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Thread: Navigator or Pathfinder?

  1. #1
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    Default Navigator or Pathfinder?

    I'm dreaming of building a boat, and currently torn between John Welsford's Navigator and Pathfinder. As some background, I currently sail a 7-metre trailer yacht, with cabin, porta-potti etc. and regularly wish that I could easily land on or launch from a beach, so I'm considering a smaller boat. I also want to build a boat - just because.


    We day-sail in Wellington harbour, NZ and I envisage sailing a prospective boat from beaches and ramps around the Wellington region, maybe North Island lakes and maybe trailer over to Marlborough or Nelson.


    I've sailed a few small boats, and was a Sea Scout and Sea Scout leader sailing the NZ Scout standard cutters which are 17 foot heavy clinker built open boats. So, I'm drawn to both Pathfinder and Navigator as something like those Sea Scout boats, but lighter, safer and with better performance - the scout boats are heavy, slow, have wicked weather helm when heeled and tend to fill up over the bow when sailed hard upwind in a chop. Wellington does good chop.


    Between the two - Pathfinder appeals for dryness and power to stand up to her rig in a gust, we often have 20 knot days with strong gusts and I'd like to keep sailing then. She'd also cope better with an occasional large crew - I have three teenage children, and a baby, and though the older lot and my wife are unlikely to all be available or willing to come sailing at the same time it could happen. Navigator appeals as being lighter and so easier to handle on the beach, fitting slightly better in my building space, and IMO prettier than Pathfinder.


    Is it possible to move either boat on a beach trolley with large wheels, so as to launch from a beach and then drag the trolley onto a flat trailer? That would open up some launching spots where I wouldn't trust my car on the sand.


    Any thoughts from the sailors of both boats, or similar?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Navigator or Pathfinder?

    Quote Originally Posted by OliverBendix View Post
    I'm dreaming of building a boat, and currently torn between John Welsford's Navigator and Pathfinder. As some background, I currently sail a 7-metre trailer yacht, with cabin, porta-potti etc. and regularly wish that I could easily land on or launch from a beach, so I'm considering a smaller boat. I also want to build a boat - just because.


    We day-sail in Wellington harbour, NZ and I envisage sailing a prospective boat from beaches and ramps around the Wellington region, maybe North Island lakes and maybe trailer over to Marlborough or Nelson.


    I've sailed a few small boats, and was a Sea Scout and Sea Scout leader sailing the NZ Scout standard cutters which are 17 foot heavy clinker built open boats. So, I'm drawn to both Pathfinder and Navigator as something like those Sea Scout boats, but lighter, safer and with better performance - the scout boats are heavy, slow, have wicked weather helm when heeled and tend to fill up over the bow when sailed hard upwind in a chop. Wellington does good chop.


    Between the two - Pathfinder appeals for dryness and power to stand up to her rig in a gust, we often have 20 knot days with strong gusts and I'd like to keep sailing then. She'd also cope better with an occasional large crew - I have three teenage children, and a baby, and though the older lot and my wife are unlikely to all be available or willing to come sailing at the same time it could happen. Navigator appeals as being lighter and so easier to handle on the beach, fitting slightly better in my building space, and IMO prettier than Pathfinder.


    Is it possible to move either boat on a beach trolley with large wheels, so as to launch from a beach and then drag the trolley onto a flat trailer? That would open up some launching spots where I wouldn't trust my car on the sand.


    Any thoughts from the sailors of both boats, or similar?
    Hi Oliver,

    I built and sailed a Pathfinder, and knew a few people down here (ChCh) with Navigators. The PF is a 'big' 5 metre boat, and if you want to drag one up onto a beach, you'll need that big crew and rollers. The Nav is a lot smaller and lighter, but still very capable - I dont know if Dave Perillo's website still exists, but he sailed one solo around the Fiji islands for several weeks. Apart from the bits beiing smaller and lighter, I dont think a Nav would be much less work to build though - the construction method is essentially the same.

