Saturday, April 30, 2016

rally traffic

It is very rewarding to have sailed so close to a bunch of generous photographers. I don't think we ever had pictures from our trips on Corio Bay or the Western District Lakes and it is a real luxury now to have a collection of pictures of this boat out there sailing. Of course that is one of the features that made the Paynesville rally so successful- the narrow straits at the town centre where the crowds congregated. So I hope my reader doesn't mind a few more indulgences here from those days.

Since then quite a few things have happened to the boat, and I have these as a permanent record of her gradual evolution. The unrestored topsides show up well in the bottom pic and when I figure out where and when I can get her on the hard for antifouling and topsides painting the job will be substantially done, at least for a while...

Sunday, April 24, 2016

getting wired: more time aloft

 These didn't just get on my floor by accident. They took a fair bit of ladder work before they reached the hard. I'm aware that my devoted reader will be quite bored by these pics- the gory entrails and shrouds that used to keep the mast perpendicular, but they are here because I have a deep-rooted love of interesting lines in composition, and because getting me to the top of the mast so often has me so far out of my comfort zone, I need to think that the effort has produced something worth saying, and at least for me, something worth looking at. 

I didn't fall off. Surely that is reason enough to celebrate with a picture.

The new pile above consists of an inner and an outer forestay, four side stays, and two sprit stays              (I call 'em whiskers). The trick was to detach the shackle pin at the top of the mast without letting go of either  the shackle or the old stay (using pliers) and lowering the old stay, retrieving the new one, pocketing the pliers (still without dropping the pin or the shackle), offering the new stay to both the mast band and the shackle, insert the pin then find the pliers again...all at full stretch while powerboats wakefully sped past below. And all while at the very top of the ladder, not knowing if my measurements had been accurate enough for a good fit. 

The dogs were happy I came back in one piece with something salty to smell. Six of the eight wires are up, but I've run out of lashing, so I'm having a beer instead.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

an incremental thing

While I wait for the new standing rigging to be made up, there have been quite a few lovely moments bobbing around Beachcomber in the old tender, with sandpaper, brush, varnish and paint in hand. 

The bowsprit appears as though it means business again, the new bob-stay gives me some adjustment against the pull of the forestays and the rubbing strip has a new, more subtle colour. It is of a mid grey, but like the greys inside the hull it tends to photograph warmer (a bit lilac) because of the warmth of the wood...but so far, I like it. I feel it lightens the appearance of the hull from a heavy Victorian to a more creamy, light hue. It used to be 'Brunswick Green' like the sail covers.

Of course, nice shiny paint on the rubbing strip only makes the topsides look dirty and a bit weathered, but this is an incremental sort of rejuvenation and it will all get done eventually...Including the sail covers which have started to become cream, but still have some green bits there to keep me edgy. She will come out of the water this year for more antifoul and I will paint the topsides then, and replace the green covers at some useful point too.

I admit the two pics below aren't really fair in measuring progress because the 'before' pic was taken on a grey sort of day, but hey, I need motivation sometimes too.

It will be interesting to see if the new stays, shrouds and whiskers fit because I measured without removing the mast, by means of overlapping timber sticks (which needed to cover six metres for the forestay) poked up to the heavens towards the upper shackles with optimism and a bit of economy-driven confidence.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

these nights are tough

 Tomorrow our latest foster greyhound goes to her new forever home, and we believe she will be loved there and will really contribute something to the people who will become her guardians. Frankie has been a gorgeous presence in our home since she was rescued about four weeks ago, and we have tried to teach her a little about being a regular dog- and a functional companion in a human household. When we first had her at home she walked into glass doors because she had never seen them. She was overjoyed to have toys and affection, and human company, but also to hang out with Sooty, our adopted greyhound.

For all the good news in the above paragraph, tonight is tough in the same way it has been spending our last days with the others we have fostered. They all bring something to us in combination with their own particular difficulties.

