Monday, March 1, 2010

If at first you don't succeed, break out the boarding axes

This morning I've been in a zone I've not found myself in for quite some time. After five weeks of steady work to produce the mast for the Monomoy, it failed the stress test - with horrific results. The 16' mast was rigged and sent through its paces - first compression testing proved satisfactory. Then it was rigged for an analysis of bending stress. At just over 200 lbs applied to the center, a sickening crack resounded in the lofting bay. A laminated joint had failed, causing it to separate and the forward three staves to spring. The finished mast needed to withstand 220 lbs of force at the center - not that much strain, considering that it equates to me sitting on the center of the mast supported at each end. Thirty seconds after the failure, boarding axes were swinging and the test rig had been cut away. The spar team then forged ahead with full axes, reducing the abominable failure to splinters in about three minutes flat. Axes stowed, and one or two beers later, the spar team was brainstorming ways to produce a new mast - that will pass structural testing - in less than a week.

I am officially joining the spar team for the remainder of the week to get this thing knocked out. We have one fifth the time to accomplish this task, and less than half the budget. We may admit defeat, but we must never give up. After all, we can lose the battle, but still win the war.


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