OK, we had Julia's pea and ham soup for lunch and it was perfect. So what is the problem? Well we had a perfect cauliflower soup last week, and last night we shared a magnificent seafood lasagne (by Julia) and a beautiful oven roasted sea salmon (by our dear friends Rob and Sally), and I'm trying to get a boat ready for launch. I suppose I should point out that these meals are hearty and warming- the sort of cold-weather fare that occurs when the weather is cold and the hearth beckons...hardly the sort of environment that says 'let's go outside and sail a new boat'...
The techno-bits have progressed to the extent that I just have to connect the battery box to the wires that now weave their way torturously through the seat box enclosures. The battery will sit directly in front of the centre-board case- a nice place for a bit of useful ballast, but I'm far from confident about my work with wires and connectors and small shiny boxes that do electronic stuff that I don't have a clue about...I'm way out of my comfort zone here and it has been a real struggle to keep motivated in the battery motor powering bit of this build. I would be so much happier with wooden wires and plywood electronics. But you never make progress if you stay entirely comfortable, and in a couple of weeks my apprehension will look puerile (with luck), or justified, maybe....
I told Joel that I would post something about the rigging, so will begin this here. Setting up the mast involves drilling nasty holes for the hounds, but like a lot of Navigator builders, I put them all in the locations specified in the plans, but then found that the jib block was too low to accommodate the extra length involved in the furling gear. So Joel, be warned- the jib halyard will be higher than specified, and to deal with this it may be worth having longer stays which can share the bolt hole for the jib hounds. My set-up is unusual too, because I've made a tabernacle for mast mounting, but apart from that, the Duckworks sails arrived in exactly the right shape and size, and set very well indeed on first raising them.
The long batten has been the subject of a bit of discussion, and many have chosen to use shorter ones- and I am open to correction should I experience problems sailing, but they set really beautifully, and I don't have a problem wrapping them all up for transport, so I'm entrely happy so far. The long batten makes the sail take shape even without wind, and the gaff set-up allows easy adjustment, without the common creases that the short batten fraternity seem to have. The gaff is a joy so far, and having the halyards set back to the cockpit means that lowering the sail can be a somewhat relaxed affair, taking the time to keep it all relatively neat. The weight of the yard makes lowering easy.
I've followed Kevin's excellent example in setting up the topping lift as lazy-jacks as well. I experimented with several positions to run the line under the boom, to find the best place to gather the most sail, and found a spot back near the reefing cleat. I resisted (so far) the temptation to complicate the one-line system by adding a second sail-catching line, because this system works well with great simplicity.
I'm thrilled with the tabernace. It is just so easy to lift and lower the mast without disconnecting the sail at all- even the lacing can remain exactly as it was when set. The only line that changes is the jib halyard. Easy and fast. The mizzen would be this fast too if it wasn't for its three battens, but to speed their removal I've drilled their ends to accommodate a small line that peeks out of the pocket. The yard is interesting. I began with a bridle for the peak halyard to slide along, but found a simple static shackle worked just as well, but was easier to handle when lowering. Maybe things will be different when lowering or setting a reefed main, but for the moment, I'll stick to the simplest possible solution.
As to the gaff jaws, they seem to work well. Owen Sinclair sent me a pic of his jamb cleat to secure the parrell line (and save cold wet fingers from untying knots). It would be good to do something along those lines...one day.
The second pic above was included to show the bulge from the long batten when the sail is lowered. Quite manageable.
More rigging details are shown on my Flickr set. The link is in the right side-bar, below.
On another matter, there are a couple of new ways to read this blog. The first is your ability, if you are silly enough to read this stuff, to get notified of new posts by email, and the second is to view the blog as a selectable mosaic. The link is in the right side-bar, near the top, and is worth trying if you like to browse.