So the never ending and forever taking rigging project moves forward.  I feel like its a government project at this point.  You know what they say about the wheels of bureaucracy… They turn slowly, but they turn.

Dani wanted to drag me to the boat on the 4th to do some work but I was adamant about staying home and doing a whole lot of nothing.  I had seen the weather report forecasted a cool front moving through on Friday and so I was firm in my resolve to let that sucker come and cool stuff down before I got to work on the boat.  So I sat and waited, but became determined… Nay… Obsessed.  The upper stays were getting replaced this weekend come hell or high water.

Nature was good to me. Today the temps only made it into the mid 80s and it was overcast and still.  Prime weather for mast climbing. So began the replacement of the upper stays. These are the last remaining pieces to be replaced amidships.

The process for these guys was somewhat more complicated than before because I had to deal with the mast spreader boots. I started by loosening the old uppers and tightening the lowers to support the mast while my fat ass was swinging up at the top.  250lbs at the end of a lever that is 45 feet high can exert a lot of force.

Old pivot point for the upper stays

Once I took the old upper turn buckles off I removed these strange pieces.
Pivot thingies up close for the upper stays

I’ve yet to determine their purpose.  My guesses include… 1) They were put in place to make up for too short of wire?  2) They are some sort of extension to the turnbuckle to allow a better pivot point if one lowers the mast using the tabernacle. Who can say. Sundowner is full of old mysteries. But in any event, I ditched them.

Then I cut off the old uppers above the stalok fittings and removed them so I could transfer those fittings onto the ends of the new upper stays.

Upper stay cut below

As you can see, this left a cut off wire just swinging in the wind. An unsettling looking thing.

The staloks transferred to the new upper wire ends.

Staloc fitting up close
Staloc fitting with the cone inside

With that task done I was ready to go up the mast. At the top I had Dani hoist the new stays one at a time to me. I disconnected the old stay, transferred it to the halyard and then attached the new stay into the tangs.

Tate at the top of the mast changing the upper stays

After that I came half way down the mast and pulled the old stays out of the mast spreader boots and lowered them down on deck before pushing  the new stay wires through the boots and down to the deck level. Of interest is that our spreader boots have both a hard fitting and it was also locked on with bronze seizing wire. I guess that is a bit overcautious but I left the old wire in place around the new stays anyway.
Tate pulling upper stays through spreader

Next came the nerve wracking part.  Cutting the new wires to length.  If you screw this part up you have to start over. I couldn’t use the old wires as a measurement guide since they were much shorter on account of those weird turnbuckle extensions. I attached the turnbuckles and marked the new wire where the pin would be, then I put the stalok up that mark to determine where the wire should actually be cut.

From there it was just the same old “install a stalok”.
Tightening the upperstays

But in the end it all worked out!
Three new side stays

And Sundowner has shiny new upper stays now!
New upper stays through spreaders

Of note… The toggle ends of the old turnbuckles showed signs of crevice corrosion and cracking where the clevis pins were.

Rigging crack in old upper stays

So… My mission accomplished, we called it quits.  My shirt was so soaked in sweat I could have wrung it out like a wet towel but man it felt good to get that over with. The last remaining stay needing replacement is the backstay which will be somewhat more difficult to replace on account of the isolators for the SSB antenna.  I’ll also be replacing the boomkin stays along with the attachment point for the boomkin stays, boomkin, and backstay, but that will require fabrication.

All that said… I think I *>might<* be okay saying that Sundowner will be ready to sail again in the fall.  I really can’t wait to get the new staysail tracks installed and see how she handles without that deck sweeping staysail boom.

Onward and upwards!