Mast track gate improvements

Last weekend we didn’t only work with the fresh water system (see previous post). We also worked a with fixing a mast track gate on the main mast, continued with the electrical system and other small jobs.

One thing we wanted to fix was an opening we had in the track on the main mast. The opening used when removing/inserting the slides. We haven’t found a piece on the boat that fits here so we decided to make one our own, by bending a sheet of aluminum.

mast track gate
The luff groove opening on our mast. As can be seen on the picture the slides on the sail are stopped by a screw before the reach the opening.
Adding a nut rivet on the mast to fasten the bended sheet.
mast track gate
The mast track gate in position, almost a perfect fit.
The slides are now able to slide all the way down, which makes working with the sail much easier. With the nut rivet it is also easy to remove the piece to remove the sail.

Some of the screws for the windows on the boat have some pretty sharp edges which we wanted fixed. They can easily damage our sails, especially when setting the mizzen stay sail.

Sanding the screws to get rid of the sharp edges on the screws, that could harm our sails and sheets.

We also continued with the electrics on the boat, our next mission is to get the lamps inside the boat working. The days are getting shorter and it will soon be necessary to have proper lights inside the boat.

Connecting the lamps around the navigation table.
Inside the electrical cabinet. More and more electrical functions in position. This is not the finished picture, and we will sort and organize the cables in a nice way soon.

We also created a simple lazy jack for the mizzen mast, similar to the one we have on the main mast. When lowering the mizzen sail it usually falls all over the cockpit, and has been pretty hard to sort out. With the lazy jacks in position we hope that it will be much easier. We also set up a cup holder in the cockpit, a small thing that will make sailing easier and more comfortable. Unfortunately we don’t have a picture on either.

If you haven’t already noticed we have updated some cost and information about our sailboat equipment last week, check it out by navigation to Cost & Information->Sailboat Equipment in the Menu, or by clicking HERE.

Hoisting the sails and first sailing

While working with the cockpit we also decided it was time for hoisting the sails for the first time. First one was the furling head sail. We hoisted the furling head sail a calm evening.

Adding the furling head sail to the furling head stay.

We noticed that the sail was to short, so we needed a extensing on the halyard.

The head sail was to short for the furling system, like the second picture so we added an pennant like the one in the third picture to compensate.
First sail in position and furling system seems to work fine as well.

The following day we decided to hoist the main sail and try sailing our boat for the first time.

Preparing to hoist the main sail.
Both sails up and we are sailing!

We sailed around in central Stockholm for a while. It was Petras first sail ever  and Thomas first sail in a couple of years. The wind wasn’t very strong which was perfect for our first sail. Our sailboat isn’t exactly a racer but we moved forward pretty okay even though we have a lot of things growing on the keel and we weren’t able haul the sails properly since our winches needed some service.

First sail, much to learn about sailing.
Inside our winch handles, not much left of the old spring, just rust.
Our winches have the gripping functionality in the handle. We removed the old feather and added a new one, but we will need to do a full overhaul of the winches someday.

We hadn’t hoisted the mizzen sail yet, since we had noticed a damage on one of the lower shrouds for the mizzen mast.

The damage on one of the lower shrouds for the mizzen mast.

We ordered a new shroud and when it arrived we mounted it and could hoist the mizzen sail.

The mizzen sail hoisted.

It will be exiting to test sailing next time with the mizzen sail. Apparently the mizzen sail is really good hoisting first to set the sailboat in irons and then the rest of the sails can be hoisted.

Finally we added the boom covers for both the main mast and the mizzen mast, which made the boat look like  a proper sailboat!

Boom cover for the main mast.

Otherwise we have started painting the cockpit and will soon be able to show some before and after pictures of the cockpit! We are also working with renovating the cabin door and will add a blog post about that soon. But this weekend we will take a break from working with the sailboat to celebrate Swedish Midsummer, in our opinion the best holiday in Sweden. If you don’t know what holiday this is, just google Swedish Midsummer.

The mast stepping

The time had finally come to do the mast stepping! 🙂 If you want to read more about our rig, see our blog posts about the rig HERE. Before starting the mast stepping we had to do some final preparations before getting started. We had to mount the windex, change to LED-bulbs in the lanterns, mount the new electrical horn we bought and do a final check of the masts to make sure everything looked good.

Setting the span for the windex, choosing the slowest boat 😉
The new electrical horn mounted on the mizzen mast.
A lantern with LED-bulbs cost three times more than a lantern with incandescent bulbs. We bought the cheaper one and just changed the bulbs inside th elanterna to LED.

