread count and increased thread strength. After installing the three sleeves in the lower half we slide the upper section onto the side of the sleeves. It went on perfect. When we installed the other fasteners the spar was drawn up tight, flush, and straight. I was very impressed with the fit.
Spreaders. The next step was to install the spreader bars and spreaders and make sure they were aligned. We covered the aluminum support plates with UHMW tape from US Plastics. We riveted the support plates in place with 3/16" SS rivets coating each rivet with teff-gel to prevent galvanic corrosion.
Trysail Track. Next, we went to work installing the trysail track. RQ built a custom ramp from white UV resistant plastic so the SS 7/8" wide trysail track can ride over and span the goose neck assembly. This will allow the trysail to be installed on the dedicated trysail track and be stored in it's bag on the cabin top at the foot of the mast. All that will be required to raise the trysail is to drop and secure the main, move the halyard to the trysail and hoist. The track required only the most minor directional change to remain in line with the luff grove to it's full height about 25' 10" above the cabin top. We installed the lower half of the trysail track with #10-24 SS pan head machine screws. This would allow us to remove goose neck bracket if ever required without drilling out rivets. About 18" above the goose next bracket we switched to using 3/16" SS rivets. RQ had us alternate rivet lengths, two short rivets then a longer rivet, explaining that it mitigates a "tear along the dotted line" effect that has been known to happen if rivets are improperly installed or there is a bad lot or for any other reason. Bottom line, he felt it is a smart engineering step to take. So that is what we did. We coated each rivet with teff-gel to prevent galvanic corrosion over the long term between the aluminum mast and SS rivets. We switched back to #10-24 pan head machine screws when the trysail track crossed over the splice area then back to rivets for the final couple of feet. Using machine screws required that we tap the mast but it was not difficult though it did take awhile.
Shroud Tangs. In between working on the trysail track we also installed the SS shroud tangs, bolts, and their associated SS support plates. We covered the back side of all the SS parts with UHMW tape from US Plastics and riveted the plates into place. This is very nice tape and is an important step to keep the SS separated from the aluminum.
Mast Dam. Next, we installed the mast dam or plug, which I am chagrined to say we did not get a photo of as I was too busy working and forgot to take pictures. At some point, I will sketch the mast dam/plug and post it under the rigging section. Basically, it is structural foam about 1" thick. It is cut to perfectly fit the inside profile of the mast. There are two identical plugs separated by about 1 1/2". Through the middle of these two section, separated by about 1 1/2" is a piece of 1 1/2" ID PVC pipe, about 6" long. The PVC pipe is epoxied into the center of the plugs. I coated the top section of the foam plug, the part that will face up, with epoxy so it is completely waterproof. Next, we inserted the two layer foam plug into the bottom of the mast and pushed it up to the lower mast sheave exit box, which is positioned about three inches above the cabin top or about 85" above the bottom of the mast. Next, we drilled a 1/4" hole in the forward face of the mast so that the hole was between the two layers of the plug. We then inserted the tube from a can of water proof quick foam. We squirted the expanding foam into the hole so that it filled the 1 1/2" cavity between the two section of structural foam and left it to cure overnight. Here is how it works: Any wires (coax, running lights, etc) run down the mast through PVC conduit installed on an interior lip cast into the extruded spar--I'll also take pictures of the conduit later as well. The wires exit the internal PVC conduit about a foot above the cabin top. Via an access port on the mast side wall just above the deck, you can then route the wires into the separate PVC pipe epoxied into the two layer structural foam, forming a drip loop in the process, and drop down through the plug and in the lower section of the mast were they exit and are routed to the boat's electrical components as required. The PVC pipe in the structural foam rises about three inches above the foam plug and several inches below the bottom of the foam plug. Thus, any water that enters the mast finds its way down to the horizontal surface of the foam plug, then flows out the bottom of sheave box for the staysail halyard which is level with the top of the internal foam plug. Water can't enter into the mast below the cabin top as the PVC pipe in the foam plug rises above the horizontal level of the plug. A drip loop on the wire prevents water from flowing down the wires and passing through the plug. My original mast did not have a mast plug (AKA mast dam) and suffered significant corrosion on the bottom 6" of the mast. I have never had a mast plug/dam on one of my boats. I am interested to see how well it works, though RQ explained it is the "cat's meow."
Other Items. We installed the exit box guards on the mast for the where all the halyards exit. We finished off test fitting the winch pads, aluminum belaying pin rack, mast head fitting, and the forestay halyard exit box.
We wrapped up by pulling the splice apart and stowing the mast in two parts back in the boat shed. I spent about an hour removing a tap that broke off in the splice sleeve while tapping for the trysail track. Not a big deal but time consuming none the less.
Additional Mast and Boom Hardware. I have a few more pieces of hardware left to add to the spars. Recently, I added some Shafer pad eyes to the end of the boom to serve as attachment points for the preventer for downwind sailing. I wanted to through-bolt them as I could easily reach the inside of the boom through the end. I cut some small 1/4" G10 backing plates and radiused them to fit the concave shape on the inside of the boom. I drilled 1/4" holes, test fit the pad eyes, marked the bolts for length, and cut them with a hack saw. Next, I dropped the bolts in some Stellar Solutions 77 "passivating" solution to neutralized and ferrous metal debris from the cutting of the bolts and to neutralize any other impure contaminates on the SS surface. I have been doing this for a year or so for every external SS fastener or exterior hardware (Though I don't have much SS on the exterior of the boat). The directions say to leave the product bathed for 30 min. If it's the end of the day, I leave them overnight. I pour the used solution back into the bottle. I was told by an engineer that has used it for years that returning the used solution back to the bottle does not make any difference to the effectiveness of the remaining solution. Then, I applied UHMW tape to the bottom surface of the pad eyes (to prevent galvanic corrosion), cut the holes out with an exacto knife and installed them after applying some Teff Gel to the fasteners where they made contact with the aluminum. I also installed some pad eyes on the mast below the winches and belaying pin rack so that I can secure the tails of the halyards.
