The Big Re-rig: Part 1

As far as I could tell, the standing rigging (all the stainless steel wire rope holding up the mast) was 30 years old. Our insurance company said they wouldn’t cover us for damage incurred as a result of the rigging failing. People warn that SS rigging looks good until it fails suddenly.  So I knew that it was only a matter of time before we needed to replace the rigging but, you know, it’s hard to replace something that looks fine and seems to work just because something might happen when there are other things begging to be replaced.

A could of months ago we had a very windy day.  May 4th historical data shows wind gusts of 30kt but I think it was stronger than this. I motored over to have lunch with my friend, Enrico, who had ventured out in his kayak. On the way back I decided to experiment with letting out a small amount of foresail to sail back to the mooring. I let out a little, then a little more of the big genoa. Although not much was out, it was like a plastic bag on a string rather than any recognisable sail shape. I hauled in a bit whilst the sail was under load. This wasn’t easy. When I got near the Bay I tried to furl the genoa in all the way. It was extremely difficult, even head to wind. I managed to get most of it in and motor back.

Upon inspection it was obvious that the furler was very sick.  Here’s a video of what it was doing:

I managed to take a photo through a small hole in the furler to reveal broken wires on the forestay. Not good.

Broken forestay wires

Broken forestay wires

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Putting these two things together it seemed that there were probably broken wires would up like a spring inside the furler extrusion.  The forestay keeps the mast from falling down. So I ran all the spare halyards to the bow and found a rigger.

Time for a full re-rig.

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Spring Project 4: Foam and fabric

Here is the cabin settee when we bought Bob.  I’m sure it looked very cool in 1985.

The settee when purchased

The settee when purchased

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Besides needing a fashion update, the foam inside was falling apart and leaving foam dust underneath the cushions.  This meant the job would be more complex and expensive than if we simply had to change the covers.

We sourced the foam from a couple of factory outlets in southern Sydney. We got high quality foam, thicker foam for the aft cabin berths and had the factory cut it to size and shape using the old, manky foam as a template. This probably wasn’t necessary in the end but at least we know the foam will last a long time. With the settee foam we decided it would be cheaper if we got a couple of big rectangles of foam and cut the pieces to size ourselves.

I did some research online about different ways to cut foam.  A lot of people had said how difficult foam is to cut. In the end I decided the easiest way would be to buy a special foam-cutting blade and cut it with my jigsaw.  I got this Festool blade from Sydney Tools:

The right tool for the job

The right tool for the job

Using the old cushions as templates I marked the foam and then placed it on a couple of trestle tables with a narrow gap down the middle.  It turns out that foam is very difficult to cut if the foam is allowed to bobble and wobble around, but if it is held relatively firmly it is pretty easy.

A nice clean cut

A nice clean cut

 

 

 

 

 

 

The foam cutting setup

The foam cutting setup

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This setup worked wonderfully for cutting the foam straight through at 90 degrees.  When we had to cut it at other angles for certain cushions though it was a bit trickier; I think this was because it was harder to get the foam not to bobble around without the shoe of the jigsaw to hold the foam in place.

Once all the foam was cut to size we needed to cover it. We had already bought the cover material from an online fabric merchant based in the USA.  Unbelievably, it was cheaper to buy it overseas (about $160) and have it shipped ($180) over than to buy it in Australia.  I really should get into the importation business.

I had this idea that we would learn a lot by making the covers ourselves. An experienced fasion designer and seamstress friend stated in no uncertain terms that it would be very challenging and helped us find a lovely woman in Chinatown who made each cushion cover for $30 ($50 for the two big berth covers).  Yes, we had to schlepp the cushions in to town in two lots and back again but I’m sure this $340 saved our marriage!

All in all this project probably cost around 1.3 Boat Dollars.  They make zero functional difference but they make us very happy!

The new digs

The new digs

 

The new forward cabin uphostery and foam, Xmas style.

The new forward cabin uphostery and foam, Xmas style.

PS: Yes, I know I’ve skipped Spring Project #3 but it’s coming…

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