Monday, January 27, 2014

The Matinicus Double ender- Part 24

Rigging Sails

 Click HERE to view part one.

Setting up the rig for the first time.

Setting up the rig for the first time.
I hauled the as yet unfinished spars out to the club to set up on the boat. I wanted to locate all of the cleats and fairleads and what-not, and locate the leather chafe guards before varnishing, and I wanted to get it right. I spent most of a whole day setting up the rig, trying various boom and yard positions, relative to hoist and downhaul points. Since I designed my own rig, I didn't have any tried, true, and tested set of drawings to go by, only my own sketch with some basic dimensions. I moved the boom fore and aft quite a bit, looking for the best position overlaying the mast. I decided on a position for the both the boom and yard that set the luff more or less parallel with the mast, and that put the clew end of the boom high enough for head clearance. On a lug rig, downhaul tension is everything. When first set up, I was using just a spare block or two to get me in the ball park, but making a list of the parts that I still need to order. I didn't have enough purchase on the trial setup to get good luff tension, so we had a little wrinkle from the clew to the head. When I was satisfied with the sails, I marked all of the pertinent locations for line attachments and cleats, and made some sketches so that when I had the spars back in the shop I would know just what to do.

I placed an order for all the line, blocks, and doo-dads I would need, and set to work back in the shop. I tried to make as many of the fittings as I could, including various horn cleats, jam cleats, and bee blocks (for lack of a better word). My plan was to glue most of the hardware into shallow mortises in the spars. I did not want to use screws in the hollow sticks, because I would need solid blocking in those locations, and there are a lot of them. Rather than to have to plan out every location in advance and install the blocking, I opted for the shallow mortise. I laid out patterns for the various cleats, making sure to include extra depth at their bases for the mortise, then cut the many fittings out from scrap ash that I had in the shop, fairing them up and shaping the edges with chisels, files, and rasps. I sealed all of these with shellac, then began gluing them in the mortised spars, using blue tape for clamps. I then moved on to varnishing, putting on a coat each evening for several days.

Cleat layout on ash stock.
A pile of cleats and bee blocks, ready to install and varnish.
I glued the cleats into shallow mortises.

Once the cleats were on and the spars were varnished, I fitted the various chafe guards, using scraps of leather from the KikaNY shop down the hall. One day, Kika, I swear I'll buy a hide of my own! I went out and bought a nice little punch for the stitching. This punch has tines that are really too close together for my purposes. I really should cut off every other one, but I'll buy another just like it before I do, just in case. It's tricky to cut the leather the right length, because some space needs to be allowed for stretching, and different hides stretch at different rates, so predicting that is a bit of trial and error. I cut the pieces about 3/16" short of the circumference, punched the holes, soaked the leather in warm water, then stitched them up snugly, using two needles crossing back and forth in a kind of baseball stitch. There is a lot of information out there for this, but I kind of found my own way with it, and I'm pretty pleased with the results. I truly enjoyed this work. You just pull up a chair and go at it. It's kind of a zen zone thing, and nice music helps (probably not Marilyn Manson, though). Finally, all the spars were done!

I sanded the varnish for better grip on the leathers.
The punch I bought for stitching the leather.

The stitching is done with two needles.
The guard where the mizzen mast enters the deck.

Mizzen boom jaws.

A finished set of spars!

I think it's probably worth a written description of the rigging details for Mouse's lug yawl rig. The rig is pretty well understood and documented now, due to its recent widespread popularity among the sail and oar group, but I'll offer my take on it here. The fore is hoisted on a halyard that ties into a mast traveler ring, which slides up and down the mast. There is a rope strop around the yard that slips onto a hook under the ring.

I bought a mast traveler from Classic Marine in the UK.

