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.

Friday, March 11, 2022

Time for some new sails

Ellie's sails are 12 years old.  They're getting wrinkled, baggy, and the batten pockets are worn out.  Time for a new set of sails.

I'm having the new set made by Duckworks - by same sailmaker that made my original sails.  Their sailmaker does excellent work for a reasonable price.

I also wanted to make some improvements to my original sails.  I'm not a sail designer, but I do own a copy of The Sailmaker's Apprentice, which I bought at the Port Townsend Wooden Boat festival directly from the author Emiliano Marino himself.  He even autographed my copy.  This book is fantastic.  It contains more than anyone could ever want to know about sailmaking.  

Ellie sports the gaff yawl mainsail shown on plan sheet NV12.  This rig uses a horizontal, conventional boom.  Even though I raised the gooseneck a bit higher on the mast, the boom still hits me in the head and sometimes it appears to droop.

My first improvement was to raise the clew by about 200 mm.  That'll save my noggin, eliminate the droop, and look more attractive when it resembles the trim of the jib and mizzen foot. I also put a bit of a curve on the foot which looks nice.

Next, I changed the reef lines to run parallel to the boom.  This was done so the boom remains at the same position with each successive reef instead of angling higher with each one.  This will improve safety by keeping the boom within reach.

The biggest change on the mainsail was with the battens.  The top two battens were full length and are angled relatively horizontal.  Every time I furled and unfurled the main I would have to remove or insert these battens.  This was very annoying, unsafe, and wore out my batten pockets.  My improvement is to angle the top two battens towards the throat.  Now I can drop the main into the lazyjacks on the boom without having to remove the battens at all.  I also made all four battens the same length for convenience.

My current sails are made from 6 oz cloth.  They're heavy.  This time I'm going with lighter weight 4 oz cloth to reduce weight.

As for the jib, I enlarged it just a bit.  I discovered that the dimensions for the jib, as shown on the plans, do not match the jib as drawn.  The jib as drawn is slightly larger.  It's not much of a difference, but Ellie has sufficient weather helm so why not.  The new jib will have a wire luff for roller furling, as does the current jib.

And finally, the mizzen is unchanged, except I angled the battens slightly so it looks like the main sail.

Here are my sail plan drawings in case you're interested.

You can download my new sail plans here.  (1.8 MB PDF)

1 comment:

  1. Sound thinking Joel that only comes from time on the water. I'm sure your improvements will add to your cruising enjoyment not least save the noggin!