I started building a John Welsford Pathfinder in July 2008. The boat was completed in Oct, 2010.

This blog now records our use of the boat, but documentation of building the boat can be found in the archives.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Summer Sailing

We finally got a decent sail in since Sail Oklahoma despite two unsuccessful attempts.

In April we went out in some high winds and learned where the limits for family sailing should be set.  We had some gusts up to 30 mph and even with only the jib and mizzen up the boat heeled during some gusts more than I've experienced so far.  The Pathfinder performed well in these conditions, but it was really too rough to be taking kids out in.  I believe if we had anyone fall out of the boat in those conditions, it would have been pretty scary given the closely spaced chop that builds up in our rock-shored lakes.  In addition, the jib's connection to it's wire luff failed during a gust, leaving me with an un-furlable headsail and given that the wire luff is also the forestay, it couldn't be taken down and is very difficult to douse in those conditions.  After a white-knuckled motoring back to dock with a wildly flogging half doused jib, I decided that I don't want to have sail that can't be taken down any more.

The result is that now I have made a new wire forestay and sewed up a new jib using a Sailrite kit that is hanked on.   I have been wanting to try out sail making for awhile and used this as an excuse to try it on a small sail.  I found the kit to be really excellent and the new sail performs well.  I will repair my old sail and may try hoisting it with the furler using the separate forestay to see how it does like that although I've heard it is difficult to get correct tension on the luff of the sail with that method.  In any case, I'll have a spare jib and will be able to decide which setup I like better.  As long as I can take the sail down if I need, I'll be happy.

Our next failure was not quite so catastrophic, but annoying.  We tried to sail on the Sunday before memorial day, and literally could not find a place to launch because of the overwhelming crowds of boaters and we went home without ever setting the boat up.

Finally, we got to the lake on my kids' first day of summer vacation and enjoyed some excellent sailing weather with light but steady wind.  It really takes the slightest of breezes to get the Pathfinder up to speed.

Here is a picture showing the new jib:

These guys are enormously happy to be in the water again.

This one is too.

We stopped on our favorite island and found it covered with wildflowers.  You can't see all of the colors in the photo, but it was quite stunning in person.

Given our experience with high winds last month, we used this outing to practice a few things.  First, we tried out reboarding the boat with a crude rope ladder that I've always carried around with us.  It was difficult at first to use, but I think we figured out a good method for boarding with it that isn't too hard...we'll need to practice it again next time.  I also had my wife and daughter practice getting the boat back to a man-overboard using the outboard.  And, winds were light enough that my wife agreed to sail some this time....here is the proof.

1 comment:

Rik said...

Hi Jon,
I have some questions on your build. Please email me at your convenience at rik@studio-advisory.com.