Thursday, September 27, 2018

_________________________ SPRING SAILING _________________________

Today 'Scout' and I went sailing again. It was a blustery Spring day with a few rain squalls providing some icy interest. After a bit of discussion with 'Scout' we decided to do a circumnavigation of Limestone Island. A good challenge with the tide roaring out and the first part of the journey a dead beat to windward.

Included with the 'fix' on the jambing dagger board (see previous post) is a broad cap on the top of the board complete with a foam pad which stops water from sloshing up the centre case and flooding the boat.

When 'Scout' becomes hard pressed in blustery weather the mast bends in an alarming manner. If I do manage to dismast myself I can row home as I always ship a pair of oars which stow under the side seats.

I have included this photo which beautifully shows the curvature of the earth on the horizon. If anyone wants to present this photo at a meeting of the Flat Earth Society as empirical evidence countering their claims - be my guest.

In the distance is the beach on the little island where I have from time to time tended some Pohutakawa seedlings planted a couple of years ago by my conservationist friend Gerry. I sailed close enough to see a couple of trees poking their heads up above the sedge grasses. I must make a special trip there soon to count how many trees have survived and do a bit of weeding.

After our circumnavigation we sailed up river to look at the cutter 'Tangaroa 2'. I remember her being moored in the Port of Lyttleton at Christchurch in the South Island when I was growing up and was delighted to find she had recently been sold to Whangarei. She was built in 1951 which makes her exactly the same age as I am. I wonder if her Kauri planking creaks and groans as much as my mine does.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

____________________ THE LAUNCHING OF 'SCOUT' ____________________

After a concentrated period of work involving spar making and the fitting of numerous bits of crucial hardware I was able to grab a good weather window between periods of roaring gales and rivers of rain to launch 'Scout' and try out the lugs'l rig for the first time. It was a pleasant and enjoyable occasion.

'Scouts' sail has been made from an old mains'l that was given to me by my father many, many years ago. A qualified upholsterer he was more at home in a sail loft than an upholstery shop. He worked for Lloyds Sails and Saddlery here in Whangarei and rescued an old tan bark coloured mains'l from the rubbish bin. Cut down from its original shape it has made a great little sail for 'Scout'.

There were only a couple of teething problem; the dagger board jambed part way down - I am working on the fix for that at the moment and the main sheet jamb cleats are too small - which I will replace with a couple of big old cam cleats I purchased years ago.

I was pleased with the sailing performance. She sails well both on and off the wind and the sail area is just right for the type of sailing that is intended for 'Scout'. I was able to sit down low and comfortable on the floorboard slats and when the wind picked up I was just as comfortable on the side seats. This is the kind of sailing I am looking for in this type of boat - sitting comfortably inboard and below deck level without the need to hike out to keep the boat on an even keel, but with enough sail area so that performance is not compromised too much. A great little boat for exploring bays, inlets, rivers and islands.

With her simple un-stayed mast she is quick and easy to rig and un-rig, making the whole experience hassle free.

As I type this it is raining hard and blowing half a gale. As soon as there is a break in the weather (which includes a good sailing breeze) I will be off scouting around in my diminutive little cruising boat.