Monday, June 30, 2014

Rigging: Part II

I have been in a holding pattern for a couple of months now. All the rigging that can be done without sails has been done for a while now. I am somewhat excitedly awaiting the completion of the sails, and have been enjoying the oohs and aahs of people who walk by Lagniappe as she sits moored at the Independence Seaport Museum dock. We have been out for a few rides on the Delaware, under power of course. Otherwise, I have been in a maintenance mode -- another coat of varnish here, scrubbing the urban soot from the decks there, and so forth. We have also been chipping away at the cabin finishing. That is a slow and tedious job, especially in hot weather.

A few words about the rigging:  My colleagues at the Workshop on the Water, sailors all, strongly recommend that I run all halyards and sheets back to the cockpit. No point sending the mate forward unnecessarily, after all. So, with a few extra blocks, I ran the throat and peak halyards along the port side of the cabin top, and tied them off on a couple of homemade white oak cleats at the cockpit.

Mainsail halyards lead back to cockpit
I also took the advice of my more knowledgeable mates in selecting rope for specialized purposes. Where Iain specifies wire rope, except in the case of the shrouds and headstay, I am using a super-strong single braid polyester which is sold under the trade name of Dyneema or Spectra. It has about the same stretch as wire rope, you can use the same diameter for the same strength, and it is much easier to splice. Its main advantage is that it will not chafe the sails the way wire rope will.

The Dyneema bridle and peak halyard.
In addition to the bridle, I used Dyneema for the running backstays, and for the topping lift. All the halyards are 3/8 inch double braided dacron polyester.

Topping lift cleated to mast on port side, jib halyard through block on starboard side

I rigged the mainsheet using some antique blocks I rebuilt. I had intended to make my own blocks following a recent article in Woodenboat, but these are much cooler and rebuilding was a lot easier than making them from scratch. 

Strops, also Dyneema, hold mainsheet blocks.

Iain Oughtred's Grey Seal makes a pretty fine motorboat if you don't have sails yet. We have taken a few brief cruises on the Delaware River, seeing the sights, giving folks on the banks a chance to ogle, and generally feeling good about having built a boat. 

My son Andrew and his girlfriend Alysha visited at the end of May.
Motoring toward the USS New Jersey, a Missouri class battleship from WWII
Today was a big day. I visited the sail loft of Brad Linthicum, owner of Linthicum Sailmakers, in Sommerdale, New Jersey. Brad is making the sails for Lagniappe. I was delighted to find a well regarded sailmaker very close to home, especially one who does his own cutting and stitching. Surprisingly, (to me at least) local sailmakers increasingly send their work to China rather than make sails in their own lofts. I went over to take a few pictures, but while I was there Brad showed me what appears to be an error in the dimensions of the mainsail on the sail plan. The plan shows a mainsail luff of a bit over 22 feet, which is about 4 feet less than it really is. Good catch!

Brad and I study the sailplan in his loft. Abby is taking a break on the loft floor.

Brad Linthicum lays his batten along the edge of the jib-to-be

Cutting out reinforcements for the reefs
The sails are going to be dacron, but not a stark white. At Brad's suggestion, we went with an off-white fabric color called "Egyptian" which he prefers to use on traditional looking boats.  It looks great to me.

The jib and Abby on the floor,

No one works harder than a sailmaker's dog.

With a bit of luck, the sails will be done before the end of this week, and I can bend them on over the July 4th weekend. Is that a way to celebrate Independence day, or what?

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