When we felt satisfied with the masts it was time for the mast stepping. We had some friends with us to help during the process, since we never done this before and since we have a keel-stepped main mast it is good to have a person below deck to get it into position.

The main mast ready to be lifted onto the boat.
Up in the air.
Almost there…
Getting the furling system in position.
Main mast in position and mizzen mast mast ready to be lifted.
Lifting the mizzen mast.
The connection for the mizzen mast in the cockpit.
Both masts in position. looking like a real sailboat now!

We connected the rig so that the mast would stand in position and then we started to trim the masts the following day.

First was to get the mast wedges in position. They are used for keel-stepped masts to keep them in position and decrease vibration damages on the deck.
We trimmed the masts following a guide for our type of mast, and tightened the shrouds and stays according to the guide.
Taking a look so the mast isn’t bent in way it shouldn’t be.
The luff groove seen from below, looking pretty straight.
Finally we had to add the top stay between the masts. This stay doesn’t hold the masts in position, as they stand for themselves but it might be nice to have this in position anyway.

By having the masts rigged our adventure feels closer than ever (read more about our plans HERE) and soon we will be able to test sailing her for the first time! 😀

But first we need to finish the plastic work in the cockpit, which we had to put on hold for a while due to cold weather. We have been sanding, adding putty, sanding, adding putty for a long time and we are really close to add the final layer of topcoat in the cockpit.

Rig for ketch rigged sailboat

It was time for us to start an overhaul on the rig for our ketch rigged sailboat.  As it is ketch-rigged we have two masts; one bigger main mast and a smaller one, called a mizzen mast. The mizzen mast is positioned in the cockpit and is much smaller than the main mast. The main mast is keel-stepped, which it means it goes through the deck.

rig for ketch rigged sailboat
An old drawing of the rig, it is not exactly correct but almost.
Main Mast

We started with the main mast, which is made out of aluminum and has one pair of spreaders. First up was to loosen all straps that held the stays and shrouds together. We went over the shrouds and stays, took a close look at all the wires and they all looked good. We organized them to figure out what they all are. 

The main mast are held in position with:

  • 2  upper shrouds (starboard and port)
  • 4 lower shrouds (bow; starboard and port, stern; starboard and port)
  • 1 headstay, with a furling system
  • 1 cutter stay
  • 2 backstays (starboard and port)
  • 1 top stays that goes from the top of the main mast to the top of the mizzen mast. 

We did the same procedure for the halyards, and those we could remove we did so that we could bring them home and clean them and take a closer look at them. 

On the main mast we have the following halyards:

  • Main halyard
  • Head halyard
  • Cutter stay halyard
  • Spinnaker/gennaker halyard

Then we cleaned the mast to get rid of all old dirt it had collected over the years.

Cleaning the mast.

Another thing we went over is the electronics on the mast, on the main mast we have:

  • 1 combined navigation light in the top of the mast (combined light for sailing (red-green-white) and anchoring (white))
  • VHF-antenna on the top of the mast
  • Windex with light
  • 1 navigation light, masthead light (white) half-way up the mast for driving under power
  • 2 deck lights, one on each spreader

We had bought a new top navigation light (the old one was broken) and a new windex. Right now we have incandescent bulbs in all our light on the masts, which we will change to LED bulbs in order to get lower electricity consumption. The reason we bought a new top navigation light with incandescent bulbs instead of LED was the price. A top navigation light with LED bulbs cost more than three times as much as the one with incandescent bulbs. So instead we will just buy new LED-bulbs and replace the old ones.

Other things we have on the main mast:

  • Lazy jack
  • Topping lift
  • Mast ladder
  • Flag line (for courtesy flags and Q-flag)
The top of the main mast. Here we have; VHF-antenna, electric box (this box will most likely be removed later on when we have decided what electric parts we want to have in the top of the main mast), the combined top navigation light, windex lamp (we will mount the windex just before rigging the masts). Other things that can be seen in this picture are the top of the furling system, the topping lift (blue), the spinnaker halyard (red-white) and the shrouds and stays connected in the top.
The main mast seen from the top. Here the topping lift (blue) and the main halyard (wire) can be seen. The topping lift goes outside the mast and the main halyard is an internal halyard.
The spreaders on the main mast. A deck light is located on each spreader. Just below the spreaders the masthead light is located.
The attachment on the spreader on the main mast towards the shrouds.
The attachment on the spreaders towards the mast. The reason for having this is to compensate for the play in the spreader holders.
On one of the back stays we have two isolators which makes it possible to use the back stray as an antenna for long range communication. We do not have equipment for that today but we have thought about investing in it.
The bottom on the main mast. Here we have a lot of things; topping lift (blue), spinnaker halyard (red-white), winches for main halyard and head  halyard, bottom of furling system, a mast boot to prevent leakages under deck and  holder for jib stick.
Mizzen mast

We also took a look at our mizzen mast. It has been placed in the marina and first up was to get it down. This mast is much smaller and lighter than our main mast so it was pretty easy getting it into position. The mizzen mast is also made out of aluminum and has swept spreaders.

