Just to prove that all the hard work is actually going on on Cambria over the winter, Boss of Volunteers, Basil emails me this pic of some ‘vang’ blocks. The ‘vangs’ or ‘wangs’ (according to preference or maybe Dutchness) are the big cables which run down from the top of the sprit pole to the aft rails on either side of the barge. They are variously slacked off or hauled in taut to control the position of the sprit which holds up the top-rearmost corner (peak) of the mainsail and holds out the rearmost corner (clew) of the tops’l. These parts might need to be anywhere from fully out to port, through the centre line to fully out starboard. They get a lot of use and suffer a good deal of wear and tear, out in all weathers and often under some huge forces.
Hence, when the rig is down and the sails are taken off, we take the opportunity to dismantle and service the blocks and here, says Basil, “the top three in the picture are ready for the re-rig; and the bottom one has to be greased and reassembled.
The 2nd picture shows the two main sheet blocks before work commences – these will be stripped
down, shells painted, re greased and reassembled .
Most of the blocks on board Cambria will be similarly treated this year.
I won’t trouble to count them all!
Richard has already made a start on some of them down in the hold.”
Thanks for that, Basil