Monday, 21 April 2014

Easter Aloft

The Easter bank holiday weekend proved very productive, and Matt and Giulia are in fact still hard at work as I am typing this. Among other things, we finally had a chance to install the attachment points for the running backstays - these are necesseray to balance the load on the inner forestay.
View from the mast, tools at hand
Despite moderately strong winds and a wintery chill in the air, it was dry - reasonable weather for working aloft.
The running backstays attach to the mast via T-shaped fittings, which slot into suitable backing plates. These must be riveted to the inside of the mast walls. They also require an elongated cutout.
Sailors don't take a hole saw to their masts every day, but here it was justified to achieve the rough shape.

The first cut
Rough cutout
  The mast walls are surpsisingly thick - a reassuring 3-4mm. The rough "figure of 8" shape was filed further using a Dremel and an assortment of hand files.
Final shape
Finally, the rivet holes were added using the backing plate as a template.
Adding rivet holes
Using the halyard exit below, I was able to thread the plates into the right place without dropping them doing the mast in the process.
Threading the backing plate into the mast
After coating all parts in copious amounts of Duralac, the pop rivets were - fittingly - popped with a lazy tong riveter (15 quid from Amazon - best buy ever).
Applying the pop rivets
Finished terminal
The two finished terminals look nothing short of professional, and are ready to recieve the running backstays. The tang for the inner forestay is unfortunately still making its slow progress from the Wichard factory to our East Coast backwaters, and will be fitted next time.
In the meantime, I took a trip to the masthead to inspect the cap shroud attachment points. Both cap shrouds need replacing, and to make taking the measurements easier, I have removed one of them without much difficulty.
Starboard cap shroud
Port cap shroud removed
To support the mast in it's absence, we have rigged a cunning outrigger using the spinnaker pole and the spinnaker halyard. Maybe we should go all the way and convert to a rotating wingmast?
Temporary mast support - Open 30 anyone?
Back in Cambridge, I have laid out the shroud and taken the key dimensions. Unfortunately, our favourite rigging shop is closed fot Easter Monday - hopefully an email order will be enough to get all the details right.
Wire rope dimensions for future reference

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