Wednesday, 9 April 2014

A New Spring Wardrobe

The sailing season is upon us and we’ve had no serious offers on Spray, so it looks like we’ll be heading down to Spain (Galice) with her this year.  But the old girl deserves a new outfit for the trip:  we have decided to replace the mainsail !

This is a BIG DEAL.  The mainsail we have is made of mylar / taffeta and is 7 years old, which is the expected lifetime of such sails.  Given that this one has completed a trans-Atlantic voyage and spent one year baking in the Caribbean sun, it’s had a hard life and is ready to be put out to pasture. 

We'll be thrilled to be done with the SOFRAMME sponsor publicity we inherited, too.

Mainsail in profile.
The big thrill is not just that we’ll get a new sail but that we’ll get a lighter Dacron sail (light in comparison to the mylar / taffeta anyway), which will make it easier to hoist, furl, reef, and store in the lazy bag...all great things for a couple looking for less physically-demanding manoeuvres.  The mylar / taffeta sail is a real monster – very heavy and rigid.  Hoisting is a team sport and furling always requires someone to go to the mast to pull and pack.  Trying to squash a heavy, rigid sail into a standard-sized lazy bag is also a feat and I’m surprised we haven’t busted the zipper yet (although we have had to re-rivet the lazy bag runners.) 

I’m sure it’s an unrealistic fantasy, but my dream is to point the nose of the boat into the wind, let run the halyard and have the sail drop into the bag, where only a minimal amount of arranging is needed before easily zipping up the bag, all in under 5 minutes.  Surely, as far as sailing fantasies go, this isn’t asking too much, is it?

In other news, on Sunday, we visited an exquisite Beneteau Oceanis 393 (version performance 2004) as a potential replacement for Spray to take us far and wide.  Result:  Didn’t love it.  It’s impossible to identify anything that was particularly wrong with it except that it just left us cold - no coup de coeur.  One down, how many more to go?

Three more days and Spray is in the water !!  We’ve been working 5-6 hours every day to get her ready and fatigue is beginning to set in. 

Things we’ve done:

Pressure washed and scraped the hull to remove all anti-fouling paint down to epoxy layers (this is the biggest time consumer)

Washed hull and polished

Washed deck and put on 2 coats of color protection / polish on roof and cockpit area

Miscellaneous silicone and sika touch-ups

Reconnected batteries and tested instruments

Took fire extinguishers for annual check-up

Installed new crown on gas stove burner

Bought new lifebuoy and floating flashing rescue lamp

Rigged dodger, side panels, lazy bag, boom vang and mainsheet traveller

Fixed life lines in place

Had a new auto-pilot angle indicator bracket made

Mastic epoxy on a few spots on the keel

Gel coat touch-ups

Varnish touch-ups

Bought new Bloc Marine 2014 (tide tables, rules and regs info)

Refill pages of Logbook (make my own and just add sheets in a 3-ring binder…)

Things we still have to do:

2 layers of anti-fouling bottom paint

Put on the new anode

Do dock-side / dry-dock tests of pilot (zero rudder angle)

Fix new lifebuoy lamp to balcony railing

Finish gel coat and varnish touch-ups

Secure life raft on roof

Chase the air bubbles out of the fuel line of the motor

Put Spray in the water

Put on mainsail and headsail on furler

Load cushions and all equipment

Inspect and re-provision pharmacy

Food preparation / provisioning

Pack clothes, SHOWER, check the weather and head off !