Monday, 26 May 2008

Sails but no sailing

A boisterous second half of May has made launching too hazardous to consider viable and what time I’ve had has been spent playing with the sails in the placid calm of the garden.

The 30% more cloth that the new sail has over the old orange one certainly seemed to make a significant difference in terms of speed in light airs when I took it out last week. But that extra cloth and longer spars also makes the sail more difficult to handle. While the orange main was easy to brail up the new one is not; I’m not tall enough to tie the sail near the top of the mast which leaves loose canvas flapping about up there, making rowing in wind more difficult. And Mr Grill added a bolt rope to the luff which makes the leading edge stiffer and harder to fold.

I’ve been experimenting, lowering the sail into the boat and furling it on the boom and yard before re-hoisting and it all goes smoothly enough in the windless, stable garden but I can see that it may be an unhandy struggle at sea. I’ve toyed with a topping lift to stop the whole caboodle clattering into the bilges when I release the halyard, but again, although it seems to work, I wonder if it will be quite so simple on the briny with a bit of wind blowing.

I’ve been practicing reefing too, with the same reservations. But however much I think of alternatives I can’t be certain they will work until we’re on the water, and for that I need the weather to calm down a bit, just enough to get out there and try it all out.

From last week’s short sail I can report that the boat, with the new drain plugs and the centreboard lips, is now dry. Any water in the bilges now comes over the gunwales.

No comments: