Part 9 – Spars

After completing the hull, it was time to work on the spars.

The Sikkens stain system used proved to be as successful in a salt water environment on Zephyrus that it was in a fresh water environment on Sinner, our Wayfarer at the time. I found this system in Classic Boat as part of their testing programme and it proved to be one of the most successful and one of the cheapest. The only drawback is that it does not keep its shine as well as a traditional varnish, that said the easiness of maintenance and its longevity compensate for this.

On the mast and the boom, I touched up where the wood seemed to be exposed for small areas, for larger areas, I reapplied the 3 coat system (3 x Novatech with a denib between coat 2 and 3 – as a note it is the same system on the hull bright work except that the third coat is replaced by Novatop which provides more lasting sheen).

The spinnaker pole was quite big and heavy and had one end with a significantly bigger diameter than the other. I decided to make it a two inches diameter pole on its full length so it had to be thinned, therefore the full three coat system was used.

In addition to the coating, in terms of work and changes from last season, I did the following:

On the mast, from the top:
1.Straighten the burgee pole which I bent early on last season as can be seen on most of the pictures taken and I added a new Windex.
2.Refurbished the spreaders including the spreader’s anchors. I also painted the top of the spreaders white to protect them against the sun as one of them had suffered last season (one of Chris’ tip) and I reinstated the leather spreader boots.
3.Commissioned new lower shrouds as the old ones showed signs of tiredness beyond safety and repair.
4.Added a new mast boot
5.Silicone rubber band and rope protection around the mast where it goes though the deck.

On the boom:
1.I moved the cleat for the outhaul, which used to be on the starboard side of the boom, to under the boom for better access on both tacks. The potential issue being that the rope may chafe the coating during the season.
2.Polished all the brass work and checked the roller reefing system.

On the pole:
1.I put new claws on. One of the claws was beyond repair so I used the opportunity to change them both, at the same time that I was changing the pole diameter, to claws which are easier to lock onto the mast D ring using a simple push action without the need to make sure the claw is open. (Bronze claws would have been nicer but are rather unaffordable)
2.I also changed the uphaul from a rope one to a rope/bungee one in order to ease the pole set up for the crew. As a note, Zephyrus only has a downhaul adjustment, the uphaul being fixed to the mast. The downhaul passes through one of the deck fairlead at the bottom of the mast, the pole being kept forward by the use of barber haulers rather than a forward deck fairlead.

The pictures below illustrate all this.

Finally, the numbers:

I reckon that over the past six months or so, I have spent 350 hours on Zephyrus, excluding Chris’ hours, so an improvement on last year’s 500 hours. I achieved this by working only one of the two days during the weekends and still doing around 10 hours during the week in the evening. I am hoping that next year this will drop to 200 hours which I think is what is needed to keep at the top of everything for a boat like a Gareloch OD.
The costs this year amounted to around £2,500 (Don’t tell Barbara!). Again, I have ordered everything on line and the cost of shipping amounted to about 6% of the value of the purchased items. Online shopping offers great saving opportunity if you are prepared to spend the hours comparing and shopping around and if you are organised enough to minimise shipping.

My main suppliers were:

  • Toplicht for classic chandlery, especially tufnol blocks (keep an eye on the exchange rate and be aware that whereas they say that they pay for the cost of returns, they only do it in Germany, so make sure you order the right size!),
  • Classic Marine for ropes and some materials like the brass band,
  • Seaware for fastenings, they do not always have the size you want but they will substitute for the same price.
  • Marinesuperstore for paints,
  • Toolstation and DecoratingDirect for consumables,
  • eBay for bits and pieces – to note, the auctioning this year was not as successful as last year,
  • Jimmy Green for the shrouds.

I am now looking forward to the new sailing season which with the 90th Anniversary celebration looks very exciting.

Again I would like to thank Chris Ings for his support and advice and all the owners (current and previous) with whom I have been able to exchange views and ideas on how to go about the job.

This completes another winter work programme (next winter programme is already building up: floor, seating, cabin,…) with the launch made Good Friday. Zephyrus is now on her mooring, and by the look of it, she may be the first Gareloch out there this year.

Fair wind,

PS: In the previous instalment, in one the photos, under cover, there is my 1957 Lambretta LD Mk III scooter which is now up for sale to keep financing Zephyrus restoration. If you know someone interested, please let me know.