Rigging by Peter Vargas
We came to La Cruz on the way to La Paz. Our intent was to spend about a week then continue on to Mazatlan and then La Paz.
Then we discovered that the shipyard had a Master Rigger named Peter Vargas with SeaTec. He has a shop in the shipyard across from the marina.
Our rigging is original to the boat. It is in the neighborhood of 25 years old, give or take a year. It is Caslok which is not even made anymore. This type of rigging uses a chemical exothermic reaction to attach the rigging to the head that attached to the turnbuckles. It is firmed in a process like mixing two halves of the epoxy to get a solid hard mass that seals the fitting to the wire. Was used originally in elevators and then in sailboat rigging.
Twenty five years on rigging that is usually rated for ten as a useful lifespan. Hmmmm. We decided to replace all rigging from the turn-buckles up. We kept the chain plates after consulting with the rigger. They are in very good shape and can be easily accessed for inspection.
We decided to replace this type with StaLok and Norseman fittings. The other end of each stay was machine pressed.
Every piece of rigging on the boat was replaced save two whisker stays on the bowsprit. The bob stay was also replaced.
You can easily see the rusting strands. This is not from misuse or neglect … it is from constant exposure to salt water over 25 years. Our bob stay actually has one end under the water at all times.
This process took about two weeks or at least it was spread over two weeks. Also included three days of sailing to set and stress the new rigging and a second tune of the standing rigging.
It is a little unnerving to see the old rigging coiled up on the dock and compare it to the new.
OLD RIGGING COIL
NEW RIGGING COIL
We also made a decision after sailing Spiritus for 3000 miles, and more than 4 years, to remove the stay sail rigging and sail. We have never used it. With it removed, the furled head-sail can now cross the deck with ease making it much easier to tack and jibe. Before you had to take in the furler, let the sail cross, then let out the furler after a tac or jibe …. lots of work and very complex. Now Spiritus tacs like a smaller sloop rather than a cutter. Our stay sail was also a hanked-on so pain to raise and lover. I should note that our furler was designed to be flown from mostly closed, to all-the-way open, and all settings in between …. costs a bit more but makes it much more useful. Here is the new set up.
The wire inside the furler was also replaced and the entire set up inspected and serviced. Looks funny to see your furler rig laying on the dock.
The end result, she sails easier. We also rest a little easier knowing that rigging which bears most if not all of the force of the wind that moves Spiritus is now new again. Shiny and strong. Since we are again using her for what she was designed for, cruising, it seems appropriate to make sure she is ready and safe.
At the same time, we had the riggers replace the anchor light with a new LED bulb. We had the insulated back stay that is the antenna for the SSB radio rewired. And, we unsuccessfully tried to repair the mast top antenna for the VHF radio. Both topping lift cables were replaced as well.
We chose to keep the rigging for the stay sail just in case we decide we made a mistake. And we kept the best and longest back stay intact as a spare piece of rigging for repairs as all the sailing books say you should.
Then we took three days of sailing to test everything. The same days that the fleet from La Cruz and Puerto Vallarts was on the water in the Banderas Bay Blast. It was crowded and fun three days of sailing.
Tomorrow, we finally leave here and head for La Paz. Maybe we will spend New Year’s at Mazatlan.