Monday, June 11, 2012

Things I did right: No gooseneck

Ravn's boom jaws and downhaul. Note the slipped, overhand knot on the keeper.
For a while now I thought it would be helpful for others contemplating a Valgerda build for me to fess up to those things I did right and those things I would do different. I'll start with one I did right.

Atkin specifies a fixed gooseneck to attach Valgerda's boom to the mast. This does not make sense for an oar and sail boat. The boom would be in the way all the time you weren't sailing; whacking you in the head when you row and adding significant windage. It would also make setting up and striking the rig more difficult.

My solution was to replace the fixed gooseneck with boom jaws and a simple rope downhaul. Here's what I like about it:

  • The best thing is it's out of the way and out of the wind when you're not sailing.
  • It's easy to set up: When you haul up the sail with the halyard, the boom jaws naturally engage the mast. I pass a small bit of rope spliced to one side of the boom jaws (a keeper) through a hole in the opposite jaw, tie a slipped overhand knot, thread the downhaul through a large brass thimble lashed to the underside of the boom and cleat it to the belaying pin on the mast partner. I can do it quicker than I can tell you how it's done.
  • Easy and quick to dump: Just pull the tail on the keeper to undo the overhand knot, release the halyard and lower boom, sail and yard onto the thwarts. It's all out of the way and out of the wind in a jiffy.  (The downhaul is long enough you don't have to release it to dump the rig.)
  • It's easy to control the sail shape with the downhaul. A fixed gooseneck would require sweating up the halyard to tension the luff. With a downhaul, you have gravity working in your favor.
  • Cheap; two bolts and some scrap oak.
  • No screws in the mast to cause problems later.
  • Looks good! It seems right for the boat. A cheesy stainless piece of hardware, or even a nice cast bronze gooseneck just wouldn't look right on Ravn.

Things I don't like:

  • Nothing... yet. When I make a boom tent for on-board camping, a fixed gooseneck might simplify things, but even then the ability to move the boom higher or lower on the mast would outweigh the inconvience of using a bridle to position the boom when using it as a ridgepole.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

A faering full of Fords

Three generations of Ford men, my grandson, son and me.
I filled the faering full of Fords and we sailed Budd Inlet the Saturday before Memorial Day. There was plenty of room with six aboard: my youngest son, his wife, two kids, my wife and me. Several times during the sail the center thwart was empty.

I had fun with a hand-held GPS. Sailing back to the boat launch we topped five knots. A great sail!
My grandson on the day he became a sailor.

In the week since the adventure my son says all by grandson talks about is "papa's boat." It must be true. He spent the night with me and the first word out of his sleepy 2-year-old mouth this morning was "Boat!" My boy.