It was all so simple.  I was supposed to take my Westsail service manual with me to the boat, take some basic measurements, and then deduce which of the 4 models of bowsprit we had.  I could then tell Bud and he’d have the correct one fabricated for us.  But my dreams were just a sandcastle made at low tide.   Of course none of the numbers I was pulling from the tape measure were adding up to what was in the book.  Am I just woefully inadequate at measuring things?  Perhaps.

However… At least I’m not woefully inadequate at tearing things to shreds.  And you know, it seemed a good time to put my high points to use.  Instead of depending on some hasty measurements, I decided to bite the bullet and rip the entire bowsprit off the boat then remeasure, very, VERY carefully.  Sounds easy right?

Saturday started with step 1.  I would remove the bow pulpit and platform.  You know, the thing with the rail and place to put your feet.   See it here as I nap upon it.

Tate on bowsprit

Actually, I was looking at something under it.  The bow platform was held onto the sprit by three pieces of all thread rod that went through both the platform and the sprit itself.  At first I thought it would simply be a matter of removing the nuts on both sides and sliding the rods out.  It didn’t work out quite that way.

The pieces of rod had apparently been threaded through the wood.  That means they had to be turned like giant 2 foot long screws to remove them.  I’m not sure if it was by design or accident but the nuts on the starboard side of the rods were locked to the thread which allowed me to use a wrench on them and “unscrew” them out of the platform.  This took a surprisingly long time.

After that I also discovered that the little anchor lock down thing had a backing plate that would prevent removal.  In the photo above I’m actually backing out the bolts that held it in place.  And of course I had to detach the life lines from the pulpit.  Not anything too major.  And finally, she was ready to come off.

Tate removing bowsprit
bowsprit on the dock

And to come home.
bowsprit in kitchen

Unfortunately, the cross bars that were welded on (which is custom to our pulpit) have corroded and snapped.  I’m still wondering if I should just cut them off or if I should have them rewelded?  I don’t know yet.. But that is for another time.

With the pulpit gone and Dani slaving away cleaning wood below, I set about another task that needed to get done.  Removal of the old anchor rode and chain.  Lets just say that hauling over 300ft of BBB 3/8″ chain up is a workout.  Out of the anchor locker onto the deck.
chain on deck

And then I had to move it onto the finger pier.  Then into a dock cart.  Then finally I gave it to a dock mate, and we had to load it into his pickup truck.  So basically I hauled this chain 4 times.  I cannot say I’m sad to see it go.  It had corroded in many places.  I suppose it can be regalvanized, but given our plans, I’ll feel safer when we replace it with new chain.  I’ll turn the old anchor rode into “new” dock lines.

With the chain off the boat, the bow is sitting noticeably higher in the water. Previously the front chainplate was under water, but now it is way up out of the water.  Amazing what losing 400lbs will do for a gal.

The next day began with more fun.  I had Dani get into the anchor locker (yes, she fits) and hold the forward most bolt’s nut while I turned it out.  It again took a very long time to pull since it was literally threaded through the wood.  There was supposed to be a nut behind that that was directly under the windlass platform.  A huge gob of ancient caulk was ontop of this spot.  After digging it out, I was surprised to find no bolt.  Hmm…

The third and final bolt was also an enigma.  I asked Dani to locate the nut in the anchor locker but she failed to find it.  I was going to go down and try to find it but noticed as I turned the bolt head it actually seemed to be coming out on its own.  So I just kept spinning the wrench and sure enough, I got the bolt out.  It broke off at some point due to corrosion.  Oh well, I’ll have to find the other end of it at some other time.

Another thing that held the sprit on was a piece of all thread that passed through the sampson posts and the sprit.  I fought with this for about an hour.  It was so stuck that I could not hammer it through and the nuts came off both sides.  With no way to actually spin the threaded rod, I shamefully gave up.  Well maybe that isn’t quite accurate.  I just got really serious.
tate sawing the bowsprit

And sawed off the top of the sampson posts!

The last piece to remove was the stem fitting bolt that acts as the attachment point for the small stay that you host the staysail on.  The nut had corroded very badly in place.  Nothing is ever easy right?  This particular nut and bolt had been bothering me for a long time.  The stem fitting was very badly corroded and had visible cracks.   After some persuasion it came off though.  And with it, the sprit was at last free!
tate removing bowsprit

Sundowner, topless, or headless, or whatever.   Look at how high she is sitting in the water!
bowsprit on finger pier with tate

The foredeck after removing the sprit.  As you can see there was the bolt I removed on the front pad.  The middle pad didn’t get a bolt, and the back pad has the remains of the bolt that snapped off as I turned it.
foredeck plate

And now I’ll show you why I was so concerned about that stemfitting.
bowsprit stem fitting
cracked bowsprit stem fitting

With the bowsprit off and no place to attach the front stays which support the mast I need to devise some sort of plan to give the mast at least a little support.   I attached the baby stay to one of the deck cleats and tied up a bridle through one of the hawse pipes to which I attached the forward jib halyard.  Not pictured is the port side in which I tied a second bridle and attached the staysail halyard.

Now with the sprit removed, I’m free to finally take careful measurements at home.  Maybe I’ll even measure twice.  You know, just to be sure.  =)