August 2005

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Been getting back into the dinghy lately. The rubrails are on, nice clear-grained Douglas Fir pieces, about the only thing we had laying around that was long and flexible enough, excepting some reserved-for-better-things lengths of teak and cherry. The rubrails were a real battle, with the compound curves, and owing to the fact that i wanted it to be a substantial piece, not merely decorative trim.
Now i’m fitting rail caps to the edges of the fore- and afterdeck, these out of teak offcuts. At very least, i have to get the rail forward finished very soon; the hardware for the whiskerstays fastens through the rail, and i need to get the rigging properly mocked with some tension to it for the sailmaker to make accurate measurements next week.
The only real rigging debate left in my mind now is concerning whether to leave provisions for a topsail or not. The options seem to be as follows: Cut down the topmast and peak up the gaff, for a tradional bald-headed cutter rig; leave the extended pole topmast and set a jackline topsail; or cut the topmast down, leaving the lower gaff angle, and set a yard topsail of some sort. Aestheticly, i like the latter, especially with a Cornish topsail, if for no other reason that to have a “trimminoggy” rigged. The first idea is probably the simplest, but i’d have to decide before the main is cut, and frankly, i’m not convinced to give up on that topsail yet.
The middle idea is probably what i’ll go with, but as John Leather says, a topsail on a small cutter ought to be set up in such a fashion as to be a working sail, otherwise it becomes an affectation. Well frankly, this whole boat is a bit of an affectation, with a big-boat rig on a small-boat hull. i guess what it really comes down to is that i really want to get out sailing under the three lowers before i make up my mind on that topsail.

Good Words

QUESTION: What is a classic yacht?
ANSWER: by Nathaniel P. Benjamin
After nearly thirty years of continuous involvement with wooden sailing craft, I am more convinced than ever that a plank-on-frame vessel is the ultimate in yacht construction. Not only does this method produce an enduring vessel with integrity, heart and soul, but it also requires a process that is so ancient and noble as to inspire the builder to work above his ability, to continue challenging himself in his expression of the rarest combination of science and art. According to Webster, the word ‘classic’ properly defines a vessel designed and serving as a ‘standard of excellence’ with an additional caveat of equal import to be ‘enduring and traditional.’ In an age when ‘classic’ is so grossly distorted as to encompass an amorphous range of social unconsciousness from Coca Cola to a popular sitcom, we must remind ourselves of the real meaning of the word. A ‘classic yacht’ must represent a graceful and well-proportioned hull whose individual parts are not only enduring but are created by a traditional process of skill and inspiration. A classic yacht speaks to you in a distinct and compelling voice.

of the week

Website of the week is Face The Issue. New (well, at least previously undiscovered by me) music of the week is The MC5; a Rebel Spell from the ’60’s…

A fellow sailor posted this to her blog:

“It would be a steel hulled with wooden masts that sleeps at least 20. Maybe one or two squares in the rig, or a gaff topsail schooner. Something like the R.Tucker Thompson. I’d advertise on the internet and in magazines to do charters, ed trips, youth at risk programs, whatever was in demand in Puget Sound, Vancouver Island and Southeast Alaska. But it would be weekend or weeklong trips minimum, none of this daysail nonsense. And we’d have a good boat dog and allow at least one crew to raise a kid on board.

What would YOU do if you had you’re own tall ship?”
Continue reading “woody and fibrous” »

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