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


The word "fair" has several meanings. It seems to mean "honest" or "equitable", "adequate" or "acceptable". You have to get way down the list of definitions before you get to the nautical sense of "fair".

Sailors use the term to mean "smooth" or even "helpful".

When we look at phrases like a "fair deal", or "fair fight" we're talking about smooth -- free of obstructions -- as much as equitable.

When we lead a line down the deck, we want it to be "fair" in this nautical sense of "smooth". The lines that furl the sails run along the edge of the deck following a raggedy course. Fairleads make this twisted course manageable.

The basic idea is to have the sail nicely furled on the furling drum. We wrap a line around the drum so that we can furl and unfurl the sail.

The original furling line fairleads had -- over the previous few decades started rotting away. The sheaves on the blocks were falling apart.

When we purchased Red Ranger, the old Hood furling unit was shot. By shot, I mean approximately worthless. Defects included a hose clamp holding parts of it together and a sleeve around the file that was so worn it didn't properly unfurl.

We did a fairly silly thing when we looked at the shot furling drum. We hoped that we could repair it.

We had "happy eyes" -- we were optimistic that the defects were relatively minor. That was an error in judgement on our part.

We didn't want to spend a lot of time quibbling and negotiating over the price. We wanted a "fair" deal. That is to say, "fair" int he nautical sense of smooth. So we settled for a small "set-aside" amount to find a replacement part for the shot upper unit in the furling drum. It seemed good at the time; in hindsight it turns our to be so small as to be purely symbolic.

The amount was based on what we observed during sea trials, which indicated just a little wear on the upper unit. The hose clamp at the top was invisible to everyone concerned.

Once the pipe-clamp was discovered, it was too late to negotiate. Rather than attempt a repair, we needed to replace the furling drums. The new drums cost about 3x the token set-aside amount. The labor to install the new drums (which was about the same as repairing the existing drums) was probably 2x the token set-aside amount.

I think we've paid the crane operator more than the set-aside amount. And he's just a subcontractor to the rigging folks.

Conventional wisdom is that a jib should be mounted low and close to the deck. While true, we don't have conventional head sails. The cut of our jib is called a "Yankee". Plus we have a massive Simpson Lawrence manual windlass on the deck. Conventional doesn't really apply to us.

Based on the advice of experts we wound up having the staysail foil and furling drum installed twice. Once was too low. Then a second time at a more usable height above the windlass. The re-install cost was 2x the set aside.

Since the old fairleads were breaking, we had to replace them. We spent 1/2 the set-aside amount on just running lines across the deck.

What are we up to? 7 1/2x the set aside amount to fix the furling drums?

We didn't get a fair deal in the legalistic sense of "equitable". But we got a fair deal in the sense of "smooth". And smooth is what we wanted.