Saturday, February 7, 2009

boat work

Nice warm sunny day.  Perfect for getting a little work done on the masts.  I brought the masts, both main and mizzen, out of the the front porch.  Facing west, the porch turns in to a nice little "oven" in the afternoon, just what I needed for some winter time epoxy work.  I sanded down the mahogany chafe pad on the main where the gaff jaws meet the mast under full sail.  
I had noticed during the first couple of season that the jaws wore a groove in to the douglas fir mast.  Last winter I added the mahogany chafe pad to take some of the wear and tear.  
The jaws still bit in to the the pad, so today I sanded it smooth and added a clear coat of epoxy.  Next time it warms up I re-sand and add a few coats of varnish.  That will get me through this year.

As I said, the masts are made of douglas fir.  The guys at Yukon Lumber had a good laugh when I dropped by and asked for sitka spruce.  "If we could find it, you couldn't afford it."   Their suggestion was douglas fir, an idea seconded by all the folks on the jwbuilders site.  

My Dad and I spent four days building the two masts.  For the main we used a 2x8x20, the mizzen came from a 1x8x16.  We used the bird's mouth style of construction.  It was surprisingly easy.  One day to rip the boards and cut the "V" notch, one day to glue, one day to plane down the peaks (got to love the electric planer!) and one day to sand the masts in to their round shape.  

We finished the masts early on a hot summer afternoon.  Afterwards we sat out on the shady deck, talked about boats and woodworking and sipped Corona's with a slice of lime.  I don't think I'll ever forget that afternoon.
Sadly Dad couldn't stick around to sail the Pathfinder.  He passed away that winter.  Look at the bottom of the mast.   You see the round imprint from a Liberty Quarter from his birth year that is epoxied in to the mast step.  There is another Liberty Quarter under the mizzen mast for my Mom.
The pennant that flies at the top of the main is a gift from Mom.  I designed it using the Pathfinder sail plan as a logo.  It was hand sewn by the Sailbag Lady.  The JW stands for John Welsford, but it has another meaning for me.  My Mom's name is Janice, my Dad's name is Walter.  They are always along with me when I sail.

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