View Full Version : Pretty skiff pictures...

10-16-2004, 10:28 PM
Folks have been asking me to post more pictures of our Weekend Skiff, Splinters. I finally borrowed a better digital camera from a friend so we could get some half-way decent shots.

A couple of weekends ago my daughter Alegra, wife Rosie and I met several local folks at Stony Creek Metropark to start organizing a SE Michigan chapter of the Traditional Small Craft Association and do some 'messing about.'

It was a blustery day with 15 to 25 mph winds, kind of chilly, but bright and sunny after the morning rain and clouds blew away about noon. Here's Splinters at the dock with the sail furled and boom pulled up on the topping lift while we get settled. The main sheet keeps the boom under control...

Alegra, my daughter and fellow (filly?) boat builder...

The only other time we'd been out in such strong wind Alegra had been on the helm while I coached from amidships. So, just to be safe, we set out with just main and our (only) reef in so I could get used to things. Notice the dagger board is still up from being over the ramp...

We knew from our last outing that the boat would not be overpowered, so we put up the headsail as soon as we were under way, making it easier to work our way out of the cove where the ramps are.

I also wanted to test the boat's performance tacking while reefed. If you're not moving well when you begin the maneuver you stand a good chance of getting in stays. I did this on purpose a couple of times to try using reversed helm to bring her around, and it worked very well.

Before long we were blasting along having a great time under full sail. When the wind was up we could lean out, sheet in, and almost bury the lee rail... :eek:

We wanted to beach near the swim area so we could get pictures with the rest of the group and some detail shots of our boat, but the wind was blowing right on shore and I didn't want to go bulldozing in at full speed! So I nosed up while Alegra doused the main, then we turned about and ran in under headsail, all our weight in the stern and bow high. Alegra stepped ashore with dry feet, pretty as you please... :D

We beached and got a bunch of pictures (which you'll see in my next post), then I finally got to take Rosie out in something other than a dead calm!

She brought the camera along and tried very hard to catch some of the big splashes we were getting from the bow. No, Splinters is not a dry ride on a day like this...

I've learned that our 100 square feet is a pretty conservative sail plan for our Weekend Skiff. It performs well enough and is quite safe for us newbies. I'd not be shy about making it a couple of feet taller, adding a second reef point and maybe another 25% to the sail area.

That said, it's been a joy 'learning the ropes' and seeing what she will do. The rig is more complex than you'd usually put on a boat this size, but it has worked out surprisingly well.

The other day my son Stephen and I were out on my friend's Shark, a 1960's vintage 24' fiberglass Bermuda rig fin keel boat with the usual selection of lines. He looked around and commented about how simple it looked!

I guess I can claim mission accomplished, eh?

More in a while...

Mike D.

Joe (SoCal)
10-16-2004, 10:52 PM
I LOVE these kinds of threads
Thanks http://media5.hypernet.com/ubb/icons/icon14.gif

Ross M
10-16-2004, 11:01 PM
Me too, Joe. #2 & #6!

Thanks, Mike

10-17-2004, 12:41 AM
So here we are on the beach, Alegra providing ballast to keep the brisk winds over the stern from sending Splinters on her side...

The sails are 75' sq. and 25' sq. The mast is 12 1/2 feet tall, and could comfortably be about 15" taller and still fit between the breasthook and the transom for trailering. The boom is about 10' and the gaff 5', both of which could grow a bit for some more sail area.

Starting at the bow, you can see the painter hole in the stem, with a loop of 5/16 brass bent into place to shackle to. The hole is lined with PVC bedded with 3M 5200. The stemhead fitting came from Tendercraft Boats (http://www.tendercraftboats.com/), and the bronze half oval from Roger at Bristol Bronze (http://www.bristolbronze.com/)...

If you look closely at the headsail, you'll notice the bottomost luff cringle isn't hanked on. That's what I get for buying the sails before choosing the headstay fitting and working out all the rigging details! I'll probably visit Wally Cross (http://na.northsails.com/contact_us.taf?_function=detail&loft_uid1=5), our sail maker, and have him tweak a few of these things for us this winter.

The headstay and shrouds are an experiment in modern materials and vintage design. They're all made from 1/8" Vectrus single braid, with a spliced and served soft eye to go over the hounds and a thimble at the bottom.

The headstay has 3 turns of the Vectrus between the thimble and a snap shackle, while the shrouds are snugged down by a pendant of 3/16 dacron 3-strand run between chainplates abeam the mast and jam cleats on a block aft, just ahead of the foreward frame.

The Vectrus should be strong enough for any loads this boat will put on it, provided you don't try to rig things tight as a drum. Made up normally, I see a slack lee shroud when heeled over, just as you'd want in a rig that should "give" a little bit.

Time will tell how they stand up to abrasion and whatever other abuse they get.

Next we have an overall view aft, so you can see the seating arrangment and the nice removable cedar floorboards the kids made...

Abeam the dagger board trunk thwart, above, you'll see the row of holes that give adjustment for the headsail sheet blocks.

Below, we see where the headsail sheets cleat off on the aft end of the trunk. The fairlead design jam cleats keep the sheets from getting lost. So far it's worked pretty well, but they do take some tending to keep them from hanging up when you don't want them to...

You can also see, above, the under seat stowage for the 7' oars. The beautiful boats in the background are Hugh Hortons's excellent sailing canoe, Walela, and John Van Slembrouck's (http://www.stoneycreekboatshop.com/) finely crafted Acorn dinghy, Lesson One.