18 Apr 15 -- Small Hiccups
We have transitioned work to the boatyard. Much more time consuming. About 70 miles round trip. After moving the boat I began working to transport the new spar. It's in two sections. I borrowed a friends empty boat trailer (for a 23' Carolina Skiff so it was more than up to the task). It took a couple of days to set everything up and wait for good weather. With the mast sections on the trailer I installed the halyard winches on the mast. The transportation itself was uneventful. After arriving at the boatyard we tranfered the mast sections to saw-horses and returned the trailer. A few days later, my sister Tricia helped me run messenger lines through both sections of the spar. Then we slid the two mast sections together. Next day, I installed the 6mm flat head SS fasteners for the splice (with teff gel and 3M 4000)and also installed the black anodized whisker/spinnaker pole track (5/16" flat head SS fasteners). I also installed the last section of the trysail track which spanned across the mast splice. Next day, my wife Gayle helped me pull the halyards through the mast and install the mast head fitting. Yesterday, I installed the spreaders and made final checks to ensure we would be ready for stepping the mast on Tuesday (tomorrow!) morning. STOP!!! The alignment of the upper intermediate mast tangs is off with the end of the lower spreaders. They should be at 20 degrees but they are at 10 degrees. This would create a critical misalignment. Thus, we are at an all-stop while we resolve the problem. A minor issue really but it will take several days, which after finally getting to the boat yard seems like an eternity. So, while my friend Robert works on the tangs we are shifting to a few smaller projects. One has to expect some setbacks, especially when installing a new designed rig. The photo gallery below contains a few pictures of our work at the boatyard.
Finally, it was time to step the Far Reach's mast. Gayle and I arrived at the boatyard at 0830. We had the crane scheduled for 1000. We were joined at 0900 by my friend Rick Loucks who volunteered to to serve as an extra, much needed, set of hands and additional muscle. The three of us went over the mast talking through the plan and checking on the lines I added yesterday. I also added the Dynex Dux forestay and the Amsteel dyneema runners, though I have not spliced the lower ends. There was no wire rigging to add. Today was all about getting the mast in the boat and held in place as securely as possible until I can complete the splicing of the SS standing rigging. We finished off our preparations by placing a Sacagawea Liberty Dollar on the mast step held in place by a dollop of 3M 4000. I figured Sacagawea safely guided Lewis and Clark during one of the greatest expeditions in history . . . maybe she will also bring some luck to our humble adventures.
Sergio, the crane operator showed up on time. He briefed us on the hand and arm signals. He rigged the sling and about 1030 he was lifting the mast into the air. The movement was slow, smooth, steady, and methodical. As soon as the mast was over the partners Gayle and Rick went down inside the boat to guide the mast onto the mast heel fitting. I communicated with Sergio via standard crane hand-and-arm-signals. I had taped some thin carpet around the mast hole and the mast slide right down the partners. Gayle and Rick guided the heel of the mast onto the fitting and inserted the two 3/8" hex cap bolts to secure the heel of the mast in the heel plate. We spent the next 30 or so minutes positioning the mast with the halyards and other lines I previously secured to the mast. We cranked down on all the lines with either block and tackle or with lines led to winches. Rick hoisted me up to the upper spreader where I removed the sling. When I made it down to the deck it was 1125. The whole operation took 85 minutes.
After lunch, Rick hoisted me up to the lower spreaders where I installed the four lowers shrouds. Back down to the deck to mark the lower ends for length then back up to the lower spreaders to remove the wires, back down to the deck and we were mostly finished for the day.
The mast looks great, a lovely sight -- tall and slender. The next four or five days will be all about splicing wire and installing it as we complete them. We are not too far from the water.
The Far Reach finally has her new mast.
27 Apr 15
Yesterday was a long day. Gayle and I installed the forward and aft lowers that I spliced the day before. After installing them, we temporarily installed the top end of the upper intermediates and marked them for length so I could splice the bottom end. Then, we took them down. To determine the correct length, I used a technique explained to me by Myles Thurlow, a well known and highly respected rigger and wood sparmaker for traditional boats. With the upper end spliced and installed in the strap tang, I stretched the wire down to the turnbuckle with the screws run out to 2/3 length. I used a light line with an icicle hitch to gently pull the wire to the turnbuckle. Then, I marked the wire at the throat of the thimble. I took the wire home and splice the thimble in my shop. The next day, I took the wire back and installed it on the boat. The reduction in length of the wire caused by the construction of the splice is about evenly offset by the pre tensioned slack in the wire.
I splice one of them last night and the other this morning after teaching homeschool.