Takin down our mizzenmast.

On the mizzen mast we also begun with the shrouds and  stays. Fortunately they looked good as well except for a small damage on the jumper stay. But as it is located on the top of the mast and therefore isn’t exposed for very much force it will hopefully be good enough.  On the mizzen mast we have the following shrouds and stays:

  • 2 Upper shrouds (starboard and port)
  • 4 Lower shrouds (bow; starboard and port, stern (starboard and port)
  • 1 jumper stay
  • 1 top stay (between main mast and mizzen mast)

The top stay between the main mast and mizzen mast isn’t used to keep the masts in position as they both stand by themselves.

We removed the halyards we could so that we can clean them. On the mizzen mast we have the following halyards:

  • Halyard for mizzen sail
  • Halyard for mizzen stay sail

We also have some electronics on the mizzen mast and they are the following:

  • Radar
  • Horn (right now compressor-driven, we will probably change to an electrical instead)
  • Deck light

Some of the cables on the mizzenmast had dried out and needs to be replaced. Other things we have on the mizzen mast is:

  • Mast ladder
  • Topping lift
  • Flag line
The top of the mizzen mast. The flag line will go from the metal in the top to the bottom of the mast. Other things seen on the picture is the topping lift (blue) and the mizzen sail halyard.
The radar located on the mizzen mast, haven’t tested it yet but hopefully it works fine.
The bottom of the mizzen mast.
The spreaders on the mizzen mast. As can be seen on the picture they are swept.

Of course we also have a wish list of instruments we want to have in the masts, some of them more important than others:

  • Antenna for AIS-transponder
  • Antenna for GNSS
  • Wind instrument
  • Electrical horn

Next up will be a post about cleaning our halyards and then the mast stepping. The first sail is not so far away now…

Mast butt renovation

The weather is not on our side this spring, it way to cold an rainy for us to work with plastic repairs right now, so in the meantime we started prepare for rigging the masts.

We have a keel-stepped main mast. As we understand it, it is very hard to get rid of all leakages in a keel-stepped mast but we will do everything we can to prevent leakages.

A sign of old leakages is our rusty mast butt. We will get rid of the rust and paint it so that it can withstand potential future leakages better.

Our main mast is keel-stepped, and goes through the deck where we have our bathroom.
Our mast butt, a lot of rust here that we started removing.
A closer look at the mast butt.
For the first layer we painted with Isotrol which is a primer based on linseed. It is highly penetrating in to rust and very good for places where it is not possible to do proper surface preparations. 
After painting with the primer, Isotrol.
After painting with two layers of Isoguard. Looking much fresher than before and will probably survive rainwater sipping in via the mast. The wire seen below in the picture is copper wire connected to a keel bolt to ground the mast if it would be hit by lightning. It is doubtful how good it works and hopefully we will never have the opportunity to find out.

Now the mast butt is ready to have the mast connected, which will hopefully be soon.

As mentioned earlier it was time for a rig and mast overhaul. The masts hasn’t been used in a couple of years and our hopes before starting this overhaul was that we wouldn’t have any major issues, since these parts aren’t exactly cheap… But before starting the overhaul of the masts and the rig we had to get the main mast of the boat so that we could easily go over it.

During the latest years the main mast has been laying horizontally on the boat. We started looking at the mast onboard the boat but quickly realized that we need to take it off the boat and onto land in order to do this properly. We tightened all the stays and halyards before doing the lift.
The mast on the boat.
On the derrick dock, ready to start the lift.
Lifting the mast. It was at this point we realized how big the mast is.
Anne-Mon without the mast. Really nice to test how it feels to walk around on the deck without having to duck under the mast all the time.
On land and ready for an overhaul.
Not so short mast. And pretty heavy as well. It was not easy to lift it of the carriage onto the tretsels, but we made it.

Next up will be a blog post about when we started go over the masts, both the main mast and the mizzen mast 🙂