While we're amidships, lets also look at the dagger board. Here you see the bungie cord stretched between a couple of padeyes on the sides of the trunk, as well as the lanyard looped through the handle and snap shackled to another padeye on the foreward face of the trunk -- to keep the board with the boat "just in case!" :eek:

One reason the skiff handles the rig as well as it does is certainly the extra 12 pounds of lead cast into the lower end of that dagger board. The board and slot are coated with graphite filled epoxy to cut down on wear a little.

Lastly, for this post, the double ended mainsheet arrangement, with blocks at the quarter knees and boom, plus fairlead jam cleats on the inwales for each end. The single purchase just starts to run out of steam in the strongest winds we've tried...

The arrangment of the mainsheet, headsail sheets, and shroud pendants all came from forum members' suggestions. They vastly simplified the rig and helped assure that what I built would actually work once we got out on the water. Thank you gentlemen!!!

Now one more post to show some details of the rest of the rig...

Be well,

Mike D.

imported_Steven Bauer
10-17-2004, 01:12 AM
Just awesome, Mike. Thanks :D


10-17-2004, 09:21 AM
You're right, Mike. That is a pretty skiff, and a good looking crew as well. Congradulations on a fine job.

Ian McColgin
10-17-2004, 09:34 AM
Thank you for the lovely pix.


10-17-2004, 11:48 AM
Thank you folks. I'm enjoying posting these!

Here's the crowning glory of complexity for this rig, the masthead and gaff...

Starting from the top of the mast:
</font> a pair of wooden rigging cleats form the hounds, supporting the headstay, shrouds, and headsail and peak halyard block strops</font> a small wooden crane keeps the throat halyard block clear of the mast</font> a small cleat anchors one end of the topping lift, this side, which runs down and around the boom and back up to a block hanging on a strop, far side, then down</font> a small cross-tree made with bronze plate and small plastic fairleads guides the halyard and topping lift falls past the gaff jaws.
</font>To give you a sense of scale, it's only about 2 1/2 feet from the top of the mast to the gaff jaws.

From the head of the gaff:
</font> a comb anchors the outhaul and one end of the gaff span</font> the outhaul runs foreward to a small jam cleat</font> the other end of the span is spliced around the gaff</font> the parrel wire seems bigger than necessary, but is sized so the gaff can snug up parallel with the mast for trailering
</font>At the end of the boom, below, starting aft, we have: </font> a comb for the outhaul...</font> which comes foreward to a jam cleat (on other side)</font> a second comb foreward of the tack supports the mainsheet strop and reefing line...</font> which leads foreward to a jam cleat mid-boom...</font> just aft of the fairleads for the topping lift (not shown)...

The main sail is spiral laced to the boom and gaff. The luff-tie system comes from Phil Bolger, reported in Appendix III, page 132, of Payson's Build the New Instant Boats. Short lengths of small stuff pass through adjacent luff cringles, the ends brought together and tied off to form a captive loop with enough slack in it you can drag both sides of the loop foreward around the mast so they meet. There, you use the loose ends of the first knot to tie one side of the loop to the other. The loops stay with the sail and it takes, in our case, only 7 quick reef knots to bend on the luff...

While the mast head may be crowded, the pinrail at the base of the mast tries to keep things sorted out on deck. It's a U-shaped shelf of 3/4 ply, mounted to 3 brackets with a total of 6 screws into the mast. The screws carry a sheer load while the brackets are virtually clamped in place by the wrap-around rail. With a purchase on the main halyards, the rail sees only half the peak and throat tension. We'll be turning some belaying pins sometime this winter, seeing as I can't stand the notion of paying $40 a pop for them! :eek:

Things aren't perfect. If you look closely at this picture you'll see (at least) two things: The starboard shroud is being chafed by the peak halyard when the gaff falls off to starboard. The throat halyard also has about 3 twists in it...

Here I'm tipping the boat so Alegra can untwist the throat halyard. Replacing the block at the gaff jaws with one that does not swivel will be on my list of things to do before spring...

Well, here we are back at the dock, waiting for Rosie to bring the trailer around. Splinters looks a little rumpled, perhaps, but then we've just spent our day testing our little skiff against some pretty solid winds. We didn't do bad a'tall, a'tall!

Thanks for enjoying the pictures with me. Here's to spring, and may it come soon!

Mike D.

L.W. Baxter
10-17-2004, 12:13 PM
Ahhhhh... this sort of thing fills the void between magazine arrivals. Excellent "article." You're a top shelf "content provider", M.G., thanks.


10-17-2004, 12:16 PM
What a fabulous boat! I am inspired again.

10-17-2004, 01:12 PM
Terrific job! The boat looks GREAT, the post is very informative and well written and seeing a happy, smiling crew putting her through the trials are priceless.

Thank you

Hal Forsen
10-17-2004, 04:36 PM
Great post, great boat, great dad.

10-17-2004, 04:48 PM
Great job on the boat and the post. Looks like a great family outing. Love their smilin' faces as much as that beautiful boat!

Peter Malcolm Jardine
10-17-2004, 06:33 PM
Great pix :cool: :cool:

10-17-2004, 07:04 PM
Wonderful tale (and boat!)

imported_Steven Bauer
10-17-2004, 08:54 PM
Thanks, Mike. This is the kind of thread that makes up for what happens in the bilge. Aces! :D


10-18-2004, 01:42 PM
Excellent post. This is what the WBF is all about.

10-18-2004, 04:28 PM
Looks like your having the most fun/waterline going!

Great project!