When Gayle finished teaching her classes, about 1330 (1 PM), we left for the boat yard. The weather was gorgeous. About 68F and sunny. We did not have a lot of time. I used a four part gant line to climb the mast to the upper spreader while Gayle belayed on a winch below. Then, I used a messenger line to haul up one end of the wire and installed the intermediates on the strap tang. Then, I did the same for the second wire. It did not take very long. The intermediates start at the deck (via a turnbuckle), run over the aft end of the lower spreaders, then go to strap tangs on the mast just below the upper spreader. They share the load of the upper 2/3 of the mast with the cap shrouds (which we will measure for tomorrow). When I got back down to the deck, we put a light static tune on the rigging. We will wait till we get all the rigging installed before we tune more aggressively. With bad weather expected the day after tomorrow, we may not get to the headstay and backstay till Friday. At this point though, I only have four more eyes to splice. Easy day.
Next, with the uppers installed, we mounted the bowsprit (which we removed when the Far Reach was transported to the boat yard a few weeks ago) and prepared it for bedding tomorrow. We rigged the sprit'shroud stays and bobstay.
Last, we removed the temporary mast boot and reblocked the mast so it is a raked little aft of plumb to compensate ever so slightly for the longer bowsprit. We plan to initially sail with wood wedges that I fabricated in the shop until we get the mast set up right and the boat tuned. Then, we will pour "Spar-Tite", a two part polymer , to serve as the mast wedge.
It is an exciting time to be sure. It is wonderful to have the boat out of the shed, so close to the water, and her mast up. We can see the boat traffic moving up the ICW between Beaufort and Oriental. It is enjoyable to be working on the rig.
.This is the technique I used to determine where to splice the eye on the bottom end of the standing rigging.
Applying Teff-Gel to the spreader tips before installing the upper intermediates. The weather was gorgeous today.
The lowers and the upper intermediates are installed. We will measure for the Cap shrouds tomorrow and then the head and backstay in the next few days.
29 Apr 15 -- Updated entry to correct discrepancies.
Yesterday, the weather was beautiful. The task was to go to the top of the mast and temporarily install the cap-shrouds only which were spliced only on the top end. Rick Loucks came by in the morning and provided much appreciated muscle to make it easier to get up and down the mast the couple of times required.
The first time up we used our 4:1 gantline. It worked OK but it is not the best approach for getting to the top of the mast due to the space required for the blocks. I could reach the cap shroud tangs but I was reaching up overhead to get to them. At the top of the mast, I lowered a messenger line and Gayle tied the shrouds on and I hauled them up one at a time and installed them in the mast tangs. After returning to the deck I measured the shrouds and marked them, as depicted in the previous post, for cutting and splicing the eye on the bottom end. With the shrouds marked, Rick hauled me back up this time a 1:1 direct haul on a halyard winch. It required a lot of muscle but it allowed me to go to the very top and I was better able to reach the clevis and cotter pins on the mast tangs. Once I was positioned, securely belayed, and had my safety line attached I attached the messenger to the cap shroud and lowed them to the deck one at a time. While I was at the mast top, Gayle sent the end of the 100' tape measure up on the messenger and I took measurements for the the approximate lengths for the backstay and headstay. Then, Gayle lowered me back to the deck.
In the afternoon, Gayle and I installed and bedded the bowsprit. We used 3M 4000 for the heal and Dolphinite for the cranze iron. We tightened down a bit on the spritshrouds and bobstay to fully seat the heal of the bowsprit. It's nice to have the bowsprit back on the boat.
At the end of the day, we relaxed in our camp chairs in the shade of the hull. The temperature was a comfortable 75 F. The sun was shining and providing just a touch of warmth. The breeze kept any bugs desirous of interrupting our perfect day at bay. It was glorious. I am very happy to be out of the boat shed and this close to the water.
I used the 4:1 gantline on the first trip up to temporarily install the capshrouds so we could measure them for length.
4 May 15
The SS standing rigging is complete. It took 26 splices. The standing rigging is now all 5/16" 316 SS 7x7 (vice 1x19). The wire was originally 9/32 and 1/4". I weighed the rigging before installation. Without turnbuckles it came out to about 65 lbs. Not to bad. I eliminated the aft intermediates and the wire forestay from the original Cape Dory design. I installed amsteel runners in place of the aft intermediates. The wire forestay I replaced with Dynex Dux. So, I saved a little weight. Though the mast is 3 1/2' taller and now has two sets of spreaders it is much lighter than the original rig rite spar. I suspect overall we are a little lighter than the original rig but not by much. It is terrific to see the rig up and complete. I still need to splice eyes in the bottom of the runners and the dux forestay. I am thinking about how to gain purchase for the dux forestay without using an adjustable turnbuckle. I'll probably use some kind of friction ring cascade system led to the rope drum on the windlass. Something like that. Today, I worked on the static tuning of the rig and loaded the dinghy on the cabin top to make final the location of the chocks. I also temporarily installed the boom to finalize the mainsheet system design. I have a reasonable list of things to accomplish before we launch, which will probably occur in the next two to three weeks.
The SS standing rigging is complete. We are running down the pre launch list.
It is nice to see the mast and the boom installed.
The spliced eyes came out pretty well I think. My hands are shot. I'll add the cotter pins in the next couple of days.
Mast Wedges. I needed to wedge the mast in order to properly block it at the partner. I made the blocks from some soft wood given to me by a friend. I think it is an import . . . it works like cypress but it's not. Anyway, made the wedges a few weeks ago. I made them different thickness to provide some options for blocking. The idea is to temporarily block the mast for the initial static tune and for the first few times we sail the boat. I have a bag of wedges and if we need to reposition the mast (rake a little more aft, block it forward to but a more of a prebend in it, whatever, we can do that by easily reblocking. Once we are satisfied with the position we will remove the wedges and pour in Spartite, a two part liquid polymer that cures very firm and provides a solid and water proof mast block system. It sticks to the mast but not to the collar (you smear vasoline on the inside of the collar before you pour the liquid) and it pulls out when the mast is removed.
