Monday, April 1, 2013

How's this, Stuart?

Stuart is of course Stuart Hopkins of Dabbler Sails.  I'll send him the top photograph in just a minute to get his opinion on adjustments I've made to Spartina's new sails.  He had several suggestions after I sent him a photograph from my first time on the water with the new Dabbler sails.  This top photo shows the clew outhaul on the main eased off which allows the main to assume a more aerodynamic shape that matches the curve of the jib.  

There was less wind but more sun than forecast, a deal I'll take at the end of a long cold winter.  I waited out a gloomy start of the day with light rain and thick clouds, arriving at the ramp just as the skies began to clear.  It was not a smooth start for a day on the water - I launched the boat, started the outboard and found that the outboard kept slipping out of gear as I tried to motor to the dock.   Using the oar to reach the dock, I tied up and tried to figure out what was going on.  I realized that the rod connecting the gear shift to the transmission in the lower unit was not properly set.  I cursed the irresponsible mechanic - me, while I was working on the water tell tale issue - and pulled out my onboard tool kit.   In about 20 minutes I had the problem solved.  I was not happy at having made the poor adjustment in the first place but I was glad to have diagnosed and solved the problem all while sitting on Spartina (and not missing a great day on the water).

Off from the dock the day just seemed to get brighter and warmer.  The only clouds were on the distant horizon.  I spent a lot of time tweaking the sail adjustments, sailing for a while then heaving to for a quick modification.  Having that little bit of slack in the foot of the main did make a significant difference.  I could feel the "lift" of the sail going into the wind.  The changes to the gaff jaws also helped a bit, but I need to look a little bit closer at that.  I had moved the fairleads for the jib sheet and am now considering moving them back to their original places - but I'll make a few more sails before deciding that.

Bottom line, Spartina performs much better with the new sails (thank you, Stuart).  She sails closer to the wind and, I feel, with more speed.  I can feel the "lift" from the sails as we head into the wind.  I wish I could say I "know" the sails now, but I probably won't really know them until late this coming fall.

Sailing is the most enjoyable thing I do on board Spartina.  Coming in a close second is taking a nap on a warm sunny day.  After lunch I dropped the anchor in Crawford Bay, made a few more tweaks to the sails and then relaxed on the bunk flat for a nice rest.  Above is my view of the world for about an hour, at least when my eyes were open, this afternoon.

Heading back to the ramp I noticed the distinctly raked masts of the Pride of Baltimore II on the Portsmouth waterfront.  I sailed over for a look and exchanged greeting with the crew.  It's always nice to see a tall ship on the waterfront.

A little over a month before the spring cruise.  I hope to get out at least a few more times to work with the sails before then.


1 comment:

Bill said...

I have two words: Sah-WEET!

Looking forward to getting back out on the water myself...