Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Winter jobs.

Man overboard.  Another winter job.
Winter jobs, I’m not doing much sailing at present, the weather here in New Zealand never gets so bad that its out of the question but I’ve a heap of other things to do plus a multitude of little “improvements” to do on the boat.  Some to do with comfort, some with the boats function and, some with safety.
While falling over the side of your boat is something that we avoid where possible, it happens.  Getting back aboard is an issue.  Even the height of the sides on a small dinghy can be a barrier hard to scale when cold, tired and weighed down by soaking wet clothing, and a bigger boat is just impossible.
A boarding ladder is the ideal, one of the folding ones that bolt to the transom, but in my case the budget does not stretch quite that far just yet so I had to come up with something workable, just in case, I’m not planning on falling in the ocean but, like I said, just in case.
Back at the after end of the boat are a pair of good sized bronze cleats intended for tying the boat up to a wharf or whatever, and they are accessed through closed fairleads ( chocks in “American” ).  These fairleads and cleats are big enough to have more than one rope in use, so for each side I spliced up a length of rope with a good sized loop on each end, threaded one loop through the fairlead and  onto the cleat< I threaded it  through between the cleats legs and doubled it back over so it cant slip off .

The rope and free looped end sit nicely on deck just inside the little bulwark, out of the way, and I leave the end of the free end loop just through the fairlead so I can grab it from outside, pull it out, put a foot in the loop and with hands over the bulwark I can stand up in the water enough to get my upper body over the rail and with a bit of flailing around get a leg up and lever myself on board.

Not perfect, but a great deal better than nothing.
Yes I have a safety harness.  It will when I go sailing next, be clipped onto a jackline.  Have I a jackline rigged yet? That’s  another job to do.  Hopefully by the time springtime comes around, the long list will have check marks beside most of the items on it.

Being winter, its dark early, at least thats my excuse.  So I finish my day by doing some digital mooching around looking for something of interest. 
Dylan Winter has just posted a really lovely 25 minute video doco on an amazing yacht race with a difference.  No Liquorice Allsort ocean racing wetties ( thanks Annie Hill) no screaming surfing runs in the southern ocean, just gentle and gentlemanly sailing up and down rivers and in ponds on the Norfolk Broads in England.  Beautiful boats, whiskery skippers, pipes alight, trousers with braces to hold them up and straw hats, not a lifejacket or curseword ( There might be one in the whole 25 mins I think . This is the annual Three Rivers race.
Well worth watching.  Do go and have a look before he changes his homepage again, its the third one down with that mass of sails, white paint and varnish maneuvering in a small river,
John Welsford.

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