|I relaxed in the cockpit, thankful at having already installed the bowsprit so I didn't have to go into the water, but realizing I had
quite a chore ahead of me as far as standing up the two masts, rigging the booms, then sorting out which of the old sails I might
be able to use to make way. I had about twenty sails aboard, none of which were cut or intended for Falcon, plus a few torn and
damaged sails people gave me because I was closer to them than the dumpster. One way or another, I was confident Falcon
would be sailing back to Florida.
I turned on the radio, for no reason other than I could now at least hear it, and the very first sound I heard was the local Coast
Guard hailing me. You could have knocked me over with a feather, if I wasn't already stretched out on the cockpit seat, eating an
MRI. I responded and they sounded greatly relieved to hear from me. It seems Lauretta got concerned and gave them a call. They
asked what my situation was and I stated clearly that I was about up to my ass in alligators. They asked if I needed assistance and
I told them I did not. I said my rig was lying down on the deck, so I couldn't sail, and my engine had converted itself to a greasy
heap of scrap iron, so I couldn't motor, but I was enjoying the peanut butter section of an MRI and a beautiful sunset.
They asked if there was water coming aboard and if I had a life jacket on. I said no to both and they asked if I wouldn't put on the
life jacket just to make them feel better, so I did. Then they asked what I was going to do, and I said that it was my intention to
wait for morning for these seas to flatten out some, at which point I would set up my masts, rig the boat and sail off home to
There was some silence and they asked that I leave my radio on so they could check in with me from time to time. Oh yeah, I did
tell them the reason I never answered their hail earlier was due to the noise the bad engine was making.
A minute later, Sea Tow called me and said they'd come out and tow me in. I said 'No, thank you.' The guy sounded insistent,
making some vague reference to 'hazard to navigation' and 'my own safety' and other salesman-like drivel. I asked him 'how
much?' He replied '$125 an hour'. I said, "And you'll have some forms for me to fill out that give you salvage rights to my vessel
and liens and other things you pirates do, right?" He got nasty and swore at me and I told him to go do something awkward to
himself, but I forget the exact words except that I'd recently made a similar statement to some guy in Boston Harbor. Anyway,
the Coast Guard piped in and told us both to clam up and watch our language. Sea Tow didn't say anything. I agreed and
apologized. I got another call from the Coast guard a half hour later. A standard check-in thing.
About a half hour after I got a call from a Coast Guard Cutter, a 41 footer and they were within sight of me. The sun was just
below the horizon now but there was still enough light for us to see each other. It seemed like there were three crews aboard the
boat and I got the idea the heavy weather had kept the recreational boaters in the bay and the entire Coast Guard Crew on duty
for the holiday was sitting at the dock with nothing to do, so this Captain decided to bring them all out to learn a little Coast
Guard business. He asked if I minded if he trained his Seamen in a rescue/tow situation. Great googela moogela! Not a bit,
Captain! Anything you want!
They did all the things they were supposed to, a couple of times over as the Captain coached and criticised exactly how they
launched the small boat, attached the tow line, secured the line and re-boarded the cutter. I hauled up my own anchor (wheeze
puff puff wheeze) as fast as I could and steered Falcon as she was towed about 15 miles to Narragansett Bay and to a mooring
field in pitch darkness. The only way I knew where we were was a spotlight on the cutter illuminated moored sailboats and
empty moorings. They brought me to one and I tied up, then the Captain brought the cutter alongside and asked if his young'uns
could each do a standard inspection of the vessel. After a free three hour tow? Anything you want, Cap. I got my documentation
and chatted with the Captain while the kids all ran through and over Falcon filling out their forms. I told him about the situation
in Boston, taking the boat, and the flashing lights behind me. He called the Boston Coast Guard on the radio and asked what they
knew about the situation. Now, here it is.
When the marina called the boat in 'stolen', the Coast Guard naturally monitored the radio. The State Police asked if they knew
who had stolen the boat and by this time, they were already in hot pursuit. Well, the marina rightly and properly responded with
my name and the name of the boat. Next thing you know, up pops the Coast Guard on the radio, informing all chase vehicles the
boat is documented, and a documented vessel cannot be reported stolen by someone who is not the owner, while the owner is
actually aboard the vessel. A private agency cannot enlist public agencies to capture property on US waters without a criminal act
having occurred and if the police board the vessel the Coast Guard will intervene.
