Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Cygnet Project (Part 4)

Cygnet is now almost fully restored. All she needs now is her name painted on the stern and we can go sailing. I have painted her white which is best for the very harsh Northland light ( has one of the highest UV rates in the world) Dark paint doesn't do well here.

I also painted her white because a yacht with a white sail is a bit like a blonde in a white dress - When observing the boat (or the blonde) one is not distracted by any vibrant colour. White tends to let the underlining beautiful form to show through as the delicate subtleties and shades of shadows are contrasted more fully with the colour white as a counterpoint. (-: anyway that's my theory for yachts and blondes and I'm sticking to it until I can invent a better one :-)


Although she is only seven feet long (the same size as a small yacht tender) she is a little ship indeed. She has a small cockpit so that during a capsize only a relatively small amount of water has to be bailed out. The sail area is big enough to make her fast and exciting to sail in any sort of breeze. If you can sail one of these little beauties you can sail anything. I think she's gorgeous.


A cam cleat for the main sheet on either side of the deck gives the skippers hands a rest. The webbing straps inside the cockpit are to hold your legs as you hike out to keep her flat and moving fast. Other features are the boom Vang, (red rope from bottom of the mast to front end of the boom - stops the boom from skying up when running free) - the splash boards on the foredeck, main sheet, tiller extension, centerboard, rudder, wooden mast and rigging.


This photo shows the hull with its finishing coat. All painting was done with a paintbrush in keeping with the era of boat and my lack of equipment (spray painting would indeed give a better finish).


Completely stripped and she doesn't bat an eyelid - small yachts have always been natural and uninhibited sorts of creatures. But when she's fully dressed, she can pick up her skirts and run down wind like smoke.


The skipper always drinks the worlds best sailing beer when working on pleasurable projects. There is something about Heineken beer that makes me want to own the brewery.


She was pretty run down at the beginning of the project. But there is an old saying about "A thing of beauty is a joy forever" and it's certainly true of a yacht with good lines. No matter what state a yacht is in, if shes got good lines she will always have that hint of underlying beauty - And with a bit of TLC will be out there again - slow dancing on a scintillating sea and giving her lucky skipper the time of his life.



8 comments:

Kathryn said...

She looks very small, Alden. Are you sure she is seaworthy?
I'm sure after all the love you have lavished on her, you believe she is very special, but do be careful!

Dan Gurney said...

I look forward to your fifth installment when you take her out on the water. You've done a marvelous job restoring her.

Alden said...

She IS small Kathryn but very seaworthy and at this stage it's not as if I will be going out in the open ocean. I will only be sailing her in sheltered waters.

Dan,Thankyou. The restoration has been a pleasure. I am going to make sure the first sail is in a really good wind. Then who knows, another P class restoration? or maybe an Ok Dinghy? either way I will be on the look out.

Delwyn said...

Ia m not commenting on your blog anymore until you resume commenting on mine...



but I do love the wee yacht...
and the blonde theory..
and the picking up her skirts...
and dancing on a scintillating sea...
but I will keep all that to myself for now...

Alden said...

Delwyn - oh dear there is more conditionality in the world than grains of sand on the beach - Oh the balancing of scales, the checks and balances, the debts and the wages to be won - the tit that needs to put back in the tat and the pro back in the rata - oh woe to Sisphysus.

I am glad you like the blonde theory, like most theories about the opposite sex its a work in progress.

I attend to your blog when I get back from here in Wellington

Delwyn said...

P.S. I am still posting. Blogger has a problem and my new posts are not being feed to other bloggers' bloglists so it appears as if I am stuck with Florence!

I am feeling very lonely today!

Janice said...

Alden, you speak about your little boat so lyrically that it makes me want to go sailing, or write a poem, or something. My, you have a way with words! I can understand Delwyn; a day without a word from Alden is like a day without sunshine!

Alden said...

Thank you for your kind comments about my writing Janice I am touched.

If you get a chance to go sailing then go - it really is the best thing. On small yachts it is the immediacy of the experience that thrills - you are right there immersed in the environment. In any sort of wind you will always get very wet, but it is a joyous sort of dunking.

On larger vessels such as my yacht Mariner (and without wanting to sound pretentious) it IS a sort of poetry. It's a feeling of being aboard a giant pendulum as it responds intimately to the power of the wind - the only sounds being elemental and natural. It is a whole body experience that engages all five senses and I am sure you would love it.