    Mine was a gaff rigged yawl - it's a very versatile rig with a lot to recommend it, and I get the impression that it works even better on the navigator.
    We did several week long trips around Pelorus Sound, and she always felt under control, and coped the sometimes nasty conditions really well.
    The biggest pain with the PF was getting her back on the trailer short handed. In any sort of a cross wind, you need two people. The Navigators alway looked much easier to manhandle.
    If I was to go around again, I'd probably build a Navigator - you need to be pretty hardnosed about how much your family will actually get on board. The boat I built for four really only ever got used by my son and I, and only until he found cars and girls

    Pete
    Don't underestimate the power of stupid people in large numbers!

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Navigator or Pathfinder?

    I agree with Pete's line of thinking. We had a bigger boat which I built before the Navigator. It was a Waller 540 and I thought I'd have two sons regularly in the cockpit with me, but they grow up, get busy and I found it a bit of a handful on my own, (although I believe a Pathfinder would have been a much easier 'bigger' boat in that way)but it was great with crew...so it was the Navigator that we kept when I wanted to sell one. It is plenty big enough for 3 big men, or more including 'non-crew', but so easy and pleasurable on my own. It is only crowded for folk who maybe aren't so flexible anymore, or nimble on their feet. Launching and retrieval are easy.

    I don't think you could be disappointed with either. I like the look of the Navigator most, and it could be argued that is irrelevant, but you spend a lot of time able to look at a boat on a trailer.....and nice lines liven up my day.
    Rob



    middlething.blogspot.com

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Navigator or Pathfinder?

    Cheers both, that's the kind of perspective I'm looking for. I'm happy enough handling a bigger or smaller boat in the water - our current 7 m boat is fine single handed - but light weight is easier on the beach.

    What are they like to rig, in terms of rigging time? I'd be inclined to to set things up with captive pin shackles, keep sails on spars as much as possible, and generally set up to rig quickly so given that approach I imagine they go together quite fast?

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    Default Re: Navigator or Pathfinder?

    Quote Originally Posted by OliverBendix View Post
    Cheers both, that's the kind of perspective I'm looking for. I'm happy enough handling a bigger or smaller boat in the water - our current 7 m boat is fine single handed - but light weight is easier on the beach.

    What are they like to rig, in terms of rigging time? I'd be inclined to to set things up with captive pin shackles, keep sails on spars as much as possible, and generally set up to rig quickly so given that approach I imagine they go together quite fast?
    I leave the battens in the main and stow the yard, main and boom on a traveling crutch. I have a gaff yawl- lovely to use and can deploy anything without leaving the helm. Further, I made a tabernacle which pivots. This makes for a really fast set-up; just untie wraps, plug in stays, remove and raise mizzen, swing mast up with assistance from forestay (which has furled jib already attached), bolt through the tabernacle and the rest is motor/rudder/clutter. It's not the tabernacle itself that saves the time it is that fact that everything stays rigged on it. But...the more I've sailed, the less important those minutes become because the whole process takes what it takes, and I try to enjoy it all.

    The other thing about time is that when you have a pretty boat you need to be prepared to have at least one conversation with a stranger at the ramp...and it is mostly really good .
    Rob


    middlething.blogspot.com

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Navigator or Pathfinder?

    Quote Originally Posted by OliverBendix View Post
    Cheers both, that's the kind of perspective I'm looking for. I'm happy enough handling a bigger or smaller boat in the water - our current 7 m boat is fine single handed - but light weight is easier on the beach.

    What are they like to rig, in terms of rigging time? I'd be inclined to to set things up with captive pin shackles, keep sails on spars as much as possible, and generally set up to rig quickly so given that approach I imagine they go together quite fast?
    We had pathfinder rigging down to a little over a half hour, and like Rob, left as much as possible laced up on to spars etc. I had the cabin version, so mast stepping involved a balancing act on the foredeck with a long alloy tube - the nav mast is smaller, lighter, and easier to handle.
    As designed, the mast is really free standing, and the side stays on PF/Nav are really only there to get enough tension on the forestay so the jib sets correctly. Obviously a tabernacle changes this a bit, and requires a compression post or big deck beam. I found JW very helpful in pointing you in the right general direction, and pretty receptive (or resigned ) to the idea that builders will mess with his perfectly good plans.

    And yeah, people love these boats, they will talk your ear off, and lots of old timers do a real doubletake when you tell them it isnt an immaculate restoration. I got a couple of pointers on driving a yawl from one old bloke who had sailed big cargo scows as a young man - essentially the opposite of back-winding a jib. They used to call it bag piping.