Go Coast Guard. You guys are my heroes. The Captain told me all about it, the youngsters finished their inspections, we all said
goodbye, goodnight and good luck and I went to sleep.
These next pictures are what happens when you forget (for a year or two) that you have exposed film in your camera. It was
actually a beautiful, sunny morning. The bridge is the Jamestown Bridge linking Newport, Rhode Island to Conanicut Island in
the middle of Narragansett Bay. This is what greeted me in the morning, much to my delight and surprise. The next three
pictures sort of comprise a counter-clockwise sweep of my surroundings.
There was a huge marina and an even larger mooring field, most of which was filled with sailboats. This was a big holiday
weekend and it looked and sounded like it.
|I could hear music playing in the streets and a hundred
boats plied the waters of the bay. Almost dead center in
the picture is the heavily fendered launch that serviced
the moorings for the marina. I didn't know that until later.
Further south along the coast of Conanicut Island were
large slips for bigger boats, mostly power and it appeared,
mostly commercial charter craft. Straight south from
Falcon in the last shot is the sea of masts stretching for a
couple of miles. It's like a slice of sailboat heaven here. I
went below to stash the camera and then back to the
cockpit to figure a way to get ashore and get a cup of
coffee. Just as I emerged from below, the power launch
was coming along side and the smiling operator asked if I
wanted to go ashore.
"Well, yeah!" And I jumped aboard.
|He told me where I was and asked where I wanted to go. I
told him to the marina office to pay for my mooring. He
dropped me at the dock and said the office was right there
in a little shack partway up the dock.
I thanked him and went into the neat little office and
waited in line behind some other people.
When it was my turn, I stepped up to the counter and
said, "The Coast Guard towed me in and put me on one of
your moorings last night, so I need to pay for the
mooring." The kid behind the counter, who looked to be
about 16, asked me, "Are you from 'Falcon'?" I nodded
and said "yes."
"The owner says not to charge you. He said he'll be in and
later and you can talk to him then."
|Awesome. I thanked him, and was a bit curious as I left
the office. It slowly occurred to me that someone might
have been listening to the radio on the previous evening.
Someone who also has no love for SeaTow. I counted my
blessings and kept my mouth shut.
I wandered across the street and quickly found coffee and
breakfast. I had a great time in Jamestown over the
weekend. Sidewalk cafés, live bands, restored 12 Meter
ex-America's Cup boats, and even two restored 'J' Boats, I
think 'Endeavor' and 'Resolute', but don't hold me to that.
I met the owner, Bill Munger, who could not have been a
nicer guy and offered me the use of his new inflatable to
get back and forth to Falcon.
He advised me that I was not likely to find the kind of
resources around Jamestown, or even Newport, that I He
advised me that I was not likely to find the kind of engine.
|He was right, there was no way I could fix the engine and
continue. On the first working day after the weekend, I
arranged to have Falcon hauled out and stored just long
enough for me to arrange a Brownell overland haul from
Jamestown to Royal Yacht Services in Naples, Florida,
where I worked at the time. I paid for the haul and storage
on the spot, thanked Bill for everything, and quickly
prepped Falcon, then took a bus to the airport and flew to
It took me a couple of months to save up enough money
to have Brownell pick up the boat in Jamestown and
deliver it to Royal Yacht Services in Naples, where I was
working, but it evenually got there.
Some of my belongings, stilled pack up and on board
Falcon, got water damaged because she was blocked nose
down and rain water got in. Books. A shame. No big deal.
|1997 - 2003
|This rot was the most disturbing aspect of Falcon's condition. She'd been parked under a huge stand of giant bamboo and leafy
trees and sustained a constant shower of leaves and plenty of rain. The shade under the overhanging branches made a perfect
environment for rot, and sure enough, there it was. Fortunately, it was small and local to the cockpit area and didn't take long to
fix. All things punk and rotten were torn out and rebuilt. Where some of the attachment points to the hull had given up due to
the extreme heat in Naples (the expansion of fiberglass outdistanced the expansion of the wood and several of the bedded
bulkheads and frames separated) All were resealed and glassed with West epoxy and 1708 Biaxial fabmat.
|These two steps going from the cockpit to the companionway were made of the same 2 1/2 inch Douglas Fir beams as the rest of
the framing, but they had rot and had to go. I didn't do them until I reached Cortez, much later on.
|So then, if you're going to tear stuff up, tear it up and get to fixing it right. The growling old packing gland/stuffing box
combination departed and triple the fiberglass layup was applied in this area. All new gear, including shaft, cutlass, stern pipe,
packing gland and flange were installed correctly this time.
|Looking back, it does not seem a time of illness or desperation, but a time of accomplishment and excitement. Things were
happening. Good things. I know there were those at the yacht service who were confused by the sequence of jobs, but none of
them ever asked or took the time to figure it out. Hard work got done when it could, and easy work filled in when hard work was
just too hard. It all came out in the wash.
For instance, if the sun was blazing hot and there was no breeze, I worked inside the shop on the engine or anchor davits or
deadeyes. If there was sun and a breeze, I worked in the shade under the boat, sanding and grinding, because the wind would
blow the dust away. If it was cool and cloudy, I worked on the deck, in the cockpit, on the rig, or on the portholes and hatches.
Sometimes I strung up tarps for shade, but not that much.
|A much better situation
for the running gear
and the entire hull has
been completely filled,
faired, sanded and
coated with several
coats of Interlux 2000
barrier coat. These
photos are out of
sequence, though this
work all took place
in the same marathon
burst. There were times
during my recovery
from Hep C when I
simply had to do what
work I could and
continue forward, a
few hours at a time,
rest for an hour, then
back at it.
|This prop was an old powerboat unit I found lying around in a pile of old
equipment and my friend Paul Flores, the owner of Royal Yacht Service, and a
man from Long Island, New York who will never lose the Long Island accent,
gave it to me. It is the second best prop ever on the boat.
When I got Falcon down to Naples after the fun happy time of stealing it in
Boston (which I really did enjoy) a friend named Eddie Turner, of the Turner
Marine Turners, who knew the engine was fragged, offered me another engine
someone had given him. I'm glad it was free because it was totalled. Cracked
head. A little number crunching on these motors and that equals a total. I went
looking for a head and instead found a better engine. First, the guy sold me a
head because $100 for a head versus $450 for a motor - hmmm - I'll try the head.
Then, while elbow deep in the job, a rethink and another visit and he made me
an offer I couldn't refuse. $450 for the motor, plus $100 for a complete tune up,
new seals and gaskets, and an oil baffle under the valve cover to prevent the
engine eating it's own lubricant, AND he'd take the head back and take $100 off,
so I'd get the new motor for $450. It gets better. These engines came in various
sizes and configurations ranging from 48 horsepower with 52 lbs/ft of torque, to
52 horsepower with 74 pds/ft of torque, to 62 horse, 75 horse, and 96 horse.
|My previous engines were all the 48 horse units, but this new one was a 52 horse engine. It's not like I really needed the extra 4
horsepower, but a 42% boost in torque is a healthy upgrade. Torque is what helps you pull off an unfortunate grounding and
accelerates from a stop to going. It's good to have torque. A set of Walmart quicky gauges gave some measure of comfort for a
while, but later a complete set of top shelf marine instruments and a whole new panel finalized the installation.
|The awesome bronze steering gear was purchased from Edson for $1400 while in Winthrop. With it, and included in the price
was an awesomely strong tiller are type bar meant for hydraulic steering or some other application. It was my intention to use it
as an autopilot arm facing rearwards off the rudder post, for a linear actuator whose boat end was supported by a bearing car on a
track. In this way, I could engage the autopilot by accessing the pin through a small deck hatch, while having a 'panic' ring
hanging near the wheel to disengage it in an instant. It was a weak idea and evaporated when someone gave me an Autohelm
6000 autopilot with a Type 2 rotary drive. The big arm cost me $250 about 12 years ago - I can't get rid of it and have to carry it
with me forever - it's too pretty.
While still in Lynn years ago, my sweet redheaded girlfriend, Pam, found this bronze wheel in a little curio shop downtown and
bought it for me. It seemed like a wall-hanging trinket, but after pricing wheels at Edson, I sent it out to be machined to fit the
new steering. Eventually the pointy, groin poking handles were changed to rounder white nylon handles. More on that later.
|There were buckets and boxes and stacks of fish totes filled to overflowing with parts and materials I've been collecting and
saving for years, waiting to be sorted or selected for use on the boat. Now they were being put to use. The little bronze mooring
bits were salvaged from a wreck while the round deck plates were bought new and hung around so long they got green overspray
from a paint job I did in Winthrop. The stainless cleats were also salvage items.
