NW Rigging in Portugal

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During the first part December the Northwest Rigging crew traveled to Setubal, Portugal to work on the Windstar Cruise Lines vessel “Wind Spirit”. This ship was built in 1986 and has 4 very innovative masts fitted with roller furling. The masts and spreaders are aluminum and they are welded to mild steel at the joints and spreader tips using an explosion joint. The metals are fused together using an explosive process. As you can see from the pictures the rigging is huge by yacht standards. The clevis pins at the spreaders are 3″ thick by 9″ long. The cotter pins are 3/8″ by 4″!

Andy Schwenk the owner of Northwest Rigging ran a crew of ten men for two weeks as we labored aloft and alow while the ship was dry docked to upgrade a series of issues presented by these rigs. The vertical shrouds are discontinuous and each 50′ by 2 1/4″ diameter piece weighs over 1200 lbs.

Our task was to replace 3 of these pieces while the rig was still vertical. In addition a large amount of corrosion control, installing new fittings, sanding, painting, and surveying for future work was accomplished. The roller furling was serviced by hydraulic technicians. The ship was a beehive of activity with sandblasting, metal cutting, welding, needle gunning, priming, painting and the like.

Several hundred workers from all over the world were aboard each day. The entire interior was renovated from ceiling to floor. The deck boards of 1″1/4″ teak by 16′ were lifted to access the mild steel underneath. If you think you have a big boat you probably do, but it is likely not the largest we have ever worked on!

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