To see as much of the world as we can,
Using the smallest carbon footprint we can,
Spending the least amount of money we can,
Making as many friends we can.

Team Red Cruising

Cushion Rebuilds (Part 5) and Rig Inspection

Lon said, "Hey! You're in Deltaville every weekend. Our place is right nearby on the Coan river. Come on up to ‘Almost Heaven' some weekend." Lon and Miriam have a Whitby, also, so they're a part of our Whitby family.

Red Ranger came with a winter cover. A great thing if you're going haul the boat for the winter. We don't anticipate hauling Red Ranger for an extended period. We have no place to store this mountain of Sunbrella fabric. (40' × 13' with leather patches, grommets, tie-downs, etc.) So we traded it for one of Miriam's fabulous dinners. And some delightful conversation about sailing and retiring and how to treat people fairly with respect and dignity.

Lon's Whitby is in great condition. He still has a bunch of work to do. But that's what boats are: a long series of projects. Lon's replumbing his heads; a nasty business. Mostly because it involves large hoses and through-hulls. Lon has a healthy respect for those holes in the hull.

Sadly, Lon had lost his mizzen halyard up the mast. He has to climb—without the handy safety line offered by the halyard—to retrieve the halyard. The good news is that his mizzen has steps. It's mostly a matter of rigging a pair of carabiners and using them as safety lines. And bucking up enough courage.

Rig Inspection

The Commodore insists on an annual rig inspection. So. We broke out the Spinlock harness, the Mast Mate steps (for the mizzen), hooked up the halyards and she went aloft to look at every fitting on the main, the mizzen and the deck.

She found a few things that didn't pass muster. A few cotter pins looked creepy and got rebent or replaced.

And there was a bit of wear in the stays'l halyard. Okay. More than a bit. Enough wear that the line had a permanent kink in it.

Well, actually, it was enough that twisting the line caused the yarns to crack and pop apart.

Halyard Reversing

One of those sailorly solutions to this problem is to reverse the halyard.

After all, half of the halyard is coiled neatly at the base of the mast. In the case of halyards for furling headsails, the halyard is only touched once or twice each year. The top 50' have been hard at working holding up the headsail. The bottom 50' have been totally lazy.

This requires bending 100' of light line as a messenger into the halyard using a bend that takes up very, very little space and will roll smoothly around the mast sheave without jamming.

I used the Camel Hitch variation on the taut line hitch (it's small-ish) and seized it with a bunch of constrictor knots to be damn sure it stayed in place.

After talking with Lon about his halyard, my heart was in my throat the whole time. Each little tug of resistance left me wondering if the line was going to drop down inside the mast to coil up in a irretrievable heap.

I also made sure to keep control of the end of the messenger and the bitter end of the halyard. Gravity is merciless and the lines don't stay put. Unless you take precautions, the lines just want to fall down into a heap inside the mast or on the deck.

Once the halyard was reversed, I could apply a nice Buntline hitch to the shackle. Brion Toss observes that the buntline hitch was used when the knot had to snug down into a very small bundle.

I added seizing to the hitch just to be absolutely sure that the halyard wouldn't catch on the rotating parts of the furling drum or the inner forestay.

Cushion Rebuild Saga

Part 5 of the V-Berth Cushion rebuilds was a total success. First, CA made a practice set of cushions (see Cushion Rebuilds, Part 1, Cut; Cushion Rebuilds, Part 2, Fix Sewing Machine; Cushion Rebuilds, Part 3, Tadaaa and Cushion Rebuilds, Part 4, Installed). Less than ideal. Then she made the aft berth cushions — a perfect fit. Then she remade the V-berth cushions, also a perfect fit.

The two berths have vast storage spaces underneath them (see Space the Final Frontier) that are difficult to access. CA recut the foam and reshaped the cushions to gain access to the storage. The saloon settee cushions, similarly, are awkwardly-sized. The original design had two large cushions covering three separate spaces. She's going to make three smaller cushions to reduce the awkwardness factor.

The settee involves large decorative buttons. And the cushions aren't "simple" welted boxes. They have an even more complex shape than the berth cushions.

That leaves the nav station cushions for last. They're small and don't need to be resized. They can wait.

In Other News

The American Plumber W385 filter is a success. It was easy to install and doesn't seem to disrupt the pump at all. We tried a Shurflo Waterguard RV210BRB inline filter, and it was a fail.

So far, the MasterVolt Chargemaster 12/70 rocks. It does its multi-step charging algorithm. It doesn't have a loud 60 Hz low B♭ hum.

The Sportsman 1000-watt 2-stroke generator is a mixed bag. It's light, simple, and operates many of our AC appliances without too much trouble. However. It can't operate the ChargeMaster. The little generator is right at its limit trying to run the 70A charger. There's too much voltage drop when the charger kicks on. 70A at 14V is 980W; not enough to trip a breaker, but but too much for a steady load.

An alternative is to use the direct DC connection from charger to engine battery if we ever need an emergency recharge.