I am a firm believer in large backing blocks below strong decks and thick stainless backing plates to distribute the load across the
big backing blocks. Below the foredeck is a one inch oak plank running across from side to side. Below that is a 3/16 inch steel
plate covering the oak plank. This area is primarily to mount the Ideal Windlass, but the four foredeck anchor and mooring cleats
also benefited from the massive strength. The plates beneath the cleats sitting on the deck are for inside.
|noisy cutting and grinding, the showers of sparks and clouds of smoke, were not missed when they
ended, but it only took half a day. The long, unflanged tails are intended to mount the biggest cleats in
my collection for the best mounting possible for both cleat and davit. These are strong, heavy anchor
davits and inspire confidence.
|This starts to look better once the miscellaneous parts are bolted
together and the various holes in the deck have things bolted into
them. It is true took a lot longer to complete than it might look.
The bad news is that after four years I've developed a small leak
from one of the bolts just ahead of the cleat on the starboard
davit. It was addressed several times until it finally responded
and stopped leaking. The problem was it was so small and only
leaked in a downpour.
|A day came when it was time to address the bobstay and design and build a dolphin striker and provide support for the cutter
stay. Fear of the forestay parting convinced me there had to be a cutter stay to support the foremast. I forget how long this took
to build, but it went together fairly smoothly. The crux of the installation is a section of 3/4 inch SS threaded rod screwed into a
tapped hole at the tip of the fiberglass section of the lower bowsprit. This area is filled inside with the lower wooden beam for the
bowsprit. It had been carefully ground and fit to the inside, then epoxied in. The threaded rod extends about 10 inches into the
hull, all threaded and epoxied, and sticks out about 8 inches. The SS pipe over it is an old Chris Craft lifeline stanchion and the
heaviest wall SS tubing I've ever seen. Two holes were drilled and tapped at the top to take SS setscrews which locked the
|At the bottom, I used part of an extra SS
turnbuckle and a specially made toggle to
receive the SS chain from the bow eye and the
two wires for the sprit support. The pipe was
drilled at the bottom for a pin and the
turnbuckle barrel installed inside the tubing so
the clevis end could be threaded up into it and
make the whole thing tight. All in all, I'm
pleased with the outcome. So much so, when
some people are admiring the boat I say, "What
do you think of the dolphin striker?" But not so
much, because they get confused. And there's
this whole, "Is it really for hitting dolphins?"
thing and then the conversation just goes
After years of hot, steamy darkness in the
cabin, it was time to take a deep breath and cut
holes all through my perfectly watertight
burrow, taking a chance on providing leaks
|where none had gone before. Star Trek. Anyway, I'd already discovered a rare 4 3/4 inch hole saw would be needed and ordered it.
I got the special SS portholes from Harken at the same time as the fabled Gateway computer. I think they were made in Sweden
or Denmark or something, but Harken dropped them almost as soon as they picked them up. I don't know why. I've never had a
bit of trouble with them. Naturally, you don't expect to have too much trouble with brand new portholes sitting in the boxes for
10 years, but they've been installed now for about ten years, through nasty weather and rough seas, and have never leaked a drop.
|After cutting all the holes, I treated the newly exposed edges with epoxy, and began installing portholes and hatches. Perhaps
because I'd been doing this for years now in yacht service, as well as proper preparation and materials, it went straight ahead
without a glitch and the boat was once again tight to the elements, only now, I could see inside and open things for ventilation.
|The years went by too quickly. There were so many things I seemed to have to do. My father was living in Orlando at the time
and demanded much of my time and energy. He wouldn't come down to Naples to visit with me unless I got a good apartment in
a nice, gated community, and it was comfortable and nice. I did so,and had it for several years, all filled with very nice, often new,
furnishings and bedding. He never came, but I did get visits from my son Ben, and my friend Steve.
I finally threw in the towel and left the apartment and started living at the marina. Falcon had waited for 4 or 5 years and it was
now time for me to get back to her in a serious fashion.
|These companionway doors are 'Ipe', also known as
'Ironwood'. The stuff does not float. Even shavings just sink,
but it looks good, it's stable outside and it machines well.
