Soft Shackles

Soft Shackle made, ready to attach.


Earlier, I replaced the old Main and Jib Halyards with new ones made of Dyneema. Very nice. They’re slippery through the blocks and feel good in the hand. The first time I raised the Main, though, it was obvious the eye and carabiner arrangement, thrown together so quickly, was sub-optimal. Their combined length made the sail stop several inches short of fully raised. This left the sail hanging too long down at the deck – there was not enough sail track on the mast to pull the luff nice and tight. It worked, but not right.

Fixing it creates an opportunity to try something new – a Soft Shackle.

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Third Sail ~ Irvington, Virginia & Rappahannock River

Sailing out into the Rappahannock River 


Doug and his family have only been back in Virginia from California a week – or rather, he’s been a back a whole week – so it was high time to go sailing.







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Second Sail ~ Parrotts Creek

 T takes in the view on Parrotts Creek


The first time in the new old boat was just a taste. The original sails were too far gone to do much good. With Pete’s help, just finding that out, and that the boat would float (and still take on water), was progress.

The next time, on the Chickahominy with the newer good sails, told me more. Once away from the dock I found jib halyard was tangled. Since I was sailing alone I didn’t feel comfortable going forward to free it, so sailed again with the main only. This, too, was progress. I learned that within reasonable bounds I could easily handle the boat alone, and the newer sails make an amazing difference.

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Deltaville Maritime Museum ~ Chesapeake Float 2016

 John England’s Chesapeake Deadrise under construction.


The rain moved in overnight. However, “rain” does not adequately convey the phenomenon of water falling from the sky at the rate of 3 inches an hour. It’s like there’s a crew overhead bailing out the clouds with 5 gallon buckets.

Good news is the boom tent is keeping the interior dry. So there’s that. People slowly venture out in foulies and wellies, collect on the front porch of the old store with hot coffee to watch.

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Morning at Freeport Landing ~ Chesapeake Float 2016

direct Youtube link 


Some video from the first morning. Land critters raising a ruckuss, and some seafaring riffraff return. It’s pretty rough; wanted to get it posted before leaving town for a couple of days.

Kevin B thought it was hilarious when I told him about the rooster. In the video you’ll hear why I wasn’t laughing.




Chesapeake Float 2016 ~ Mermaids, Crabs and Other Edible Fishes


Still more to do on the Lightning before she could sail. Raising sails for only the second time, for instance, it became clear the halyards were going to be a problem. While attending to that I broke a few more things, so had to fix those, too.

Like other older racing boats, Lightnings have two-part halyards. The half you haul away on is conventional line, fat and comfortable in the hand. The other half is thin wire. The idea is when fully raised and cleated off it’s mostly the wire under tension, which doesn’t stretch much. Makes sense: Set it once and it’s good for the day.

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Chesapeake Float 2016 ~ Cocks Crow

 Sunrise at Freeport Landing


Dawn is very noisy. There’s a rooster. A rooster very near, like next to my head. The sun is barely up, and he is hard at work. Also, something else making a racket I can’t quite place. A sheep? No sleeping through it, rise and shine.








Lightning #2833 with the boom tent

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