Sunday, July 13, 2008


I've wondered if all cruisers suffered repair stops along the way like they do in books. Books offer exciting boat failures of major systems like engines, sails, and steering. Most repairs that I know are routine engine checks, winch lubes, gelcoat repair, and so forth.

Our friend, Paul, has a list of repairs that are part of a checklist to complete the purchase of a new boat. He's had this checklist of warranty repairs for over a year. While at the Independance Day weekend in Waukegan, he decided to reduce the list by at least one item. It turns out that his new boat is underpowered because of small propellor. The manufacturer provided a replacement and the warranty work included hoistin a 40 foot sloop out the water to replace the prop. It turned that the new prop was defective and the time and large equiqpment used to hoist the boat was wasted. The checklist was the same length.

While we were waiting for repairs in Lake Mackatawa near Holland, MI we performed many little repairs including preparing bungs to be placed near all of speakeasy's through-hull locations, hanging a fire extinguisher near the cockpit, and assembling a radar reflector so boats with radar could spot us more easily. These weren't major repairs, but ordinary things that sailors do whether cruising or not.

The marina was used to boats that needed large repairs--hull damage, electronics, masts and other rigging, and running rigging. Ours was in the category of running rigging, but the usual rigging expert was on vacation. James was doing his usual job and Dennis', the normal rigger. We had an appointment at the rigging dock at 0800 where there was a very high pole with an electric block and tackle attached. This pole was used to hoist a man up a mast or to help take a mast off or put it on (stepping). James was not ready at 0800 because another boat was in for "warranty service." On his way to Speakeasy, he was called to a job up another mast. Finally, he arrived at our boat. I had no idea how he was going to get the new halyard into the mast and out the side port where it exits the mast on the way to the cockpit through a series of fareleads. James dropped a light line with a fishing sinker tied to it from the top of the mast. Once it was down far enough, he lowered himself and grabbed the line with a small grabbing tool. Whoa! That small line was attached to the halyard and pulled up the interior of the mast over the top and back down to the mainsail.
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