These can be easily lifted off while sailing and stowed beneath
the cockpit seats, which did not exist at this time, but do now.
|Every square inch of the hull got at least three coats before I was satisfied the hull was fixed. Interlux 2000 epoxy barrier coat
served as primer because it's just so tough and it is, after all, a barrier coat.
|You can see the boat is being moved all over the yard. A product of a couple of things. First, I was here for free and grateful
beyond words to my dear friends who owned this yard and gave me that space. Secondly, there is a little time between these
moves. In fact from the very beginning of the hull work until the boat went back in the water, two years passed. Of course, I was
sick all during this time and recovering slowly (I don't know if I mentioned the mess with the VA infecting me and almost killing
me - if I didn't, 'sorry' maybe another time), which accounts for some of the time. These were big, hard jobs and I worked hard at
them. I suppose this helped with the owners patience on my behalf. Also, by the way, I was still working for them and fixing their
customers boats, so it's not like I was a hobo living under their back porch.
Above, in the last picture, these areas were completed in sections, applying filler, sanding and smoothing, then moving to the
next area. Up close there was no difficulty seeing what needed doing and what didn't. This is not as big a job in an air conditioned
building, or even under a shady roof with a nice breeze. But in this yard, it is a long, hard siege under the blazing South Florida
sun. The heat and humidity bring new meaning to 'oppressive', but I'm not sure what it is - it's just, 'oppressive' isn't strong
enough. No matter how much water you drink and how good your condition is, this wears you out. It drains you. Still, you have
to keep going back to it and move ahead.
Finally, something happens - you see the light at the end of the tunnel. It's almost all filled and smoothed and primed. It's so
close it would be stupid to slack off now, or rush to the finish. The better this stage is, the better every finish paint job will be.
|I built a scaffold around the boat to do the paint job. This is three coats of Interlux Brightside enamel. It's a single part
polyurethane that is easy to touch up and lasts pretty good for a few years. It isn't as good as Awlgrip, or any two part poly for
that matter, but you don't have to carry four cans of different ingredients, mixing pots, and dance with carcinogens just to touch
up a scratch. Which I probably wouldn't do anyway. So there.
|Once everything was set, I went around the boat three times, painting with a $10 brush out of Home Depot and
thinning the Brightsides paint about 8%. Thinning more than 10% caused the paint to suddenly blush to a dull finish just as it
passed through one of the final stages of curing. Each coat took an hour or so and you can see through the shine that I was only
partly successful in keeping the surface flat and smooth. I'm satisfied. Falcon has never been destined to be a mantle piece. The
paint shines and looks good.
|The transom was another area hard to keep flat. The original mold for the hull was not a well made assembly. Constructed of two
halves bolted haphazardly together, it left a weird, uneven seam appearance from the tip of the bowsprit, all down under the keel
and up through the middle of the transom to the aft deck. The layup of the hull was not an issue - the cloth was not seamed and
was continuous across the misalignment. The transom was the one flat area where the error showed clearly. It's fixed. You can't
see it at all any more. I did the rest of the seam, too. Every inch of it. Even below the keel. Also, even though the misalignment
looked horrendous to me, the shift was no more than 0.100 at the worst, and I used epoxy filler to match the surfaces, rather
than cutting away at the fiberglass layup.
|The yard changed constantly and sometimes rapidly. The boat was again moved to the opposite side of the little building and put
back in the slot between the office and the shops. You can see also the holes are in the sides of the cabin for the portholes, but I
stopped and painted the hull and the boat was moved. This job of fairing the hull was huge and it was a great burden off my
mind. I could never be sure about moisture migration into the layup until I'd filled and sealed the entire outer surface and now it
was done. One excellent effect the extreme heat in Naples had during the whole thing was any moisture in the layup was now
baked well out and it was as dry as a bone when I sealed it.
|The more I look at this skinny boot stripe, the more I think it needs to be three or four inches instead of two. Let me tell you
about boot stripes. My understanding of a boot stripe is you can see it clearly from shore when your boat is on a mooring,
therefore, you know immediately if everything is all right, or if you need to jump in the dinghy, row out there as fast as you can
and start bailing. Unfortunately, I've been treating mine like decoration and it looks like it - weak decoration. It needs to be wider.
