Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Problem Solving Under Way 101

Happy Christmas everyone. Here's a little essay I wrote along the way on our recent mini-trip to Vieques and Palominos. Besides fixing major things on occasion the cruising life is full of little problems and little solutions. Sometimes those are the most satisfying. We may be in Culebra through new years as there is no drop in the trades in sight. Every day is 20-25 knots with 9 foot seas. We could sneak to St. Thomas by leaving around 0300 and motor in the light night winds but we may have more fun here in Culebra with our friends. Besides, we haven't really finished exploring this island. Today we will walk to a beach where there is greaet snorkling. Stay tuned.

Problem: Our snubber line runs through the hawse hole and suffers from chafe. (Who doesn't?)

Solution: Typically people run the line through a hunk of hose to take away the chafe. I've tried this but the hose always gets sucked through the hole and slides down the line to the chain. I've tried different things to get this to not happen without much luck. Then, while messing with my Ashley Book of Knots I had the idea. I just need a big old knot forward of the hose to not let the hose move down the line. It's actually knot number 2203 (out of about 3900 knots!) and is a variation on the 'monkey fist'. Anyway it works and now one less thing to worry about.

Problem: When we drop the mainsail there is going to be some slack in the part of the halyard from the sail to the top of the mast. I can't put a lot of tension on this line now or I just raise the sail again. So what? Our boat has mast steps and external halyards. Who thought that was a good idea? If conditions are rolly or we get motoring with the wind behind us the halyard can wrap around a mast step. When it does we are totally screwed. We have to take the halyard off the mainsail (by climbing up 2 mast steps) and then walk the line around the lazy jacks to have a chance to whip it around the step. No big deal in a slip but on the rolling sea this can be quite an adventure.

Solution: One solution is to quickly zip up the bag to capture the sail but this takes some time and it can already be too late. So, I attached a bungy cord from the top of the sail to the first sail slug under it and closed the hooks on the bungy. Now when I drop the sail I can grab this bungy and loop it under the rams horn. Mainsail is now down and captured and I can tension the halyard and keep it from the steps. Nice.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My cunningham system consists of a hook leading down to a small tackle system with jammer; when I drop the main (or before hoisting it, if we're heading out) I just snag the halyard with the hook; you can then tension up the halyard without raising the sail. Same system... chris, Sydney AU