So, another week has flown by, Shoestring’s only movement has been swinging around her anchor due to wind shifts, yet I feel that the time hasn’t been wasted.
We were originally going to move closer to the marina where we’ll reside whilst I do the repairs to the engine’s transmission, a nice little beach in shallow water, with fresh water and a cold shower on your doorstep, but our spot is so peaceful from 5pm to 10am, we have plenty of water, enough to shower with fresh water every evening, anyway, that it seemed like the wrong choice to take. Instead we’ve kept busy tidying and changing things where necessary, applying sandpaper and brush to exterior woodwork that needed it, and generally making life more comfortable. It’s left plenty of time for reading, swimming, tanning, eating, sleeping, and all life’s other pleasures.
One ‘spur of the moment’ change I’ve made, which I guess only sailing people will understand, and that I’m very keen to try out, occurred whilst I was busy tidying up the foredeck. Sailors will perhaps have noticed from photos of Shoestring that she has a masthead cutter rig. The staysail is not on a roller furler, but is kept hanked on and ready to raise at fairly short notice in a long sailbag tied to the rails. One sees this quite often on cutters, but with the sailbag being much more compact, and living at the base of the inner forestay. My staysail is made of fairly heavy-duty material, plus the sail has battens, so this is not possible. The issue that’s bugged me from Day 1 has been tacking with this setup. Getting the genoa to thread its way between it’s forestay and the inner stay has usually been a slow and very energetic exercise, often requiring a trip to the foredeck to physically haul the flapping canvas through this narrow wedge of an opening. Now, the fact is that I very seldom use the staysail, she’s perfect for heavy winds and weather, and in those conditions would be the only foresail in use. Five minutes with a pair of spanners, a little encouragement to the clevis pin holding the inner stay to the deck fitting, and the inner stay is now wrapped around a lower shroud and tied out of the way. Tacking will now be quick and effortless, when gybing I’ll be able to focus on the mainsheet until the boom is safely across before dealing with the genoa, again quick and effortless, and our normal sort of day sailing will be much more fun. The inner stay can be reattached in ten minutes if it’s needed, and a pelican clip would make it a two-minute job so that might well make it onto the Joblist. Now we must get moving again so that we can try our new rig out. Can’t wait.
Many years ago I was told that ship’s engineers always kept a supply of sanitary towels/pads in the engine room. Small oil leaks could be caught and absorbed by the skillful attachment of these items, and the machinery would stay smart and clean. Modern times have brought changes, and towels became pads, then slimline, then slimline with wings, and the engineers have migrated to disposable nappies. For many years my racing car was equipped with a thin aluminium bellypan under the motor, which held a couple of nappies, and kept the scrutineers happy. Always a clean dry bottom! Two packs of nappies made it into Shoestring’s stores, but the engine needs to leak MORE to stop her continually building surface rust. However, there is a tiny but persistent leak of diesel coming from somewhere on or near the fuel tank. I’ve searched but can’t find it. Someday the tank will have to come out to find it, but not now. Anyway, this has provided a use for the nappies, and they’ve performed perfectly, but eventually I ran out of them. Yesterday’s trip to the supermarket had me hunting down the biggest and cheapest replacements. Guess what? Adult incontinence diapers are much bigger AND cheaper. On top of that, where I used to use two at a time, now I’m only using half a diaper. You Live and Learn.
The last item I’ve attended to, has been to make a flexible but easily useable side ladder for swimmers. There are permanent ladder steps up the rudder, a clever safety feature, but they can get slippery and the angle you climb at requires a bit of extra arm strength. The existing side ladder stopped short of the water and is meant for climbing from dinghy to deck. My new creation, designed by moi, involves solid wooden rungs clamped to a single stainless steel cable that runs down the one side and up the other. It hangs well under water, but can be bent up out of the water when not in use. It still needs finishing off, but more importantly it needs me to jump in the water to test it first. Today is cool, cloudy, and not conducive to such a test. I need to persuade the 1st Mate to be the guinea pig!
My next report should give news of successful repairs to the transmission, as well as effortless sailing manouvres.