I made wedges to temporary block the mast for tuning. Later we will remove the wedges and pour Spartite as the mast block system.
I spliced modified brummel eye splices around SS thimbles for the bottom end of the dyneema running back stays. I made the splices on deck with the upper ends in the "J" hooks on the mast. It was easy. So much easier than a Liverpool splice in 7x7 SS wire!
Then, after thinking about how to make a low friction ring cascade system for the dux forestay I just decided to press ahead and use the last remaining 1/2" turnbuckle and bronze thimble. I had to guess where to make the splice as I didn't know how much length I would loose in constructional stretch. The first one I was too short by about 3". I pulled the splice apart (very easy) and got pretty close on the second attempt. After making the splice I cranked down in it and offset the pull on the mast by tightening the runners. I think it is about right. I made transition to a cascade system (which I learned today is called a Spanish Burton) in the future.
I can see how people fall in love with dux and dyneema. It's light, doesn't stretch, it's stronger than steel, easy to splice. But, it remains to be seen how it holds up in the long run. It's not as tough as wire, or abrasion resistant, or as resistant to UV. And it's very expensive. But, I think there is no doubt that it is the way of the future.
I spliced the bottom end of the Dux forestay and installed it with my last Sta-Lok turnbuckle.
Tides Marine Strong Track
Tides Marine Strong Track. I began the initial installation of the Tides Marine Strong Track system (photo gallery below). This is a one piece UHMW mainsail track that is designed to fit your specific mast both in terms of the type of luff groove and the luff length. It is made to install in the mast's luff groove. The idea is it is very strong and super slick. It comes with SS mainsail slides that ride up and down the slot in the Strong Track with minimal friction. Anyone that has followed the rebuild of the Far Reach understands I am not a technology guy. I like things simple, tough, prooven, and repairable. But, metal slides donw work that well in an aluminum mast. Usually you have to use plastic slides. But, I have read a number of reviews on the strong track. I have never read a bad review. I have talked to several people I trust that have used it their own boats. My sailmaker loves it. Everyone seems to praise it for its strength, performance, reliability, and ease of installation.
It comes in loop roll held together by zip ties. You cut the outer ties and simply push it up into the luff groove via the gate. There are instructions for cutting the top if it is a little long--mine was 13" too long. I pushed it up. Marked the excess length at the bottom, then pulled the track back out coiling and tying it back up as I went (this was the hardest part), marked the length at the top end and cut there. Then, I reinstalled it. There are six #8 fasteners for my track. They are installed in pairs through the track and into little SS backing plates that you push up into the aluminum mast luff groove. I easily installed the first four fasteners and their associated backing plates. But, on the last screw, of course, I cross threaded it and it was wedged in there tight. I could not tighten it or remove it. I fussed with it for a while but finally admitted there was no way to remove it intact. So, I used a 1/4" bit and drilled the head off. I pulled the track away and removed the backing plate with the miscreant fastener stuck hard into the threaded hole. I clamped a pair of vice grips on the fastener shaft thinking I could back it out. It broke off flush! I called Tides Marine that said they would drop some backing plates and fasteners in the mail right away. But, I knew there was no way I could let this project wait for five or six days. I left the track in the mast, cleaned up for the day, and drove home. I took the little backing plate out to the shop and clamped it in a machine vice. I used a 5/32" bit and drilled out the broken shaft on the drill press. Then, I re-tapped the threads. I will go back to the boat tomorrow and attempt to finish the installation. But, of course there are not extra fasteners so I'll have to see if I can find the right kind of pan head SS fasteners tomorrow.
So far, the track system seems well made. The instructions are clear. The kit comes with test pieces and gauges and all sorts of clever things, but the one thing it should have is spare parts. There should be a couple of extra backing plates and some extra fasteners. Seriously, how many of us can handle a small fastener when we don't have a spare and not drop it over the side or break it or lose it. Tides Marine, if you ever read this, include some spare fasteners and backing plates. Someone will sing your praise.
The next day, as soon as I returned to the boat, I went right back to the Strong Track. I finally got four of the fasteners installed. The bottom two holes were misaligned (just barely but enough to cause real difficulty) but I lengthened them out with a small rat tail filed. Then, the fasteners went right in. The top two, however, were located in the aluminum mast gate area. The instructions suggest if that is the case to just drill new holes through the track and into the mast below the mast gate, countersink the holes, tap the mast for #10 machine screws, and install the screws. I will make sure the sailmaker is happy with the installation when he measures next week for the new stays'l. Then, I'll install the last two fasteners.
The black track looks pretty good. The 17' long whisker pole track on the front face of the mast is black anodized aluminum so they compliment each other.
The Strong Track is basically installed. I have two more fasteners to add (they require drilling and tapping into the mast wall).
Spartite Mast Wedge and Waterproof Boot.
Spartite Mast Wedge and Waterproof Boot.
Though I had never used it, we always intended to install Spartite as our mast wedge and waterproof plug at the partners. When we installed the new mast in early May 2015 I made some wood wedges as a temporary solution. I wanted to sail the boat and tune it before we installed Spartite. Even though I had plastic wrapped around the mast and a ton of rigging tape the mast leaked horrible (all that work to make the boat watertight thus this one leak was driving me crazy). The reinforcing plates on the side of the mast where it passes through the partner did not help. We also needed to wait till the afternoon temperatures were a little lower as Spartite is a two part mixture that relies on an exothermic reaction to initiate the curing process. Thus stuff can kick too fast on a hot day.