 The halyard passes through a sheave at the masthead, which runs port to starboard (not fore and aft). This orientation routes the halyard down the starboard side of the mast, to a block strapped to the mast thwart, then back up to a cleat on the mast. To ship or unship the yard, the strop just unhooks from the traveler. The boom is held to the mast largely by a several part downhaul that tensions the luff, though it is finally secured by a line or some such around boom and mast after hoisting. Some folks use an actual dog collar for this, and I will too when I get to the pet store. In the meantime, I named that line that I use the 'dog collar". When the downhaul is hauled tight, the yard peaks up and the whole rig is under control. Hoisting is a little bit of a fire drill and must be done very quickly. Until set, the yard flails around a bit. Afloat, this whole scene is made possible by that little mizzen sail, which keeps your nose comfortably upwind. Without the mizzen, the boat will want to start sailing before things are under control, and that would not be fun!

This shows the halyard and downhaul arrangement. It's a little messy looking here, but it all works.
Close-up view. The mast chafe guard is just taped on here. I didn't have a big enough piece of leather at the time.
The downhaul itself clips into another strop on the boom via a carabiner. It's fast to clip on and off. The tackle consists of an old Laser fiddle with v-jam that is strapped to the thwart. On the top there is a double, giving a total 4:1 purchase. That has proved sufficient, though some sailors use even more. The sail is lashed to the yard, but is loose footed at the boom. The tack is simply tied off through a hole in the boom's end. The clew has a line through the grommet that passes around the boom and serves as a traveler. There is an outhaul that dead ends at the aft end of the boom, then passes through the clew grommet and back to a cheek block on the other side of the boom, then to a wood jam cleat up forward a little ways.

For reefing at both tack and clew, I dead end a line around the boom with a bowline, go up to a carabiner that clips into the reef grommet (the carabiner has a ring fairlead) then down through a hole (dumb sheave) in the boom and forward or aft to a jam cleat. (Note that when these photos were taken, I had not yet installed the carabiners for the reefing tackles. The line just passes through the grommet.) The clew reef should have an angle aft to automatically tighten the foot. You want a tight outhaul if you are reefed. The sail is neatened up with reef pendants through the grommets as usual. To reef afloat, I haul the mizzen in and let go the helm. The boats sits there roughly head to wind, drifting straight backwards (leave room to leeward). I drop the whole rig into the boat, unhook the downhaul and mast traveler quickly, then tie in the reefs and re-hoist. The only time to hurry is during lowering and hoisting. As with anything to do with boats, practice builds confidence.

The following is an excerpt from a post on the Wooden Boat forum after my first sail-

"Finally took a first sail on Mouse yesterday, and could not be happier. The little mizzen works as advertised, and once I got comfortable with the setup, steering, sheeting the fore, and mizzen was easy and handy. The forecast from I- Windsurf was for light wind (5-7) from the SW, so naturally it blew 14, a little gusty and shifting W to S. The boat is tender (I have expected to ballast all along), so I was a little edgy at first, but heeled down she is quite stiff, and really fast. I'm going to try a couple of sand bags, then add some permanent ballast under the floor boards. I must have got my sums right, the balance is perfect, and I can tweak the helm with an inch or two or three of sheet on the mizzen. I love that little sail. I don't even have to look, as I can hear when it luffs, and feel when it needs freeing up. I led the sheet to a cam on the deck just behind the coaming, on a little ash riser block. I'm quite happy with the lead to the rudder head, too. My location is aft enough on the boom that I can get the sail very close to dead center. At any rate, she heaves to pretty close to dead upwind. I have not yet run a reefing drill afloat, but I'll do that next time out. I tucked into the lee of an island, and reefed there. Did some creek crawling in the marsh at high speed, and she tacks and jibes very reliably. I really had no idea how she would behave. Its a new rig for me, and my own design, so there's lots of ways I could have gone wrong. I had crew with me, but I handled all the stuff myself so I could get a feel for the rig and helm."

Well folks, this kind of wraps up my double ender saga, at least for the time being. As I write this, we are in the middle of a series of "polar vortexes" as they say, with temps rollercoastering between 30 and the single digits. I'm looking forward to next season's sailing, when I can get the rig all tidied up, and a lot more time in the boat. I will post some updates from time to time. Thanks to all who took the time to read and look. It's been fun putting this build to press, so to speak. I'm looking forward to continuing this blog with many other boat and boating stories!

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