Making the Most of a Minimal Budget. Contact me at: or on Twitter: @skintsailor

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Sail/Boat Tuning Success.

I took Sprite II out today, just round Langstone again as the tide wasn't particularly high. The wind didn't blow much either, but that's ok as I need to start of with light wind and then work my way up once I get a feel for how Sprite's rig works. The only time I've taken her out in moderate wind, the main sail was so baggy that she just kept getting knocked over rather than driving the boat. Hence the past couple of months working to flatten the main and raising the jib above the pulpit.

Well, the work on the jib is a success. Instead of buying a twised shackle, I just stuck another old shackle I had on the bottom of the pile to turn things through 90 degrees. It lifted everything up another inch which is no bad thing.

The bottom of the Jib is now clear of the pulpit rail. If you look at the bottom of the sail you can see where the pulpit rail used to interfere with the sail.

 As you can see, the lift job on the jib has worked and it now clears the pulpit. It also clears the spreaders and the rigging a lot easier, which is something I didn't expect. Lifting the jib may mean I have to move the tracks on the side of the boat further back, but I'll need to get a bit more sailing in to see if its absolutely necessary.

I've added an old picture that shows the pulpit interfering with the jib:

Regarding the main sail, it looks like the new kicker/vang has done what I needed it to do and allow me to put more tension in the main sail and flatten it.

There are still creases, but the sail performs 100% better

Straight away as I hauled on the kicker you could see it pull the boom down parallel and put that important tension into the sail. Along with the mods to the downhaul I can see a complete difference in the sail from what it was like when I first had a go at sailing Sprite back in April/May.

Now we were comfortably keeping up with the dinghy sailors on the upwind legs although downwind they hauled up their spinnakers and romped away. But the difference in drive from the sails is amazing for such small and relatively cheap changes.

So the plan is now to get used to how the boat handles in higher wind speeds over the next few months.

The other change from previous sails is the amount of space in the cockpit. The shorter tiller made another huge difference and at no time did me and Jim struggle for space.

The rope pockets also made a big difference, keeping the cockpit a lot tidier. I might get another pocket for the transom for the main sheet. The only untidy lines in the cockpit now are the jib sheets, but of course when tacking they get used a whole lot more.

A happy and relaxed sailor.
So all in all the sailing experience has transformed dramatically for a small outlay. The whole thing is a lot more relaxed and less fraught. Its nice to know my efforts are heading in the right direction.


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    1. I'm watching this with great interest as I have an idea I may experience the same problems. Keep up the good work!

    2. My main problem was understanding in the first instance why the sail was baggy and wouldn't set properly. Its been a bit of an evolution, but now the sail is pulled down as far as it will go and the gearing on the kicker makes it easier to pull the boom down against the force of the wind as it tries to fill the sail.

      This weekend was a massive improvement. I just pulled on the ropes and I the sail did what I wanted. Very satisfying.

      I'm going to do a post on the evolution of the sails so hopefully that might give you some ideas.

      I just have to draw some diagrams first, not easy without a drawing program!