C'est la Vie is a 1966 Charlie Morgan 34.

Her home port is Everglades City, FL. Our typical cruising area is Southwest Florida, the Florida Keys, the Southeastern Atlantic Seaboard, and the Bahamas. We are C'est la Vie's third owners and purchased her in 2005. We continue to maintain and update this classic vessel. Please post any questions or comments about C'est la Vie or our travels via the comment links below.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Taking it up a notch in the realm of repairs

Confession time - No project I have ever contemplated or undertaken on C'est la Vie has induced the level of intrepidation I face standing upon the starting line of modifying the rig on C'est la Vie.

Are the nebulous physics of the job creating such hesitation.  Really, how does one comprehend 35,000 pounds of pressure - the calculated maximum force placed on the mast step?  What is the best method of addressing the damage to the mast?  Replace, repair, modify?  Will our solution compromise C'est la Vie's performance or our safety?

Is the hesitation born of a sensation that I am manipulating the heart and soul of C'est la Vie.  I had not considered this notion until I removed the mast step.  Staring down at the nub of epoxy exposed by removing the step, I was overcome by a sense that C'est la Vie was now in a fragile state, like a TV scene in which a wounded hero lies motionless in a bed with the heart monitor beeping away.  Fade to heart monitor slowing down.

After collecting too many options, searching for a used mast, and pricing a new rig - ouch; we have decided to cut C'est la Vie's mast at deck level; fill the existing hole in the deck; create mast step on deck; and add a compression post below decks.

To this end I removed the mast step this morning.  I believe that our step is original to the boat and that it was removed and refurbished in the 1990's.

 Removing the step was not difficult.  I was surprised to discover it is actually two separate pieces.  The oval section that largely rests inside the mast and a baseplate that also supports the centerboard pulley.  The baseplate is on the left in the image below.  An outline of the oval section can clearly be seen on the surface.

The nub of epoxy that links the mast to the keel is to the right.  Fortunately the step components are in good condition, and we should be able to reuse the baseplate below decks as the base for the compression post.  The oval insert will be incorporated above decks as part of the new mast step step.

Due to work obligations through August 23rd.  My progress will continue to be limited.  My confession to you all at the onset of this post and my efforts today on removing the step served as the push forward necessary to build momentum  for the project.  As with all the previous, significant projects on C'est la Vie, we created a photo album to record the process... Rigging repairs and modifications - Summer 2011

fade to the heart monitor... beep, beep, beep.