Sunday, October 5, 2014

First Mate Sailing

There are quite a few examples of First Mate on the water now, but except in photographs, I haven't had the opportunity to see the boat sailing.

First Mate with the sprit rig option
I designed this boat for my friend, Ian Hamilton, who wanted a Phoenix III but didn't have the confidence to tackle such a building project. However, having previously built a Bolger Cartopper, he felt that a stitch-and-glue version would be within his capability.

As it turned out, Ian never did build the boat, so I came up with a deal where he would pay for materials, sails, trailer etc., and I would build the boat in my own time. This approach saved him a lot of the money normally required, and it allowed me to test the panel developments I had drawn - the most critical element in a stitch-and-glue boat design. A symbiotic process. The problem from Ian's point-of-view was that once I had proved the panel developments, there was no pressure on me to finish the job!

The stage at which Ian's boat lingered for a long time

Well, I've gradually got Ian's First Mate finished, and we've had three outings to carry out "Builder's Trials" - I'm absolutely thrilled with the results so far!

The video link below shows First Mate sailing off Manly, which is a bayside suburb on the south-eastern side of Brisbane, the State Capital of Queensland, Australia. Conditions were good, with about 15 knots of wind from the north-east, kicking up a short, steep chop. The rig on this particular boat is the 76 sq.ft. balance lug, but Ian will probably purchase the 104 sq.ft. sprit rig at a later date. Because both rigs use the same mast, in the same location, it is quite feasible to have interchangeable rigs for different styles of operation.

I was the one with the camera, and I'm afraid that there was nothing I could do about the camera shake in the choppy conditions. I was in a 12ft boat which has a quick motion, and was handling the camera with one hand. I have no idea why the final scene is in soft focus....but it is still worth watching. Skipper of the boat was one of my sons, David.

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