Martingale installed

Aging Gracefull? The Rigging Part II

Our Catana 471 has running rigging and standing rigging.  The standing rigging supports the mast and allows the boat to “sail.”  Kinda important.  When there is a problem with the standing rigging it is beyond worrisome and prevents us from doing anything that might possibly make it worse.

In the last blog we showed the damage of the martingale (or seagull striker).  We thought we had it all worked out with a local vendor in Tahiti, but it all went to hell in a hand basket.  I thought it was going a little too smoothly and fast for island life.  Read Part I of this series

After the disappointing failure of Mat Rigging, we quickly searched for a Plan B and a Plan C.

Our Catana 471 has running rigging and standing rigging.  The standing rigging supports the mast and allows the boat to “sail.”  Kinda important.  When there is a problem with the standing rigging it is beyond worrisome and prevents us from doing anything that might possibly make it worse.

In the last blog we showed the damage of the martingale (or seagull striker).  We thought we had it all worked out with a local vendor in Tahiti, but it all went to hell in a hand basket.  I thought it was going a little too smoothly and fast for island life.  Read Part I of this series

After the disappointing failure of Mat Rigging, we quickly searched for a Plan B and a Plan C.

Plan B

Kevin at Nuku Hiva Yacht Services (NHYS) has a rigging company in Massachusetts, Rigging Only, that he has worked with on a number of occasions and they are familiar with shipping to French Polynesia.  However, there are lots of fees involved.  The costs of the parts and manufacturing (of course), shipping to FP $400, customs $200, NHYS $135.  Yikes.

Plan C

We find a company in the States and ship it to a fellow cruiser who is on holiday in San Francisco and they bring it back as excess luggage.  This is the cheapest method, but it would involve putting a rush on the parts and manufacturing and asking someone we do not know well to carry a 4’x4’x1’ 50lb package as excess baggage half way across the world.

We ended up create a Plan D.  We worked with Kevin and his vendor, but we ordered and paid for the parts directly.  Great for two reasons.  (1) we got miles using our credit card and (2) we did not have to pay Kevin 10% to do this for us.  We will pay Kevin to be our shipping agent and to help us get the package through customs, but that fee is only $45.    Funny though, the fees (shipping, customs, and NHYS) will cost almost as much as the parts and manufacturing.

Rigging Only

Wow, I have forgotten how easy it is to work with American companies.  Please do not take the customer service you receive on a day to day basis for granted!  We emailed all of the specs, reconfirmed all of the part numbers, and called them to make the payment.  They received all parts the next day, manufactured our martingale and got it in Fedex by end of that same day!

Now, it is just a waiting game.  We have set up notifications to get alerts on the status of the package.  All said and good, but to be honest, once it arrives in Tahiti it could sit in customs for weeks.

Shipping

We scheduled automatic updates with FedEx which sometimes worked and sometimes didn’t.  Luckily, we were in a wifi zone and could constantly check the website for updates.  It left the shop in MA on Thursday and arrived in San Francisco on Friday.  On Saturday it was in Hawaii.  Then it traveled to Australia on Sunday (which is technically their Monday).  From Australia it went to New Zealand here it sat for 2 days.  Then it arrived in Tahiti on Wednesday.  It was cleared out of customs by Thursday night (yep, can you believe it?).  And finally, in our hot little hands by Friday afternoon!

Our package arrives

Our package arrives

Must admit that it looked too short once we opened the box.  I was hyperventilating.  

Martingale all wrapped up

Martingale all wrapped up

It looked way to short, but thankfully it wasn’t.  I think I am manufacturing issues in my head.

Measuring out the new martingale

Measuring out the new martingale

Matt had to secure the mast to ensure it would move or do anything stupid like fall over. He then carefully removed his safety line across the bow sprit that was used as a secondary martingale.  Then he created a tension line from bow to bow to see how the tension changed on the bow as we released the martingale.

Tension Line

Tension Line

Removing the Damaged Martingale

It is a process removing the old martingale.  After we secured the main, Matt began the process of removing the old martingale.  First, he removed the two screws from the center.

Removal of screws

Removal of screws

Next, he loosened the turnbuckle (port) using two large wrenches.  He did not remove it, just loosened it so that he could remove the pin on the opposite side.

Loosening the turnbuckle

Loosening the turnbuckle

Next, he removed the cotter pin, which held in the pin inside the toggle.  We had to be very, very careful not to drop the pin over board as it is the only one that fits our hole.  You see, when we replaced the martingale in St. Maartin, they realized that the new pin was too large for our existing hole.  So, they just re-used the old pin.  Not a big deal.  It looks a little small inside the hole on the toggle, but fits perfectly inside the hole on the boat. 

Removal of the cotter pin

Removal of the cotter pin

Once the toggle and pin were removed, he went back to the turnbuckle and removed it.  It is a left-hand thread on the left side and a right-hand thread to the martingale.  Which is why we could not use the one that Mat Rigging suggested which was a left-hand thread.  It would have been two left-hand threads into the turnbuckle which would not work.

Installing the New Martingale

Wow, Matt made this look so easy.  He squirted some tef gel into the hole where the pin goes.  It is made of aluminum and the pin is stainless.  The tef gel prevents corrosion.  The pin slid in nicely and in goes the cotter pin.  One side done.

Inserting the new cotter pin and main pin

Inserting the new cotter pin and main pin

Next Matt humored me by allowing me to rotate the turn buckle to tighten the martingale.  It was all easy peazy with the tef gel on but once we passed that mark it got really hard.  So, Matt took over with the two large wrenches.  Tighten until the tension line returns to its previous state, test the martingale, tighten, rinse and repeat until we get the tension just right.  Matt then screwed in the turnbuckle so it would not move or rotate while the rig is under pressure.

Tightening the Turnbuckle

Tightening the Turnbuckle

Put the screws back on the top to secure the center.

Screws go back in place

Screws go back in place

And final step, close off the cotter pin to ensure the pin does not go anywhere. The ends are curled up preventing it from escaping through the hole.  If the cotter pin comes out then the main pin holding the starboard toggle can come out.  So, a secure cotter pin is best.  The white gook is the tef gel.

Cotter pin secured

Cotter pin secured

New martingale installed

Martingale installed

Martingale installed

Old vs new near the swage mark at the turnbuckle

Old vs new cable

Old vs new cable

 

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