Progress Report - Aug. 2001
Upon receiving my sail, I rushed home and set the rig up horizontally in the
backyard. After sliding on the sail I made a number of
measurements for the reefing lines, outhaul, and
cunningham. And as I expected, the boom was a bit too
long. A lot better than being too short, though. So I cut
about 4" off the aft end.
After another few trips to
the store and a couple more evenings doing a odd jobs,
the Great Event approacheth.
If you do any research on
launching ceremonies, you get a multitude of different
ideas. Many cases follow a set pattern. The builder
launches the boat (with or without ceremony). Then after
performing sea-trials, the builder legally turns the boat
over to the owner. The new owner then performs a
christening/launching/commissioning ceremony whereby the
vessel gains a name, a spirit, and an official skipper.
I decided to follow the same procedure. As the
builder, I would launch the boat and perform sea-trials
the weekend before the Big Ceremony. That way I would
have a chance to put the boat through its paces, become
more comfortable with its performance characteristics,
and still have a week to fix anything that broke. During
the Big Ceremony, the builder (Me) will officially turn
over the keys to the new owner (Me), designate the name,
the spirit, and the new skipper (Me). Complete with
bubbly over the bow (and into Me).
Okay, it's a plan.
In a break between rain showers, I towed the boat to the
designated launching area and assembled the rig with the
help of an eager friend and my bride. Backing the boat
into the water, it came off easily into the water. Due to
the inclement weather not many were using the boat
launch, which was good since I needed a bit more room to
get the sail up and everything squared away. The area
around the ramp is pretty shallow, so I wasn't able to
lower the centerboard or the rudder all the way until we
were a good distance out. Even with appendanges retracted
I was surprised at how little leeway we were making. Once
the 5 kn breeze carried us into deeper water, it was time
for the sea trials to begin in earnest.
The rudder was really easy to drop and hold in
position. The centerboard was not so easy. If there was
any side pressure against it, it would not move. Luffing
up helped drop it down most of the way. We then eased
into a close-reaching starboard tack. The first thing I
noticed was the lack of pressure on the helm. After a
short period I just let go. My friend and I looked at
each other with wide eyes as the boat just tracked along
by itself. Eventually a stronger puff arrived with a
slight wind direction change and the boat just readjusted
course itself and kept going. Our reaction was the same:
"What an amazing boat!"
More tests were done. Slow speed manueverability,
sailing all angles to the wind, tacking, gybing,
intentional knockdowns. This last bit was done by luffing
until almost stopped, pulling the main all the way in and
turning 90 degrees to the wind. It heeled to 45 degrees
and just stopped. Just a bit of the leeward rail was in
the water at this point. More wind would be needed to get
it to go any further. Knocking it over on starboard tack
would cause the off-centerboard to ventilate at about 40
degrees of heel. Good to know. We took in both reefs to
test out that gear. No problems. My thanks to Tim
for the Seaward Fox site where he added a halyard winch.
I used mine frequently and was very happy to have it. The
rest of the running rigging worked perfectly.
I admit that going into the sea trials I was fully
prepared for the boat to show some bad behavior. Even in
5 knots of breeze. I was continually amazed that nothing
untoward came to pass. The rudder is very well balanced
and has a lot of bite, even at slow speeds. Gybing was no
fuss. Tacking was really easy (just turn the helm).
Acceleration was great. And as I suspected, the boat is
initially tender. From my experience in 6 Meters, though,
I don't consider tenderness to be a bad trait.
After 2 hours another rain storm approached so we
headed back to the ramp. Getting the boat back on the
trailer was not a problem, despite not being able to back
the trailer all the way down. That tested the bow eye
successfully. Two final observations: the boat floated on
her lines and never leaked a drop of water.
Things I didn't get to do is test in waves and higher
wind conditions. Somehow I think that will come in time.
Oh, yeah, and I didn't test the rowing capability. Call
it downright laziness.
