Needing to do some straightening and cleaning out, I delved into the dark recesses of our storage shed and found... No, you probably didn't guess it. Eolian's old bowsprit. The one I removed in 2008, seven years ago. SEVEN YEARS!
So, how do you dispose of a 10 foot long piece of partly rotten mahogany?
|A symbolic act|
Exactly. You chainsaw it up into two foot long pieces, stack it up and burn it. Stuffed in the bottom of the pile there you can also see the remains of the mizzen spreaders, which I also rebuilt, but just this last spring. I really don't have a good explanation for why I kept the old bowsprit around so long. But each time I looked at it over the years, I told myself, "I'll hang onto it a little longer, just in case." Just in case what? I have no idea - but somehow I felt that I was making a prudent decision to keep it a little longer. No, I don't understand how my mind works either, but I have learned to live with it.
As it turns out, replacing the bowsprit couldn't have waited... shouldn't have waited as long as it did. When the saw dug into the last cut, two feet from the butt, a flurry of powder exploded out instead of chips. There was not very much wood in there...
In fact, the rot had hollowed out the inside of the spar. Frightening! Despite this, there was very little evidence of the rot on the outside. A sobering exposé for those whose boats have wooden spars (hopefully not made of mahogany, a terrible wood choice for outdoor service).
At this point, the only remaining unreplaced wooden spars on Eolian are the main spreaders, which I continue to inspect carefully every year, and to which I apply a fresh coat of paint as often as needed. So far, there is no reason to replace them - they are as sound as when they were new.