    Pete
    Don't underestimate the power of stupid people in large numbers!

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Navigator or Pathfinder?

    Hi Oliver,
    I can't tell you which might suit your needs better but my experience with the Navigator is that it can take 4 adults and one 11-year old sailing with enough room, though the Pathfinder will obviously do this with more room. But with the added weight of all these bodies, Navigator can stand up to 20knots without a reef in the main, if gusting over 20 you'd want to reef. I have sailed solo and had to reef in 15knots, so more human ballast is not bad.
    We have also launched on a shallow sloping beach straight off the trailer, unhitched from the vehicle and 3 of us (myself and two ladies) managed to push the trailer in until the boat floats free, and retrieve the trailer. I would not do this often, and less so without at least 3 folks, and even less so if there's any surf, no matter how small. And I wouldn't try it if there's a stretch of soft beachsand to cross, we are lucky that the only beach launch site we would use is in a lagoon and is hard beachsand, as the tide comes in right up to the road at the launch site, so when the tide is out it is all compacted.
    My wife and I take 34minutes to rig, and the same to de-rig, and we strip everything apart, leaving no mainsheet systems, kicking strap, or sidestay shackles on the boat, the yard & boom are taken off the sails, and I remove the halyards, sidestays and forestay from the mast and bag them, so if you leave a lot of that attached you could rig in less time.
    This video shows how much room is available for 4 adults and a child, and we had a cooler box and a capsize bottle stored up front, as well as our personal bags with spare clothing etc on the forward bench, wher it stays relatively dry. We had a reef in as we started out in strong-ish winds, I think it dropped off a bit when we filmed this.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RSfem3AQyTo

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Navigator or Pathfinder?

    Good thread, nice video too! Hasn't technology changed the way we do things. I remember my dad being very excited with his new super 8 movie camera, treated it like a baby and kept it in a padded box.
    The Pathfinder is a much bigger boat than the Navigator, more than you'd expect from the difference in length. That said, the Nav is big enough to carry four adults and a couple of kids without being cramped, and yes its a lot lighter and easier to handle.
    Build time is a little less, and cost about 70% of the bigger boat.

    Good luck with the build whichever boat you choose, and welcome to the JWBoats family.

    John Welsford
    An expert is but a beginner with experience.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Navigator or Pathfinder?

    Thanks John.
    It'll be a while yet before I can really start building - there's some house finishing to do first, which was interrupted 8 and a bit months ago by the arrival of my youngest baby daughter. So life is very busy! But I'll make my mind up sometime and buy plans.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Navigator or Pathfinder?

    Mind made up - I've just ordered the navigator plans. Thanks for all your advice. I also went to visit a local Navigator 'Bootstrap' thanks a kind invitation from owner Richard, and confirmed that Navigator looks like enough boat for the kind of sailing I enjoy.

    The build thread may take some time to appear - I need to finish painting the house and building a fence...

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Navigator or Pathfinder?

    Quote Originally Posted by OliverBendix View Post
    Mind made up - I've just ordered the navigator plans. Thanks for all your advice. I also went to visit a local Navigator 'Bootstrap' thanks a kind invitation from owner Richard, and confirmed that Navigator looks like enough boat for the kind of sailing I enjoy.

    The build thread may take some time to appear - I need to finish painting the house and building a fence...
    Thanks for the order Oliver, much appreciated. I'll be in Wellington in late February, on my way to the Pelorus Sound dinghy raid. Keep in touch, I'd like to come and visit.

    John Welsford
    An expert is but a beginner with experience.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Navigator or Pathfinder?

    As for the beach launching, check out the boat trailers that we see in the UK with a trolley supporting the boat that rides on the trailer. I suspect even the Navigator would be too large for this setup, but ya never know.

    I've never seen one in the flesh, and of course a lot depends on the type of beach. I do a bit of beach launching, but all are vehicle-accessible, so it is just a matter of getting the trailer far enough out in the water to launch and retreive -- which sometimes can require "swimming the boat" and you getting pretty wet in the process.

    "The enemies of reason have a certain blind look."
    Doctor Jacquin to Lieutenant D'Hubert, in Ridley Scott's first major film _The Duellists_.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Navigator or Pathfinder?

    Good choice! Just launched my PF in June.

    Like Pete, I'd probably do the Navigator if I were to do it over again. I can move mine around the paved driveway OK with a 2-wheeled dolly under the tongue, but once the wheels are on grass, I won't risk throwing my back out. I rely on a very slow 12V winch which I hook up to various trees and posts around the yard.

    On the water it's handled easily, but if you beach it hard you'll probably need help to relaunch.

    Start your build thread!

    --Mike
    “It doesn’t matter how slowly you go -- so long as you do not stop.”
    -Confucius

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    Default Re: Navigator or Pathfinder?

    Quote Originally Posted by Thorne View Post
    As for the beach launching, check out the boat trailers that we see in the UK with a trolley supporting the boat that rides on the trailer. I suspect even the Navigator would be too large for this setup, but ya never know.

    I've never seen one in the flesh, and of course a lot depends on the type of beach. I do a bit of beach launching, but all are vehicle-accessible, so it is just a matter of getting the trailer far enough out in the water to launch and retreive -- which sometimes can require "swimming the boat" and you getting pretty wet in the process.

    I know one Navigator owner who lives where there is a very gently sloping beach, much too shallow to launch from a trailer. He drops the boat onto inflatable rollers on the sand at the top of the beach and wheels it by hand down into the water retrieves it by a line to the cars tow hitch with his wife driving and he running the rollers from the stern back around to the bow. While it sounds tedious it actually works pretty well, certainly better than having to drive for half an hour to get to the nearest dedicated boat launching facility.
    Oliver has a pretty good selection of boatramps in his area, so he should be ok with a conventional trailer system.

    John Welsford
    An expert is but a beginner with experience.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Navigator or Pathfinder?

    I have a similar trailer, but the trolley has a bracket for a nose wheel which I put on once I've got the trolley off the road trailer. Best of both worlds. I also added a winch on the road trailer, to pull the trolley up onto it. It makes single handed retrieving a lot more relaxing.

    On the cross winds, I launch in a place where there is predominantly crosswind, but there are pilings in the water that I can tie off a line to the side of the boat. This keeps the boat perpendicular to the shore, despite the wind, and makes it simple to get it back on the trolley on my own. An anchor might work too if there is room to do this.

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    Default Re: Navigator or Pathfinder?

    Welcome to the JW family.

    If you're really interested in ease of rigging, JW has plans with the Nav as a balanced lug yawl. I won't be able to tell you how it sails until next summer, but the Forum is full of true believers in this rig who would love to talk you into it.

    Kenny

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    Default Re: Navigator or Pathfinder?

    I've been very interested in the distribution of the plans sold for these two boats. Pathfinder is a BIG open boat, one Navigator owner who'd just been out in one told me he felt as though he'd have to take a packed lunch when he went forward!
    Navigator is pretty roomy itself, 6 adults roomy, and people dont realise just how much bigger the extra couple of feet make the boat. Its extra length, extra beam, extra depth.
    I note that Pathfinder is the more popular in the USA, Navigator the more so in the UK, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. I guess that its not only Texas where everything is bigger.

    I also note that Pathfinder owners are very happy with their boats, and a lot of them sail solo most of the time. My own new boat is bigger still, and designed specifically for singlehanding with occasional family outings. At 67 years old I'm confident that I can handle that on and off a trailer and at sea.

    John Welsford
    An expert is but a beginner with experience.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Navigator or Pathfinder?

    Quote Originally Posted by minuteman View Post
    Welcome to the JW family.

    If you're really interested in ease of rigging, JW has plans with the Nav as a balanced lug yawl. I won't be able to tell you how it sails until next summer, but the Forum is full of true believers in this rig who would love to talk you into it.

    Kenny
    Yes, both Pathfinder and Navigator. shout if you want to do that.

    John Welsford
    An expert is but a beginner with experience.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Navigator or Pathfinder?

    Currently I'm thinking of doing the original standing lug yawl, but I'm still open to rig options.

    Thorne - I'm familiar with those beach trailer/road trailer combos as I've used them with Sunburst dinghys here - but Sunbursts are much smaller than Navigators! I think I'll end up with a standard road trailer. The beach trailer idea was inspired by the thought of launching at places like Paraparaumu beach - which we do with the heavy Sea Scout boats on road trailers using a large amount of manpower, or teenager-power anyway.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Navigator or Pathfinder?

