Friday, 28 November 2014

Getting Organised

One of the problems the crew has is identifying what rigging blocks go where during the rigging of Shamrock in the spring. The blocks are labeled during the de-rigging of Shamrock but these tend to get lost or replaced on the wrong block when they are removed during the winter maintenance process of cleaning, greasing, painting and varnishing. This year three sections of boat shed upper shelf have been allocated to main, mizzen and stay sails where the respective sails and rigging ropes are stored along with their blocks which are hung below the shelf. The blocks will now be a lot easier to locate and if the labels do end up on the wrong block at least we will know to which area of the rigging they belong.

A start has been made on the stripping of all the varnish and paint from the mizzen. Nancy Belle which is now on the boat shed slipway has been scrubbed out and the paint inside the hull looks OK for another season. Outboard, her bottom and sides will need a rub down and another coat of paint though.

Friday, 21 November 2014

Lowering Shamrock's Main Mast

Lowering Shamrock's main mast takes quite a bit of preparation the first of which is the removal of all her rigging and as many blocks as possible, the process is then to:

  • Fit a wire strop to the top of the main mast.
  • Blocks and tackles are attached between the forward stays (wires that support the mast) and bulwark stanchions, these steady the mast during the lowering.
  • A block and tackle is fitted between the forward mainstay and its fixing point on the cap of the stem (bow) along with a safety rope.
  • A temporary pivot pin is fitted through the tabernacle and mast, then the holding bolt and main pin are removed.
  • As the mizzen mast is used in the lowering this has to be prepared by rigging of the starboard stays as a forward and after stay, fitting a snatch-block to the top of the mast and a wooden block to the mizzen tabernacle, this supports the main mast once it has been lowered.
  • The initial lower is started by heaving on a rope attached to the top of mast and once gravity takes over is controlled by the mainstay and side stays blocks and tackles ensuring that the mast falls to the starboard side of the mizzen.
  • Lowering is stopped once the mast has dropped below the top of the mizzen to allow the deck winch cable to be passed through a block attached to the bow, through the snatch-block at the top of the mizzen and finally attached to the wire strop at the top of the main mast.
  • Using the power (human) of the deck winch the cable slack is taken up, mainstay block and tackle released and the mast finally lowered to its resting place on the mizzen tabernacle.

Not a bad days work.

Shamrock's crew accept no responsibility for errors or omissions in this article.

Stripped masts.

Preparing for the final drop. 

Both masts down.

Friday, 7 November 2014

End Of Season

With the end of the season and after the noise and the crowds of last week this week has seen the boat shed back to its normal quiet self with only a few visitors strolling through.

The serious business of de-rigging Shamrock is now well under way with the removal of all her sails, sail covers, booms, gaffs, bowsprit, light boxes and anything else that is easily removed. She is also being prepared for the lowering of her mast next week. The weather has been kind enabling the sails to be aired before being removed and stored for the winter and the only the sail covers needing to be hung up in the boat shed to dry. The booms, gaffs and bowsprit are still in remarkably good condition and will not require much maintenance over the winter months, which is more than can be said for some of the rigging blocks.

Is this the worlds largest hammock?