2017.05.14 - Dressing the Mast

The first task undertaken today was to sew the seams on the mainsail. Tina did the sewing machine driving whilst I carefully pulled the sail through the machine The sail cloth is very slippery and a normal sewing machine cannot move the material last the needle. We were not able to do all the seams as some of them ended up too thick for the machine, so I'll do those by hand later on this evening.

Once that task was done I made a start on dressing the mast. The first thing was to add the gaff span to the gaff. You can see it here. This is a short length of rope whose ends are fixed around the gaff about a third from each end.

The underside of the span is held in place with two small fairleads.

Then the mast was lowered and the blocks fitted. Since I don't know the correct length of the ropes required I ran a thin leader through each block so that once the mast was back upright again I could pull the rope up to and through the block and down again. The rope was then cut to the correct length. I had six ropes to do so this took most of the afternoon. You can se the result above. It is not finished yet, I'm still waiting for some blocks on back order to arrive, so the mast will have to come down again for that.

Still, the boat looks even better now.

The bobstay fitting was installed. I used thickened epoxy as a bedding compound and scraped the paint off from under the fitting down to the epoxy underlay. Once this is cured I'll repaint the hull and probably the fitting as well.

The, with Tina's help, I took a look at the headsails, the two in front of the mast. I had a staysail in the first secondhand sail I bought and that was near enough the correct size. Too big but it can be cut down if necessary. But leaving it as it is means no further work required.

The jib was cut out of the lighter weight sail and that will need to be seamed and so on, a project for during the week.

Since the staysail need nothing doing I decided to hoist it and see what it looked like. The Wykeham Martin furling gear was attached and then the sail attach to the furling gear. Tina took a photo.

The sail touches the mast when it moves from one side to the other but that shouldn't be a problem, and it is only just short enough to fit between the mast and the bowsprit. any longer and it would not be possible to hoist it up fully. It will do for now. The main thing is that as long as there is a South or South-West wind on Friday we will be able to sail back to the mooring even with just this one sail. Slowly, I grant you, but sailing nevertheless.

The furling gear has to be attached to the gammon iron and the bowsprit. Without the strop round the bowsprit the furling gear would continually rub against the forestay and both would be damaged. I'll make a better strop during the week.

This is what the staysail looks like when it is furled.

After a bite to eat and with a cut of tea I sat in the conservatory and hand stitched three of the four seams where the sailcloth is too thick for a sewing machine. A nice way to end the day.