Monday 17 March 2008

Grilled mushrooms

I’ve finally bitten the bullet and ordered a suit of sails. Of course it hasn’t been as simple as picking up the phone and demanding a pizza. Nothing ever is, not even ordering a pizza.

I took my drawings and measurements to El Señor Parilla (literally Mr Grill) in Barcelona who came recommended by a boat builder I met at the Barcelona boat show. El Señor Parilla works out of a cramped shop in what used to be the city’s industrial area most of which was pulled down and rebuilt for the ’92 Olympic Games. The sail loft is in one of the few remaining old streets.

When they come to make the motion picture ‘The Light Trow Story’ I’ll recommend Richard Griffiths to play the part of El Señor Parilla. Good humoured and knowledgeable but an indifferent listener with a poor memory, I don’t know how many times we had to go over the measurements.

Anyway, after one initial meeting, three extra ones for luck, and two weeks of phone calls we’ve agreed on the dimensions, the numbers of reef points, the grade of cloth and the manner of stitching. The sails will be ready in early April.

I’m going for standing lugs rather than the sprit lugs that Gavin drew mainly because I’ve got used to my orange standing lug and also because I find the sail easy to handle and I like the shape, especially when cut with a high peak. The main will be a scaled up version of my present sail and the mizzen will be cut with a proportionally longer luff. This is because I had to set a limit on the mizzen boom length, any longer than 1.20 metres and there would be so much boom overhang that the sheet would need a bumpkin. At 1.20 I can still bring the mizzen sheet to a block on the transom. A bumpkin features in the original drawings but I decided against it for practical reasons—when beaching I need to lift the boat by the stern. A bumpkin robust enough to withstand the manhandling the boat receives would add weight and spoil the sweep of sheer at the transom. I worried that the shorter boom length might bring the overall centre of effort too far forward but careful scale drawings revealed that it falls where Gavin intended.
* * *
I went to see Mr Mushroom to order wood for the new masts. It was a pleasure to see him after so long. He flattered me by asking for a photo of OB and me to go on the wall along with all his mushroom pictures.


Baddaddy said...

Great news! Now, with luck, you should really be motoring.

How do you feel about being a local celebrity, by the way?


Ben said...

Yes! I'll be zipping along even in those early morning zephyrs. My present sails are fine in stronger wind which probably indicates that I'll be reefing early with the new sails.
Another advantage is that the sails will be white and therefore not quite so obvious on the sea. Although I feel alone out there, to anyone interested in boats on the land I'm very obvious. More than once I've been talking to someone in town and they've said, 'oh you must be the guy with the orange sail.You always seem to be out, don't you work?' A bit of renown's fine but I'd rather keep a low profile!