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.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

A step forward - almost

C'est la Vie's mast is now standing!  The top stays arrived midday and by 14:00 the crane was hoisting the mast into position.  The day was not without is glitches, I mean we are working on a boat.  The retired top stays were made up with Norseman wire terminals.  I removed these from the old rigging and planned to reuse them on the new.  The inner cone must be replaced prior to re-installing the fittings on new wire.  I took my fittings to West Marine and used them to identify the part required.  West Marine ordered a cone for 5/16 wire fittings.  C'est la Vie's fittings are 1/4.  The difference was so slight, that I did not notice at the time.  When Paul, from Omar Sails, began to install the fittings on the top stays, he identified the cones as too large.  Damn, thwarted by the top stays - again.  Here is the point where I must cease my rant and be thankful that we hired a professional rigger, Paul, to assist/consult on our rigging repairs.  It is doubtful the either Anne or I would have realized the cone in the swageless fitting was incorrect for our wire size.  We would have assembled the fitting and likely compromised the integrity of rig.  Paul assured me the mast would stand supported by the four lower stays, the fore stay, and the back stay until the correct parts arrive tomorrow.

I'm an avid and committed Do-It-Yourselfer, but in this scenario having the knowledge and experience of a professional on hand was worth the additional costs.

We moved on from the frustration of the top stays to success with the forestay and new Harken Cruising 1 furler.

By the days end C'est la Vie had regained her mast and boom.

Despite the delays, it feels good to be putting the pieces back together.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Top stays, cap shrouds, where's waldo?

Thought we would have the mast re-stepped by the end of the day, but...
Here it is resting atop ever weakening saw horses.  My new goal is to get the mast erect before the saw horses give out.  So whats is the hold up?

Things were going well.  Paul from Omar Sails installed our two new fore stays and assembled the Harken Cruising 1 furler.  I installed running rigging and a rope clutch for the genny halyard.  We completed our respective tasks and surveyed the scene.

"Where are the the cap shrouds?" I inquired.
"What do you mean?" was Paul's reply.
"You know the wires that run from the top of the mast to the chain plate fittings on deck."  I stated.
"Oh the top stays."
"Ok, where are the top stays?"
"I thought you had them."
"No you said you would order them along with the two new fore stays.  I supplied the four lower stays."
"Hmm, we must have had some mis-communication."

Paul's final statement left me speechless.

I left Paul to expedite the order of two new stays and walked away to inform the yard manager that we would not be needing the crane for a couple more days.

At least the bottom painting is on schedule...

Pictured above is the first coat of Pettit Trinidad Pro.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Windlass rebuild complete!

We installed the refinished windlass on deck last week - Refinished windlass installed - but I'm finally getting around to icing the cake.  Polishing the bowsprit and greasing the anchor rollers is much easier without the anchors hanging from their rollers.   Polishing & greasing complete, I hoisted the anchors back onto the bowsprit.

Here is a link to our photo album documenting the entire process - Refinish Windlass - Summer 2011

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Installing the new mast step & compression post

Weeks of pondering, prep work, and fabrication culminated in today's installation of our new compression post and deck mast step.  The pondering began when we pulled the rig in early July.  The damage due to chafing between the mast and the deck partners compromised the integrity of our mast.  We explored the options and elected to amputate the damaged, lower section of the mast and replace it with a post below decks.

The three primary components of the solution - modify the existing mast step to accommodate a new step for the compression post; fabricate a new two step plates and a post; and create a solid, cosmetically appealing  platform for the mast deck step - are all complete.  Here is  a link to more photos of the process -  Rigging Repairs and Modifications - Fall 2011

Today we assemble the components....

We began with a test fitting to locate the proper position for the compression post mounting plate.
After a bit of head scratching and calculations we marked the correct position. With the post hanging in the hole from above decks we charged ahead...

 We taped off the deck step, created a electrical barrier between the aluminum mast sleeve and the stainless steel deck plate, fit the wooden centering puck on the post, ran messenger lines for mast electronics, and finally fit the base of the compression post onto the assembly.

Lowering the post down for another test fit we were discouraged to find the gap between the deck and the deck plate was in excess of 1/8".  We designed the system to have a 1/32" to 3/32" inch gap between the deck and the deck plate.  This gap will ensure the compression post bears the force of the mast load not the decks.  A gap in excess of 1/8" meant the post was too long, or did it mean the step on the keel was to high?  Cutting the post would require us to delay our installation while the post returned to the machinist.  We could grind down the interior step and continue the fitting today.  Bet you can guess our next move...

We rigged up some plywood and tarps in hopes of limiting the fiberglass dust inside the boat and began to grind down the interior step.  This was a time consuming process that required a bit of grinding followed by a test fit.  Then more grinding.  Then another test fit.  Then... and you get the idea.

By the time we were satisfied with the fit Anne and I were using  a sheet of paper to feel for gaps.  To be certain we did not leave any voids under the step we applied mold wax to the base of the post and a thin layer of thickened epoxy to the step.

The final installation of the post went smoothly.   My focus was on the interior.  Anne managed the topside installation,

In the final assembly the tiny gap between the plate and the deck was filled with 3M 5200.

We left the original hole in deck to allow for the installation of the post and to ensure the decks were not bearing the load.  I created a 1 1/2" wood puck to center the post in the original mast partners and prevent any movement.

The puck is fitted snugly in the partners and bolted directly to the deck plate and mast sleeve.

Looking down on the deck step the two bolts that affix to the wood puck at visible inside the mast sleeve just fore and aft of the messenger lines in the image above.  The lag bolts at each corner of the deck step are set into the 2" thick solid fiberglass deck platform.

We plan to install the rigging on the mast tomorrow and step the mast on Tuesday!