I read through the directions and scanned the internet for additional info. There are some real horror stories out there. Either the liquid ran down the mast or the plug got stuck in the partner when owners tried to unstep their mast and had to resort to cutting the Spartite out to remove it. But there also seemed to be a lot of people very happy with it. Ideally, the plug bonds only to the mast as a release agent is smeared on the deck collar. That way, the plug comes out attached to the mast and then when the mast is restepped it goes back into the previous position easily. It is also suppose to be a very good plug to keep water out.
We carefully followed the directions. It was pretty simple. I wonder if I will be cursing it when we unstep the mast. It will be interesting to see how well it works at keeping water from entering the boat from the outside of the the mast.
Gayle and I installed the Spartite mast wedge and waterproof seal yesterday. In a few days, I'll smooth the edges with a file and then we will paint it to protect it from UV.
Boom Outhaul. The boom outhaul has an internal 6:1 purchase. I needed to splice a short length of double braid line that will be attached at the forward end of the boom to the purchase. The purchase part of the outhaul will be 1/4" sta-set, while the pendant (attaches to the other end of the purchase and then to the clew of the mainsail will be 1/4" amsteel blue (grey color) dyneema. I did not want to use an all dyneema outhaul as I think it would slip when it is cleated off. Also, I think there might be a lot of shock load with an all dyneema system. Fine on a race boat, especially if you don't mind replacing broken hardware. But, I think the sta-set run through a 6:1 will be fine. Anyway, I had not made a double braid eye splice in years so this afternoon was slow going as I had to nearly re-learn the splice. It was good to shake out the cobwebs. Later, I'll splice the 1/4" sta-set when the proper fid arrives.
I spent some time relearning how to splice double braid. The green line will be entirly inside the boom so it will never been seen. Ugly color.
The finished eyeloop is lock stitched. This end will be secured to a fittin on the forward end of the boom.
I have spent a few hour for the last couple of nights working on the outhaul. I decided to use some extra 1/4" Amsteel Blue (dyneema) for the standing end of the 6:1 outhaul purchase. I made a continuous loop splice so that one end loops around an anchor point on the forward end of the boom and the other end connects to a shackle to non-moving end of the purchase. I needed a continuous loop as it will hold the standing block horizontal in the boom allowing me to reeve the purchase for a right angle set up, which ensure the running end of the line (the end you haul on) will come off the block in such a way as to maintain a fair lead to the exit slot on the boom. It sounds complicated but it is simple. I'll add some pictures of the whole set up when it is completed. I also made my first brummel splice to 3/16" amsteel blue dyneema for the outhaul pendant (it connects to the moving end of the block/purchase and exits the end of the boom and to the clew of the mainsail.
1/4" Dyneema continious loop splice. This line connects the forward end of the outhaul purchase to an anchor point on the front of the boom. The line and the purchase are all inside the boom . . . you can't see them when they are installed.
1/4" dyneema with brummel splice, whipping, and cow hitched to shackle. The shackle connects to the block on the moving end of the 6:1 purchase. The ohter end of this line will connect to the clew of the mainsail.
5 Jun 15
During the last week I have been focused on installing the traveler though I have also worked on some minor projects as well. I spliced and installed some additional ½” three strand nylon dock lines. I made a “Baja” water filter as described in the April 2015 Practical Sailor. I filled the 20 gallon port locker water tank (it supports the shower). I filled the 20 gallon aft water tank under the saloon cabin sole. I installed the last hose clamps on the water tanks and then opchecked the galley and head manual pump faucets. They worked great. The boat is also level with her lines though floating about four inches high since she has almost nothing on board save for 40 gallons of water. I also ordered 275’ of ACCO galvanized 5/16 G-5 chain.
I finally received all the traveler parts from Antal, via their US importer Euro Trading. It is a beautifully made and very stout system. I also purchased an Antal 6:1 mainsheet system to go with it. I chose 6:1 because I don’t have a dedicated mainsheet winch though I can run the sheet to the windward primary winch if ever required. I had wanted to install the traveler aft, just forward of the lazarette but the angle was wrong. I was forced to concede that the best place for the traveler was across the bridge deck. It is a compromise but I think it’s the best choice of several options I considered.
The problem with Antal, other than the price, is the traveler and its components do not come with instructions. There is a learning curve and I would measure a little differently if I had known how the end stops connect to the traveler track. I’ll add some pictures later explaining the considerations required to best fit the parts together.
After positioning the traveler and checking for obstructions under the deck I drilled a small test hole (that would be under the traveler) to ensure the holes would end up in the small gap between the forward face of the cockpit footwell and the aft end of the bulkhead that runs ‘thwarship two inches forward of the cockpit. Once I was satisfied with the test hole I taped the traveler in place and carefully drilled two 5/16” holes about 10” from end of the traveler all the way through the deck. I inserted a bolt in each hole. These bolts held the traveler in place. Then, I drilled starter holes with a 5/16” bit, just enough to dimple the fiberglass surface. I removed the traveler and used the dimple to guide a 3/8” fostner bit down through the upper skin and the balsa core but not through the bottom skin. Next, I used a dental pick to carefully dig out the balsa core from under the deck skin. I vacuumed up the core and fiberglass. I applied tape to the underside of the deck for the test hole and the holes for the first two positioning bolts. Next, I poured unthickened epoxy mixed with half 205 fast hardner and 206 slow hardner into all the holes. It was a warm day so I only filled up the cavity half way and went to lunch. An hour later, I top the holes up with another batch of epoxy. About an hour after that I applied a small amount of epoxy thickened with colllidal silica and 407 medium density filler and used a squeegee to make it flush with the surface.
