Spring Rig

OMG, Sailormads is writing a blog about a boat?! NEVER!

Exuma has been in Port Solent over winter so that we could plug her into the shore power and run a heater and dehumidifier, and do a bit of work. Quite a bit of work needed doing to the sails, covers, spray hood and dodgers, so they all came off at the end of last year and were sent to Master Covers to be laundered and repaired. We took that opportunity to take out all the sheets and halyards and they all got labelled up and put in the washing machine. So we now have lots of sweet smelling sails, covers and ropes, which aren’t a uniform shade of green any more! :O This weekend was our last weekend at Port Solent so we had to move, a busy weekend was just waiting for us!

We left Friday lunchtime and it was quite sunny in Wantage. We passed through some rain on the way down but by the time we got to Portsmouth it was sunny intervals again. There was hardly a breathe of wind which was perfect for hanking on the genoa. I think that must be the only time a sailor wants no wind at all! The boat looked quite naked when we arrived – all white desks and silver mast, not a hint of blue in sight!


Naked boat and lots of colourful ropes to go on…

The first job was to attach the dodgers. These are canvas panels displaying the boats name which attach to the guard rails at the sides of the boat. We had these from when we bought the boat but they were a bit smelly and damaged and we never put them on, so now they had been cleaned and repaired we could attach them. The proper way to do this is to lace them on with some cord but as this is a bit of a faff we use cable ties ;-) Think she looked quite smart afterwards and it was nice to get a bit of colour back on her!


The next bit was the spray hood. Again, we had had it cleaned and repaired as some of the stitching on the clear plastic panels was starting to come undone. I had had a go at cleaning the soft leather on the hand rail which came out well but still needs another going over – a job for next time I think! We folded the spray hood down at first to keep it out of the way but then decided it might as well go up. The only issue with this is that it got in the way quite a bit when we were working on the boom – I guess we’ll remember next year!


Dad set me the job of finding the genoa (the sail at the front of the boat) while he wound on the furling line. Turns out that’s quite hard because both sails look very similar when they are folded up and in the bags that my dad’s friend kindly lent us! Then it turned out that dad had wound the furling line on the wrong way so we had to take it off and put it back on again – and easy mistake to make when you’re trying to work out which way it will turn the drum when pulled and which way that will make the sail roll in! We had to attach the genoa halyard which is used to pull the sail up – it goes from the sail down the inside of the mast and then cleats off. We had used cord to run inside the mast so that we could just attach this to the genoa line and pull it through the mast. We realised that one of the cords from the back of the mast had become caught round the deck light on the front above the spreaders, so there was no way that any amount of flapping would get it out. So dad’s serious suggestion was that I go part way up the mast in the bosun’s chair, untangle it and come back down again…. It’s funny what fear can make you think of because it was then that I thought to use another cord to flick it away from the deck light and it worked! :-) So I didn’t have to do any aerial acrobatics this time. We successfully hoisted the genoa and furled it around the pole and the drum so that was one sail sorted! We decided to call it a night and get some dinner after we had attached the main halyard. Here’s a picture of the mast with all of the cords coming out of it to run the ropes back up! Lots of colourful bits of string…


And here’s a picture of Bramble sitting on the deck enjoying the sunshine!


I geniusly managed to slice my finger open when we were feeding the genoa in – but who needs a plaster when you’ve got kitchen towel and electrical tape?!? ;)


Today we went for a wander to the harbour hamster’s office to tell them we were leaving and to buy a new gas bottle as ours had run out. Then we went and looked at the tide over the harbour wall and saw that it was out, and that there was a barge dredging the channel. There was also a Sunsail racing boat who was doing some pretty interesting movements – although I’m not sure they were intentional! We watched a little while, while some boats came out of the lock to see what the barge did. It was basically a bit of a shambles with boats every where going backwards and suddenly having to come alongside the holding pontoon with no fenders! Not a pretty sight! Here’s a very short video of the big red barge and the digger, digging the sticky black mud from the channel.


We had to put the mainsail on today by which time there was a bit of wind and it was threatening to rain. The mainsail was a lot harder to put on because we had to attach it to the mast and the boom, whilst putting the batons in it. The sail cover went on next and the lazy jacks which support it seemed to have shrunk since last time and it was quite a stretch to get them attached again! We couldn’t put the reefing lines in as one of the blocks on the sail was broken, so we took them both out to replace and hadn’t managed to get replacements yet.


Here’s a picture of the mast with the blue sail covers on, and some of the ropes.

Moving the boat meant dad and I on the boat and mum and Holly taking the car round to pick us up at Gosport. To get out of Port Solent you have to go through a lock and as it was low tide this meant we went down. Tackling the lock with just 2 people was quite exciting and I managed to open my finger up again which bled everywhere and was yummy. But we managed and let the other boat that was in there with us out first – after all we knew what was out there – the dredger ;-) Turned out that the dredger wasn’t even there then :P

We found our swinging mooring and picked up that bouy like a pro – if I say so myself… ;) It was covered in smelly seaweed which was gross! I had to take my gloves home to clean. We then got the water taxi back to the pontoon and went home :-)


Bye-bye boaty! Exuma on her swinging mooring


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