Maskwa Crew and Friends,
The Spring is rapidly creeping up on us. A few slaps here and there are still in the winds, but it will be great sailing weather soon. I hope everyone has been working out to increase the appropriate sailing muscles (this includes the glass to mouth coordination) and reading their favorite tactics and sail trim books.
We ended the season with two firsts in the shortened Tri-State race. Some practice before the races and we should be able to have some first place finishes early in the season as well.
I have been working on various items on the boat. The cabin sole is again refinished awaiting for the first dropped winch handles and sailbags to initiate the new finish with some additional dents and scratches.
The high tech clutch for the jib halyard has been rebuilt for the fourth time. The mechanism however, is completely different from the original design and required removal of the clutch from the cabin top for replacement. Spinlock has hopefully finally solved the problem of slippage. The main halyard clutch will be rebuilt using the last old style clutch innards and replaced with the new type after it begins to slip (about two races??) .
Sails are being evaluated at UK. Nothing decided on replacements. After all, it is tax time.
The rudder was removed and I have been working with C&C to minimize play in the rudder which has been present since the boat was launched. The bearings are self aligning both top and bottom. The steering quadrants had a great deal of a gray sludge material coming from the top bearing. This appears to have been junk from the time of construction. The top bearing was difficult to remove and was not self aligning due to the dirtiness preventing any rotation. It took some effort, but the top and the bottom bearing are now both very clean, coated with McLube and ready for duty. Measurements of the rudder stock indicated the play was from a possible incorrect specification of the bearings. C&C provided some rudder tape to increase the diameter of the rudder sleeve and this will hopefully reduce or eliminate the rudder play. For those who have ventured down the lazarette to the steering quadrant, the gaiter which keeps the water out, had two large tears. A replacement is supposed to be on the way. A second gaiter will also be obtained as a backup.
Other various minor repairs have been completed or in progress.
The big question is when will we wash, polish and prepare MASKWA for the season. My schedule has been rather unsettled and I apologize for not setting dates sooner. However, the following are the days which will be scheduled for boat prep. This weekend both Sat and Sun (9 and 10 April) and next Sat (17 April) will be the possible dates. I would prefer to get as much done this weekend as possible. It will take less time if we can have several people on one day and some follow-up people on the second date.
So who can volunteer for the days above? Please let me and Scott know so I can plan the projects. The first will be washing and waxing the hull. I have already begun sanding the bottom, the rudder is finished and the keel is half completed. I would like to paint the bottom no later than 17 April. Of course it requires someone who likes to get dirty to assist me in sanding the bottom.
I will be inspecting and working on the mast during the week of 25 to 29 April. If anyone has some free time to help wax and build out the mast, it is a good time to learn what is way up there in the air. Let me know.
The next big date is launch and departure for Burnham. Launch is on Thursday 28 April, departure is Sunday 1 May.
My hands are blistered, my airways clogged with grit, but my smile grows daily as departure gets closer. I look forward to seeing everyone on a regular basis as the sailing begins.