Several days of downpours revealed another flaw. My
cockpit hatches leak like sieves. I will have to redesign
that system (Heavy Sigh).
Perfect conditions greated us on August 25. Sunny, winds N-NE at 15 - 18 kn, and
warm. A friend took most of the pictures here with his
fancy digital camera. Click on the thumbs to see the full
picture. Back to the designated launch area at Willoughby
Bay we went. My bride set up a great food spread, I set
up the boat, guests arrived. Among the entourage was
Alleluia, a Norwalk Islands Sharpie 26. It became the
With the boat properly dressed, I said a few words of thanks, my bride did the
sponsor thing of making a small speech and spraying the
boat with champagne. We then proceeded with the launching
The burgee is from the (University of) Washington
Yacht Club where I first learned to sail.
Here I'm coaxing the boat off the trailer. Sliding it off and on is remarkably easy.
This picture also shows the intricate spaghetti of control
lines around the mast. In total there are main halyard (left
side), boom vang with strap, outhaul, cunningham, reef
outhaul #1, reef outhaul #2. It all works out without too
She's floating! These fancy digital pictures most accurately reflect the green color
of the deck (your monitor may differ).
A number of people have warned me about the hazards of lazy jacks.
I've found mine to be pretty benign. The only time they
get caught is during the initial raising and it's no fuss
to clear them. Reefing, or taking out reefs, doesn't foul
So I raised the sail, loaded up the first batch of guests, and off we went. Once
beyond the shadow of the highway bridge the wind made
it's full force felt. I decided pretty quickly that we
needed to take in a reef. This picture caught me in the
midst of the process.
Even overpowered the boat didn't
exhibit any bad behavior. The helm was always pretty tame
regardless of gusts, people walking around, or the course.
But there is one thing I found in the stronger breeze.
Like a Laser and Finn, if you go dead downwind it will
rock gunwale to gunwale if you're not careful. Heading up
a bit stops the rolling.
Here we are properly trimmed with a single reef and a bone in her teeth. The sailmaker
tried to convince me that the reefs I requested were too
deep. Since we had plenty of power here in the gusts, I
am very glad I stuck to my guns.
As in the sea trial, the short fetch didn't allow much in the way of waves. So
the jury is still out on how she does in chop or bigger
Here she is at speed. Please forgive the dragging fenders. Since I was back and forth
to the dock to give rides I didn't bother stowing them. I
like the photo though.
Again, the oars stayed stowed on
the side decks. I take that as a good thing. I'm still a
bit curious about how they'll work, but I'm sure that
will come in time.
This picture is probably one of the few times we'll be ahead of Alleluia. Although the
starboard cockpit drain appears underwater, it is
actually right at the water's edge. Despite 4 people in
the cockpit, I never got more than a cup of water through
the drains. I was surprised since I expected a bit more.
Here's a picture of the aforementioned Alleluia. You can see the family
resemblence. This boat was built by a Connecticut
boatyard under the watchful eye of the designer. To my
knowledge it was the second 26 made. The current owner
purchased her several years ago. She remains in the
original configuration (and name) since her launch in
Eventually our party came to a close. A great
ending to one chapter and a start on the
next. From the first cut to launching took exactly 2
years and 9 months. Total construction labor was 619
Pronounced Egg'-ee-ah, this name comes from Norse
Mythology. The god and goddess of the sea are Ægir and
Ran. Together they had nine giantess daughters, often
referred as Wave Maidens. Egia is one of these maidens.
Legend has it that when they favored a sailor, they
played in the waves around his ship, pushing him forward
to his destination. Well, I guess I can always hope.
Now you might think that I'm all misty-eyed over the end of
Egia's construction. That I'll miss those evenings in the shop
making sawdust or mixing epoxy. Not so. You see, I've already cut
the bulkheads for my next boat project. And for those in the back
snickering, the next boat will not be bigger. Rather, it is much
smaller--a Mixer. But I don't expect to be working on it
much before winter sets in. Instead I'll be S-A-I-L-I-N-G!