|Starting to get neighbors in time to leave.|
The furler consists of a foil the length the headstay holding the sail, connected to a drum at the bottom, both turn together to roll the sail in or out. The foil, an aluminum extrusion, came in seven foot long pieces which we put together like high tech Lincoln Logs to fit the 52 foot headstay. The pieces connected together with intricately machined aluminum slugs and plastic bits. All held together with marine adhesive and little tiny machine screws which we assembled over the gaps between boards on a floating dock swaying to the motion of the Hudson.
|The Furling Drum|
To commission the furler, one end had to be raised to the top of the mast and the drum end attached to the stem fitting at the bow. In raising it, the furler bent in a luxuriously dangerous arc from the dock to the knot we had tied on. Knowing the intimate details of what was holding it all together, it was nerve wracking to watch the strain on the joints in the foil. It is a heavy thing too. We had to be careful in the lifting, as well as the 'not dropping,' parts of the operation.
Adding to the unease was the fact that we had put the furler together based on the length of the old furler we had removed. Sailboat rigging is complicated. On Eleanor the mast is held up with two stays and eight shrouds which all work together to keep it straight and straight up. The complexity of the constuction of the new furler meant that any necessary change to the length would be a tremendous amount of work. Additionally, we worried some components would not stand being reworked.
|Bowsprit, Anchor and Furling Drum.|
|All 52' of the furler|
At Norfolk, we will enter the Intercoastal Waterway(ICW) to get past the Carolina Capes on the inside. Then we'll jump offshore to Savannah, GA and then again to St. Augustine, FL. In Florida, we'll cruise the ICW again to get to South Florida. From the Miami area we will head east - totally the wrong direction to get to Panama - because it is shorter to go around the east end of Cuba. The Bahamas and Jamaica may be stops on the way if we are not pressed for time.
Our departure is upon us. After a month of seven day a week work, when departing was just a vague notion, we know it now plainly. Barring a change in the weather, we are heading out!! It is a privilege to be learning so much about boats and vagabonding.
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