The Naiad Voyages

Mark Austen

2017.09.29 - Unexpected Sail

After the various things on my to do list had been completed and whilst I was supping a fresh cup of tea I decided that since it was dry outside and the wind had dropped a little I would cycle down the the boat and try to prise the two remaining bottom boards up so that they could be un-warped and varnished.

So armed with screwdrivers, hammer and other stuff for fitting the curved top, a job that has been waiting since Naiad was launched, I set off for the club.

As it turned out the boards came up very easily hone levered with a large screwdriver, the curved top needed no additional fixing and I had finished my tasks not more than 10 minutes after arriving. The wind was pretty decent considering that it was supposed to be quite strong so I readied the boat, cast off, pushed Naiad out of her berth at 16:30, paddled over to the other side of the river, hoisted sail and started to sail up river. This gave me a chance to see how the modifications to the sail have worked.

Cutting down the luff length has had the desired effect. The gaff is no longer jammed up against the block and is free to swing from side to side.

Shortening the head of the sail has made the leech (back edge) of the sail saggy but I think I can compensate for that by slackening off the lashing that holds the sail to the gaff in the middle so that the top of the sail is allowed to curve a little instead of being tied up in a straight line.

The first hour or so of sailing was lovely, I was able to sail a good distance up river with little tacking and the boat handles well now that the gaff can swing. However after that the wind went light and by 17:45 my forward progress through the water equalled the current in the opposite direction meaning that I was sailing but getting nowhere. Seeing that the wind was probably going to drop further I turned around and headed back.

I took this photo just after turning round and you can see that I was correct and there was very little wind.

Still, I had a lively sail back as the sun set and drifted back into the berth at 18:40.

I messaged Tina and asked her to collect me from the club as I had not taken my bike lights, not expecting to be this long.

The remaining two bottom boards on the Rayburn. As you can see one is just a little curved and the other is very curved! The will be straight again by tomorrow.

Now that the sail is working a bit more as I had expected I found out a few things about sailing Naiad.

  • She does not like having the mainsail hauled in tight when sailing upwind. It seems that she prefers to have the sail slackened off a little even though conventional wisdom would say that the sail was incorrectly set.
  • Naiad is just heavy enough to want to be sailed through the tacks rather than spun about like a dinghy when tacking.
  • In light winds the foresails should be backed to help her head through the eye of the wind but this is not required if the wind is a little stronger but it does stop the foresails from flogging.
  • The leeward sheet of the staysail (the one that is slack) should be pulled in a little as the boat is tacked to prevent it from getting caught on any of the cleats on the mast.
  • The downhaul on the rudder blade does not work and the blade has to be pushed down with a paddle. The uphaul, however, does work.
  • The new arrangement of the sail allows the sail to lowered properly. Before, the throat, the end of the gaff next to the mast, needed to be pulled down. Now just releasing the halyard allows it to come down although you do still need to keep the peak high to put some weight on the throat after the first half of the sail is lowered.

So, quite an eventful day for things boating and a great sail to boot.