Monday, January 20, 2014

Raising ‘Minnow’s’ Sail

For the first time I raised ‘Minnow’s’ sail, and I was pleased with the set. The sail may be undersized, but that will mean less reefing, and think there will be ample sail to drive the boat in the sort of conditions I usually encounter off the South Coast.

Small yachts and dinghies are often designed for optimum performance at Beaufort Wind Scale 3, i.e., a wind speed of between 8 and 12 mph. The average summer wind speeds adjacent to the southern coasts of England are generally higher, perhaps Force 4 to 5.

Depending on the direction of travel in relation to the wind, ‘Minnow’ should be able to cope pretty well.

At Force 6, with winds between 25 and 30 mph, sailing will be more demanding. Getting to windward will be more difficult. If ‘Minnow’ is anything like my old Paradox, I’ll have to sail her a bit free. Much will depend upon the sea state.

Running and broad reaching will not be a problem, but if there’s a Force 7, i.e., 31 to 38 mph, I will not want to be there. However, with plenty of sea room she should be OK.

‘Minnow’s’ previous owner gave me a sea anchor (parachute type). However, I have no experience with them, and I don’t ever want to be in a situation where I would seriously consider deploying one.


Beaufort scale


Unknown said...

Hello Bill, she looks stunning with the sail hoisted at last, you must be well pleased. I saw your remarks about sea anchors and not wanting to ever have to deploy one in anger, and can well sympathise with that philosophy. Over the years, I must have read reams about sea anchors and peoples experiences with them, some swearing by them, plenty swearing at them. I feel that in the case of 'Minnow', it may be worth experimenting with in quieter conditions, on account of her lack of a keel, she may ride quietly, head to wind, in any case, you have the sea anchor already, so no expenditure, all you need is the right conditions and half an hour to kill, if it's a no-no, you just cut the warp and let Davey Jones deal with it, or make a present of it to someone 'deserving', (I'll leave the interpretation to you!).
As a foot note, I have a drougue that's supposed to check the drift of a boat when fly fishing for trout, and I find it a pain in the proverbial.

Steve Carey said...

Just as well you "Chocked" the Trailer wheels Bill or poor little Minnow would be heading for the sea! She's looking really good. Sail looks almost like new after the repair.

I was going to copy Paradox's sail for PUFFIN but my Mast will only be 6" from the stem. The CE will be in the wrong place by far as on Paradox, the mast is about 5ft from the front! Might need to look at alternative mast/sail plans.


William Serjeant said...


In previous gales I've been able to heave to or lie ahull - the latter when the wind was at Force 8.

The only time I would try a sea anchor would be if I could not make to windward and there was a lee shore towards which the boat was drifting.

A Force 9 would warrant running downwind with warps etc trailiing astern to reduce the speed of the vessel under bare poles. I would steer with the wind slightly to the quarter to prevent the bow from burrowing.

A really efficient wind activated self-steering gear would cope, allowing the crew to stay below.

My Junk Folksong would slowly sail to windward in a Force 8 with one panel set. She would do this without the help of her self-steering gear. She was the best boat I've owned for such conditions.


William Serjeant said...


I thought you had worked out the sail plan from your successful large scale models.

I hope you'll come up with a good solution.