Finalising the upgrades at FKG

Our third and final visit to FKG ( http://www.fkgmarine.com/index.html ) comes to an end. Our new mainsail and U stack sail cover had arrived from Cape Town so we returned from Grand Case to finish up. (OK. Its a boat. You never finish up ….).

We replaced the old Dutchman system with the Jiffy Rigging system with a U stack zip up sail cover and lazy jacks. The Dutchman system worked quite well but on balance, we found it a little complex and requiring more nursemaiding than the jiffy rigging system, which we are very happy to revert to (having found this the simplest system during our years of chartering a wide variety of rigs). The boat next to us was repairing a broken in mast mainsail reefing system – confirming that in mast or in boom was something that we did not want. We also wanted a third reef (Trysail size) put in and it did not make sense to pay for this on a sail and sail system that was old and not optimal.

Rob of St. Maarten Sails ( http://www.stmaartensails.com/ ) did all the design and installation work and provided excellent service and advice. The sail is 9.38oz Fibrecon cross cut Dacron from Ullman Sails in Cape Town. It is very well made and the stitching is very thorough. The reefing points have Antel low friction rings (more photos later when we do sea trials) which we anticipate will greatly ease reefing effort.

The third reef attaches with snapshackles on Dynaone loops at both sides of the mast (for ease on either port or starboard tack) to a reefing ring on the sail at the tack and the reefing line goes through the reefing clew on the leech and back through the boom to an outlet near the mast with a clutch through which we lead it to a mast winch. All the setting or releasing of the third reef can be done from a single safe position inside the granny bars at the mast.

The new Maxwell windlass needed some deck changes as the old chain lead and deck snubber were too small and out of alignment causing unnecessary friction and catching.  We went with removing the deck fittings (we habitually use a chain snubber attached to two strong lines on port and starboard cleats anyway) and installing a steel plate to protect the deck from chain chafe. Very simple.

FKG also did a good job with the chain guides below decks in the chain locker, ensuring that the chain runs well and that there is no water ingress that could damage the new windlass motor and gearbox. They also installed new steel work at the cockpit where we had them replace the aft steel wire safety lines with steel bars and a new steel pole for the new wind generator with reinforcing bars running to the new radar installation. A side benefit is that the stouter construction results in less movement of the aft cockpit structures and less noise from movement and equipment.

We cannot too highly recommend FKG ( http://www.fkgmarine.com/index.html ) and the other suppliers, St. Maarten Sails ( http://www.stmaartensails.com/ ) and Atlantis Marine ( https://andreguimas.wixsite.com/atlantismarine ).

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They were friendly, helpful, resourceful, skillful and very fair in their commercial dealings with us.

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