By midnight on Sunday my new yard is ready to go. She has been fashioned by Opinel, rasped and sanded but she maintains a very rustic appearance. I have made her more robust than the original yard as I feel it is inevitable that she will be stood on. I apply 2 coats of wood treater stuff and then 2 coats of varnish. It takes forever for each coat to dry and I pace up and down the beach kicking conch shells and watching the sunset.
I apply the last coat of varnish at midnight and er go to bed.
At 7:00 this morning, I bend the sail to the new yard. It all seems to fit.
So, off I go under a very pleasant breeze. I keep an eagle eye on the rig anticipating I know not what but doubting and fearing. It is a glorious day, I am on vacation and heading straight out to Ie-jima.
I sail out a few miles with the Scaffie demonstrating her wonderful seaworthiness. She is very dry, meaning waves do not crash over her bows and dump themselves into the boat. She diplomatically shrugs them off. Actually, there are no waves to speak of but there are occasional gusts. She does not heel dramatically but just tightens up all round and goes faster.
I am determined to get the sail as high as possible and having sailed back to the mooring, I start to rejig. I redesign the system for connecting the main sheet to the yard using a tight harness made from wire and attaching the sheet using an anchor hitch rather that the original bowline. I also strengthen the lashings to the throat and peak of the sail. I take her out for another major sail.
Overall, thanks to the new horse set up and new yard, the sail is much higher than in the last 2 years. The power increase is er significant. Honest. Anyway, as I write this I feel the exquisite pain of mild sunburn, general exposure and weariness that comes from a day out on the East China Sea.