    Quote Originally Posted by minuteman View Post
    If you're really interested in ease of rigging, JW has plans with the Nav as a balanced lug yawl. I won't be able to tell you how it sails until next summer, but the Forum is full of true believers in this rig who would love to talk you into it.
    I have been wondering why the balanced lug yawl (balanced lug main + bermudian mizzen) is so rare with Navigators and Pathfinders. Even if I'm not a rig specialist it seems like an interesting option because it is fairly simple (as stayless rigs usually are) but still makes it possible to heave to. Does the three-sail yawl rig with a sprit boom just look too charming and versatile?

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Navigator or Pathfinder?

    Quote Originally Posted by Timo8188 View Post
    I have been wondering why the balanced lug yawl (balanced lug main + bermudian mizzen) is so rare with Navigators and Pathfinders. Even if I'm not a rig specialist it seems like an interesting option because it is fairly simple (as stayless rigs usually are) but still makes it possible to heave to. Does the three-sail yawl rig with a sprit boom just look too charming and versatile?
    From my perspective, we have sailed the Navigator yawl rig in open sea in winds up to 30knots, with the main lashed to the boom and just the jib & mizzen. It doesn't really go upwind well, but it got us home (actually we started out in 20knots with two men and our two 10 year old daughters with a reefed main, and when the wind picked up to over 25knots and we dropped the main, we reached up and down for another hour as the girls wanted to keep sailing !) This was open sea with 2m swell running.
    On another occasion we sailed upwind in a shallow lagoon in a building afternoon breeze, went ashore for a break from the wind in the lee side of the land, and had to return to our launch ramp 5nm away in 30-34knots, luckily downwind, but with wind against tide creating a confused short steep chop. again under jib & mizzen it was all pretty manageable. In hindsight I would have just used the jib and had the mizzen stowed as well, as there was a bit of weatherhelm when a wave lifted the transom (but we did get a few good surfs in !).
    I'm now thinking of having a smaller jib tacked off the bow, instead of the larger one off the bowsprit, for when the wind gets up and the standard jib is more sail area than I need. So this makes the yawl rig extremely versatile. (I have also sailed the boat under double reefed main only, and it tacks like a laser.)
    With the lug rig and mizzen, if the sailplan is balanced with the mizzen up, it won't be when the mizzen is not, and once you have reefed the main as far down as you can and still have too much sail up, you've run out of options, as you can't sail home under mizzen alone. This might not be of any concern if you sail in lighter winds, whereas in summer in Cape Town, the afternoon South Easter is pretty reliable and builds from 2pm onward, starting at 15knots and is usually in the upper 20's or low 30's on most days, so sailing in summer means having to be able to reef down to a very low sailplan that stays balanced.
    The only negative about the jib & mizzen option is that I find it makes the boat want to sail in a straight line, i.e it is slow to respond to the helm, so working the boat over waves becomes difficult, whereas a double reefed main keeps the boat more manouverable.

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Navigator or Pathfinder?

    Great write-up, SteveMSA ! Thanks for making the issue so clear.

    A question - do most Navigators have fully-battened mains, and if so, are they usually reefed to the batten rather than the boom as in the photo below?

    "The enemies of reason have a certain blind look."
    Doctor Jacquin to Lieutenant D'Hubert, in Ridley Scott's first major film _The Duellists_.

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Navigator or Pathfinder?

    Quote Originally Posted by Thorne View Post
    Great write-up, SteveMSA ! Thanks for making the issue so clear.

    A question - do most Navigators have fully-battened mains, and if so, are they usually reefed to the batten rather than the boom as in the photo below?