Next day, I repositioned the traveler then drilled down through the epoxy plugs installing bolts as I went to ensure the traveler remained in place and that all the bolts would fit. With all the 8mm bolts installed, I installed the end stops and the 6mm bolts for which I had also installed epoxy plugs. I removed the traveler and chamfered the holes on the top to force the bedding compound down into the hole around the bolt threads.
Tomorrow, I’ll bed/caulk the traveler in place.
It may not be the longest project I have ever completed, or the most physically or mentally demanding, but I think installing the traveler may have been one of the hardest. There are 21 holes through the deck. All the holes had to be pretty close to near vertical and plumb. I did not like the way the endstops fit over the track (not to mention the fact the parts came with no instructions--are you listening Antal??). I bedded the track with two types of bedding compound. I used butyl to make small "donut" wraps around the bolts to be compressed into the chamfered holes in the deck. I used Boat Life polysulfied to fill the caulking grove. Why did I do it this way?
I had to install the traveler car on the track before I bedded the track becuase there was not enough room for the loader if I installed the track first . . . unless I cut the track down shorter and I did not want to do that. If I used all butyl I could not continue to tightend the end bolts on the track over succedding days as the end stops covered the outboard bold holes--I couldn't gain access to the bolt head. If I had understood that from the begining I would have lined up the inboard bolt on the endstop with the final hole in the track--of course the 6mm end stop bolts would be passing through 8mm holes in the track . . . or if the track were 1 1/2" inches longer on each end I would have had access to the last bolt heads. Next time. I used polysulfied vice 3M 4000 Fast Cure as I suspected we would need extra time to get the bolts tightened down--it was a good call . . . we needed the extra time to complete the installation.
The traveler is installed. It is an Antal 150 series with 4:1 traveler control with the cam cleats on the car. The fastners are 8mm heax drive machine screws.
So, here is the sequence we used:
--First, we installed the track dry and tape it off with 3M 233 solvent resistant tape. Then we removed the track.
--Second, we dabbed a small amount of polysulfied under the bolt heads and slid them into place.
--Third, we made small donuts of butyl and wrapped them around the shaft of the bolts were the exited the bottom of the track.
--Forth, we wiped up the polysulfied squeeze out from under the heads and loaded the traveler car. We taped the endstops in place so the car would not slide off the track and dump 180 bearings on deck.
--Fifth, we then made a wide thick bead of polysulfied along the underside of the track. Based on the experience we have gained applying several dozen tubes of caulk during the rebuild of the Far Reach, we had a good idea of just what we needed to get a little squeeze out. We wanted to avoid excess squeeze out or it would push up under the car and we would not be able to clean it off.
--Sixth, we lowered the track with all the bolts protruding and pressed it into position. Because we took such care in drilling the holes plumb and square the track slid right home (breathed a verbal sigh of relief). This was the one Oh Sh&# moment we had. As soon as we pressed the track down one of the bolt heads pushed up under the car! We could not slide it left or right!! There would be no way to get access to the bolt head under the car. For a moment, I thought we had really boogered up the installation and I started to remove the track. What a mess we would have had. Suddenly, the car slid free. Luck for us is all I can say. Anyway, we started at one end and gently tightened the first four bolts on the port side. We cleaned up the squeeze out then slid the car across to port and tape it down.
--Seventh, we continued working across tightening the nuts as we went. Gayle worked the bolts head and kept then from turning and I crawled into the different compartments with a wide variety of sockets, extenders, swivels, ratchets, etc. It was difficult and hot and took longer than we thought. We used hex drive machine screws (which I had never used before), which my friend Robert Q recommended and they turned out to be great. It was so much easier to install them than trying to hold the heads with a screwdriver.
--Eighth, once we got to the starboard side we went back and retightened the bolts further forcing the butyl into the chamfered holes.
--Ninth, we installed the endstops and then tightened down one more time.
--Tenth, we used our plastic stir sticks and acetone soaked paper towel to clean up the edges of the track then we pulled the tape. It looks good.
Tomorrow, I will temporarily install the blocks on the boom, reeve the mainsheet and determine the best location of the blocks. Then, I will removed the boom and bring it home to install the reinforcing bar and install the blocks.
Yesterday, we retightend a few of the traveler bolts and then temporarily installed the two blocks on the boom that are part of the mainsheet system. I rove the mainsheet and determined the location of the blocks, marked the boom with a sharpie, removed the boom, and took it home.
The first step in mounting the blocks was to reinforce the boom so that it is strong enough to resist the tremendous loads that it could be subjected to if the boat were to suffer a crash gybe or severe knock down. My friend Robert Quates, who designed and constructed our spars and has mentored me in metal work, suggested we reinforce the boom with an aluminum bar bolted to the bottom of the boom. To that end, I ordered a 3/4" thick X 1 1/4" wide x 6' long bar of T6061, certified as made in the USA, from McMaster-Carr.
The plan is to tap 1/4-20 holes into the bar and then bolt it to the boom of the boom. Then tap additional holes and fasten the bails to the bottom of the boom. After consulting with Robert, I cut the bar to 4' 6". I then radiused the ends to eliminate hard spots against the surface of the boom when it is under strain. I drilled and tapped a hole on each end and one in the middle of the bar. To ensure the holes I would need to drill in the boom of the boom would line up with the holes tapped into the aluminum bar, I used a technique Robert described to me. I took some sacrificial bolts to the grinder and sharpened then ends to a point. Then, I threaded them into the holes I previously tapped into the bar (I used a drill press to ensure the holes in the bar were drilled plumb).
