View from the upper spreader before we started work on the rigging

Well we are back in Canoe Cove once again – it’s a long story. A couple of months ago our insurance company enquired if we were planning to have a new rigging inspection carried out. This was a good reminder as our rigging is fifteen years old and could be considered to be in its “dotage”. We had found no apparent signs of wear and tear but arranged an inspection by Port Townsend Rigging while we were there.


Canoe Cove marina from Distant Drummer at anchor in the bay

We were somewhat dissatisfied with their report however it did underscore to us that we should replace the rigging in the next year or so because of its age, and it flagged that corrosion at the spreader tips needed to be attended to. We discussed it with local sailors during the CCA rally and decided to come back to Blackline in Canoe Cove. Their rigging shop has three of the best riggers in PNW, we knew them from our previous stay and they were amenable for us to do most of the dismantling and reinstallation ourselves.


Neil unbolting the starboard lower spreader

For the first week we stayed out on anchor in the bay. The weather was lovely – sunny with blue skies and not much wind – perfect for going up the mast. We were a little trepiditious about tackling the rigging but our friends Paul and Sharon on Midnight Sun had re-rigged their ketch themselves while on anchor here back in February. They had freezing rain and snow to contend with so at least we were working in much better weather conditions.


Me seizing the wires with tarred seine twine – ahar me hearties!

We worked out a plan with Brent from Blackline; the first order of business was to remove the cap shrouds and intermediate shrouds (which support the mast laterally) followed by the spreaders. We secured the mast with the spinnaker halyards, loosened the shrouds then Neil went aloft, undid the bolts and lowered them on to the deck. We labelled everything so we knew what was what then took them in to the rigging shop for a bit of TLC.


Neil attaching the tangs to the lower shrouds

Blackline replaced the wires and checked that all the tangs, bolts, turnbuckles and pins (the attachment bits – my nautical speak is coming along well!) were in good condition. Once we polished them up they were as good as new! They did some remedial work to the spreaders then we were ready to re- assemble and refit, reversing the steps for taking them down. It all went well – stage one done!


Me sewing hanks on to the stay sail. We normally hoist it vertically.


Removing and re-installing the lower shrouds and inner forestay went without a hitch then we moved in to the marina for the final stage. We dropped one of the backstays, the other had been replaced in NZ when we fitted a new SSB antenna. The forestay has a roller furler which needed to be lowered on to the dock. Serge from Blackline had it down in a jiffy and into the rigging shop to be re-wired and checked over. We had it back up that evening and Serge returned the next morning to tension up the rig. Ten days and job done!


Wildflowers and driftwood on Gouge Island look like a memorial stone

Sorry if that was a bit too much nautical for you! Probably best if I don’t go into details about sewing the hanks on the staysail and welding the clutch nut on the anchor windlass – we’ve been busy. Having said that, it’s been fun exploring some of the local islands in the dinghy which we never got a chance to do last winter. We found a lovely track for a walk around nearby Goudge Island, it was a beautiful sun dappled afternoon and the wild flowers were in bloom – superb!


Back together with our cruising friends who spent winter on the hard in Canoe Cove

We also had a get together with two of the other boat crews who over wintered in Canoe Cove. By pure coincidence Anne and Michael on Nimue sailed in and two days later Mary Alice and Brian on Shibui dropped the anchor. A great excuse for a pot luck on board Distant Drummer. It was lovely to catch up with old friends again.

Now we really are waiting for a weather window to head south to California – yay!


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