Friday, February 26, 2010

Masts - the most popular spars in the Dockyard

Since the spar team has set out to laminate a lightweight mast for the Monomoy, we've had a lot of activity and discussion regarding these most essential of spars. And hey, what's not to love about masts? They are the basic facilitators of the back, arm and upper body fatigue preventing devices known as "sailing rigs" - something all oarsmen should be grateful for. From the technologically evolved to the most simplistic, there are a myriad variety with different uses, applications and methods of construction.

The most basic mast in the inventory is a "stand by" mast for the Monomoy which is made from a solid piece of Northern White Cedar. 15' 6" long and weighing in at 69 lbs, it is a force to be reckoned with. Honestly, I hope it becomes something else because the behemoth seems way too massive. But the numbers check out, so for now it is in reserve. Production was exceedingly simple - the spar crew went out behind the lofting bay, into the woods, selected the live tree of the correct size, then proceeded to chop it down. Still green, the tree was then stripped of branches and bark, and otherwise cleaned up. And while there hasn't been much in the way of shaping done, I'd wager it wouldn't take long to fit to the step.

The most advanced mast in the inventory is the primary mast for the same boat. Also 15' 6" long, it weighs in at just 22 lbs. The number crunching reveals only a negligible decrease in strength over a solid spar. Of course, between procuring choice lumber - all select pine - cutting, milling and planing the staves, scarphing, and laminating the mast, there are probably more than 50 man hours invested so far. So not as quick, but worth it if you have the time.

On a side note, the mast for the 24-foot Launch will be much larger and stouter than the Monomoy's - so that's something to look forward to (yikes!).

Of interest to the carpenter's crew - the fitting of the halyard sheave in the top of the mast is coming along - expect that to start soon. Parts are already spinning and chopping in the back - yes I can hear you back there and I know what you're up to. That's what I do.


Side note - whoever is leaving coffee cups on my bench should know that I keep spilling boat soup in them. So no, that's not the coffee made badly, that's pine tar. Just sayin.


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