Tuning the Rig, raising the sails

Capella went in the water before some the things I wanted to do didn’t get done.  It’s about  5 weeks later and finally we get the weather at the right time to tune the rig and put the sails up. The mast has been up for over a month, but I have still not managed to set up the rigging properly so that’s first job of the day.  The mast needs to rake back slightly; it was leaning forward slightly so I need to loosen the forestay – but the bottle screw is between two large pieces of Maccano type plates that is part of the roller reefing gear (Plastimo 608S). So turning this is difficult – in the end worked out the best way was to use an Allen key , as the L shape could be manipulated to make it turn around a third of a turn at a time – ten turns later and it’s as loose as the tread allow, still not enough but it will have to do.  After that making sure the mast is up right left to right and then putting in reasonable amount of pre-bend is relatively straight forward.  After all we’re just ambling up and down the Orwell, not racing or crossing ocean.

Next the sails

The mainsail goes on OK, but not sure how to fix the tack and there seems to be a shortage of shackles the outhaul and kicker.  The running reefing lines is another mystery to solve, leave that for another day as there may be some indication on the ‘for sale’ pictures.

The Genoa is a different story all together.  Bit of a pig to pull up – but nothing the winch couldn’t solve.  Then came the furling – not enough turns on the drum so pull it out a few turns and manually wrap the sail round and attach a sheet so I can pull it out again and check it’s OK.  This is where it start to go wrong.  Pull out the Genoa OK, pull it back in and things start to get stiff and springy towards the end.  Gave it that extra tug, as you do to get the last few turns in and the bottle screw on the forestay unscrews itself.  Fortunately it had a few more turns on the bottom then on the top so it stayed on deck and didn’t disappear into the murky depths.

So back to the rig

So there I am standing in a dinghy, so not a stable platform, next to the shipping channel in the Orwell with lots of leisure traffic coming or going into Ipswich – those motor boats do kick up some serious wash even at the 6 knot speed limit.  I’m trying to get the bottle to reconnect at both ends, but it doesn’t  want to know, too many things to pull, push and hang onto for on pair of hands – but I can’t leave the boat with the fore stay disconnected (the lowers are holding the mast up).  Along rows the ever helpful Alan Bimpson, whose yacht Oystercatcher is moored a few boats away.  He rows round with binoculars trying to see why the screw is undoing itself but nothing.  So with 4 hands we manage to get the forestay reconnected.  We stop things turning with an Allen key thought he bottle screw and a split pin in top threaded part, now things work OK  but it has a bit of a squeak – that can be left for another day.    We’d taken the Genoa off to take some load off the roller reefing gear and we spotted a small tear at the very top, so home that goes to go off to be repaired.

All round it felt like a really bad day, and the end of any chance of sailing during our week off.