|Do you see how these things are happening? A page or so back were a couple of pictures of the running gear installed and
finished and no bottom paint on the boat. Now, here we are, all set to bottom paint and no running gear. Next picture, the bottom
paint is almost done on this side.
|The two by four clamped to the keel and rudder is a 'hold the rudder straight' thingy I put on so to align the big rack gear in the
cockpit for the steering. There is a 'lock bolt' set screw affair which requires a hole to be drilled at precisely the right spot. This
helped to get it right.
|These pictures are some of my favorites from Naples. There is still plenty to do, but there was a lot done. She had all new running
gear and the best engine she's ever had. The hull was finally filled and faired. The repair after five years of sitting was done and
done well. The hatches and portholes were in. Two new 50 gallon fuel tanks were installed. The steering was installed. And she
was about to get her name and port put on just prior to launch.
|I put this old stainless Bimini rack on temporarily to give me a break from the sun. Truth be told, I never liked it and couldn't
consider such a thing on Falcon. It was ugly, cumbersome and a pain to move around, but it did keep the sun off and make the
cockpit a much better place to work. I kept the heavy stainless bows for years and finally used them for real while I was in Cortez.
I designed and built a great Bimini that I really have come to like.
|I thought it looked very good here and was happy to take plenty of pictures. Unfortunately, once I got in the water and was given
my free slip, it was not such a happy site. My brand new paint job took a beating here, but I was really in no position to complain.
I just had to work as fast as I could and get the boat out of here. There were times, however, when I doubted I would ever make
it. The sickness wore me down, and worrying it would kill me, worked on my spirit in a difficult to resist manner.
Super low tides and years of silting reduced some of the slips to unusable condition, but free is free. After these shots were taken,
I fendered and tied the boat up much better to minimized the abuse to the paint. It also caused me some concern about the rest
of the creek and how I would get Falcon out of Haldemen Creek with her 5 foot draft.
The original laminated plywood temporary deadeyes were rapidly reaching their expiration dates and needed to go. The problem
was, I still had no reasonable way to get Lignum Vitea and make the true items. Also, there was a small voice in the back of my
head wondering if Lignum Vitea was really the best choice for these parts in a world filled with new materials.
A long career in mechanics and development taught me not to be shy when a job needed a special tool. If you can't buy one, make
one, or jury-rig something to get the job done. Here is a makeshift lathe to turn starboard into the new deadeyes. I have no
illusions concerning the integrity of starboard, but don't underestimate it's stability in sunlight and a salt atmosphere. It is
resistant to heat, cold and rot. If well designed and made the deadeyes should do the job well. As it turns out, after years of
sailing in good conditions and very bad, the starboard deadeyes performed flawlessly.
|I cut a bunch of blocks of 1 inch white starboard on the table saw, then made a quick jig with the three holes drilled into it and
used it to locate the lanyard holes in each of the blocks as I punched them out on a drill press. Next, I put three studs on an old
sanding disc mount plate and clamped the motor to a bench. Each blocks was attached to the disc, spun and ground round with
an 8" grinder sporting 80 grit paper discs. Next, a router clamped in a vice with a 3/8 inch round over bit and - really, really
carefully, having already gathered too many serious hand injuries in my life - rounded off the edges of the deadeyes. By now I
was standing in a fair pile of white plastic dust. Only one thing left, to make the groove.
|It didn't take much pondering to realize all I really had available was to remount the pieces on the sanding disc jig and use an
aggressive 4 inch metal cutting wheel on a 4" grinder and just 'eyeball' the grooves into the edges. I touched up each one with
sandpaper before removing it from the jig.
Hey! Ever see something like that stretcher thing before? Yeah, I know. A few pages back when I was in East Boston. The years
are just clicking by like spokes on a playing card in these first pages. Anyway, yep, needed it again, but now it's such a familiar old
tool, I just slap 'em together in my sleep. This is a new, improved version that uses a hard piece of 2 x 4 stock with a secured bolt
holding the turnbuckle at one end and three 3/8 bolt holes at the other. I mount the deadeye by simply putting three bolts into
the holes, holding it at the right height and tightening the turnbuckle. The strain on the bolt threads holds it in place. After
lashing, a few coats of tar.
