As one member of the dinghy cruising association Facebook group told me......"it can take years to internalise at an unconscious level the automatic unthinking adjustment of sails"......rather like we all do when driving a car.
A very good friend managed to get some photographs of Arwen out on the water recently. These are the very first photos I have ever seen of Arwen sailing and they have provided me with lots of information.
The saggy jib stay. The dreaded throat to clew crease. The not completely set jib. The poor mainsail shape.
I'm not really doing justice to John Welsford's design.
But there are a few things beginning to emerge. Firstly, whether the mainsail should actually be tied on at the very aft end of the top yard. Secondly, how the tack should be held much closer to the mast. Thirdly, how the down-haul tackle should be attached to the top of the deck next to the mast base.
This last one is an interesting point, since I have tried that arrangement and there was no way I could get any tension on the luff before both blocks had met at deck surface. It just didn't work.
Which raises the question why not and whether I have done something stupid during the build process and got my measurements wrong! Not only did the blocks close too early without applying sufficient tension but that the sail foot also caught up with the coaming top. Ho hum!
So next steps.
1. move the top peak sail tie on point to very aft of yard which may lift the tack a few inches up the mast
2. refit deck mounted down-haul tackle and see if doing 1 above makes any difference
3. do 1 above but alter the down-haul tackle so that a line runs from an S hook on the sail tack, down through the deck, through a turning block and then reattaches to the down-haul tackle which would run horizontally along the front of the centrecase/front thwart top
4. adjust the bobstay fittings to apply tension to the bowsprit so that the jib stay gets more tension on it
Over the next few weeks, Arwen and I will get out in the Sound and see whether these adjustments work. we could always enlist the help of a local sailmaker to see if adjustments could be made to the sail shape as well I guess, if need be.
Whilst out on the water, we will also spend time doing the following until it becomes better understood and more automatic
- reefing the main
- sailing under reefed main only
- sailing under jib and mizzen only
- sailing under main and mizzen only
- dropping mainsail between lazy jacks and down into the boat more quickly that I do now (and finding the best place to store the furled mainsail, yard and boom in the boat so that it doesn't interfere with tiller etc.