I highly recommend you read this excellent piece, written by Olivier Delebecque, about a 20ft sailboat called Godot and it’s voyage to the Azores (Link below). The last paragraph is some of the best I have ever come across…
“The observer who remains on the quay always has difficulty in imagining life at sea. He always wraps it in a veil. The more I left the shore, advancing far from the land, the more this passage reduced the fields of interference in my thoughts, I came every day to question the performance, and the clothes of the city disintegrated in tatters. The insignificance of life at sea, my non-existence with regard to the community, cleared up all sorts of unformed intuitions. The world of art and its performers whom I attended assiduously a few weeks before, appeared quite thin and insipid, its magnetism had lost all its power, a fixed circle without movement. Arguments fundamentally opposed: on the one hand the aesthetes and on the other the public, the anonymous; To detect the performance where it was born of itself, this thought became a safe place in my mind and had not left it since Plymouth. It is the same distance that separates performance in art from performance in life which is that of the anonymous, pure performance, non-documented, improvised, without archive, without announcement, without appointment; something calm, non-anthropocentric. ”
When I took Gilgarran under my wing her standing rigging was still in a good condition and still is. The only problem, though, is that the stainless cables are a bit short. The previous owner “fixed” this by extending it’s length using several interlocked shackles. Obviously, I don’t feel too good about this.
Last year I got a quote from the best rigging shop is Cape Town to replace all the stainless wire and swages. The price wasn’t too bad, but in true DIY fashion I think I can do it much cheaper.
Dyneema is fairly cheap in Cape Town as it is produced here by a company called Southern Ropes. It is also much stronger than stainless and easier to work with. The only down side, as I see it, is chafe.
Stainless steel corrode and dyneema chafes. I feel much more comfortable being able to see a line chafe than not being able to see stainless corrode within the swage. Nonetheless, it is critical to minimise chafe as much as possible. So I started looking at Antal friction less thimbles.
While I really like the idea of these they are fairly expensive and if I wish to replace all my turnbuckles with dyneema lashings and Antal thimbles it could work out to cost me the same as brand new stainless wire for the whole boat.
On the upside, if I do go with the dyneema lashings I will be able to keep the current standing rigging as the lashings will provide the extra length. Not to mention, when I install my new external chainplates the length lost by the addition of longer spreaders will once again be made up by the lashings.
So as you might have guessed, my mind is made up on the dyneema issue. My only concern is the price of the Antal thimbles. My question is thus (somewhat rhetoric as I think I know the answer): is the Antal thimbles really necessary? Perhaps I can run the dyneema lashings through some stainless shackles instead…
Last night I found this excellent talk on minimalist voyaging.
The speaker was Russell Heath addressing the famous Explorer Club in New York City. Russell sailed his 25ft Vertue Kainui around the world in four years without an inboard engine and no electronics. His experiences over shadow the most experienced sailors and his attitude mirror the likes of the Eric and Susan Hiscock and Lin and Larry Pardey.
The other day I sailed into the V&A in Cape Town after a rather bumpy trip from Hout Bay. After about one hour another sail boat made it into the marina. She was a Class 40 named Croix du Sud. Her skipper, Hendrik Masekowitz, attempted to break the record for the fastest solo sail around the world non-stop. Unfortunately, he got injured and had to abandon his attempt.
I did not get a chance to meet Hendrik since he flew back to Germany the next day. I wish him a speedy recovery and I hope to meet him when he comes back. Below are some links to further information about Croix du Sud, turns out she has an interesting history!