To see as much of the world as we can,
Using the smallest carbon footprint we can,
Spending the least amount of money we can,
Making as many friends we can.

Team Red Cruising

Independence Day 2012: Family and New Sails

The Commodore Said "Those headsails are shot."

We took them to Baxter Sailmakers and had two new headsails made. This is a multi-part operation.

  1. Measure. See Custom Tailoring. This starts Baxter on the route of laying out a pattern, getting pieces cut and sewing.

  2. Rebuild. We had to install new stays'l tracks. See Custom Tailoring 2--Adding Stays'l Tracks and Custom Tailoring 3--We Have a Weeper. This allows us to sheet the stays'l properly, pulling the clew to a position that can be optimized based on wind conditions.

  3. Bend on the new yankee. See Memorial Day Sail. This is a challenge because the yankee is so big that it has to be laid out on the the leeward deck, hoisted most of the way up to unwind the flaked fabric, then dropped so we can attach sheets and then hoisted and finally furled.

  4. Bend on the new stays'l. This is considerably simpler than installing the Yankee, since it is small enough that one person can handle it.

We could easily make 6.2 kn in 8-12 kn fitful breeze. Wind was from the S with 1-2 waves, so it was ideal sailing conditions for a boatful of lubbers.

Family Visit


By comparison, installing family on the boat was a piece of cake.

It did take a solid hour to cleanup below decks. We had left parts for the new Tank Monitors scattered everywhere. Everywhere.

Plus, we had a pile of PVC parts for a diesel tank fuel sampling device scattered everywhere. And we had parts for the new power inverter and the new Standard Horizon Matrix GX2150 radio scattered about. [We're going to have a CMP30 remote mike at the binnacle instead of a radio in the aft cabin that's turned up loud enough to be heard in the cockpit.]

Once we had the interior cleaned up and lunch stowed, we could take on 50 gallons of fuel. The gauge read ¹⁄₈ tank. Not empty. But... Where exactly is the pickup compared with the float?

We slipped out into the Piankatank in almost flat calm. Out in the bay, past the shelter of Gwynn's Island, the wind picked up to somewhere near 8-12 kn and we could unfurl our new sails and see how she felt.

She felt great. I'm not sure if it was the new sails, luck, or actual improvement in skill, but we tacked Red Ranger flawlessly. There have been times when she simply would not turn through the wind. I think that the new sails may actually make tacking easier. Having the stays'l may make it easier to hold speed as we head up while furling the yankee.

Lessons Learned

Put projects into tubbies or totes so that the parts are all in one place. Right now, there are three projects commingled into a canvas bag that was flung into the V-berth.

Hitting the fuel dock is much more fun with several people ready to toss lines. Leaving the fuel dock, similarly, is more fun when there are lots of hands to push off pilings.

Rigging the fresh-water deck hose is a real plus. Hot and sweaty? The hose is there, soak yourself down. We have 180 gal. of fresh water, and we can top off at the dock when we get back. Enjoy.

We need a procedure for adjusting the blocks on the genoa track. I think it's as simple as releasing the sheet, moving the block and grinding it back in. But the noise and commotion of a flogging (and brand, spanking new) sail didn't seems like a good thing. So, I didn't experiment while we had family on board.

I think we need to move the stays'l turning blocks. The initial routing of the sheet doesn't seem ideal. With guests, it's not easy to study the situation. We may need yet another pair of Garhauer Single Blocks with Becket and Snap Shackle (40-16 UAB) or Single Blocks with Snap Shackle (40-15 UAB). The idea is to have the blocks clip onto the rail loops and also hang from the lifelines so they don't clatter on the lazy side. It's seems very elegant to tie a little Ronstan RF533 Gated Hook onto the becket and clip this to the lifeline.

Crisp, new headsails perform really well. We never had sails with an actual shape before. Had I moved the blocks forward to take some twist out, I think they would have performed even better.

A lubberly, sail-once-a-year family doesn't really need to experience maximum sail performance. A comfortable, flat ride—even with excessive twist in the upper section of the sail—is a fine thing; plenty of iced drinks stowed in the cooler that's built in to the Whitby cockpit; fresh water shower rigged on the after deck; snackies; sights to see on the Bay.

Squeezing out the next knot of speed would be a lot of noise for little benefit.