Today was install the lowers day.

First step.  Eat a big breakfast.  Second step.  Go up the mast.

Tate going up the mast to change the lower stays

It took a while up there to get gobs of ancient rigging tape removed.  I mean, I was impressed.  There must have been at least two whole rolls of rigging tape around the pins.  How do I know it was two rolls? One roll was black and the second roll was white. Or maybe it was just some sort of fashion statement.  I don’t know.  But it served a serious warning to me… Tape tape tape.  I disconnected the stays one by one and lowered them on a small line to Dani then finally came down and began the “operation”.

My quest for terrible things involve stainless steel continues.  I tore open the stalok fittings and discovered the corrosion that lurks inside when the sealant fails.

corroded lower stays

Oh well, onwards and upwards.  I laid out the new and old stays side by side and marked them to length assuming that everything would sort itself out.

The process was much the same as when I remade the bobstay.  Unwind the wire.  Insert the cone.  Rewind the wire.  Screw together.

unraveled lower stays
tightening stalocs on lower stays

There was of course a problem.  You know that feeling you get when you’ve done something wrong and realize it?  You know, like you’ve been punched in the gut?  Well I had an oh shit moment.  Just as I finished tightening down the last end of the lowers I looked over and saw a “former” laying on the ground.  A former is a little cap fitting that goes in the stalok fittings to ensure that the wire twists correctly around the cone.

Nooooo… Why?  How?   How could I have missed this important piece.  It turns out that sometimes when you look into a stalok fitting, even without the former it looks like it has one in there.  After I finished cursing I looked over all the ends and spotted one that had less thread exposed than the others.  Obviously it had been screwed in further, and I selected it as the most likely candidate for the screw up.  I carefully pulled that one apart and thankfully I believe it was the correct one.  Of course it was hard to tell at this point because there was caulk everywhere.  And I mean everywhere.  All over my hands, on my legs, on the dock, on the tools, on Dani.  It was an impressive mess.  Mistakes were made.

So what did I do?  I cut about an inch of wire off the end of that stay and put the stalok back together.  Now I have a stay that is one inch short but at least it has a former in it.

Finally I go up the mast and connect the forestay and the lower stays and then come down.  Got started hooking up the long absent forestay.  Felt good to get it back.

Tightening the forestay

Then the lowers.  And wouldn’t you know it… One of them was about an inch TOO SHORT!  GAH.  I was about to start pitching stuff overboard.   But not all was lost yet.  I had observed that the mast tangs were higher on one side than the other and perhaps if we switched the front and aft stays we just might eek out enough to make it fit.  So again, like the great ape I am… I go back up the mast.

Tate going up the mast

And down to find that it hadn’t worked.  As I sat crying tears into clubs I call hands (the caulk had dried them shut by this point), Dani suggested we try a different turnbuckle.  I thought it wouldn’t work.  I bought ends for all the old turnbuckles keeping their bronze bodies, but had bought 2 brand new turnbuckles to replace on the whisker stays which used the old style closed body turnbuckles.  And I’ll be damned if it didn’t work.  Dani… Tell ya, that gal is one smart cookie.

So we left, happy, sore, and with lower stays once again in place.  Tomorrow we fill the hull deck joint with more caulk.