July 27 – Splash down. Re-fit continues. Portland, Maine

Jul 28, 2023

Sparrow¬†went back into the water two days ago on July 25. For those keeping score at home, that’s a bit less than a month in the shed. We were mostly just doing the bottom job and the vinyl wrap, but of course there were several other jobs taken on during this time as well. A small fiberglass repair in the bottom of the hull, some glass repairs and fairing on the topsides, a bit of cockpit and deck paint, keel fairing repairs… the list goes on. But for the most part, a relatively smooth and drama-free bottom job on an older Open 50. I applied 3 coats of Sea Hawk BioCop TF paint to the bottom and 4 coats of SeaHawk ColorKote to the foils, in red. Using sponsored paint and supplies from West Marine and handling most of the labor and prep/ painting work myself, I was able to keep to a very tight budget during our haul-out. I’m not sure exactly what the final bill will be, including yard time and labor that was hired out, but it should be quite manageable, and wayyy cheaper than just dropping the boat off at the yard and paying retail. Thanks again to West Marine and Maine Yacht Center for all of their aloha during the haul out.

Sparrow being re-launched at Maine Yacht Center

The mast work and rigging is also coming right along. We basically didn’t do any work to the mast, aside from the fact that i’m having two rope clutches added to the starboard side, where there are currently none. I explored the idea of adding another fractional halyard to the mast and also another winch to the mast, but these were deemed to be pretty major projects, and would require some serious engineering and a great deal of expense and time. It wasn’t within my scope or MYC’s to handle these projects right now. Jay Maloney and his associate Mike have helped turn our rigging around and they even brought on Hayn as an official campaign sponsor to kick in some rigging components and reduce my bill significantly. So a huge thanks for that. Basically, we replaced all of the rod rigging. Two shrouds that were replaced by the same riggers a year ago were cut down and re-headed, or effectively recycled as well. So two of my shrouds have 5,000 miles and 1 year on them, but new heads. Additionally, a lot of the parts in the rigging (tip cups, etc) were re-used as there simply isn’t time to get those done right now. For their part however, those components were non-destructively tested (NDT) and deemed to be healthy, and thus were re-used. Jay Maloney and Mike have a long-established reputation here in New England and work closely with MYC, and i’m happy with their work thus far, and it gives me a greater deal of confidence to push the boat and the rig a bit harder than previously, when I was rolling on rod that was who-knows-how-old. As for the mast, I had a rigger from MYC go through it and everything was deemed to look pretty good. There are still some maintenance jobs to address, but the rig should be ready to step next Tuesday morning

Sparrow’s new rod rigging being installed today.

As well as the bottom job, vinyl wrap and rigging work, we are also undertaking some other jobs. I just installed new running lights on the bow and stern today and re-installed the bow pulpit, one stern pulpit, mast step, sheet bags and more. I also installed the radar cable into the mast. I have installed a new radar on the boat after the Furuno unit stopped working at the start of my qualifier. West Marine doesn’t sell Furuno, and so my most cost effective option was to use some of my West Marine budget to acquire a new B&G dome which will work with my B&G chart plotter. This is ultimately more streamlined and lighter than having a separate radar and chartplotter, and so that is a win. Also, we still need to install the new NKE GyroPilot 3 autopilot computer. The other major project will be to add the entire new charging system, and possibly a wind generator. The charging system consists of new Lithium batteries, an advanced Battery Management system and a new alternator and regulator for that.

Lots of work going on on the boat right now, and it’s full-on boat work until we’re ready to sail again, and then until we leave for Spain. Still hoping to find a title sponsor, and have had some traction and energy on that front, so we’ll see what happens. If you are interested in joining this campaign, please feel free to email me at ronniesimpsonracing@gmail.com