There have been a few upgrades to the boat this year too, ready for the season.
I have had a wish for several years to change the backstay from one single stay that could not be adjusted under sail, to a bridle with block and tackle. Hans G. Sørensen at Ship Shape, Stavanger, built it for me during the winter, and I could install it in time for spring season in April. It has a purchase of 1:32.
I am very happy with it so far. Although the mast head rig does not give the same possibility to bend the mast as on a fractional rig, I can still give it some bend. But the main advantage is to be able to tension the forestay under sail. I can now make it much tighter than it used to be, or slacken it for downwind sailing.
Additional features are easier passage out back from the cockpit, possibility for covering the full length of the cockpit with a tent, and more flexibility when unstepping and stepping the mast.
Another plan I have had coming for some time, is to change the run of the main halyard from a block near the deck, to an outlet higher up on the mast. This has been recommended by experienced sailors, to reduce friction and make it easier and quicker to hoist the sail. It was an easy operation which took less than two hours to complete. Sometimes getting started is a bigger effort than the job itself!
As a consequence of changing to tiller steering, I had to find a new solution for the auto pilot. With wheel steering, the we had a wheel mounted unit. I considered installing a drive directly on the rudder shaft, but that would be quite expensive and quite a big job, although certainly the best option. The solution I arrived at is a Simrad TP22 tiller pilot, which I am confident will serve us well in almost all cases when we need it. Mostly of our sailing is coastal, and even for blue water sailing, it expect it will work just fine. That remains to be tested.
I also had to find a new place for the compass, when there is no longer a pidestal. That entailed buying a new bulkhead mounted compass. Not many had the features I wanted: night time lighting, tilt indicator and possibility for calibrating, but in the end I found a Ritchie unit, which I mounted next to the instruments over the companionway.