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2015-08-28

Mainly

To what "1024 J" refers, we have no idea. But check out those butch reef lines!
Yesterday, after some difficulty poking spider products from the mast track with a screwdriver duct-taped to a boat hook, we raised the mainsail on Alchemy. Good grief, I could hear the gasps of shock from the clubhouse. Spidery excavations aside, and Lanacote lightly applied, battens went it and up she went.

Partly because I have yet to locate the winch handles native to the boat (one would think they would be too large to lose, but this is apparently not the case), and partly because I have been promising one to my wife, the compactly built Mrs. Alchemy, for some time, we used a freshly purchased Harken "Carbo" winch handle, the type with the bar on top you can press to release the winch from the winch socket.

Ooh, born porn: CRANK HARDER.

It just seemed appropriate as it's been a rather extended period of time since Alchemy has had need of a winch handle. Now, of course, I'll have to service all the winches, but on the day they functioned well enough.

Not just for sailing, but for templating, if that's a word.
Now, while we were happy to see that years stowed in our allegedly dry garage did not seem to leave unsightly dirt on the main, the fact is that this main came with the boat and is of unknown age, although it's unlikely to be original to the boat's creation in 1988. And you can subtract "years in the sailbag" from its real age. Nonetheless, it is somewhat light for what I expect from the open ocean, and because Alchemy, as a custom-built boat, is not "in the book", I will have to have my sailmaker down to see the sail in action and to possibly leave with it to cut a second, heavier main (with deeper reefs, as I've gone off putting in a trysail track), reinforced corners and cringles and properly placed anti-chafe patches. The fact is that Alchemy has a very strong rig and can "carry" more sail somewhat longer than a lighter-rigged boat, and if I have a strong main with a third reef and a storm staysail (or the less-common reefed staysail). Given her motorsailer status, I'll want to keep moving under sail, even if it means keeping more sail up a little longer than would be prudent in a lighter boat.

More to come on sails in a couple of months. Given the rather close correspondence in mast height between Valiente and Alchemy (the latter's mast is one foot taller), we are bringing Valiente's cruising chute along for light air downwind work on the basis that I paid three grand for it and want to keep it! The Yankee-cut jib is another matter: we may want a second foresail of the genoa style for the furler. We'll see.

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