The spark of life

Hoisting a sail onto Helacious for the first time, on a cold December day,with our 2 sons in attendance, was a highlight of this 8 year project.The reality of actually going sailing was emerging from the mist.

The shrouds had previously only been tightened “hand-tight”.  Rig adjustment is a bit of a black art. Finally I found a book with some hard data written by a Norwegian sailor. The cap shrouds should be tightened to 15% of breaking laod. It is a feature of 1x19 316ss wire that a 3mm elongation measured over a 2 meter length equals 15% of BL. We taped a 6’ folding ruler to the shroud, marked it’s lower end and then tightened away on the turnbuckle. It didn’t actually take too many turns to achieve the target. The backstays were also adjusted in this manner, then the remainder of the shrouds tightened in a manner to straighten the mast column (black art, see?). Ultimately we will examine the shrouds and mast while underway to see if the leeward ones are too slack while beating, but for now we have some tension and the mast is (mostly) straight with a wee back of back bend a about 2˚ of rake.

We began the process then of measuring for the main and the jib.We have 36” high lifelines to clear, plus the mast pulpits, plus the inner forestay. A 150% heavy genoa did not make sense, so in discussion with Jamie and Phil  we opted for a 110% genoa (which is just barely a genoa, I suppose, more of a jib).The clew would be high enough to clear, but not extreme like a Yankee, which loses too much area. The measurement job was very thorough, with lots of cross checks. 

The main was somewhat simpler to measure and we deferred to the sailmakers as to most of the details-they know what they are doing. It is a full batten main, with 3 reefs. Each reef tack has a web and ring “dogbone” for hooking onto the tack horn. It is traditional slab reefing. Zoom’s method of corner reinforcement is a radial star pattern which orients the bias of the fabric in line with the highest loads. We opted for Dimension Polyant AP fabric which they( Jamie and Phil) have tested in the tropics as having much better longevity than Marblehead. It is a bit stiffer and about 10% more expensive (for the material). We also ordered a stack pack type sailcover in , of course, red Sunbrella.

About 3 weeks after the order was placed the sails arrived in 2 huge boxes via air express, weighing each about 45 kg. That weekend John and Ken, neighbors from down the dock, helped us wrestle the genoa onto the foredeck and we hoisted it easily up the furler. A gentle wind stirred it fitfully to and fro,  a thoroughbred waiting for the gate to open.

We waited a few weeks for the sailcover to arrive before installing the main. Again, everything fit perfectly, as if it had been custom made, which of course it was!  

We are now posting lots of pictures on our Facebook page

This is an easy way for Helen and I to share our adventures and also the best way to contact us. This Odyssey Yachts blog is a legacy app that is no longer supported by Apple, so shortly I will have to stop updating it, although it will still be available online. Once we start cruising I would like to start a new blog which is web based. Stay tuned...