Friday, March 30, 2007

Running Rigged

Marathon Florida Public Library

Yesteday I bummed a ride to Miami with Jim and Tummi (a cruising couple I met here in Boot Key Harbor.) We drove up to the Dania Marine Flea Market.

This flea market bills itself as the biggest marine flea market in the world. It sure is big. 1200 booths. It is so big that the host city of Dania can't fit it any more. They are holding it this year in the parking lot of Dolphins Stadium in Miami. That's where we went.

I sure appreciated the ride. It was 2.5 hours each way. Thank you Jim and Tummi.

My mission at the flea market was specific. It was not just to spend money but to find some bargins for buying replacements for my running rigging. My halyards and jib sheets are not worn or chaffed but they are becoming hard and stiff. Too much UV exposure I figure.

I did find bargins. I bought two new halyards, 110 feet of 7/16 line with shackles already spliced on for $58 each at the West Marine liquidation tent. West Marine had lots of other things in that tent at great prices (for example, VHF fixed radios with DSC for $70). It took some discipline to not pick up anything and everything that looked like a bargain.

I also found a booth where they sold nothing but line, lines of all types and lengths. I bought a 150 foot piece of 1/2 inch Dacron to make new jib sheets with.

My mission was then accomplished. I would have liked to walk around and closely inspected what was for sale at the other 1198 booths. The only trouble was that I didn't have a key to Jim's car and carrying around 350 plus feet of line in my knapsack was a back breaker. After a short while I tired and sat down near the gate to wait for Jim and Tummi to finish their own shopping.

We got back to Marathon about 1700. All in all it was a very good day.

This morning I got out my needle, thread and palm and rigged my new purchases for sailing. The following account is a test of your knowledge of hard core sailing jargon.

For each halyard I rove the bitter end and hauled a messenger. The new halyards were already roven on the ends, so I merely transferred the messenger line to the new halyard, hauled back and the job was done.

For the jib sheets, I decided to do something to make Libby happy. She hates making fast the sheets with bowlines. I hate the use of shackles or metal hooks on the wild flying clew. The solution was a little bit of marlinspike seamanship that I learned from my old friend Steve Lambert.

For the new sheets, I measured out a length of line long enough for both port plus starboard sheets. Then I put a bight in the exact center and made it fast with whipping. Then I prepared a short length of spare line (about 1 foot long) and put a monkey fist in it, leaving a short tail. The tail I whipped to the sheets just below the bight.

Now, to make fast the sheets to the jib one needs only to pass the bight though the clew, then pass the monkey fist through the bight, and pull tight the whole thing. The whole arrangement is secure, very strong, light weight, and rapid to make fast and unfasten in any conditions. I think it is a masterful application of orthogonality. Most significant: it will not bash your skull when it hits you if the sail flogs while you are on the forward deck.

If you understand all that without a picture, then I salute you. If not, send me a complaint and I'll draw a picture.

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