My big project, the sail plan changes, for December happened a couple of weeks early. It was supposed to happen the week before Christmas, but the rigger was able to squeeze it into his schedule earlier.
A big shout out to SparmanUSA. If you’re looking for any rigging work in the north Florida area, I highly recommend him. Julian came out earlier this year to do a standing rig tune and discuss my long-term plans. He took the time to learn what type of sailing I was planning on doing and then built a list of recommendations based on that. He also took into account of my resources and made a plan to accomplish the project in phases to account for my budget.
Overall the project encompassed running all the lines back to the cockpit, so the boat is easier and safer to single hand (won’t have to go up on the deck to raise/lower/adjust the sails, changing it from a cutter (mainsail plus two foresails) to a sloop (mainsail plus one larger foresail), installing a single line reefing system (reefing is where you make the mainsail smaller in high winds), and adding a track system for the mainsail to make it easier to raise and lower.
Sail Plan Change: Cutter to Sloop
As seen in the picture, the sailboat Palani was originally rigged as a cutter (the large blue sail bag holds the jib when not in use). The inner jib sail took up a lot of space on the foredeck. During my first day sail, I also noticed that when tacking the genoa would rub against the stay that held the jib. So we removed the jib and added a quick release connection to the stay. In normal sailing, the stay would be unhooked and secured to the mast, but in extremely heavy winds I will be able to reconnect the stay and raise a small storm sail (and furl the genoa in). This opens up a lot of room on the foredeck, allows the hatch for the front cabin to be fully opened to allow more air flow inside the boat.
In the picture, I still have the hardware for the jib boom installed (the greener piece of metal), but I’ll be removing that soon.
Since we’ve removed the jib (losing square feet of sail in the process), we increased the size of the genoa (foresail) to a 130%. To do this, we replaced the older furler to a new larger, stronger Harken version. I’ll have the new sail in January and finally be able to sail again.
So that I’m able to control the sails without leaving the cockpit, we ran a majority of the lines back to the cockpit. Currently, the mainsheet is already at the front of the cockpit, but we’ve now run the main halyard (to raise the sail) and the reefing lines to the cockpit. Other than raising the storm sail (which will happen infrequently) all the sails can be controlled within the safety of the cockpit and easy reach of the helm. We replaced the existing winch with a new Harken 35.2 self-tailing winch. We also added 4 line jammers. These hold the lines so you can switch the various lines to the winch.
In the next step, which I’m hoping to do in March or April, we will move the mainsheet traveler to the cabin top (clearing the back of the cockpit so I can put up a bimini), adding a single line reefing system (allows for easy reefing of the mainsail), a new mainsail track (making it easy to raise and lower the sails), a mainsail bag with lazy jacks (currently there is a mainsail cover which you have to put around the mainsail, a bag will be attached to the boom with a zipper across the top. The lazy jacks are a series of ropes that keep the main sail aligned with the boom as you raise and lower it. With these two items you can just let the mainsail slide down onto the boom and into the bag which you then just zip up) and a rigid vang (this is a device which helps support the boom and will add a safety factor now that I’ve removed the boom gallows).
For me, this was a significant step forward in my plans to go. Once we finish the second phase of the rigging the only major project will be the electrical system. Then it will just be minor “creature comforts” and building up the cruising kitty (money). Now I just have to find new projects for the week before Christmas.