    Thorne, I'm not sure - my Navigator was built by someone else (who is a perfectionist), but the sails were made by a well-known sailmaker brand who shall remain nameless so that I don't get dragged into court. The sails are well made but the full length battens were placed in the upper area of the main rather than the lower, such that is was impossible to lower the mainsail as the battens went from the leech to the yard and prevented the sail from stacking to the boom without forming a spinnaker. Let me just say that these NORTHern hemisphere SAIL(S)makers have no idea how to make a sail for a gunter-rigged boat. If my full length battens were below the yard as per the photo you posted, then life would be easier - I removed the full length battens and replaced these with shorties to hold the leech, and now have only short battens throughout. The reefing shown in the photo looks sensible if you have full length battens where I presume JW designed them, my reefs are zips in the sails, another sailmaker's fallacy which does NOT work. I'm going to have grommets and ties put in my main soon, thanks for reminding me. On a side note, that hull colour is just perfect, I've seen photos of this Nav before and I think it's the nicest hull colour I've seen. (My boat has the best transom and interior though..)

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Navigator or Pathfinder?

    With the variety of rigs available - that one looks like a gunter yawl - I suspect that there's not an easy answer to that question, and that it depends whether you have a loose-footed sail or one on a track or laced to the boom.

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Navigator or Pathfinder?

    As Forest Gump said "That's my boat" "slip jig" in post 23 &24. The batten location in gaff main sail plan as drawn on the plans that I worked from would be problematic as drawn. As I recall the upper 2 battens are shown as full length and when the sail is lowered the battens up against the gaff would not allow the sail to furl. My sailmaker pointed this out and the decision was made to shorten them. It still causes a problem and I've devised a less than satisfactory "work around". I later had the lower battens converted to full length and the sail shape was much improved. That said, I'm still not happy with it. If I was to do it again I would have a serious discussion with the sail maker to create a "batwing" type sail shown here. https://www.google.com/search?q=Mars...Ku7Q0yRSylM%3A

    Thanks for the compliment on the color. It is George Kirby Jr. Paint Company's Light Green. They now have Herreshoff's Alerion Green which I think would look great as well.

    SO let's see that transom you are so proud of!

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Navigator or Pathfinder?

    Quote Originally Posted by SteveMSA View Post
    With the lug rig and mizzen, if the sailplan is balanced with the mizzen up, it won't be when the mizzen is not, and once you have reefed the main as far down as you can and still have too much sail up, you've run out of options, as you can't sail home under mizzen alone. This might not be of any concern if you sail in lighter winds, whereas in summer in Cape Town, the afternoon South Easter is pretty reliable and builds from 2pm onward, starting at 15knots and is usually in the upper 20's or low 30's on most days, so sailing in summer means having to be able to reef down to a very low sailplan that stays balanced.
    Great analysis and examples, Steve! Sounds that you have pretty tough conditions on the waters around Cape Town. Based on your experiences, with yawl rig you can sail in a more challenging weather than with the other rigs. That must be the reason why it's so popular. Still, I think that with any rig you eventually run out of options if the weather gets bad enough. If I was starting building a Navigator (and I hope I will one day) I might choose the lug yawl (lug main + triangular mizzen) because of its simplicity, but still would be tempted by the look and versatility of the yawl. Here in the north the waters are full of islands that usually provide shelter when needed.

    Timo

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Navigator or Pathfinder?

    Quote Originally Posted by kevin b View Post
    As Forest Gump said "That's my boat" "slip jig" in post 23 &24. The batten location in gaff main sail plan as drawn on the plans that I worked from would be problematic as drawn. As I recall the upper 2 battens are shown as full length and when the sail is lowered the battens up against the gaff would not allow the sail to furl. My sailmaker pointed this out and the decision was made to shorten them. It still causes a problem and I've devised a less than satisfactory "work around". I later had the lower battens converted to full length and the sail shape was much improved. That said, I'm still not happy with it. If I was to do it again I would have a serious discussion with the sail maker to create a "batwing" type sail shown here. https://www.google.com/search?q=Mars...Ku7Q0yRSylM%3A

    Thanks for the compliment on the color. It is George Kirby Jr. Paint Company's Light Green. They now have Herreshoff's Alerion Green which I think would look great as well.

    SO let's see that transom you are so proud of!
    The plans have been changed, the trouble of undoing the lashings on the battens was not worth the slight advantage in sail shape so I redrew the sail plan.

    John Welsford.
    An expert is but a beginner with experience.

  28. #28
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Cape Town, South Africa
    Posts
    105

    Default Re: Navigator or Pathfinder?