Below left, Angel (now called Maggie) was a former racer who was retired to be a breeder. She was incredibly wise and tender, but lacked any interest in walks or exercise in the time we had her because she just wanted company, food and peace. We hope her new owners go further than we had time to, in re-engaging her with the wonderful doggy world of smells and natural noises.

Below right, Rosie was frightened of everything when we got her. She had more neuroses than we could count- particularly her fear of men. But after a couple of months she followed me everywhere and was ready for her new home with Flynn, a lonely whippet and his 'mum'.

We've only been at this for some months, but all of these dogs are happily placed with people who needed them, and are themselves transformed from soon-to-be-exterminated gambling devices into wonderful companions.

So, like the other times, tonight is tough. We'd love to keep them all, but as Julia wisely reminds me, it is not about what is best for us.

I look across at Sooty, who is still a bit bolshy and territorial, and I remember how difficult it was for him to be loving and accepting of affection when we got him, and I remind myself that he had four trainers in his four years before we got him, and he had to compete all the time to get anything. In the end even winning a number of races wasn't enough to keep him alive, so I forgive him his moods, and I concentrate instead on the times he reaches out to me with his foot to indicate that he does want me to keep stroking him, even if he struggles to be overtly affectionate.

And he has been a star at helping these other dogs transform into family dogs. He is rock solid on our walks, and a role model in sniffing, hanging out and welcoming guests into our home. He has gravitas and dignity and when he comes for a cuddle, you feel blessed.

Friday, April 8, 2016

bobstay boogie

Trying to remain vertical while standing in and working from the tender has taught me some new moves.

Never was much of a dancer...but with one hand holding a tin of varnish, the other using a brush and the tender untethered as I work along the big pole, the new moves become impressive when a motor boat speeds past.

The jib tensioning rig needs restoring, as do the whiskers and the bobstay chain, tackle and line. But I began by resurfacing the bowsprit which had been beyond the reach of the tools until now. It is now being recoated as weather and time permits.

Below, the jib traveller is attached to an endless out/inhaul. Lovely leather sheathed bronze ring and wiggly bits.

Below are the parts of the bobstay tensioning tackle. Galv chain is shackled to a block and then linked by line to a double block. At the inboard end a wooden eye is spliced onto the line to provide another two part purchase inboard by means of another line spliced to the bowsprit at the standing end, then fed through the wooden eye and back to a horn cleat on the sprit. The chain was looking mildly disreputable, so it has added gravity to my bin. The gal pulley blocks have stood up remarkably well and have been redeployed without any interference.

All of the gal. shackles have remained serviceable- probably due to the beef tallow used to lubricate the threads. A big bucket of the stuff was kindly provided with the boat (Fred's supplier had grossly overestimated how much he required) and it is remarkable stuff. You would think after more than 25 years in a shed the tallow would be rancid and beyond sniffing, but it remains a clean, white, low odour and  serviceable marine lubricant. Needless to say all moving galvanised parts going back on the boat are retallowed.

Below, the new lines, chain and splices for the long outboard parts. The splice on the inboard line will need to be done on the boat.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Geelong WB Festival 2016 and a brand new Aussie Navigator

 Because I haven't seen much coverage of this event in the blogosphere I include a few pictures supplied by our friends Peter and Felicity. Since there is often very little feed-back about this sort of coverage I found it hard to know how many pics to include. There are more on Felicity's disc if needed...

Below are some shots of Peter's new home built Navigator. I have been thrilled to see it emerge from a pile of promising plywood. Peter chose to build light and has used the thinner plywood for his hull and I'm sure he will find it fast and responsive as his early tests suggest. Observant readers will notice sails from Duckworks.
I don't want to embarrass Peter at all, but I do need to say that his passion for wooden boats goes a lot further back (and a lot deeper) than just this, his recent build. He has played several major roles in the Geelong event for many years, on the committee (I am without details here) and as the representative of a major sponsor. 

The boat is named after the very talented Felicity, below.