The gusty weather of late has finally goten the better of the Dink. i was dismasted yesterday afternoon during my usual post-work sail. After a fabulous run down the harbour, i had beaten 2/3 of the way back towards the boatyard, when i thought i’d play around a little… i blasted off on a great roaring reach towards some remote-control sailboats i saw bobbing about just off Pusser’s Landing, and having buzzed them a few times, was off like a shot for home.
The new vang i added to the rig was working incredibly well, flattening the leech for much improved punch to windward (with the sail sheeted on the quarter for drive). In fact, i suppose the vang was working too well; crossing through a powerboat wake that would normally just set the mast to rocking and creaking in the partners, there was nowhere for the rig to flex… The lower mast sheared off clean at the partners, flew past my head, and dropped into the sea.
i cleared the rig, hauling the bits aboard, and set out into the headwind with my paddle. Luckily, a cruiser came by in his tender and offered me tow back to the dock, saving me from a difficult paddle!
Today, after getting out with the KATS kids (teaching Laser sailing), i dropped back into the shop to see what could be done. i extracted the stump from the grip of the partners and mast step, and found (to my delight) that it socketed neatly into the corresponding jagged bits on the mast proper. i’ve got the two pieces epoxied together now, and tomorrow i’ll have a go at cutting out the new cheek scarfs that will strengthen the joint.
i guess it had to happen sooner or later; i’m just glad it happened in the relative protection of the harbour, rather than out in the channel! After getting the Dink parked for the night, a cruiser on the dock told me that his masthead wind indicator had maxed out at 41 knots the night before, and had been seeing 20-25 knots through the afternoon! For those unfamiliar with such things, that’s really cookin’ weather for a 7 foot gunter-rigged dingy. At least now i know what the Dink can (and can’t) take.
There’s a 10-footer out behind the boatshed looking like it needs a new lease on life… hmmm… What sort of rig and sail to build for that one, and how much will it take?


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