Recently I wrote an article for the Dinghy Cruising Association about deviating from the plans of the designer when building a boat - especially when you were doing it for the first time - and knew bugger all about sailing or boat design in the first place!
The dangers of tinkering and using only a 'little' knowledge!
Anyway, everything works fine on Arwen - except for sail trimming. Regular readers of this blog will know I am hopeless at it, don't understand the dark art and NEVER get it right on Arwen. There is always a permanent crease from throat to clew that no other navigator sailors get. The top of the sail always seems slightly floppy as does the leech.
One reason I am thinking is the mistake of following the advice of the sail-makers. Jeckells loved the sail plan but insisted that full sized battens would be a pain when coming to dropping and stowing the main sail and so shortened them. Being naive and unsure of myself I accepted their advice - hindsight and now knowing how brilliant John is as a designer.....it was a silly mistake to make and displayed a lack of faith in John and his designs.
I suspect I will have to bite the bullet over winter and have full sail battens inserted. Ah well - you live and learn.
Over the last few days another navigator owner Tim Ingersoll has been most generous with his time and filmed two short videos of how he has rigged his navigator with the standing lug sail. He did it at my request as a great favour to me so I could see how someone else with the same rig had done theirs.
Here are his two short videos.
- The difference those full length sail battens make and how easily they drop and furl - I have no idea what Jeckells were talking about - now!!
- Our snotter arrangements are similar but with differences - I use double blocks as the tackle - Tim uses a single and a double; I use 5 mm line - he looks as if he is using 4 mm. My snotter halyards 'sticks' - his doesn't!
- His reefing system is different - a braille elastic and hooks affair - which looks quicker and easier than my individual hemp ties! Mine may look slightly more aesthetically pleasing though - maybe - just a tad - if you are a traditionalist?
- Oh dear God - his under the deck arrangement is so much cleaner and simpler than mine - what was I thinking? Deck turning blocks - yes of course - not actual blocks - dur! And Jib and mainsail halyard cleats on the top of the deck or the actual mast sides - so much better.
- Tim uses a single big block for his centreboard - whereas I use a triple and double block arrangement which takes up space - so I may ponder on that one further
- Tim's top yard is noticeably different - it appears thinner and more curved than mine - he lashes the main halyard on it and has a separate parrel loop arrangement at the forward bottom end of the yard to hold it close to the mast. He also has that yard on the port side of the mast, the same side as the sprit boom. Other sailors on inspecting Arwen have also commented that would be a better arrangement although John's plans clearly show sprit boom one side and top yard the other. I think I will stick with the plans - having learned a painful lesson on the sail battens.
- Our down-haul arrangements are slightly different as well - Tim followed the plans! Guess who didn't! Tim's blocks are above deck - mine are below deck. Everyone tells me to crank on more tension to get rid of the crease but I promise you that is impossible - the luff is as taut as it can get - there is no more tension to be applied!