Had a thought in the shower a couple weeks back, about a last-minute addition to the dinghy. So, no i’ve gone ahead and added an afterdeck. The overall effect looks pretty good, but barely hints at the work that went into it. The single beam for the afterdeck is a twisting compound-curved lamination, notched for half-laps on perpendicular surfaces. Skinned in ludicrously lightweight 3/16″ ply, the afterdeck seems tough enough, but flexes in interesting ways…
Of course, one complication compounds another; the afterdeck has raised the aft sheer line about 1/4″, and with the neccessary hardwood trim pices, i shall have to raise the rudder 3/8″ to allow the tiller to swing without rubbing.
On the positive side, it looks great, and the deckbeam/sheerclamp joint is now much strengthened and should prove ideal for locating the running backstay tackles as well as the jibsheet leads. The bronze mainsheet traveller also looks much better spanning a neat little deck instead of a plain transom edge.
Both the foredeck and afterdeck are still in primer; i can’t decide exactly what colour to paint ’em. i think a nice soft buttery yellow would complement the dark green hull with Bristol Beige interior and spars, but then again, my cheapest choices are limited to what’s lurking out in the paint shed…
i’ve also decided to go ahead and rig the stays’l with a self-tending boom. It took me awhile to devise a way for this to best work, without a jackline. i’ve stolen an idea from Engleman; the stays’l boom will ride in a fitting forward that will allow it to slide fore-and-aft, and the single sheet will be rigged to pull the boom (and attached sail clew) aft as the sail is sheeted home, as well as ease the boom forward as the sail is let out off the wind, as well as let the clew ride forward when the sail is handed. It took a bit of work to build the little bronze arrangement that lets the boom properly articulate. The boom, a custom-made piece of fine workmanship (okay, okay, a cut-down broom handle) is ready to go. The exact sheet leads will have to figured out after the stick is in and the stays are up.
Why all the hassle for a self-tending headrig in a 13′ LOA boat? Well, self-tending helps decrease the labour load when tacking, but how hard can it be in such a small boat? The answer lays in that it’s hard to juggle more than a line or two when so cramped. i’ve learned this the hard way in The Dink; sitting on the bottom on a port broad reach, the mainsheet is right above my left knee, the spinnaker sheet is above my right foot, and the afterguy is at my right elbow, almost stuck in my back. Chnaging course (let alone gybing!) requires all three lines to be handled. During a gybe-set or luffing spinnaker takedown, i find myself ducking the boom, shifting the tiller, and handling the spinn halyard, pole uphaul, downhaul, afterguy, and both sheets, while getting myself to the high side of the dinghy. i can hardly describe a running gybe under the spinnaker in The Dink; i’ve only managed it once. Suffice it to say, it gets busy! One or two less lines to tend makes a big difference in a crowded cockpit.
Enough afterthoughts… back to work.


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