Monday, June 30, 2014

Old School Foresail Reefing

Nearly every sailboat has a roller reefing system in place to reduce the size of the jib or genny in stronger winds. Wrinkles, our previous boat had a CDI FF2 furler which worked really well. You could sail out onto the lake and easily adjust the sail size to match the wind or quickly douse the entire sail. We missed that convenience on the O'Day 25 after a couple of windy sailing days

We only intend to sail the O'Day for one season, so we don't want to invest the money to add the roller furler and sail. Our solution was to go old school and add traditional slab reefing to our existing hank-on sail. The idea is simple; punch some holes in the sail about 1/4 to 1/3 of the way from the foot of the sail, add reinforcement patches and a couple of lines to tie it all up. Brenda cut up an old sail to make the reinforcement pieces and added a thick strap on the tack (front) of the sail. Next we bought a stainless steel ring for the sheets to attach to at the clew (back) of the sail. We used a sailmaker's needle and heavy waxed thread to attach the ring to the sail. If this was going to be a coastal cruiser we would also have added an eyelet for wear and strength, but for an inland sailboat we didn't think it was necessary.

The final step was to modify our sheets (the lines that control the sail) so they could be easily moved from the normal attachment point to the new one 3' up. We searched the internet for ideas and ended up with a slightly altered version of one we saw and liked. A small piece of line with a big stopper knot is whipped to the sheets near the attachment point which gives you a quick release system.

This weekend we sailed in winds that averaged 15 to 28 mph with really strong gusts. The simple reefing system worked nearly perfectly and allowed us to sail comfortably despite the conditions. A reefed mainsail balanced with a reefed jib was just the ticket. The only issue was the fixed fairlead position for the sheets wouldn't allow us to adjust the angle of the sheets. The reduced jib really needed the fair leads moved forward to pull the leech of the sail downward to reduce the flutter. We'll have to see if we can improvise a solution to that which is less costly than adding tracks to the fairlead system.

Just call us Old School.


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Gotta buckle down and work!

We had our first offer on the house this week. Yippee! We couldn't reach a price agreement, so no sale this time. Booooooo! Some good did come from the experience though. Brenda and I were forced to recognize that we had been slacking in our efforts to prepare the house and our remaining belongings for an eventual sale. The lack of offers on the house had lulled us into a waiting mode which has to stop.

After the offer we listed some of the things that would have to be done before a house inspection and boy did that list surprise us. We have been goofing off too much again. Ok, from now on we are going to really concentrate on house sale preparations and quit goofing off.

Hmmm, this weekend the big fireworks show is on the lake. We're packing the coolers and heading to the boat for the weekend. A great weekend of sailing and seeing friends. We'll quit goofing off next week. We promise.


Monday, June 9, 2014

Motoring In

Since we have always trailered our sailboats it meant that a wonderful weekend of sailing would end with an hour or two of sweaty work. As we motored in to the launch we dreaded getting the boat on the trailer, taking all the rigging down, tying everything up and then towing her home. It was always worth the effort, but it certainly was a chore for us.


This year we rented a nice slip on Lake Mendota which allows us to simply motor in and tie the O'Day up. It is a fairly long channel that requires motoring for a good 15 minutes. Motoring in last night Brenda dropped the sails, tied on the fenders, put on the sail covers and made sure the dock lines were readied. After that she sat up near the bow and just relaxed and enjoyed the scenery as the old Johnson outboard putted us home.

We pulled into our slip and enjoyed the slowly setting sun with a cool drink and quiet music playing.

A much nicer way to end a great day sailing.