The boat turned out very well indeed, especially as the builder was only fourteen years old.
|The owner-builder (Dave, in white) with Cousin Kevin lending a helping hand.|
|Hull nearing completion|
|Builder, carbon windsurfer mast, and Laser sail|
|Sailing nicely in light conditions...|
|...but in the gusts and sheeted hard, the rig bends aft, and you can see that the boat is becoming difficult to control|
|Stiff mast on an earlier boat, but still having problems with the floppy leech|
The final stage was to install a forestay and two shrouds (side stays). In order to retain the sail-shaping advantages of the bendy mast, we attached the stays at a point only a fraction above the half-height point on the mast (as per Rig 6 in Phil Bolger's book, "100 Small Boat Rigs", which is now published as "103 Sailing Rigs").
The improvement has been astounding. The handling issues have been resolved, and with the mast held at the half-height position, all sorts of sail shaping options are available by using the main sheet, the vang, the halyard, and the outhaul. We made the stays from 4mm Dyneema without an outer sheath as an experiment, and it has worked very well indeed. I couldn't work out the correct method for splicing the braided Dyneema core, so we ended up just doing plain bowline knots around the stainless thimbles - not very neat, but they work fine. I don't have sailing photos, but here is the boat on dry land as we set up the stays.
|Stays attached halfway up the mast|
|Mast far better controlled, and showing a little 11sq.ft. Heron jib set as well. The original boat carried quite a lot of weather helm and the jib helps to balance that out.|
|Sail plan in cat-rig form. The alloy sleeve around the lower part of the mast was an earlier attempt to stiffen things up.|