Leech after Sealing
Attention to detail can make the difference between success and failure. A chain will break at the weakest link; therefore it is important to examine every link before relying on the chain. Are all the links robust enough to take the load expected of them?
The time has come for such an examination of ‘Sandpiper’. If I am to take her cruising I must be able to rely on her. What are her weakest points? Starting with the sails, the least satisfactory aspect is their tiredness, due to age, but they should be good enough for perhaps two seasons. The mainsail where it rubs on the shrouds is rather thin, and when the sun shines on that part of the sail tiny holes become visible. When I reshaped the jib I cut the leech with a pair of scissors that left the edge frayed in places. To strengthen the edge I melted the polyester by searing it with a very hot soldering iron, and to prevent the sail from tearing at the seams I bound them with extra sailcloth where they meet the leech.
I was never happy with the support socket for the Autohelm. I made it from a piece of brass tubing that did not snugly fit the support rod. Consequently unwanted play lessened the efficiency of the Autohelm. Today, I bought and fitted a genuine replacement socket. Not only will the Autohelm be more efficient, but it will also be more secure.
The boat did not have a topping lift when I bought her; therefore I added a new one for raising and lowering the boom. To reduce windage I eliminated the downhaul part of the topping lift, and I added a small cleat to a point near the aft end of the boom for attaching the tail of the topping lift.
These small adjustments, along with others I shall make, will in part reduce the chances of things going badly wrong.