Build update, Zenith's History

Dusting off the rig

Things have been quiet on the blog and in the workshop for the past couple of months. With lockdown firmly in place and some superb weather I’ve been getting on with a list of jobs on the house, cars and garden.

There has been some progress on Zenith, I’ve sorted out a launching trolley, the planking repairs are all finished and the splining of the hull complete. I do need to clean the splines up at some point but the hull is ready to be turned over ready for the planking repairs to be nailed – I can do the easier with the hull the right way up. Once the final nailing is done the next job will be to clean up inside the hull, remove the remaining varnish and paint from the bulkheads then paint the inside of the bow and stern tanks and varnish the cockpit section of the hull.

The next part of restoration was to redeck Zenith using Robbins Super Elite plywood. This has been put on hold as lockdown means I obviously can’t travel to Bristol to select the plywood.

I did take the opportunity to finally look at the mast and boom that came with Zenith. She also came with a mainsail, but I’d never checked to see if the sail actually fitted the mast. I knew the sail and boom were correct for the boat but the mast has been stored in the roof of my old workshop and I never had the opportunity to give the rig a decent look.

At least I know now the mast, sail and boom all go together. The sail is cotton and rotten, but at least it will be a template for a new one and once I work out the sail area I can design a jib so the combined sail area will be 10m^2.

The mast is very basic and the fittings are very agricultural. Luckily they were all screwed on using decent brass screws that came out without breaking

The rigging has rusted away, there’s a set of brass spreaders, and the mast also has diamond stays. I’ll have splice new standing rigging in the future.

There’s a sliding gooseneck and a hole through the mast, lined with a bush, just below the gooseneck. I suspect that the mast may have been fitted into a tabernacle at some point and has come from another boat in the distant past.

New mast fittings are going to require some thought, the shrouds and forestay are attached to eye fittings held against the mast with two metal rings and screws. Not ideal.

A look at the sail gives the maker as Lucas & Son, they are still going and are family owned, I’m hoping they may have record of when the sail was made and who the owner was.

There’s a load of work to do on the rig. The mast has been made in two halves and it glued and screwed together. The glue has failed and the screws come out easily so the next job will be to split the mast, clean it up and glue and screw it back together.

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