I had taken the blocks and cleats off of the foredeck about a week ago. Today I made my measurements and drew the lines for the mast slot. It is not the full slot, which would have reached all the way back to the cockpit, that I had once imagined. It is a shorter slot that reaches back about four inches. This will give me plenty of room to angle the foot of the mast into the mast hole and then raise it by walking the mast forward. Much easier than lifting the mast and rigging vertically on those windy days.
I practiced with the dummy mast and the angle is just right. It was an easy cut, one that ends just forward of frame two. No structural parts of the hull were affected. I'll take the piece cut out from the deck and use it to make a cap that will cover the slot. Once painted the same color as the deck I suspect the cap and slot will not be noticeable.
I'll start working on the cap next weekend. Then, before getting involved in any painting, I'll do a survey inside the cockpit of Spartina to identify areas that need to be sanded, primed and repainted.
Above is a photo of the place where the anchor bucket rests (or slides around when heeled over). You can see that it and the small rail just aft are well worn. There are a handful of places with wear like that including areas on the sole of the aft cockpit and the edges of the seats. I'll identify those places and sand them down. I may not get around to priming and painting until February when we get our first warm days of the winter.
I'm not a woodworker, but I enjoyed the smell of sawdust today.