After 15 months of hard work, head scratching, glueing, sanding and glueing some more, I finally launched Shackleton. I imagined this culminating act to be euphoric in nature, heavenly choirs singing above my head and a feeling of immense satisfaction settling over me like a warm blanket. Instead what I felt was frustration, confusion and dumb stupor of thought. OK, it wasn’t quite that bad. But, it was anything but simple. I believe it can become simple…but I’m not there yet.
The front mast support was built too narrow, preventing me to step the mast with the boom, yard and sail still in the support. I need to remake this part and widen it 2″ – 3″. Notice me leaning against it, to keep it from falling off the boat with my lower body. This needs to be fixed. I also need a longer halyard; notice how high it is up the mast (totally my mistake, I cut it too short).
Floating level on her lines…this makes the builder very happy. Sail up, one reef in place (don’t have nettles yet). Reboarding strap dragging off port side of vessel (Howard, aren’t you happy seeing those reboarding lines?) Loose reefing lines dangling off the back of the boom. But, I’m sailing…yes, I’m sailing.Limited downhaul movement, but sailing. Hat blown off, raising the rudder before I hit bottom. Center board already raised (the 2:1 line lift works excellent for the CB).
- Lake was too small…felt a little trapped.
- Wind was too high…around 18 mph gusting over 20 mph.
- No lazy jacks. The up & down process of sail, yard & boom was like a circus act.
- Continuous reefing equalled continuous frustration.
- Reefing lines were all over the place like spaghetti wrapping around my head.
- Downhaul was too short.
- Traveler was too long.
- Shackleton floated level on her lines.
- She felt stable.
- She felt quite stiff.
- Wet storage in BH 7-8 worked well to toss miscellaneous items.
- Long tongue on trailer proved essential (good call Simeon)
- Ergonomics were comfortable.
Through driveway sailing (mocking everything up in the driveway), I learned several things. There are a lot of initial problems that need to be overcome. I’ll take one at a time:
- If you don’t have lazy jacks, the whole ensemble becomes entirely unmanageable. Things come crashing down into the cockpit with lines going everywhere. I knew this had to be fixed. Since sea trials #1, I have rigged up lazy jacks. The entire process of raising and lowering the sail now becomes very manageable, even might I say enjoyable. The lazy jacks also allow you to drop the sail out on the water and still motor around with the sail being completely out of the way and stowed safely over head. I can’t say enough about the importance of lazy jacks.
- I need some way to hold the sail & boom from drifting forward. I rigged up a snotter line that wrapped around the mast. This helped stabilize the sail immensely.
- There were just too many lines…mainly the reefing lines. And, anytime you make an adjustment to the halyard or downhaul, all those reefing lines need to be readjusted. It was a constant head ache and needed to be simplified. Also, there was too much resistance in the lines to function as advertised. The sail didn’t reef quickly or shake out quickly. I had to apply significant pressure to coax the lines loose. It was just all wrong. After staring at the problem for over 2 hours and regretting all the hardware I purchased to make it work, there was only one solution…get it off. Get it all off. Clear the slate so my mind could come up with a quicker and simpler solution. Here’s what I came up with.
I remembered reading a comment from Phil McCowin on the Scamp blog about a simpler way to reef. He referenced kite boarding and how they rig the sail to the lines. This reminded me of the same system used to rig stunt kites. If this works, it will be the simplest, fastest way to reef known to mankind on planet earth. You simply tie a figure 8 knot in each fore & aft reefing cringle. Three along the luff & three along the leach side of the sail.Slip the lark’s head knot over the figure 8 knot. Tighten the lark’s head around the figure 8 knot and your done. The lark’s head knot is fastened to each end of the boom. This line should be much smaller in diameter than the line used to tie the figure 8 knot. Now you can adjust your downhaul and halyard all day long without ever needing to re-tension all those reefing lines. I can’t wait to test this new system. Tying in and shacking out a reef should be very simple and fast utilizing this system. Time will tell.
4. I hadn’t yet wrapped the spars to protect them from rubbing and banging against each other. Many have used leather to protect the spars. I was concerned about getting the leather tight and preventing slippage with tapered spars, so I settled on a simpler, lazier solution (remember, I’m a Ham n Egger).
I first wrapped the spars with bandage wrap. This stuff sticks amazingly well to itself. The purpose of the wrap is to add cushioning. I then wrapped electricians tape over the bandage wrapping. The nice thing about electricians tape is that you can add a little tension for a nice secure wrap. This seems to provide both protection and a nice cushion for the spars. It will be very easy to add a little more tape as needed.
I’ll really looking forward to trying out these tweaks during sea trials #2.