Petestack Blog

5 September 2021

Sailing again

Filed under: Sailing — admin @ 12:30 pm

At last, the belated update to July’s Retiring to Fly post I’ve been wanting to make but unable to do sooner for various reasons including teething problems getting the new sails fitted and ready to go…

While David Southcott kindly towed Fly down the road to Dunstaffnage to launch just days after that previous post, it was later in the month before things were able to proceed further and I was able to bring her back by sea. But here you see her in the garden ready to go, on the road at the big Appin layby, arriving at Dunstaffnage and back on her own new mooring at Glencoe Boat Club, where she’s sitting unusually level empty before I filled the water tank and put the new anchor gear up in the bow well. (Impalas, like typical IOR-type boats of that era, tend to sit slightly bow down till you add some crew aft!) The fifth photo shows a modified second pickup buoy I had at home and added after finding the unmodified Anchor Marine buoy almost impossible to catch and hold with the boathook:

The next batch of photos shows the new lee cloths getting fitted so I have an ‘offshore’ yacht again. Of course you can fold down the pilot berths to make settee backs and lose the main berth lee cloths under the cushions to open the boat right up in port, but the purpose of these things is to keep sleeping people or gear on the berths at sea! I also had quite a battle fitting six new stanchions when the bushes for the intermediate lifelines proved too tight on five of them, but didn’t photograph that process because it’s not very photogenic and I’m really not trying to describe everything here:

And so to the sails and sailing! While I’d already fitted the furler (twin-groove Harken with the drum down in the bow well, so still well suited to racing) for 2019 in anticipation of ordering a furling genoa, my experiences trying manage the Pentex mainsail with bolt rope alone back then taught me that I really needed a new mainsail with slugs, lazyjacks and stackpack for short-handed sailing too, so I just bit the bullet and ordered both in tri-radial cruising laminate. And they’ve been sitting unused and untried through the 2020 season that never was and most of this summer too after the late launch and other commitments I’m not discussing here conspired to keep me waiting yet longer. After which we get to the teething troubles, including a genoa luff that was marginally too long, a halyard wrap that damaged the top of the forestay and yet more waiting through unavoidable personal commitments till I could get John and Andy from Owen Sails out on Tuesday to sort it all out. So we had the forestay right off to remake the top end, took 34mm off the top of the foil and (I think) about 20mm off the head of the sail (which I collected on Thursday) and fitted the halyard restrainer there wasn’t room for before and it all works quite sweetly now! Here are two photos from Friday showing the mainsail up at the mooring (note the more typical bow-down pose here) and both sails up in not much wind; the lazyjacks are currently just draped over the spreaders, but will get moved up to about the black tape marks between spreaders and hounds for next season:

And here are some more (including two videos) from yesterday, when I had a good sail out on Loch Linnhe till becoming completely becalmed south of Camas Ch├Čl Mhalieu (where I saw two dolphins who didn’t stop to play and swam out of filming range before I was ready for them!), and back on Loch Leven after motoring most of the way home. I’ve tried to get shots with the telltales streaming as they should be, but not everything’s perfect when I was also at the mercy of the tiller pilot steering to release me for the camera, and the later shots (and second video) also show the stackpack tidied up along the boom:

So how are the new sails? Basically all I’d hoped for in terms of short-handed usability and performance. The genoa’s so much easier to handle than the No.1 (which overlaps a bit more and hugs the deck) because the higher clew facilitates easy skirting over the stanchions and lifelines as well as improves visibility to leeward. It’s got a padded luff to help maintain shape when reefed on the furler, and strikes me as almost a ‘furling genoa by stealth’ because it really doesn’t look like one when unfurled with the drum below deck and white UV strip! I’d had some concerns when first fitting it that it might want to sheet too far back for the tracks close-hauled, but think it’s probably going to be OK there now I’ve actually taken it sailing. And the mainsail looks excellent up, so pretty happy overall! :-)

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