2015 – Late October

With the bowsprit mounted to the boat we could finish the summer’s rigging project and get under way. The next steps are to attach the bobstay, and then the forestay.

The bobstay is a heavy steel cable that runs from the waterline below the bow, up to the end of the bowsprit and serves to counteract the upward force on the bowsprit caused by the forestay, which in itself helps to keep the mast from falling over backwards. Without the bobstay holding the bowsprit down, the force on the sails, and therefore the force on the forestay, could bend the bowsprit or even rip it off the boat.

The bobstay was disconnected when we removed the bowsprit in April and was one of the few pieces of rigging that was deemed appropriate for reuse. It spent some time riding around in the back of the car before being taken to the rigging shop to be stored with the rest of the parts removed from the rig.

At some point in time its whereabouts became unknown. It was likely accidentally recycled along with the rest of the wire rope from our rig.

Without an existing bobstay to simply reattach and tighten, a new one needed to be measured, cut and assembled. The boat was in the water at our “home” marina, at least twenty miles from the rigging shop. This meant scheduling and travel time away from the shop for the rigger to make measurements, and then again to actually replace and adjust the bobstay. Frustratingly, this took longer than expected with unforeseen problems.

On the first drive-by while working on another boat in the area, Brion immediately noticed that the hole for the bobstay attachment on the underside of the bowsprit was in the wrong place. What should’ve been a 3/4 inch hole was swapped in position with a 5/8 inch hole normally used for an anchor snubber. The bobstay fitting would not fit in the 5/8 hole. We rechecked our email to the bowsprit builder and verified that we had specified the holes correctly.

Over the next few days the options were discussed by phone and email, with the decision made to enlarge the 5/8 hole to 3/4 inch.

It took two additional trips from Port Townsend to Port Ludlow to enlarge the hole, two more trips to get the bobstay attached, and another trip to get the forestay, with jib furler, properly attached and adjusted. In total, almost three weeks elapsed from the time the bowsprit was finally bolted to the hull to the time the bobstay and forestay were attached. And the weather window to leave Puget Sound and head south this season is rapidly closing.

At least we have a shiny new bowsprit on the boat for the first time since April, and we can finally get to work installing the new lifelines.Bowsprit rail copyright