Spars & Rigging







                                                                                                    Nov. 2006 - March 2007


After Three-River was taken out of her birth place (my garage), a profession surveyor was hired to give her an full survey, mainly in order to obtain insurance. She passed with flying colors. She was insured for the full assess value and put into winter storage.

The following winter was spent building the spars - all the big 'sticks' namely the main mast, the mizzen mast, the sprit, and boom. All were made from grade A Douglas Fir. The weight is slightly heavier than Sitka Spruce, but much less costly and less prone to rot. I was happy to be able to find top grade 16 feet Dug Fir from a specialty lumber yard nearby, all flawlessly straight-grained and without void.

The spars are all hollow, built with what's known as the 'bird's mouth' arrangement. Eight long staves are cut for each spar. Each stave is shaped with a narrowed end for the taper, and a right-angle notch was cut out. I had to do all these cutting on the open ground at the sailing club, as a space of over 32 feet is needed to run each length through the table saw.

The lumber taken from the lift-frame was used to build a solid jig for the spar-building. The jig has to be perfectly level.


I started with the smallest 'stick' - the mizzen mast, as this was to be a bit of experiment. The staves were first dry-fitted. It looks perfect...


I decided to glue the mast in two steps. First the two halves of 4 staves each were glued, in one step; and then the two halves were glued together. This approach allowed me to reduce the time spent in applying epoxy in step 1, as I was doing it by myself the everything had to be done before the epoxy set. It also allowed me to inspect the to completed halves for any voids, imperfections.


It all went perfectly. Here the mast has been glued together, and the eight corners of the staves are removed with a good old wood plane. Very enjoyable, satisfying work. Eventually the corners are all removed, smoothed, and rounded into a perfectly round mast. The ends of each spar, and every location where hardware is to be mounted, are filled with solid oak inside the spar to provide support for the screws.


Spring of 2007, the completed boat with her sparkling spars:


I had the sails professional made by a local sail loft. The jib is mounted on a bronze furling. Both the jib and mizzen have sacrificial Sunbrella strips.


The main sail has two reef lines, with short battens.


She is now 100% finished, ready for the official launch...


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