Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Launched and ready

Happy Cinco de Mayo!  We launched Dessie today and I motored her to Annapolis through the calm, windless morning.  I went through everything I had notes on, and only a short list of repairs are left - albeit most are the expensive ones, such as Wind generator, and rudder mount.  Some little ones sprang up as well, so my list of repairs is growing again.

One big item of interest is the Boom Gallows.  James made one for me to protect the solar panels.  I have only one sailed on a boat with boom gallows, back in the 1970s.  It seemed like a practical idea.

Well, now that I have one, I rank it up there with an autopilot and windless.  It changes everything.  First, I no longer need a toping lift.  Second, the boom is held in place except when the sail is raised.  One safety issues I always kept in mind is wrestling with the boom while securing the mainsail.  The Stack-Pack & lazy jacks made it a bit easier, but the boom still jumped around and threatened to buck me off the hard top more than once.  I also had to adjust the toping lift before dropping the sail, so that the solar cells would be safe.

Today, I unzipped the stack pack, loosened the main sheet, and cranked up the sail.  That was it.  The boom popped up and I did not have to think about topping lift, raising it quickly to clear the solar cells, or removing preventers I had previously rigged to keep the boom from bouncing around.  Getting the sail down was even easier.  I tightened the main sheet and dropped the main.  It landed on the gallows and I pushed it into the channel.  It fell in place with ease.  I climbed on the hard top to zip the stack pack.  As I reached out over the back end of the boom, I realized that I could use it for support as it wasn't going to bounce around.  What a joy!

Dessie is sitting on her mooring, waiting for this weekend's adventures.  Its nice to be back on the water.