Mast Prepped and Stepped

May 13, 2010

I spent last night on the hard. I’m not sure I can adequately convey how strange it is to be on a boat that isn’t moving. When I’m working on it, its not so noticeable(unless I look up, then I get severe vertigo), but sleeping on it my body demands the gentle rocking. It is very disorienting, and I can’t wait to have her back in the water again. Enough of that, this is a work post, so on to business.

Today I started at sunrise. Coffee, Gruel, and then off to inspect the mast. After a brief walk around I had my list.

  • LED lights
  • Wash the Pacific Northwest Green off everything (requires bucket, sponge, and Bon Amie)
  • Finish minor standing rigging chores (burgee line, inspect and retape spreader tip boots, etc)
  • Paint long thin scratch on mast
  • Step the mast
  • Apply SparTight
  • Wire up the new ST60 wind instrument

Things got off to a somewhat slow start. Svendsons (my favorite chandlery) had run out of one of the two bulbs I needed. Aparently they were a hot item at the boat show. I did get the rigging tape, bucket, sponge and the LunaSea tricolor LED, and high tailed it (as fast as rush hour trafic would allow) back up to Bay Marine to do my work.

I finally got the mast scrubbed clean, spreader tips inspected and re-covered, and the long scratch on the mast painted by around noon—just in time for lunch. This meant that we didn’t get the mast over beside the boat and up onto the crane until somewhere around 1pm. I worked side by side the 4 riggers as we brought the mast up, stepped it and loosely set the standing rigging.

After the mast was secure and the crane was away, Ed and I started the slow work of tuning the mast. I learned a really useful trick for static (pre) tuning. Ed attached a tape measure to the halyard and hoisted it up to almost the head. We then took the other end and measured to dead-center on the clevis pins for each shroud adjusting where needed.

Once the shrouds were set and the prebend was added with the baby stay We got to work prepping for the SparTight. I helped Ed to cut up the foam that would provide the bottom of the dam, and then we added clay to the top of the collar. We smoothed it out, added a little clay to all of the welds, and lubed it up with Vaseline. When it was all done, Ed mixed up the “snot” and poured it in. I watched, fascinated, as the stuff started to cure in the first minutes after he poured it.

After he finished cleaning up, Ed took off to his other tasks and I got down to the business of rewiring all of the mast electronics and lights. Thanks to the fantastic labeling that Steve and Glen (Something Special Boat Services) did before the unstepping, this went like clockwork. Within 10 minutes I had everything rewired except for the wind instrument. That was a big exception. The wire pull alone took the better part of an hour, and then I got to the hard part. As it turns out (and I should have known this) the ST60 has a different connector than the ST50 and to make matters even more interesting, its got a different sized backing and a different bolt configuration. I couldn’t have been more stymied. I decided to put everything back the way it had been and deal with it all when I was fresh.

Defeated, but not dismayed, I packed everything up, cleaned up my work area, and headed home by way of Picante Taqueria. It was a hard days work and I feel better for it!

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