building update

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.


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