I am in Port Townsend this weekend attending the Brion Toss Rigging Workshop. At the end of day one, its been very worthwhile thus far. The basic flow of the class thus far has been to walk through the systems of a rig, explain what they are, how to think about them in terms of the entire rig, how to inspect them, etc. Obviously the point isn’t to make you an expert in 2 days, but I’m feeling like at the end of this I’ll be a much better informed consumer when we do our re-rig and I think there are aspects of it I could do myself in consultation with someone who is a rigger by profession.
In addition to the classroom there has some hands-on and dock-walking. Its one thing to talk about chain plates, clevis pins, wire and fair leads and then to go look at an actual boat. The hands on activities, drilling a hole in a spar (I never got my entry and exit holes to line-up), knot tying for going up the mast, and splicing an eye into three-strand braid were great. The splicing part was particularly awesome because it took something that I thought was witchcraft and proved to me that I could definitely learn do it and it.
As a rock climber I found some of the knots and practices used in going aloft to be a little riskier than what I am used to and the terminology to be confusing but that’s fine and I’ll probably adapt some of my climbing into my own practices. For instance they will hoist a ratcheting block to allow the person going aloft to raise themselves (using a another halyard as a backup) and using a carabiner hitch to tie-off when at the top. I think I’d rather have a something like a Gris-gris instead, but Brion did mention that could also be an option when were out on the dock so its not like the two are odds with each other. Also people climbed using two carabiners as a belay device for a long time before any specialized devices were made so really for me I think its just a comfort thing for me to use what I’m used to (i.e., they are right too).
We ended the day talking about wire sizes and how to calculate what you need on your boat for shrouds, stays as well as how to calculate chainplate dimensions. That was really interesting and the formulas are pretty simple. I’ll try to work up all the numbers for a Pearson 424 tonight as I’m reviewing my notes.
Its been a great first day and I’m looking forward to tomorrow. I’m off to roam Port Townsend for awhile before dinner.