Monday, July 11, 2011


            I had to slip away for a delivery of a 46’ Morgan Ketch from Los Angeles to Hawaii, shortly after the masts were pulled, but the refurbishing of the spars and the new rigging were in good hands during my absents.  We had decided to replace any standing rigging that warranted attention, meaning I had to replace all the standing rigging.  Seeing the process of hand weaving splices in the stainless shrouds and stays to create big loops used to go around rather than connect directly to the wood masts was a wonderful image of the art of yesteryear marine rigging.  After the loops were spliced the entire loop was then wrapped in heavy sail twine to prevent the wire from chaffing the wood. They were then held in place by wood “cleats” which were blocks with a groove at the top to keep the loops in place. At every place on the masts where a stay, shroud, or running rigging block needed to be secured to the mast, this was the process.  Additionally, the boat had empty loops at the top of each mast were previously there were spinnaker and Mizzen staysail halyard blocks attached.  My rigger had to order new wooden blocks before rigging the new halyards…if you thought buying a Harkin spinnaker block for a new racing sloop was expensive, go shopping for period wood block!!
            When I returned, both masts, looking like new with ten coasts of high gloss varnish, were again standing majestically in place.  Several new (scavenged from used boat yards, old bronze) turnbuckles were in place, and all new off-white three-strand running rigging was in place.  I realized right away that these old salts really had to know their stuff, all the lines, the sheets, halyards, out-haul, down-haul, topping lifts, preventers, etc. all looked the same; no color coded braid here.
            Also, while I was gone, the preparation of the hull for painting had started. All the existing multi-layers of old paint had to come off.  This was the part I wasn’t looking forward to.  Paint masks a lot of problems.  I already knew I had a few problem areas in the hull.  A soft spot on the starboard side amidships, and both stern quarters under the cap rail were suspect.  I’m glad to say however, that what I found when seeing the hull naked for the first time was better than I could hope for. Yes, those suspected areas were confirmed, and a section of those planks will have to be removed and replaced, but the rest of the hull proved to be both tight and solid.  The rot in the transom had made it’s way into a 2” thick mahogany board that we were able to dig a hole completely through to the stern lazarette. 
            I’ve been assured that the hull will be completely fixed, sealed with West System epoxy, primed and painted by the end of July…stay turned.

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