Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Sail tinkering

Sunday afternoon after a weekend on Lake Jordan, I finally got around to rerigging my Pacific Action Sail’s sheeting system. Even though the PAS was perfect for the Everglades Challenge earlier this year, I thought there could be a few improvements to the actual sheeting and deck layout. The current PAS-supplied system requires the use of two hands when adjusting the sail (where did that paddle go...?), and the two tiny loose jam cleats supplied are too small and fiddly to lock when you're under pressure.

I’m a great fan of clam cleats – drop your sheets and presto, they’re secure. Then I found a few postings by Frogy130, who also competed for the first time in this year’s EC. He too wasn’t happy with the sheeting system, and also preferred the use of clam cleats.

So that’s what I did. First I cut the sheet in half (ouch) – it’s normally a loop from each “mast”. Then two new holes per cleat were drilled each side of the cockpit (double ouch), slightly for’ad. I then fitted an aluminum clam cleat (Cleat, 1/8-1/4IN MK2) for each, that’d I bought from Beaufort's West Marine while introducing the wee one to the wonderful world of marine gear for the very first time.

First off in the safety of the garage I found that the new system is quicker to rig. Just run each sheet through the clips that PAS supplies, then through the cleat, popping a figure-of-eight knot in the end of each sheet to ensure it doesn’t run out through the cleat while underway. And that’s it.

Monday and Tuesday I tested the new system out on Jordan Lake. Yesterday was perfect, as it was blowing about 15 knots and there was only me and four windsurfers taking advantage of the great breeze. (I hit 9.2mph – the windsurfers were a wee bit faster ;)

Verdict: one hell of a lot easier, and quicker and safer to adjust when under high winds, with one hand if necessary. If anyone wants further information, I’m happy to oblige.


Capt'n "O" Dark 30 said...

I'll crew for you anytime, as long as I am on the end of the tiller!!

I was thinking of doing the same but going heavier on the main sheet line... your thoughts??

Kristen said...

Don't know if you need the extra weight on the boat, Brian. Perhaps if you've got big hands and like a heavier sheet to hang on to; but I typically go by every bit of lost weight counts. Still, you're getting buff(er) to counter for it!

Whisper said...

This solves two problems I had with my home made Pacific Action type sail. The forward guides will make the sheets provide more lateral stability to the sail, and cut down on some fierce side to side swings of the sail in strong winds.
The cleat you mention, if I understood correctly, eliminates having to pull the sheet towards you to get it to engage. That was a major pain with the setup I had.
Thanks a lot.
See you at the race.
Paul Lausell (Trader)