Wednesday, December 2, 2015


George from 'Mid-Atlantic Musings' asked if I would post some photos of the Starlings sail controls - So these are for you George and anyone else who is interested.

This photograph (Above) is NOT my Starling - This is a photograph of a very, very  nice Starling that I took at the Auckland Boat Show a few years ago. At the time I was just at the stage of thinking about getting a small centerboard yacht again. I liked this very orderly well thought out set up, so when it came time to do my own boat I printed this photograph out, taped it to a piece of cardboard and used it as a reference as I set up my own boat.

The rest of the photos are of my own boats setup which is a direct copy of the Boat Show Starling except that I mounted all the turning blocks and cam cleats on little teak blocks.

The outside control is the mains'l cunningham rope. The middle control is the mains'l out haul and the inner most is the kicking strap control. The controls are repeated on the other side of the boat.

Two of the jamb cleats came with the boat when I bought it, two I bought second hand and two I purchased new. I can't believe how expensive yacht fittings have become. A set of 6 of these cleats brand new would cost NZ$550.

At the present time there are no jam cleats on the side decks to take the mainsheet, as there is a jam cleat incorporated into the last main sheet ratchet block just about the center case in the cockpit. But I am not happy with this and may change this arrangement.

These photos were taken today before competing in my second series of races. The weather was the same as last week; mainly light winds of around 12kph. But when it freshened up a couple of times and we all had to start stacking out I became competitive. I was happy today with a couple of third placings. What I am looking forward to is a really big wind that will make the boat plane downwind.

These Tuesday evening races are very pleasant and I was surprised at how warm the water was ( I got plenty wet enough!)


Ben said...

Hi Alden,
This is all very instructive, I was already wondering why all the jamb cleat arrangements were there. When we meet you could explain me how to use the effects of the Cunningham rope, out haul and kicking strap in racing conditions. These things I certainly did not learn when I learned to sail in a BM. Regarding being competitive, power diminishes with age but skills don’t, so good luck!
By the way what is the 4 th jamb cleat doing in your example of the boat show?

Alden Smith said...

Ben, I don't know what the 4th control on the Boat Show Starling is. I had thought it might be the main halyard - but there is a lot of rope on a cleat by the mast which I think would be the halyard. Either this control is a second cunningham control (the eyelet being higher up the mains'l luff) or it controls the high of the boom which slides in a track on the mast.

You are correct about the diminishing powers of age (although what I loose in power I make up with animal cunning! LOL) and yes skills do improve, or one uses skills in a more strategic and intelligent way.

Alden Smith said...

That should be " or it controls the HEIGHT of the boom".

George A said...

Thanks Alden! Do you find that the order in which the controls go from most centered to most outboard matter (in terms of interference)? The order makes a good bit of difference on a Europe dinghy. With Classic Moths we figure each double ended sail shape control adds up to at least $50.00 American if one tots up the cost of all the goobers. Probably that price is low since I've not bought all the stuff in a while.

In addition to the three controls which you have pictured (Outhaul, Cunningham, and Vang) some of us have a double ended control for an inhaul at the tack end of the foot--useful on a light air choppy day when one needs more power to get through the chop--but this gain comes at the expense of height.

And of course one can add double ended travler controls, adjustable controls for hiking strap tension, stings for for opening and closing the auto bailers when fully hiked out and on and on...

As for that mainsheet ratchet block located at the forward end of the trunk, does it foul the dagger board or limit forward lean? In Classic Moths we tend to build a small "perch", attached to the aft end of the trunk for the ratchet.

I avoid both deck mounted cam cleats or one on the block base itself, for the mainsheet. A cleated sheet, at least for me, tends to invite a swimming session on a blowy day!

Alden Smith said...

George - At the moment the ORDER of the controls is not an issue for me, they are all close at hand and easy to reach and adjust. The main issue is the amount of PURCHASE I have on the Outhaul and the Cunningham. The Vang is well purchased and easy to use. Also I need to get a greater length of adjustment on both the Outhaul and the Cunningham. But these are just teething issues with easy enough solutions.

I had a light bulb moment when you mentioned an inhaul at the tack end of the foot. This is something I notice a lot - i.e. releasing the Outhaul doesn't alter the sail shape much because it requires an Inhaul line to drag the foot back a bit towards the mast. I will get an eyelet added to the foot of the sail and set this up. ...... This control may well be the extra control that features on the boat show Starling.

The other adjustable controls you mention are not used much on these little Starlings but I am aware of their usefulness and will probably use them when I move on to an OK Dinghy.

All of the Starlings I have seen do not have ratchet blocks mounted at the forward end of the centercase. A block is mounted centrally on the deck between the sail control jambers keeping it right out of the way of the centerboard. All I have done is just mounted the original ratchet block back in its old place, avoiding the expense of buying a new one. I haven't found that it interferes with the centerboard so far. But I may change this arrangement - fiddling around with the gear is all part of the fun!

You make a good point about cleated sheets. This nearly lead to my first swim in one of the Tuesday evening races. I nearly capsized and the resultant cockpit of water slowed me down considerably for a while.

As an easily launched and retrieved knockabout sailing dinghy the Starling performs wonderfully well and is heaps of fun but for competitive racing I am obviously too heavy (recommended maximum weight being 60kgs and I am over 90kgs).

What's happened is the inevitable. I restore a competitive sailing dinghy making all sorts of proclamations about cruising, exploring etc etc and then at the first opportunity to race the boat I jump in boots and all LOL...... and find myself totally outclassed in anything but a full sail breeze! But it's a problem I like because it means I will just have to find something bigger LOL!! .... Ye Gods! Another boat? Yippppppeeeeee !!!!!!

George A said...

Perhaps a nice cold molded (finished bright, of course!) Finn dinghy is the ticket.

As for aiding the outhaul adjustment on the Starling, try a bit of shock cord with a plastic hook that fits the clew grommet on one end and the other end tied off to a mid-boom bail or fairlead, or similar bit of pre-existing hardware roughly mid-boom. This experiment may give just enough tension to help the sail move when you ease the control. I forget: does the Starling have a loose foot or a bolt rope foot? If the sail has a bolt rope foot another kluge is to remove the bolt rope in the foot and replace that with shock cord short enough that tension is created when the foot is taken out to the limit by the outhaul. Also, if bolt roped, a bit of MacLube dry spray on the bolt rope section of the sail may provide the needed slipperiness. Just don't spray MacLube on your dagger board--you'll never get back in the boat after a capsize! Don't ask me how I know this.

Alden Smith said...

A bright finished Finn is a very tempting proposition.

Very good suggestions George. The Starling has a bolt rope in the foot of the sail. I will try the shock cord with a plastic hook and will spray some lube dry spray on the bolt rope part of the sail and see how this works. I will also take your advice about not spraying the center board, although at my age it would be really good to actually have a legitimate non age related excuse for not being able to get back in.