Apr 292012
 
Sunrise at sea

Sunrise at sea

I can’t believe it’s been two full months since our voyages began. This was a sunrise photo I took during the first one in February, so long ago! It was a fantastic trip with a group of adult MBA students from Deakin University in Melbourne. As part of their studies, they have to take a course called “Audacious Leadership” which they can complete either in a usual semester, or in a week on Windeward Bound. Here is an excerpt from my journal, same day this photo was taken.

Sunday February 26, 2012, Afternoon of day two

Four bunks packed into one cabin...not a bit of space wasted!

Four bunks packed into about a 6'x8' cabin. Mine is behind the red curtain at the top. Photo by Lauren Elliott.

The boat is rocking gently as I write this, tucked down below, all dark and quiet in my bunk. The bunk I got placed in this voyage is possible the smallest I’ve ever had. There is about a foot and a half of head room above where my butt sits. When I first saw it I groaned inside, but as I always say, humans are very adaptable. Already I’ve tied and stowed things here and there, enough to make it comfortable and feel like mine.

Last night my watch was on 4AM – 8AM. The sky was brilliant – the Milky Way stretched across as bright as I’ve ever seen it. No moon, so the dimmest stars seemed to twinkle brightly. Glowing globes that I can only guess were phosphorescent jelly fish bobbed by us in the night.

Sailing was nice but steering was challenging. We were almost directly down wind, and somehow no matter how slight my corrections were, the boat would veer off course. Eventually the watch officer turned the engine on and we took in all sail so that we could navigate around some reefs. There was a fair bit of wind, and even with the sails in, I was still struggling to stay on course, so I handed the wheel to Alex. It was good to see that he was finding it a bit challenging as well, but I also picked up some things watching how he steered and corrected.

Now we’re at anchor, taking a little rest before heading out into the Tasman Sea. We’ll be heading up the East Coast and perhaps even crossing Moitessier’s 1969 route past Tasmania! It’s exciting to be heading out into open ocean, but I also know the sea-sickness will be rough.  I’ll just have to toughen up, as they say…

Feb 182012
 

It’s amazing how time flies. We have worked our way through our 10 day maintenance period, and finally have a couple of days off. Yay! As promised, here is a little explanation about what we’ve been doing to our yard and foot-ropes over the last several days.

The yard extends from both sides of the mast, with a foot-rope hanging from each "arm"The yard extends from both sides of the mast; a foot-rope hangs from each “arm”

First off, a yard is a horizontal piece of wood that holds up a square-sail, and a foot-rope is a piece of steel cable that is attached at both ends of the yard, and hangs down from it. While sailors work aloft, we “stand” and balance on the foot-ropes.

As you might guess, that steel cable could become vulnerable to oxidation, being out in the elements all of the time. In order to prevent them from rusting, sailors have been worming, parceling and serving those cables (which also happen to be used for shrouds, stays and other standing rigging) for generations.

Down-rigged foot-ropes with intact servingsDown-rigged foot-ropes with intact servings

For this project, we did not worm, which is the process of laying tarred nylon line into the grooves between strands for the length of the cable in order to keep out moisture. We did, however, parcel and serve. Parceling is simply tightly wrapping the cable in greased cloth, again, to keep out moisture. The next (and funnest!) step is servicing. The end result of servicing is a steel cable with twine so tightly wrapped around it that it creates a barrier to the elements.

