Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Highered Help

Recently, Frank has been getting some miscellaneous rigging related jobs through our friend, Dylan Bailey, who happens to be a local surveyor.  Dylan is an incredibly meticulous person with an extensive background in boating related trades due to his experience with his father, Howdy Bailey, building steel and aluminum yachts in the Chesapeake Bay area.  Because he is so thorough with his surveys, he often finds it pertinent to have a separate rigging inspection done mostly because he has seen so many sailboats with rigging related problems that are often overlooked.  Given Frank's background as a rock climber and his unique ability to spot issues with stainless steel, he was a natural fit, and it's quite flattering that Dylan has hired him on for these pre-purchase inspections.   Since there are not many riggers here in St Augustine, work has been falling into our laps in greater volume that we can currently keep up with as our own boat project is still priority number one. The inspections themselves involve going aloft and visually checking all vital components up the mast as well as on deck and below.  These include lifelines, chainplates, turnbuckles, wire, tangs, etc.  Occasionally, an inspection will find issues that the new owner will want remedied and more recently, a big project for Dylan has been being an owner's representive on a recently purchased Pearson 530 here at the yard.

Most jobs that Frank gets require an extra set of hands, and since I have become the default handy dandy helper, I have been along for most of them.  Sometimes it includes me getting Frank up a mast, others it's me going aloft when Frank doesn't feel comfortable with me hoisting.  It's been very interesting for me as I'm learning a lot about rigging and its various components.  One of the many projects that Dylan has hired Frank to do was to install 2 Mack Packs, one on the Main and one on the Mizzen of the Pearson 530.   The installation itself was pretty straight forward.  Looking at the Mack Packs themselves, I wonder why they are so damn expensive, as they are simple shapes with minimal hardware.  The Mack Packs come with integrated lazy jacks, and the installing them requires going up each mast and installing a set of cheek blocks at a predetermined height from the boom.  Bacause the winch was undersized and above my head on the main mast, Frank insisted that I not hoist him up as he was concerned for his safety.  Instead, I volunteered to go up and install the 2 blocks.  I was a little apprehensive about it at first as I have never drilled and tapped metal before, let alone 60 ft above the ground (as the boat is currently on the hard).  Drilling metal is nothing like drilling wood or fiberglass as the bit tends to wander from the mark before it bites in.  I was worried that I would not be able to do this accurately, and that it would be installed crooked.  Before I went up, Frank gave me a crash course in drilling and tapping metal, as well as advice on how not to break the drill and tap.  When going aloft, it is important to have all tools tied with lanyards as dropping them is not a good thing.  So with the drill strapped to me and miscellaneous tools tied to my bosun's chair, I was hoisted up.  After drilling and tapping the first hole, I thought I had it down until.....SNAP!  I broke the tap in the second hole.  Nice.  After hearing Frank lecture me the whole way down the mast about not listening to his advice, we quickly drove to home depot and got a new one.  After removing the broken tap with a set of lockjaw pliers, and armed with my newfound experience, I was able to get the second block installed without incident.

It started to pour while I was aloft...luckily
there was no lightning around and
I got to finish what I was doing :)
Both Mack Packs installed :)

In addition to installing these, Frank was also hired on to install a Tides Marine Sail Track on the main mast, which was also straight forward, aside from having to enlarge the gate in the pre-existing sailtrack on the mast.  He also had to rebuild all 15 winches on the boat, which was pretty cool, as we got to disassemble some beefy Lewmar winches as well as a few overly complicated Harken winches.  He also had to replace a stay on the mizzen mast with Norseman fittings; a wire to rope halyard, which was  enlightening as I learned how to use a Nicco press tool.  There's a bunch of other miscellaneous jobs, but these have been the most interesting for me.  Frank has been only one of the many worker ants getting this boat ready for its new owners.  He has also been hired on as crew to help in the upcoming delivery to NY sometime this summer.  It's all still very tentative as the boat has many ongoing projects that are delaying things and hurricane season is already here.

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