Friday, February 14, 2014

San Diego: painted, biked, ruddered

        I touched up a few spots on the rub rails and the mainsheet bridge, then biked over to Mission Beach.  This was my first time this visit over the Mission Bay bridge from which Steve Earley took the photo of GANNET.  Hardly the Tour de France in the Pyrenees; but I was riding a one speed to windward.  Made it.  Easier coming back with a full backpack, but downwind.
        Back in the Great Cabin I completed the order with Rudder Craft for an emergency rudder.  This is the same firm, located curiously in Idaho, beautiful country but hardly a hub of marine industry, from which I bought GANNET’s tiller.
        They are a pleasure to work with; and if they make anything you need, you should.
        I emailed detailed questions and received a prompt and useful response, which convinced me to buy the less expensive of their two options.  Strength and weight are said to be comparable, but one costs half as much as the other.  The reason being that they build hundreds of them as stock; and only a few of the others on a custom basis.  How many builders will clearly explain why you should give them less money?
        The rudder will have to be positioned off the center line because of the backstay, which is not a problem.  When not in use, only the two gudgeons will be on the transom.
        A reasonable question is that if GANNET’s transom needed reinforcing for a self-steering vane, why does it not for an emergency rudder?  The answer is that a self-steering vane would be flexing the transom for tens of thousands of miles; an emergency rudder for probably much less than a thousand.  In an emergency, GANNET will just have to put up with that.
        One of the most famous lines in 20th Century poetry is from Yeats’, The Second Coming,’:  the center cannot hold.  I’ve written before:  at times at sea the center has to hold.  And the center is the sailor as well as the boat.
        I’ve never carried an emergency rudder before, although on CHIDIOCK TICHBORNE, whose rudder was a simple steel plate that dropped through a slot near the stern, I did carry a spare.  
        In some ways GANNET will be the best prepared boat I’ve ever taken to sea.