With spring weather giving record high temperatures (forecast for higher temps. than for most days in June, 15 to 19 degrees) the blood is running in my veins like sap in the maples.  I paid a visit to Ebony in her winter quarters last week and have started my pre-launch task list. This is the first full year that I have had the boat and there is an accumulation of things  have noticed in the last season’s sailing that really must be dealt with before Ebony goes in the water this year.  None is fatal to the enjoyment of sailing but all should be attended to sometime.

  • Replace running rigging – The previous owner overbuilt everything and the halyards are a good example. He had 7/16″ or 1/2″ lines which could hardly fit through the rope clutches. They also seem to have been on the boat for 8-10 years.  I have ordered halyards from Cajun Ropes  at 3/8′  which still have 4700 lbs breaking strength and which will be much easier to handle. They also have eyes and fitting spliced in. 
  • Replace pulpit bases – These have corroded and cracked and while they appear to be holding do not give confidence. I have the new bases and will have to fit them into place. Getting the old ones out will, I expect, be a bugger but my intention is to see if it can be done without removing the entire pulpit.
  • Replace mast-head fitting.  With the addition of the VHF aerial, masthead light, spinnaker block  and windex the top of the mast was a little crowded.  Former owner bolted on a piece of 1.5″ angle iron which holds all the extras but has corroded and looks like hell.  I will be using the same design but  replacing the angle iron with aluminium.
  • Find that bloody deck leak – Somehow, somewhere water is getting into the area below the sink. It is fresh water and so I know it is not coming in through the thruhull but rather from the deck. There are no evident spots but there is a gap somewhere.  The volume is not very much and so it is not a worry but it is an irritant – just enough to have to sponge out once a week or so.
  • Rig a traveller – Last fall I experimented with a traveller for the mainsheet block  to better tune the rig.  I need to further refine it and I bought a couple of small fiddle blocks and clam cleats which should allow an infinite amount of tweaking.
  • Mount the winch handle holder – The current resting place for the winch handle – the little box locker in the port side of the cockpit just isn’t practical  and I have purchased a winch handle holder which should be much easier to get at.
  • Re–wire the charger on the outboard. – With increased plans for cruising I would be nice to be able to top up the battery, especially if I am using the autohelm a lot, and I am sure that the little solar panel really won’t do the job.

That’s one list of one-time things.  Then there’s the other list – all the things that have to be done every year to get ready for launch. a longer list perhaps, but one that has a real sense of accomplishment.

By the end of this week almost all the snow will be gone and the ice will be out of the harbour. Can launch day be far behind?

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