My first rigging task was the sizing and installation of the shrouds and headstay. Jeff helped me set the mast in the hinge, and using dacron fishing line (minimal stretch) pre-fastened to the appropriate mast band, we determined the final length of each stay. We then brought the mast back into the shop, and swedged the top ends of each stay, using the fishing line as our measure.
|Shrouds and headstay taped to base of mast.|
|The upper end of stays swedged and fastened to mast ring with shackles.|
Next, I made up the upper portion of the running backstays. The Oughtred plan calls for 7 x 19 wire rope for these, but it was strongly recommended by my advisory panel that I use low stretch polyester rope, the brand names Spectra and Dynema offering the best strength to diameter ratio. Actually, I found out that with either, you can safely go one size up and have at least equivalent strength to wire rope. The splicing is much easier, and the abrasion of the sails will be minimal. I settled on Amsteel Blue 3/16" single braid Dyneema, which was available from Jamestown Distributors at a very reasonable price.
I learned to splice single braid Dyneema from a really nice video I found on Youtube. I find that the Youtube videos are much easier for me to follow than diagrams in a book like Brion Toss's "The Complete Riggers Apprentice." The book is very informative, and fun to read, but when I sit down with a piece of rope and a fid, I am just confused without a Youtube video.
|Dyneema eye-spliced running backstays held in place by thumb cleats|
You can see in the picture above that all halyard blocks have been fastened already, and that I ran a loop of lightweight rope through each of them and down to the base of the mast so I could rig the halyards from the deck by pulling them up with the lightweight rope. The thought of going aloft in a boatswain's chair is at once charming and intimidating to my way of thinking. It will be avoided.
Ultimately, the mast became a jumble of wire, string, tape, and wood, and was ready for the attempted "final" stepping.
|A long stretch of spaghetti|
Finally, I assembled a crew of willing boatshop friends, and we carried the mast out to the boat on the dock. I had built a gin pole to lever the mast up using the headstay and a block and tackle ala the Grey Seal "Saturday Morning" as seen in this Youtube video. However, because we were four big, burly, albeit elderly men, we decided to give it a go and raise the mast by brute strength alone. Fortunately, things worked out. We had a few oopses; the pin in the headstay turnbuckle was slightly too large for the hole I had drilled in the chainplate, for example. This was soon fixed, and the mast was raised and fastened.
|John and Larry hold the mast in place while I try to fasten the headstay.|
|Hmm. I thought that hole would be big enough.|
|The mast installation team: Larry, Jeff, John, and Joe.|