Light Schooner Building 
(2)  Rigging and First Sails! new
 Main text and photos (c) Stephen Devine. Doodles by Flying Tadpole
Light Schooner logo

[After a long, long wait due entirely to Flying Tadpole spending too much time working and sailing SquareBoats, here's the rest of Stephen Devine's diary and photos. For the first half of the construction, see the first installment.  We remind readers, including those terrified at the thought of sailing once construction is complete, thatTHIS IS HIS FIRST BOAT!  We've included some of the email interchanges regarding sail set and initial problems as a help to those who also may be intent on capsizing at the earliest possible stage!! Read on...]
rigging at bowDetail of rigging:
These photos give a close=up view of the according-to-plan rigging.  Note the use of colour coded lines on the foresheet (red) and jib sheet (green)....
rigged at midships...and blue for the mainsheet.  Cam cleats are used for the jib and foresheets, a smart way to go.  Note the foresheet riding its high horse.  This is a matter of personal preference, but Flying Tadpole II uses shorter horses...
rigged at the horse for the mainsheet visible here.  Note the kick-up rudder: necessary if you're beaching or facing shallow water.  This by the way is a purist's Light Schooner, without a motorwell.
driveway rig Nowhere to go but out!

S devine's maiden sail

Since the last time I wrote, I finished my boat, named her, had a  prelaunch party, a launching, and sailed her with a couple of adventures! The boat is named 'Faith' because if you have a little faith you can accomplish anything! And a little faith will carry you a long gotta have faith to sail her!!!!

I finished construction in early July, and launched on July 15, 2000. Prelaunch was at my house the night before, and many friends came. The launching was great, and a passing trimaran took the action pictures.  We tried to catch it but of course, we didn't. 

handling mast
Rigging up:
The masts are easily handled by one person.  But it helps to have several to get all the strings in place!
rigged foresail
Cheering crowdsbuilder & boatleading out 2The Happy Return

She does look good doesn't she? FUN to sail, but she won't think twice about dumping you. A little boy said she was a sexy boat. And it couldn't be more true. Responds quickly to anything, fast, slender, agressive. Always wants to GO. The number one comment... "Not very beamy, is she?"

[Now for the Dorothy Dix questions:  have a look at these early sailing tryouts and read Stephen's emails and the Flying Tadpole responses:]
sail problems 1 SD:

Hey, we are finding it difficult to keep Faith upright, but I am going out with only one crew member. My suspicion is that we need at least 3-4 people to keep her up. Okay, truth time. we took her out 3 times and tipped her twice. 

Am I not carring enough weight? We can't seem to dump enough wind out of the sails quick enough, and then the booms are in the water- by then it is too late. What has been your experience? Okay stop laughing now.Also, you talk about 20 and 30 mph winds- tell me more. I can't imagine sailing at all in that. 

Now up until the time that we actually go over, we are ripping accross the water and having a grand time passing most boats. What do you
think about trapezes? 

sail problems 3
I've been scratching my head looking at your sailing photos. Here are some important points.

At the moment, the jib and the foresail appear more-or-less OK.

The main has been hoist too high to begin with. Two major consequences, first you can't peak it up properly as the gaff is too high, second the sail has a lot more leverage with the extra 10-12" up the mast. Try to set where we have ours, with the boom jaws at no more than 8 inches above the deck.

Main topping lifts (the single line doubled about the mast that holds the boom up and acts as a lazyjack too).  Have these set up initially for hoisting but LET THEM OFF once you've hoisted. They really, really need to be very slack with a pronounced curve.  Check out photos of well-set sails  and look at the slackness of the topping lifts. 

sail problems 2
The topping lifts are contributing another problem for you too: you're clearly oversheeting (too hard in on the sheets) and the tight topping lift provides a fulcrum so that your oversheeting is actually pulling the end of the boom DOWN and the boom jaws, like a seesaw, are rising up the mast - a mess!!!  Also, this is part of how you're tripping over the booms in a looming knockdown.

So far, we've corrected responses to gusts (turn AWAY from wind), reduced sail leverage and improved set (let your topping lifts be slack once hoisted). 

Now, =oversheeting=.  This is a hard one, needing practice and depending on the cut of your sails. Only rule I can give is that sails should always be out a bit further than you'd think.  The jib the most (bends airflow onto the...)foresail a bit less out (bends airflow onto the...) mainsail out least of all BUT mainsheet handler/helmsman
ready to release to avoid knockdown.  Check our how to sail notes carefully: you need to cleat the main but cleat it with a lot of slack in the sheet so you've got time to let it go...

Trapezes? I've thought about that too! Your seated position in the photo looks fine, though.  Oversheeting is causing you unneccessary problems, but you have to ride out on the rail with a crew of two.

Don't try for the absolute maximum pointing: free your sheets up, fall off a bit and go just that bit faster.  BTW your winds are at the point where I'd be thinking about reefing if I weren't racing. 

Finally...In an impending knockdown, DO NOT TURN UP INTO THE WIND.  Turn AWAY, repeat AWAY from the wind.  Luffing up results in the ruder acting like a dive elevator, and it will finish the sink-the-rail-under-the-surface trick. In contrast, bearing away picks up the speed while allowing the boat to come upright, and with the additional speed you can come back onto the wind safely. Leave "witching" until you're more familiar.  NB in this respect a LS is like a catamaran, which always bears away in a gust

And after all that: SD reports:
We had an excellent weekend sailing Faith! The wind was light, and we put the full sail compliment up. We tried that tacking procedure you have, and it worked like a charm! That was the easiest way to tack we ever tried on the schooner. We kept the masts pointed to the sky, and only got wet when we jumped overboard. Didn't worry about speed, we'll work up to that. That main behaves much better with the topping lift off. The wind did start picking up yesterday afternoon while we were out there and we learned more about sailing off the wind, and keeping her going. We were pinching way too much before. It's amazing how when we do the things you say, and the boat acts the way you said it would!

The cats still pass us and leave us though. How do you beat a cat? FT2: sneak up on it in the parking lot and clobber it with your mainmast....

Post-libation libationThe sweet taste of success!! (and beer)

Stephen Devine's final note to new builders: 

You will practice sailing other boats, and read stories like Gregg Carlson's and say to yourself 'I'm not going to tip'. You build your boat, and get out there and the first thing you notice is that wow, its fast! You start tearing up the water, and you might even get back in without incident. 

This is only lulling you into trickery thinking you know how to do this. That is a worse situation, as you are drunk with the knowledge of what the schooner will do. Then, you go out and in front of people make an idiot out of yourself. 

Rest assured, the light schooner MUST baptize you, like it or not. So, you might as well get it in your head that you like it.

| Building Tips  | Light Schooner Homepage |