Our process, from beginning to end, went like this (some repeat photos in here):

1. Unwind old serving and parceling1. Unwind the old, brittle serving, and remove the dried out denzo tape (parceling) to expose the cable
Greasy denzo tape (used for parceling) and tarred nylon line is removed to expose the cable, which is inspected for rust and cleaned with a wire brush2. Inspect the cable for rust and clean it with a wire brush
3. Wrap the cable with greasy denzo tape. Be sure to wrap with the lay of the cable, and overlap each round by a third.3. Wrap the cable with greasy denzo tape. Be sure to wrap with the lay of the cable, and overlap each round by a third.
A "serving mallet" is used to aid the process of winding the twine as tightly as possible. The mallet is bound to the cable by the serving twine, and regulates tension as it rotates around the cable, paying out twine as it goes..4. Serve. A “serving mallet” is used to aid the process of winding the twine as tightly as possible. The mallet is bound to the cable by the serving twine, and regulates tension as it rotates around the cable, paying out twine as it goes.
"Worm and parcel with the lay; turn and serve the other way"“Worm and parcel with the lay; turn and serve the other way”
The mallet can be rotated by hand, or if you're good, you can get it to turn itself by swinging the cable like a jump-rope!The mallet can be rotated by hand, or if you’re good, you can get it to turn itself by swinging the cable like a jump-rope!
Fully served and ready to tarFully served and ready to tar
5. Paint the serving with a mixture of roofing tar, black paint and varnish5. Paint the serving with a mixture of roofing tar, black paint and varnish
6. Allow one day for the tar to dry and apply a second coat. Enjoy your newly parceled, served and tarred foot-ropes!6. Allow one day for the tar to dry and apply a second coat. Enjoy your newly parceled, served and tarred foot-ropes!

Check out these posts for more photos and explanations:
http://www.shesails.net/2012/02/parcel-and-serve-in-photos/
http://www.shesails.net/2012/02/detail-of-a-yard-in-photos/
http://www.shesails.net/2012/02/down-rigging-a-yard/

 

Feb 162012
 

Maintenance has been such a busy time, I’ve been too busy and tired to do much writing. Thank god for the camera! It’s another bunch of photos today, and I promise soon I’ll explain all of the terms I’m using: mousing, foot-rope, flemish horse, parcel, serve, serving mallet, chafe gear, servicing. Until then, enjoy some more photos of one of yesterday’s projects: parceling and serving the lower topsail foot-rope.

Re-parceling and serving the port foot rope

Re-parceling and serving the port foot rope

Discarded denzo tape, used to parcel

Discarded denzo tape, used to parcel

Peeling away worn parceling and serving

Peeling away worn parceling and serving

The steel cable beneath our feet

The steel cable beneath our feet

David serving the parceled foot-rope

David serving the parceled foot-rope

The final product

The final product

Feb 132012
 

I had another first yesterday…my first day without a post since I arrived in Tasmania! Ironically, I was almost late for work yesterday because I was trying to finish a post about why the huge time commitment we sailors make to our boats is completely worth it. But then, I ran out of time and couldn’t post. :) Ironic, right?

Lowering the yardLowering the yard

That article is almost finished, but it will have to wait because yesterday was WAY too full of exciting things to report. We are in a maintenance period right now, not sailing for another 10 days or so, and we have a huge amount to get done in that time. One of the major projects is taking down one of our yards and servicing it. A yard is one of the horizontal spars (long pieces of timber) that square-sails attach to on square-rigged boats.

Alex spent all day sandingAlex spent all day sanding

We began our day yesterday a little on the early side, and got started right away prepping to bring the yard down. With some smartly placed lines, plenty of hands and a couple of windlass drums, it came down neatly and easily. Alex spent the entire day sanding it down while the rest of us took care of other projects. By 6:00 it was all sanded, and we had only to bring the 30-something foot spar to the workshop…several miles away. No problem!

Sarah brought her car with a trailer on back, but when it was loaded up, there was more of it hanging off the back than was on the trailer! No worries…three crew members rode their bikes alongside in a kind of motley sailor parade, and the yard got to the shop in one piece. At the end of a long day, there’s nothing like a ridiculous and slightly illegal project to give everyone a boost! We all had a great time, and that is one more check-mark on the list of to-do’s.

Towing the yard behind in a trailerTowing the yard behind in a trailer

Looking forward to the rest of the week’s maintenance, and I’ll keep you updated with all we do!