This blog is devoted to my John Welsford designed 15' Navigator yawl Ellie. I built her in my garage over a period of 18 months and launched her in 2011. She sports a sliding gunter main, roller furled jib and sprit-boomed mizzen. Her construction is glued-lapstrake over permanent bulkheads and stringers. This blog is a record of her construction and her voyages here in the Puget Sound area and (hopefully) a useful resource for fellow Navigator builders.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Another Jib & Mizzen affair

I seem to be doing more than my fair share of jib and mizzen sailing lately.

After three days of having no wind at Sucia, we awoke to a very nice 15kt southeasterly wind for the return trip on monday.  Perfect!  A welcome sight after having motored over 40 miles during the previous three days.

Bob and I set sail for Sandy Point marina together, Bob in his Jim Michalak designed Scram Pram "Duck" and I in Ellie, having dropped off my son Tim at school in Bellingham the day before.

The wind and seas gradually increased during the voyage.  About halfway there I started to get hit with some spray.  Reefing early is always a good idea and it's something that I always do.  Besides, I was in no hurry to get home!  So we hove-to and went straight to jib and mizzen.  It was a good decision as the seas continued to build and I still got sprayed on despite being heavily reefed.  Here, enjoy this one in slow-motion.
I was very impressed with Bob's Scram Pram. It's fast!  Really fast.  And dry too.  Bob can pilot the boat from inside it's warm, dry cabin without sacrificing his view of his beautiful surroundings. My next sail was last weekend.  The forecast was for 10 mph winds.  Excellent!  I could do with a nice relaxing sail. Ellie and I set out for our typical daysail - a lap around Hat (Gedney) island.  It started out with a pleasant breeze, just as forecast, but then a squall quickly rolled in, churning up the bay.  There have been frequent thunderstorms here lately, so I decided that it would be an excellent time to high-tail it home.
The more times I do it, the more I appreciate using Ellie's mizzen to heave-to.  When the conditions get rough, I simply sheet the mizzen in tight, lash the tiller, furl the jib and drop the main.  Ellie points into the wind and stays there, giving me ample time to reef, collect my thoughts, take a break, or whatever.  If you look closely at the following video, you'll notice she doesn't point directly upwind, as you might expect.  She settles in at about a 45 degree angle to the wind and travels in reverse.  Note how the waves are hitting the starboard bow.

Heaving-to like this only takes seconds when you have all the controls led back to the cockpit.  Even lashing down the tiller is quick.  I use a bit of line with three loops in it.  One in the center and one on each end.  I slip the center loop over the tiller and the end loops over the stern cleats and that's all there is to it.

Still, I am looking forward to a relaxing sail next time out!


  1. Great videos, Joel, especially the long solo sail. You reefed so fast I didn't even see it happen...

    Michael H.

  2. Looking good Joel, I especially like the squall one. It is fun to know that you can be out in these kind of conditions and feel secure in such a seaworthy little vessel.

    I was reading some older posts and was surprised that you used rustoleum paint. I used it exclusively on my old boat and it held up beautifully. Now I can't find it anywhere in the State of Maryland.

    Kevin Brennan
    "Slip Jig"

  3. Thanks Kevin, great to hear from you. I hope you're getting some great sailing in as well, despite the crazy weather everyone has been getting.

    I used Rustoleum on my decks & coaming, rubrails and centerboard. It's held up beautifully - as well as the porch and floor enamel, but it dries much quicker. I wish I'd used Rustoleum everywhere. I'm nearly convinced that all oil-based alkyd enamels are essentially the same now that I've used several different ones. More and more States are banning them though. I suspect Maryland may have.