|By now I'd acquired the new masts and had reconsidered their height. The old spars were 25 and 30 feet, and I meant to shorten
them. The only question was how much. It turns out I'd never parcelled and served the four 1/4 inch backstays and they would
need to be shortened and eyespliced again. I could, however, avoid shortening and resplicing all the triples if I used my head and
lowered the mastheads strategically. I finally settled on 23 and 27 feet for the new masts. With the mast steps being almost 5 feet
off the water, it would make for a bridge clearance of about 33 feet, being sure to clear the anchor light and allowing antennas to
at least survive. The main gaff would need another four feet. With these numbers, all I had to do for the triples was to mount
them higher on the masts. An easy fix.
|I still had plenty of supplies and made the new splices, determined this time to parcel and serve the four backstay/aft shrouds as
well. Look at that nice splice. Anyone would think I've done this before. Chains on the pilings and block and tackle stretched the
stays to parcel and serve them. The old magic tool got dug out of some buckets and re-assembled for new service.
|One of the sweet things about my parcelling is how it's available at any hardware store for next to nothing. The server has two
weight options: light, like above, and heavy, like below. It takes all of a minute to adjust. I love this tool. Again, once the rigging
wire was brought up to date, I hung it and painted coat after coat of thinned tar over it to protect and preserve the marlin twine.
|Once I knew the old spars were too small materially and how the stresses were applied to the rig, it was obvious the short
support beneath the foremast would need to be beefed up. I had a piece of 1/4 inch wall aluminum pipe left over from another
job and mashed it into an oval using a big vice. It got cut and ground to fit the foredeck angle first, then cut the top off square at
the right height. I deliberately left the studs long enough to allow for the new step needed for the new mast.
|Paul Flores let me have a big stainless
angle some yard contractor left behind.
After some thoughtful chin stroking - the 2
by 2 by 1/4 SS bar 20 feet long only
presented a few options - it got cut into 4
equal pieces and became Falcon's massive
anchor davits. There can be no doubt the
|Sometimes you just can't make the pictures fit as well as the gear fits on the deck. All this gear, including two hausepipes for
anchor rode, finally came together and fit on the foredeck in an orderly, businesslike and uncluttered way. Years later the bronze
mooring bit showed water leakage through the mounting bolts. It was removed, the deck repaired, and a custom fiberglass
structure of simple design and thick dimension was molded in place and secured to the deck and both anchor davits.
|You try to think of everything, but sometimes you just miss a point you shouldn't and it escapes detection until it's far too late to
fix. I carefully measured and marked out each opening on the cabin sides for the portholes and when satisfied every thing was
done right, fired up the tools and cut the holes. Once all the holes were cut, I noticed something. The tops of the porthole were
aligned with the cabin roof, keeping them level even though the centerline through the portholes climbed as it went forward. It
did not occur to me until after cutting was complete. I should have drawn a centerline along the cabin sides - a curved line
centered between the flat roof line and the curving deck - and centered the portholes along it instead of making them level to the
cabin roof. It's only a minor thing, but it just makes them look a tad cattywhumpus from certain angles. They look fine inside.
The curve of the cabin roof gave me a little concern about the fit of this hatch and the ability of the seal to prevent leaks, but the
curve is so minor that the hatch went right on and seals just fine.
|For a long time I'd been eyeing the extreme angle of the
bobstay with concern. It was so steep and in such a vulnerable
position a stupid error like running up onto a dock could snap
it and potentially bring down the entire rig. The situation
becomes even scarier if you hit something like a submerged
container or floating piling while under sail. It could mean a
dismasting and one huge pile of trouble with no guarantee
land would be anywhere near.
|One of the sad truths about Falcon's hull was that, whoever laid up the first layers of cloth and resin in the mold, did a horrible
job of air rolling out the tiny air bubbles from the surface. The entire surface of the hull was covered with tiny little holes. A
pretty accurate calculation estimated the surface to have approximately half a million tiny little air bubble holes. It seems like
more when you're the guy filling them. Primer didn't fill them and after an otherwise good paint job, up close you could see every
one of tiny pinholes. A special fairing putty made of West Epoxy, microlight and colloidal silica was tried while in East Boston.
You had to start with a small area, squeegee the stuff on, working it back and forth, up and down, back and forth, and you could
get about 2/3's of the holes. Then sand and smooth without ruining the smooth shape of the hull. This process was repeated as
often as necessary to cure the tiny pinholes.