Thursday, 17 April 2014

Shakedown cruise and rigging screws

Came out of Findhorn on Thursday to do a three day Moray Firth circuit, but ran into some bad weather.  I had my son and grandson on board, and with it being the first sail of the season (when things will go wrong ...) I felt a bit risk averse.

We were going to go to Lossiemouth, but the 'dredged to 2m' information in the almanac misled me - we could get in, but not to a berth.  We'd have to tie up alongside in Lossiemouth and lean on the wall.  I'll need to find out what the bottom is like there ...

So we motored up wind to Buckie and spend a night there, leaving at 7am with a F5 SW-W forecast, so tied a reef in the main.  I was glad we did, too, although the early winds were light.  We ended up close reaching across the firth to Tarbat Ness, in increasingly lively conditions (20-25 knots).  I wondered whether I'd got the rig tensions right, as I watch the lee shrouds, but more of that later ...

We dropped sail off Tarbat Ness and motored down towards Portmahomack with a view to anchoring.   On exploring the harbour, and having a fortunate meeting with the visiting harbourmaster, we realised we could tie up alongside and dry out safely.  The forecast was for 30 knots from the W/NW, so we decided to stay for a while.

When the rig was replaced last Spring, the rigger left the bottle screws without split pins.  I thought this must be OK (he was a rigger ...) and thought that locking them was something I could do later when I was happy with the rig setup.  I sailed up from Ireland with them like that.

In Portmahomack, I found the starboard cap shroud (the leeward one from our reach across) very loose.  The turnbuckle had unwound itself several turns.  This explained my concern at how it had looked when we were sailing.  (!)

I set it up again and checked all the others, which seemed fine.  Then I put split pins in them all and taped them.  I haven't done the forestay because I can't presently get at it - it's inside the reefing system.  I'm worried about this.  I've written to the rigger to ask whether it had been split pinned (since it is out of reach) and to ask for advice about getting at it.  It looks as though I have to remove the drum to adjust it or service it ...

We'll see.  I won't feel secure until I know what it's doing.

I'll post some more cruise photos when I get back on a faster connection, but here we are in Portmahomack:

The wind drops to single figures tomorrow, so we'll possibly end up motoring back.  Although we've plenty of time for a slow sail, so maybe we'll do that.

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