    Quote Originally Posted by kevin b View Post
    As Forest Gump said "That's my boat" "slip jig" in post 23 &24. The batten location in gaff main sail plan as drawn on the plans that I worked from would be problematic as drawn. As I recall the upper 2 battens are shown as full length and when the sail is lowered the battens up against the gaff would not allow the sail to furl. My sailmaker pointed this out and the decision was made to shorten them. It still causes a problem and I've devised a less than satisfactory "work around". I later had the lower battens converted to full length and the sail shape was much improved. That said, I'm still not happy with it. If I was to do it again I would have a serious discussion with the sail maker to create a "batwing" type sail shown here. https://www.google.com/search?q=Mars...Ku7Q0yRSylM%3A

    Thanks for the compliment on the color. It is George Kirby Jr. Paint Company's Light Green. They now have Herreshoff's Alerion Green which I think would look great as well.

    SO let's see that transom you are so proud of!
    Hi Kevin, I am really not good at this posting of pics as I believe you need to have a photo-hosting site and I don't need or want such a device, but if you go here : http://ckdboats.blogspot.co.za/search?q=navigator and scroll down past the article on Black Cat, you'll see some photos of my Navigator being built by Wilhelm, before I was coerced into buying her from him, so he could get on with building his Pelegrin.

  29. #29
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Navigator or Pathfinder?

    Quote Originally Posted by OliverBendix View Post
    I'm dreaming of building a boat, and currently torn between John Welsford's Navigator and Pathfinder. As some background, I currently sail a 7-metre trailer yacht, with cabin, porta-potti etc. and regularly wish that I could easily land on or launch from a beach, so I'm considering a smaller boat. I also want to build a boat - just because.


    We day-sail in Wellington harbour, NZ and I envisage sailing a prospective boat from beaches and ramps around the Wellington region, maybe North Island lakes and maybe trailer over to Marlborough or Nelson.


    I've sailed a few small boats, and was a Sea Scout and Sea Scout leader sailing the NZ Scout standard cutters which are 17 foot heavy clinker built open boats. So, I'm drawn to both Pathfinder and Navigator as something like those Sea Scout boats, but lighter, safer and with better performance - the scout boats are heavy, slow, have wicked weather helm when heeled and tend to fill up over the bow when sailed hard upwind in a chop. Wellington does good chop.


    Between the two - Pathfinder appeals for dryness and power to stand up to her rig in a gust, we often have 20 knot days with strong gusts and I'd like to keep sailing then. She'd also cope better with an occasional large crew - I have three teenage children, and a baby, and though the older lot and my wife are unlikely to all be available or willing to come sailing at the same time it could happen. Navigator appeals as being lighter and so easier to handle on the beach, fitting slightly better in my building space, and IMO prettier than Pathfinder.


    Is it possible to move either boat on a beach trolley with large wheels, so as to launch from a beach and then drag the trolley onto a flat trailer? That would open up some launching spots where I wouldn't trust my car on the sand.


    Any thoughts from the sailors of both boats, or similar?


    Hi oliver did you ever get to building your navigator?

  30. #30

    Default Re: Navigator or Pathfinder?

    Quote Originally Posted by Thorne View Post
    Great write-up, SteveMSA ! Thanks for making the issue so clear.

    A question - do most Navigators have fully-battened mains, and if so, are they usually reefed to the batten rather than the boom as in the photo below?

    Whether the sail is battened or not, the reefing cringles should be tied around the sail (as above) rather than the boom. That way is the reef outhaul slips or fails, the whole sail is free to list up. If the cringles are tied around the boom, when the outhaul slips all the load goes through the reef cringles, and you're likely to rip the sail as the reef cringle patcehs aren't designe dto take the load.

    Why do so many samll boat sailors run the reef outhaul as above (i.e. tied directly to reef ring on the sail. It means that the sail is 'floating' above the boom. This results in a flexible system as the reef clew is free to move up and down to a degree with gusts, movement in waves etc, mucking up sail trim. Also very hard to control the tension on the foot with the above setup.

    Better to have a ring at the reef clew, and take the reefing line through the ring and tie off to the boom. Gives much better control of the sail, better sail shape etc. Also, looking at the photo above, would raise the rear of the boom about 6 inches higher, making tacking easier, reducing the risk of dipping the boom and capsizing if overpowered on a broad reach etc.

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