I cut the T6061 aluminum bar to 4.5 ft long.
I radiused the ends of the bar to avoid hard spots on the boom.
After drilling and tapping three holes I installed "sharpened" fasteners into the holes.
After sharpening the fasteners I "chased" the threads with a die to ensure the threads were clean. I protected the surface of the boom with tape and then carefully positioned the bar on the boom. I located small plywood pads under the boom and clamped it in place. Next, I tightened the screws enough to run the screws down through the aluminum bar and "punch" the surface of the boom. I removed the clamps.
The sharpened fasteners served as a precision punch to accurately mark the boom for drilling.
I tapped the boom to protect the surface.
I used six clamps to secure the bar to the boom. The bar is positioned as it will be oriented inside the boom.
The boom was marked perfectly. I used a corded electric drill and a 1/4" bit to drill holes through the surface of the boom at the punched locations. Next, I positioned the bails on the boom at the locations I previously determined when I temporarily rigged the mainsheet system on the boat. These particular style bails slide into a slot in the bottom of the boom where they can be run fore and aft along the boom. They are designed to be installed with simply ss rivets relying on the slotted flanges in the boom for strength. However, Robert felt the design was not adequate to our needs. Thus, he advised me to secure the bails to the aluminum bar by tapping additional holes. Therefore, I next drilled 1/4" holes into the boom where the rivets would otherwise be installed. I ended the day by test fitting the fasteners in the holes of the bails and through the holes I drilled into the boom. Tomorrow, I will install the reinforcing bar and tap additional holes for the fasteners that secure the bails to the boom.
The punch marks are clearly marked for drilling.
I temporarily installed the bails and dropped fasteners through the holes in the bails and the boom.
The aft boom bail has a reinforcing cross bar welded between the two legs.
10 Jun 15
The mainsheet traveler and block assembly is installed on the Far Reach. I still need to order the mainsheet and the traveler control line. I took the measurements this afternoon. After completing the installation of the reinforcing bar this morning, along with some modifications to the preventer line pad eyes I transported the boom to the Marina. I had wanted to install the outhaul at the house but I left the seizing wire on the boat so I had to install the outhaul in the marina parking lot. I have to say that I miss having the boat in the shed out back of the house from a convenience stand point. It will take some getting use to--I have to remember to take all the tools with me either to the boat or back home if I am working on the project in the shop. I'll sort it out in due time. It only took a few minutes to install the boom. Then, I spent about an hour washing the FR and airing her out. We hope to be sailing early next week.
The Far Reach in her new home. It's a very protected marina. It's a straight shot out the channel witha short dog-leg to the right and we are in Neuse River.
I finished up the reinforcing bar by completing the tapping of the holes for the mainsheet block bails. Tapping aluminum is not difficult though at 3/4" thick I had to back the tap out a few times to clear the threads as the aluminum shaving jammed up the tap. Slow and steady is the key. I use d a little right triangle from some scrap plywood to ensure I started the tap plumb. I also used a little cutting oil to lubricate the tap. Another neat trick I learned from Robert Quates is to use a punch to mark the how parts should be oriented. If you write on them with a marker, when they are painted you lose your reference marks. But by marking the direction of orientation with a standard punch and hammer you have a permanent mark. After I test fit all the parts, I wiped the aluminum bar down with Interlux 202 dewaxer then washed it with water and sanded it with 220 wet dry abrasive sand paper and water. I tried the aluminum and applied two coats of single part acid etching primer. The primer is will help keep the reinforcing bar from getting surface corrosion.
Round or pan head screws would look a little better and be strong enough but they can be hard to remove. I decided to use hex cap machine screws with ss 316 washers to better distribute the load and avoid the hassle of stripping the heads out later if I need to remove the reinforcing bar. I also coated the SS fastener and the washer with Tef-Gel. The picture to the right shows the reinforcing cross bar welded the bail. This is the bail that takes the majority of the load. At some point, we will weld a cross bar in the forward bail.
While working on the boom I decided to address an issue that had bothered me for a long time. When I originally installed the preventer pad eyes on each side of the aft end of the boom I used 1/4" thick G10 backing plates and SS aircraft lock nuts. But the nuts rubbed on the internal reefing lines. So, I decided to remove the padeyes and cut some backing plates from 1/2" thick G10 and tap them for the SS fasteners. The profile is not quite as thick as the old system but more importantly it eliminated the sharp edges of the lock nuts. With the thicker G10 there is plenty of thread depth . . . but to be sure I used a trick I learned fro the West Systems tech reps a while back. I sprayed the threads of the fasteners with some Pam aerosol vegetable oil then coated them with some West Systems GFlex epoxy. Then, I inserted the fasteners and drove them home. The epoxy will lock into the fastener threads and the G10 providing a stronger bond, but the vegetable oil will allow the fasteners to be removed. By radiusing the edges of the G10 and making sure the tips of the fasteners are not proud of the surface of the backing plates there is little chance for chafe on the reefing lines.
