Copyright (c) Marc Dacey/Dark Star Media 2006-2020. Above photo (c) Marc Dacey. Powered by Blogger.


Rack, not ruin

If this cradle is rocking, you're in trouble.
This is the cradle I put up a couple of days ago in anticipation of haulout, provisionally at the crack of dawn on Saturday. I am not precisely sure what will happen to this cradle if, as we fervently hope, we mosey down the St. Lawrence to overwinter in Nova Scotia. I'll have to see about the logistics and costs of shipping it, an object as bespoke as the boat it fits, to Nova Scotia as I imagine we'll haul there for the winter to complete some projects and live in a furnished apartment. Or something. We haven't really planned that far.

The mast was pulled yesterday. This took Mrs. Alchemy and myself about two half-days to manage, involving as it does the removal and packing away of sails, mainsail/vang tackles, removing and coiling down of cables, halyards, spares and assorted strings, plus the sometimes fraught process of getting a line over the first spreaders to make a loop for the mast crane to hoist the heavyweight (I estimate 200-250 kilos) mast out of its tabernacle. And it was windy (25 knots) yesterday. And there are 12 stays. And we removed and disassembled the SPADE anchor, a non-trivial job when the boat's in movement and you are trying not to scratch the neighbour's swim platform. Anyway, no time for pictures, and I'm sure my shoulder will heal.
Inside that jellyfish-like blob is the radome, wrapped in both bubble-wrap and heavy-duty plastic sheathing. The yellow and orange bungees kept it from flopping in its journey to the mast racks.
I removed the spreaders today, again in wind that gusted to about 30 knots, took off the Windex and the AIS and VHF aerials, padded the Furuno radome, cable-tied and bungeed all stays, shrouds, wires, cables and the forestay foil snug to the mast, and then used a jib sheet to hog-tie (think "parcel wrap" the mast from bottom to top.

I then helped several other club members to do the same. It's the nature of the club deal.

I had an update go wonky via wi-fi, so I prefer cards now. It's significantly faster, too.
Elsewhere in the floating world, my plotter has, in the fashion of what could only be a 21st-century problem, been nagging me to accept an upgrade. Fair enough. My usual habit, as the Wi-Fi signal to the end of the dock is sub-optimal, is to download the requisite files to a micro SD card, insert said baby's fingernail-sized object in the slot at the back, turn the plotter on and wait for the old blue bar.
All went well. I quite enjoy the AIS info my Vesper unit feeds to the plotter.
I wanted the upgrade for the best shot at trying something I've wanted to do for some time. In August, I got a new phone as my basic but functional Windows phone, a Nokia Lumia 625, had a cracked screen due to some thoughtless boat gymnastics on my part. When the salesperson at the mall kiosk (a place I rarely tread) learned my birthday was the same as his, he threw in an LG Android tablet into the deal. All I wanted was roaming, for fairly obvious reasons. Prior to sailing away, we are moving about more.

So even a cheap tablet fitted my plan, which was to download a bit of software so I could use the tablet as a repeater screen for my plotter at the outside helm or elsewhere on the boat. In the appropriate waterproof case, naturally.
Well, that's damned handy.
The reviews of this software weren't good, so I fired it up with a bit of trepidation. But making the plotter into a "hot spot" allowed me to log into it and to even control it remotely from the tablet. I think it helps that I have been setting up networks since the evil days of DOS and just assume I can get devices talking to each other, but really, this was a doddle and unless the latest version of this software is vastly superior to the bitchy comments I was reading in the reviews, I'm not sure what the problem was. It took me four minutes to set up. I went outside and the steel of the pilothouse created a tiny bit of lag, but it appears I can use the tablet at the outside helm to control the plotter without running wires. That's a big plus for me.

Now, to get the boat on land...

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