not really canvas – it’s actually made of heavy
sails usually live in the bottom of the deepest cockpit locker, swimming in a
mixture of salt water and diesel. You have to demonstrate that they are onboard
in order to qualify for certain races, but otherwise they languish unloved,
unattended and forgotten.
of course it suddenly blows old boots and the sails are expected to be in
perfect condition and fully rigged with sheets and strops. Oh, and the crew are magically supposed
to be proficient in rigging and setting them.
crew of Majic2 got together to rig and try out the storm sails before we left
Others may have thought we looked pretty silly sitting on the mooring
with two fluorescent orange pocket handkerchiefs in the rig, but we felt rather
problem with storm jibs is that most modern offshore yachts use aluminium
extrusions covering the forestay, to improve the aerofoil over the
foresails. In extremis (usually
defined as force 9 and above) these may fail, and leave you no means of hoisting
a sail forward of the mast. The
regulations require a separate, emergency forestay so that the storm jib can be
hoisted using separate hanks – back to old technology,
purpose-built inner stay is attached to a special deck fitting when in use, but
is usually stowed away against the mast.
storm jib is a very small sail (look back at the previous item on #1, #2 and #3
jibs – this one is about a #5 ½ ) and ours came with the boat. Unfortunately it was rigged with a luff
rope to go up the groove in the aforementioned aluminium extrusion, so it was
sent back to North to be equipped with proper piston hanks for the new wire
stay. It sets off a 2m tack wire,
to allow it to fly clear of the boat in strong winds, hopefully above the
waves. It sheets back to the usual
deck cars (blocks on tracks) used for the other headsails; the strop and sheets
are ready-rigged and live in the bag with
trysail replaces the mainsail in extreme weather, and sets up the track on the
mast but doesn’t utilise the boom (set “loose-footed”). As the mainsail will
still be stowed on the boom, there has to be a gate in the track above the
stacked mainsail, to allow the trysail slides to be slotted in. Majic2 didn’t have a suitable fitting,
and much ingenuity was applied before a solution was found. The trysail also sets high on a wire
tack strop, and is controlled by the spinnaker sheets. The boom is disconnected from the
supporting rod and the end lashed down onto the side deck out of the
give an idea of size, our biggest spinnaker is about 135 square metres. The storm sails cover 25 square metres
storm sails live in specially labelled bags, with their rigging components, in a
labelled locker under the fore cabin berths, and we are practiced in their
use. Emergency gear is one of the
things on the boat that are not taken lightly.
here endeth the fourth lesson on the rig.
There’s nothing much happening in the boatswain’s department at the
moment (why boat swain? I thought a swain was a lovesick peasant
lad. Or a very poshly pronounced
pig. Ah well.). This morning we discovered some wear on
the gybe preventer (see part one) as it passes through the foredeck block, so we
manufactured a webbing strop to hold the block, to improve the angle of the
lead. Otherwise, the palm, needle
and beeswax have stayed in their bag.
next job will be detuning the rig for the onward delivery cruise – we’ll stow
all the spinnakers and racing headsails and rig the old Dacron #3 ready for
pottering up to the BVI.
Simplicity and ease of handling will replace racing sophistication and
the quest for speed, and quite right too.