Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Mastless in Seattle

The long awaited re-rig is now complete and Talos IV is a sailboat once again.  All that remains of the work is to fine tune the rigging. This should be completed in the next few days or so.

The process was quite interesting.  In brief, we motored down to the yard the night before, as we were scheduled to have the mast pulled first thing in the morning.  We needed to raft up next to a large aluminum fishing trawler, as there was no space on the wall at the yard, but the captain on board was very accommodating.

The following morning we pulled into the slip, loosened the rigging, attached the lines from the crane and with a flip of the switch Talos IV became a motor vessel as the mast was gently lifted up and off.  In keeping with sailing lore, we found a dollar coin nestled underneath the mast.  So as not to break with tradition and the good fortune bestowed on Talos IV and her crew to date, we will leave the coin where it is when the mast is re-stepped.  The crane operator maneuvered the mast off to the side and laid it down on stands ready for the work to be completed.  The plan was to have it re-stepped in about 5 days.

As I motored back to our slip, it was a very strange feeling to be out on the boat without the mast.  In fact, as I approached the Fremont Bridge I was frantically searching for the air horn so that I could have the bridge tender lift the span for my passage, when it hit me that I didn't have to worry about that.  What a powerful feeling that was.

A quick survey of the mast revealed no surprises, but we would have a busy week getting all the work done.  The first few days were spent sanding and repainting a few spots where some minor corrosion was found, followed by a complete wash and wax of the entire mast.  That work completed, we moved on to mounting new cam cleats for all of the halyards and drilling holes in the mast so that we could run all of the halyards internal.  Fishing the lines down through the mast without twisting them all up and ensuring that they didn't make weird wraps around various things inside the mast proved to be a real challenge, but in the end all worked out.  What a difference this will make in the ease of sailing the boat.  We also added two new halyards, one running aft for our storm try sail and an extra spinnaker halyard running forward.   And finally, the new standing rigging was attached and the mast was ready to be re-stepped.

The re-stepping went well in spite of a brisk breeze that sprung up at the precise moment that the crane operator was lifting the mast. Once back on the boat, we attached the rigging and Talos IV was once again a sail boat.  I made sure I had the air horn close by, as I was definitely going to have to lift the bridge span to get Talos IV back to her slip.

Lift operator preparing to lift mast.

Talos IV mastless in Seattle.

The mast prior to completing the work.

We found a 1979 Susan B. Anthony
dollar coin under the mast.

Paul painting a few areas where some minor corrosion
was found.

New cam cleats and exit holes for the halyards.

Re-stepping the mast.  Talos IV is
a sail boat again.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Position Reports

You may have noticed that we've added the ability for you to check our current position and follow our track over the past 30 days.  This functionality is courtesy of Pangolin, a group of sailing enthusiasts from New Zealand and is called Youtreps.  There are two separate links in the right hand column of the blog that you can click on to see where we are and where we've been.  Check it out to see how it works.  Right now, our current position is here in Seattle and our track shows us going from Mongolia to Seattle.  No, we did not go to Mongolia.  I made an error entering the data and put the longitude as East instead of West on my first entry.  I'll try not to do that again.

Once underway, we will use the Youtreps system to make regular position reports.  Because Youtreps automatically rounds the lat and long entries, our actual position may be slightly off.  In fact, it's possible that it may even show us on land or some other unlikely spot.  Rest assured that we will be reasonably close to that location, I'd guess within a few hundred yards or so.

Less than 90 days to go

We are now within 90 days of our planned departure in late June.  With Seattle experiencing one of the wettest winters and early springs on record (nearly 17 inches of rain so far in 2012), we are both anxious to head out and put the dreary weather behind us.  Activity on the boat has been moving along, with many of our planned projects already completed and with only a few yet to complete.  I thought I'd provide an update to the status of the various boat projects we are working on.

The new solar panels are now installed and operational.  I was able to get some help from my brother Mike while he was here on a visit to Seattle, making the job a bit easier.  We were quite pleased with how the installation turned out.  It looks good and is extremely sturdy.  They are producing power, even with the overcast skies.  It will be interesting to see what they really do when we finally get some sun.

The windvane installation is also completed.  The folks at Monitor did a good job of providing easy to follow instructions, but most important was the help and guidance from Terry Cady from Yachtfitters.  His assistance ensured that the job was done right.  It's always a bit disconcerting to drill holes in the side of your boat, so doing it right is critical.

I've also replaced all of the hose for the head with non-permeable hose to eliminate any odors.  This may sound like a simple task, but for those uninitiated, trust me, it is a messy, smelly and challenging job.  It took two full days of back breaking work to get it done.  In the end, no pun intended, it all turned out and what odors there were are no more.

The re-rig and replacement of the safety lines is scheduled for next week.  We've been waiting for a weather window and the long range forecast looks promising.  We will replace all of the standing rigging, add two new halyards (an extra main and asymmetrical halyard) as well as run all of the halyards inside the mast.  The plan is to motor over to Canal Boat Yard, where a crane will lift the mast off the boat and lay it on stands.  This should make working on the mast much easier.  While the mast is down, we'll do any and all maintenance that may need to be done.

The re-rig is the last major project to be completed.  I'm sure there will be numerous small projects to do, but it will feel like we are nearly ready to go once the mast is back up with the new rig.

The new solar panels are installed and providing power,
even with the cloudy Seattle skies.

The new windvane is ready to go.