Soft Shackles

Soft Shackle made, ready to attach.


Earlier, I replaced the old Main and Jib Halyards with new ones made of Dyneema. Very nice. They’re slippery through the blocks and feel good in the hand. The first time I raised the Main, though, it was obvious the eye and carabiner arrangement, thrown together so quickly, was sub-optimal. Their combined length made the sail stop several inches short of fully raised. This left the sail hanging too long down at the deck – there was not enough sail track on the mast to pull the luff nice and tight. It worked, but not right.

Fixing it creates an opportunity to try something new – a Soft Shackle.

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Third Sail ~ Irvington, Virginia & Rappahannock River

Sailing out into the Rappahannock River 


Doug and his family have only been back in Virginia from California a week – or rather, he’s been a back a whole week – so it was high time to go sailing.







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Second Sail ~ Parrotts Creek

 T takes in the view on Parrotts Creek


The first time in the new old boat was just a taste. The original sails were too far gone to do much good. With Pete’s help, just finding that out, and that the boat would float (and still take on water), was progress.

The next time, on the Chickahominy with the newer good sails, told me more. Once away from the dock I found jib halyard was tangled. Since I was sailing alone I didn’t feel comfortable going forward to free it, so sailed again with the main only. This, too, was progress. I learned that within reasonable bounds I could easily handle the boat alone, and the newer sails make an amazing difference.

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My Kingdom for a Winch (Wench?)

 Re-rounded winch drum, with new Amsteel Dyneema cable and thimble.


Sunshine and temps in the mid 60s today are a welcome reprieve from snow, which is mostly gone now. A great little window for attending to a couple of things on the new old Lightning. I had intended to raise the mast to see how that works and to assess the rigging (which actually looks relatively new). That will have to wait for another day – I got distracted by the malfunctioning centerboard winch.

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New Year, New Old Boat ~ Return to Edenton

Lightning #2833, in transit 


I had a whole week to reconsider. I don’t know with any certainty what shape the boat is actually in, and won’t until I get it back and can crawl all over it, inside and out, poking every potential rot spot with a sharp screwdriver. That much is still unknown. But I can do some research in the meantime.

Of course, I come across some very exciting video online. This one is three fellows in Greece flying along on a crazy fast plane in 25kts of wind:



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New Year, New Old Boat ~ East of Edenton

 Lightning #2833 afloat earlier this year


The day after New Year’s, T and I got up in the cold dark and started a four hour drive, heading east toward Edenton, North Carolina. We’re going to see about a boat.

By sunrise, we’re in peanut country, south of the James. Cotton, a little sorghum, but mostly peanuts. Broad, flat, brown fields leading up to small towns clustered around silos and a train depot, a single stoplight maybe. The other side of town, more fields and more fields. Then a blackwater swamp of Tupelo and Cypress – a natural border, the margin between towns – then the cycle starts again. Disputanta (there’s got to be an interesting story behind the name) and the three W’s of Waverly, Wakefield and Windsor.




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