Of Mooncursers and other Spun yarns

Of Mooncursers and other Spun yarns
Click the link below and go to my book site

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Sailboats Fair and Fine: Read oldest posts first

The wood work was going beautifully plywood with mahogany trim inside. The carpenter was a real craftsman. One of our employees grand father did caneing so we had him put cane in all the locker doors. The white interior trimmed in mahogany with mahogany sole and a kind of green yellow velvet cushions she was beautiful. Her hull was off white with a dark chocolate brown boot topping and the same brown above the rub rail. All was set of with buff spars and white on the tips.
A set of trail boards were carved and we we off to go sailing. We put her in the water at Sahara's Creek on the York river across from Yorktown. We were disappointed in her. She wasn't stiff enough to carry her heavy spars. I talked it over with Mr Bolger accusing him of designing spars to heavy for the boat. He reminded me it was my idea to use pipe as it was cheaper. I conceded begrudgingly and set to work ordering new material this time tubing. The mast would be 1/8 thick and 5 inches in diameter. The bottom coming up through the deck would be ¼ and sleeved where they joined. The top yard I think 16 ft long was 1/16 thick and only weighed 6 lbs. A lot of weight was cut out .Then in spite of Phil Bolger protests we added more lead bringing the total ballast to 2100 lbs. That was 1600 lbs over what he thought was right. With all that ballast and wooden interior that he had not figure on she was still fast as stink. That of course says a lot for her hull shape's weight carrying ability.
We sailed her her on the York river for about a month making minor changes here and there we hauled her a couple of times and tried different propellers to get the engine to come up to speed. She was getting better all the time we raced a couple of “racer cruisers” down the York river with them carrying full spinnakers and us with our flat half spinnaker. We started off ¼ mile behind them and caught and passed them in less than 12 miles. Can you imagine what would have happened had we been carrying the 400 lbs. she was supposed to carry? I'm sure she would have been a half to a full knot faster.
There were a couple things about her that bothered me. I had insisted that the sprite be offset with a bow in it so that it would not press into the sail going to windward. So the forward end of the sprite had a dogleg in it that rested against the mast. It had to be held up level with a bridle. That was a pain in the neck. So we moved the dog leg forward and held the sprite about 12 inches away from the mast with the halyard and a line down to the deck. In light air if she rolled any the sprite banged the mast. We sounded like a bell buoy. The other thing was with the mast all the way forward there was almost no room to stand on the bow and hoist the sail and sprite. It really was a precarious place to be. Setting the spinnaker was a problem and somewhat dangerous. We made some changes that helped but I was never completely satisfied with the mast all the way forward. My wife worried I'd get knocked overboard so we had some man overboard drills that didn't add to her comfort much. They were things I decided to live with for the most part.
She would have been a better boat with wooden straight sprites. As a matter of fact looking back she would have been a better boat had I kept my ideas out of her and just built her as designed. Even so she was a fine, fast and seaworthy vessel. The aluminum masts worked well.
We took Woftrap to Deltaville where we planned to keep her. There was a yacht club in Fishing bay where we were. They raced small boats most weekends and racer cruisers out in the bay on others and there were racing cruises which we joined into several times unofficially much to the aggravation of the yacht club.
One Friday night while eating a shrimp and oyster buffet at a local restaurant the yacht club commander asked my partner if we were going to sail to Hampton with the yacht club fleet.
Bob said, “No we hadn't planned on it.”
“Well Now you don't want to race to windward for 50 miles is that it. You aren't afraid we'll pass you coming back before you get to Hampton are you? Your partner, Doug says you guys are fast on all points, isn't that so Jess,” he asked turning to the man beside him.
“Yeah he says there's nothing faster than a fast boat and he's got the fast boat.”
That of course wasn't exactly true, though I had bragged some.
What I said was, ”There ain't nothing slower than a bunch of bankers in a bunch of slow boats.”
Bob and his shop crew came across the finish, an unofficial third. How's that for a crude hard chined boat. The truth of the matter was they weren't beating as hard to windward as those boats could have sailed. In a lot of wind it probably could have been a different story. But that didn't make it any less sweet for Woftrap.
I being away for the weekend was, never the less, prouder than a new daddy with a baby boy.

No comments: