The Schooner Sara B Log

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June 19, 2005     Post 6
Sara B Afloat Again!

A short road trip to the water
Since late May a new yellow pine toe rail went on with bronze screws deeply countersunk (rather than lag bolts). The pine was sawn from floor joists that Toby in turn sawed last year with his band saw mill from old barn beams salvaged from a barn in Rose he tore down. Chris ripped some two by sixes with the table saw to create toe rail stock picking over the would be joists to avoid knots nail holes etc. He followed the pattern of the starboard replacement toe rail (no hardwood cap as on original). According to the Tancook schooner book so called "spike" toerails like this were the norm on little boats like Sara B. Well, we can add the cap later. Lots of drain holes hopefully will help keep the standing water off the oak covering board. Bending the toe rail dry up forward where the curve was sharpest seemed a bit problematic but with a set up of block and tackle and clamps and braces, Chris got it in place without any mishaps or sudden splits.

Toby and I sanded, puttied, painted topsides and bottom. Old previously puttied worm damage was touched up on two planks, screw heads were covered and a couple of nasty small splits patched up with glued in replacement "splinters" of pine. The new rudder stock was shipped after an attempt to fill the sternpost worm holes with casting putty and life caulk. As of this writing, so far the "patch" seems to be holding the water at bay.

A little last minute bottom paint
The open deck seams were taped off, primed with alcohol and filled with Teak-Life silicon caulk. We have more of this to do. Chris and I spent two really HOT days finishing up "small" stuff like putting life line stanchions and hardware on, plugging screw holes, primer on new wood and bare wood etc. On Friday June 10 she went in.

The marina travel lift set about half her bottom in and we left her overnight to soak with just her toes in the water. The next day we dropped her all the way in. She didn't leak nearly as much as I expected. The newly purchased cellar sump pump and the borrowed back up were never seriously taxed. The back up never even went on.

We spent a couple hours on a hot sweaty muggy Saturday and Sunday "loading" her up with her ballast. As she settled we watched the stern area anxiously for signs of last year's river. So far so good. Sunday we reattached halyards and lanyards and standing rigging on the stripped spars. Most of it got on mostly right.

She touches water again
Monday the marina stepped the spars and we pounded in the wedges and tried to sort out the mess. We guesstimate about 420 feet of running rigging per mast not counting sheets. Toby ran home with his truck rack to get cousin Bruce's forty foot ladder to put the triatic on. (No, the fellows at the boat yard do not do triatics. They say they somehow set Edgar's masts on his little schooner with the stay pre-attached!)

After about 7 hours of reassembling we had her rigged. Sara B now off the electric grid was floating only with her battery operated pump She was looking pretty happy to be whole again.

With low expectations of success we decided to try to rouse the old diesel from its long winter dormancy. It'll never start we said. We checked for fuel (after remembering the shut off on the line near the tank) and prepared for the worst pushed the starter button. The starter groaned past the flat spot and bang- off she went. Didn't even sound like she turned over more than once! Good old Thorneycroft. Hmm, seven hours to rig the spars, two seconds to start the engine. I think we see why power won out over sail.

Rigging the masts - where to start?
Tuesday she thumped over to the mooring that is to be her new home. I thought she looked a little puzzled at first wondering 'where's my house?' But we hope she is settling in now and won't take off with her mooring in a strong wind to look for a dock. Yesterday her bilge pump was running for about three seconds every 45 to 50 minutes. So Sara B is back. We'll bend on her sails and hope to spread her white wings this weekend.

On Saturday we bent on her sails planning to spread her white wings the next day. Saturday at least two dozen friends and bystanders also dropped by during a sort of "open house" for her to wish her well. We got her out for a bay sail twice on Sunday. During our second sail with about a ten to twelve mph wind, she actually heeled a few times. We were delighted with her balance and mannerly helm and general behavior. She seems quite spry for a fifty five year old lady and gets around from one tack to another in pretty good time. There's still work to do but now we hope to learn to sail our little Tancook schooner!

Skilled riggers at work

Soaking up with straps still on - just in case!

The main mast goes up

Using the traditional 40' extension ladder, Toby attaches the triatic

Toby's view from aloft

Sara B on her mooring

Lots of help bending on sails

Shakedown sail - Louis the poodle in command

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