Continious Line Whisker Pole System
Whisker Pole System. I refurbished the original adjustable whisker pole that came with the Far Reach. It's not a great pole but I think it will do the job for now. When we painted the spars with Awlgrip we also painted the whisker pole. The anodized end fittings were beat up but to replace them was ridiculously expensive. There are tiny pins that hold the assembly together and it looks like the SS is fused to the aluminum. Instead of fussing with them, I decided to leave it be and use it as it is for now. I washed the fittings with solvent wash then with soap and water, Next, I sanded the fittings, sprayed them with etching primer, and then applied a couple of coats of semi gloss black paint. Flat black would have been better but I had the semi-gloss on hand.
The plan is to install the typical often used cruiser set up as detailed by Lin and Larry Pardey in The Capable Cruiser. We have a cheek block fastened to the mast above the whisker pole track. One end of the pole will be attached to the sliding bail which will be raised and lowered on a continuous line system run through the cheek block. The other end of the pole will be attached to a fitting near the bottom of either the port or starboard forward lower shroud. To that end, I purchased a couple of unthreaded shouldered 1/2" eye bolts to replace the clevis pins on the upper end of the turnbuckle. I drilled 9/64" holes in the end of the clevis pins today to accommodate 1/8" cotter pins. Once installed, the lower end of the pole will be attached to the eyebolt. We have a few more steps to complete the assembly but we are not too far from checking it off the list.
This pin will replace the clevis pin on the top end of the forward lower shroud turnbuckles.
I rebuilt the old whisker pole system. We will keep it for now until we determine if it will do the job or need to be replaced.
We finally bent on the mainsail (as incredible as it sounds, I did not get a picture of the mainsail). We also pulled the new 110 percent jib out of the bag and raised it for the first time. You might notice that the bottom 20 percent of the jib is bonneted, meaning it detaches from the upper part of the jib via a heavy duty YKK zipper, Velcro, and some lacing. It's an alternative to roller reefing and was very common on traditional gaff rigged boats. I had initially thought we would just install a reef point on our jib but our sail maker was familiar with bonnets and was eager to give it a try. Reef points on a big jib can be very difficult to tie in and the reefed portion of the sail often scoops up and holds water. Because the mast is 3 1/2' taller and the bowsprit about 29" longer than the original sailplan, our 110 jib is actually bigger than the original 130 percent. I also pulled out the old brown CD mainsail cover which seems to fit. We will have a new one made in blue to match our bulwarks.
I spent the afternoon in blazing heat drilling into the bronze dinghy chock bases to counter sink for flat head bronze wood screws.
With the mainsail bent on we are one step closer to sailing.
We hoisted the new jib to see how it looked. The bottom 20 percent is a zip on bonnet.
The new stays'l is a little bigger than the original. The foot is about 2' longer, as I moved the tack to the gammon iron on the stem vice the 2' aft of the stem as in the original design. We intend to install fix sheet leads for this sail because it is less expensive (no deck track or expensive cars) and reduces clutter on the deck. We also did not want this sail to be overlapping. Mark at Doyle Sails Innerbanks made the sail by hand. He installed a set of reef points that allow the sail to be reefed by maintains the same lead location. For this sail, we installed the Colligo 7mm Dyneex Dux forestay.
Stays'l Fixed Leads.
During our last sail I raised the new stays'l and was able to determine the fore and aft location for the stays'l sheet leads. Unlike most boats that have adjustable leads on the deck these are fixed. The foot and leach of the stays'l is adjusted by raising and lowering the relative position of the tack of the sail with an adjustable pendant. Same principle as moving leads fore and aft just a different technique. But, there are a couple of advantages to the fixed lead. It eliminates all the holes in the deck associated with a two foot long section of track. It dramatically reduces the cost as well. There is no track to buy or expensive cars. Finally, there is less clutter on the side deck since there is no track or big sliding car.
I looked at the Schafer (and the Harken) low profile sheet lead cars and if I remember correctly they were about $240 each. It took a long time to find these bronze leads but I finally found them at Toplitch in Germany--I think I paid about $75 each. They are bell shaped and are secured with (2) 6mm fasteners. I drilled the holes out and made the countersink a little larger to accommodate 1/4" bronze FH machine screws. Though I had to sail the boat with the stays'l hanked on to determine the fore and aft location for the leads, I determined the lateral position on paper several years ago. I did that by making plan view diagram of the boat. I drew the longer bowsprit on the diagram insuring everything was to scale. I measure the angle of attack for the jib then determined where to place the stays'l leads to have an angle of attack about 3 degrees less than the one for the jib. This was the recommended angle for a stays'l in several books I have on sail trim. A lot of people put the leads on the cabin top. There is a couple of problems with that on the Far Reach. First, I would have had to install winches on the cabin top which I did not want to do. I would not have been able to run the sheets down the cabin top due to the location of the dinghy chocks. Second, I think that would have been too tight an angle on my full keel boat. When the wind and waves are up you are just not going to be sailing 35-40 degrees to the wind . . . more like 45 or 50, depending on the conditions, if you are lucky. I would need to install barber haulers to open the slot up. Last, my jib sheets are outside the cap shroud. That angle, about 14 degrees, becomes the driving factor for the stays'l. I am very interested to see if this proves correct.
Earlier in the week I removed the panels from under the side deck near the foot of the pilot berths. It is nice to be able to get to any part of the underside of the deck or cabin top if required. I marked and drilled oversize holes in the deck and poured epoxy in to make solid plugs. Then, when the epoxy cured I drilled 1/4" holes through the plugs chamfered the holes. I installed 1/4" thick G10 backing plates. I installed the hardware with butyl rubber and spend several days slowly tightening them allowing the butyl to be squeezed out. Then, I reinstalled the panels and trim. It nice to have the boat back together and another project checked off the list.