Getting Red Ranger ready seems like a long, uphill slog. The reality is that it hasn't been all that bad. But it seems painful by comparison with other pursuits. For example, after you close on a house or buy a car, you can use it more-or-less immediately. Clearly, a new boat -- or a boat that doesn't require significant work -- can provide immediate gratification.
Most sail boats you see have two triangular sails. Sometimes folks add a spinnaker. Red Ranger has five sails. Plus we have the hardware to fly a spinnaker, also.
Today, we rigged two of the five sails. Next weekend we hope to rig two more.
The rig of a sailboat involves standing and running rigging. On our old Buccaneer we had three pieces of standing rigging (a stay and two shrouds) and five pieces of running rigging (main and jib halyards, main sheet and two jib sheets).
Red Ranger has five stays, at least ten shrouds, six sheets, five halyards plus an extra halyard and a topping lift. Plus two "furling" lines. And a thing called a "vang". Not to mention two lines for reefing. There's a lot, but it fits a few of simple patterns.
The standing rigging doesn't move. All the shroud and stay locations are fixed by the naval architect (Ted Brewer) and the boat builders at the Whitby Boat Works.
The running rigging, however, moves. The locations depend on wind conditions, the cut of the jib, the expected performance. Lots of variables compounded by the inventory of sails.
Today's big lesson was a sense of where the various bits of running rigging attach to the boat. The welter of toe-rail eyes, snatch blocks, turning blocks, cleats and winches have transformed from numerous bits of stainless steel to a sensible plan for managing the running rigging.
The staysail turning blocks are mounted on the cabin top. Easy to find. The yankee turning blocks clip to eyes on the toe rail. Got it. The vang, similarly, has some eyes on the toe rail. [The vang also has a belt that wraps around the boom.]
There appear to be dedicated toe-rail eyes for the mizzen staysail. We haven't rigged tat, but we think we understand it.
Next, we need a dozen blocks for our new furling lines. The old furling lines blocks on the port side are shot. There never were blocks on the starboard side. The photos will be interesting, once we figure out where the blocks have to go.
It seems like an uphill struggle. But I think we can see the crest of the hill a short distance ahead. Maybe next weekend -- maybe after sail camp -- we hope to get out into the river and do a few tacks.