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Entries in wood (3)


bowsprit is undergoing surgery

Stan, Charlotte, and Cora walking down the dock. Click to enlarge.There's something phallic about a bowsprit. A mighty timber jutting forth proudly from the bow of the vessel, and it's especially demasculinizing to see it carted off, leaving our formerly well endowed boat to sit in shame and make excuses for why it doesn't have, well, you know: something of mention in that one particular area.

We have ten days of good weather (and perhaps more), so for that I'm quite thankful. The mast is held aft by the now-loosened aft stay with the boom being supported by the dodger, but up forward it's a bridle of sorts going down around the bobstay fitting. I'm glad I can tie knots well and I feel more comfortable making temporary standing rigging switch outs if need be, but I'd like to get the rig resecured as soon as possible. 

Sitting in Stan's late 90's Ford Escort (GT, he'd add). Click to enlarge.My friend Stan helped us drive it up to my carpenter friend Gray's in Escondido. I went back the next day bringing some hardware and West Systems Epoxy (for gluing wood and the general awesomeness of epoxy). 

So for now I have to let the wood repairs happen, and get ready to remount the bowsprit when it's ready. Otherwise I can just walk by and gently pat Rebel Heart's gunwales, saying that really, size doesn't matter and no one notices.


the bowsprit rot: sort of bad, but not too bad.

Click to enlarge.You don't need to be a bearded old white guy sitting in a woodshop to notice that yes indeed, the piece of wood shown to the left is a little banged up.

However, just how banged up is still open for debate. As my friend Stanley Pendelton reminded today a piece of good wood glued properly to other good wood is usually stronger than the original. In fact most wooden masts are hollow and made of numerous pieces that are glued together. 

Stanley thinks this bowsprit can be salvaged, although further scraping might reveal deeper issues. I of course am hardly qualified to build a popsicle stick house so I'm eternally grateful to my friends for the help they're providing me.

The next step is to get this chunk o' wood into the back of a Ford Escort and drive it to my carpenter friend's house in Escondido. 

For anyone else thinking of doing bowsprit repair I have to tell you that it's really not that bad and like all things on a boat you feel really good once you've personally inspected it. 

One further note I'd add is to try to remember where the forces come from. Without getting into the naval architecture of the bowsprit, its primary job is to push the cranse iron (the cap at the end which connects the bobstay and the forward stay) out and resist buckling and compression. 

Although arguably more information than anyone other than a shipwright would want to know, has a great article on bowsprits and their various forces.


scuba, captain'ing, and fixing our bowsprit

So minus the normal routine of my life, those three have been pretty active lately.

In the realm of scuba diving, I'm just about finished with my divemaster packet to send up to PADI. Initially I thought about keeping going up through Instructor but for now I'm happy doing the DM job and diving with friends. 

The Internet has actually helped me quite a bit with scuba diving, first getting a dive buddy off of at last minute's notice, and then (through that guy) learning about Power Scuba

I need to do some yearly maintenance on my regulators but other than that I can officially say it's a rather cheap sport once you have all your gear (and you're not chasing gear trends).

In the professional maritime world, I've been picking up shifts where I can. As pretty much the bottom guy on the totem pole I can't exactly demand an awesome schedule but I'm learning a ton and getting much more comfortable at the helm.

As a I mentioned earlier, I got a regular job as the captain of the Pronto, a local sport fisher. That's definitely the hardest job I've had on the water in quite some time. It's difficult because of watch schedules, expectations, and getting a single screw two-stroke diesel engine from the Korean War in and out of a tight slip is never trival. 

On our boat, I'm currently yanking the bowsprit off in total. It has a bit of rot in it, just so much that I need to yank it off to repair it. Instead of that, I found a place up in Oregon that stocks old growth Douglas Fir. I'm having a friend of mine shape the new timber to match the existing and then hopefully (knock on wood, pardon the pun) everything works just perfectly after that.

Pulling off parts of the rig gets a bit spooky since both the outer and inner forestays rely on the bowsprit to be there. It's a workable problem, but not exactly making a ham sandwich. 

Additionally, and I know this will cause an infinite firestorm on message boards one day in the future, I'm pulling the roller furler off. I'll make a whole post specifically about it later.