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Thread: Increasing William Atkin Eric sail plan for light airs.

  1. #1
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    Default Increasing William Atkin Eric sail plan for light airs.

    Hey folks, I've been reading and not posting on here for a little while. I am saving and searching for a good William Atkin Eric ketch that my partner and I are looking to fit out for offshore. As you know these are hardy boats that love a stiff breeze, but after looking at a few different classic cruiser designs the Gaff rigged (which is my preference) Erics/Thistles/ and similar don't have a very high sail area to displacement ratio that would give them enough power to keep up a few knots of speed in very light airs. To me it would be logical to fit a lightweight spruce topmast with a fairly large gaff topsail on the main, as well as a large drifter to be set to the topmast head and from the end of the bowsprit. I would also probably rig a sizeable yard that could be hoisted and lowered from deck quickly, also of spruce and a good sized square sail with proper lifts and braces. All this would likely require a new stability calculation and some re-ballasting but I want to spend as much time sailing and as little time motoring as possible once we take off voyaging.

    So far I havnt found any photos of The Atkins double ended cruisers with topmasts or large kites, have you guys seen anything like that. Would be good to have the opinion of someone who has already played with the sailplan a bit.

    Cheers

    Ryan

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Increasing William Atkin Eric sail plan for light airs.


    You would need to check the scantlings of the mast and the strength of the shrouds to ensure that they are up to the additional weight and windage at that height. You could set a gaff yard topsail from the pole mast
    Plate 30.jpg
    Another easy fix it to fly a tow foresaysail, a sail like a genoa with its clew well aft of the mast.


    A bigger tow foresl https://www.alamy.com/morecambe-bay-...ge2131833.html
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Increasing William Atkin Eric sail plan for light airs.

    While I can’t help you out with an Eric, Atkins with a tweaked sail plan But I have just converted Wee Barkie my improved Collin Archer Cutter back to her original Gaff Rig minus roughly 2 feet in mast height.
    Since I have raced WB successfully with her old Marconi rig I will continue flying a masthead. spinnaker which is Easley rigged ,I will let you know in about three weeks how we fared. .

    Regarding a top mast I would not head in that direction Eric is a well designed small vessel and adding a top mast combined with additional rigging will create additional windage and weight up where you don’t want it.

    If your planning to voyage into areas of light winds such as the horse latitudes I would suggest extending your bow sprite installing a zero furler with a suitable oversized sail for light airs.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Increasing William Atkin Eric sail plan for light airs.

    I built and sailed Atkin's DRAGON design ("Pequot") which is the next design on from the ERIC.
    Pequot was designed and built with top mast to be raised from the deck. In my experience the topsail wasn't necessary overall to improve speed, although I did get probably about 1 knot maximum increase in speed when I got the "damn" topmast/sail up. I say that because the top mast was a pain in the neck...literally, as I had to be looking up as i hoisted it from the deck and it usually went up either in a flash or it took many many many minutes to get it just right.
    So for all the effort, I tended not to bother with it after awhile.
    Pequot sailed remarkably well with her main and Genoa. I had a lightweight Genoa that pulled Pequot along in ultra light winds and would recommend this over any topsail.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Increasing William Atkin Eric sail plan for light airs.


    This flying jib is 125 sq ft, 4 oz dacron, dingy sail material.It is set like a chute, We turn offwind, hoist away, then tighten the luff with the tackline, which goes to the deck windlass. When set, the hoist is the tightest line on the boat. It is dropped like a chute, turn off the wind, drop it behind the main, standing behind the shrouds between yer knees. No need to go forward of the mast. The spar itself has no bobstay or whiskers. It is double seized to the bowsprit. It was carried in 2 hurricanes at sea and countless gales, only coming off for haulouts and 3 panama canal transits( mot the sail obviously..the spar)
    Last edited by wizbang 13; 08-04-2020 at 09:07 AM.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Increasing William Atkin Eric sail plan for light airs.

    I have pounded more salt on this type of boat than most people alive.
    Built several as well.
    A gaffer does not want a modern ,expensive,rig killing blooper/drifter/zero sail. It wants a second bowsprit with a lightweight yankee.
    A nose pole.
    I carried this for 30 something years that we had a small diesel.
    When we got older and put in a 40 hp, I got rid of the flying jib and just treated her like a motorsailer.
    Ultimately, one realizes they do not need more sail, they need more wind....or more time.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Increasing William Atkin Eric sail plan for light airs.


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Increasing William Atkin Eric sail plan for light airs.

    Of course putting a modern drifter /genoa on a gaffer will make her faster, but is it safer?
    Sailing around a day race course is quite different from ocean sailing with a one or two person crew.
    You have to be able to get those sails up and down in the dark, in a squall, when you are half asleep.
    Pulling sticks (yards) up n down in crap conditions is a quick and effecient way to get VERY jammed up,far beyond just jamming the topsl sheet in a cheek block on the end of the gaff while the main is up.
    A compressionless gaff mast (no spreaders/backstays) cannot tolerate a jumbo sail on a loose mainstay.
    Roller twirlers are rarely seen on ocean gaffers .

    bruce

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Increasing William Atkin Eric sail plan for light airs.

    Quote Originally Posted by auscruisertom View Post
    Regarding a top mast I would not head in that direction Eric is a well designed small vessel and adding a top mast combined with additional rigging will create additional windage and weight up where you don’t want it.
    Which echoes my post.
    However, that same post pictured a class of working boat that set a gaff yard topsail from a pole mast. So you do not need a topmast and its complexity if the main pole is adequate.

    Quote Originally Posted by wizbang 13 View Post
    I
    A gaffer does not want a modern ,expensive,rig killing blooper/drifter/zero sail. It wants a second bowsprit with a lightweight yankee.
    Sailing trawlers have been using big tow foresails for decades, they do generate more power. The Laura that I pictured sets one, she has won races against similar gaffers with it, it works. Also it does not affect sail balance as sticking more sail out front on a jib-boom would. Simples.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  10. #10
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    Default Re: Increasing William Atkin Eric sail plan for light airs.

    Brentwood Bay...That is where Jean and Rob are, no?

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Increasing William Atkin Eric sail plan for light airs.

    Nick,
    I carried a lapping staysl, stick topsls ,all on the Puget Sound before heading to sea. Once offshore...na ah.Just my 105 lb wife and 150 lb me.
    The lapping staysl backs the gaff main upwind .mizzen staysl is worthless up wind.
    YEA !!! The flying jib affects sail balance...it practically eliminates the heavy helm all these boats have.
    Notice that in most photos of my boat, no one is steering, or even on deck. The monitor is steering easily BECAUSE of the change in balance.
    Yer pictured boat won races...whooppee! I'm not saying a genoa staysl will not make a boat faster, I'm saying it is dangerous offshore with short crew. Ever tried tying in a reef in a staysl like in post 2 at sea ..when ir needs reefing?? I can put my flying jib up n down twice and stay dry before that can be reefed.It is a racing sail.
    bruce
    Last edited by wizbang 13; 08-04-2020 at 09:52 AM.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Increasing William Atkin Eric sail plan for light airs.

    I really appreciate all the input from everyone. My background is that I have been working through the ranks from deckhand to chief mate in the last eight years aboard a number of different traditionally rigged sail training vessels. Mostly square rig, with a couple schooners thrown in. I have done a couple of Atlantic crossings as a watch leader aboard a three masted square topsail schooner and some fairly lively coastal passages aboard different vessels, one year particularly we sailed from La Rochelle France to Morocco as the first leg of a voyage into the Med and in that small leg we encountered more concentrated and severe heavy weather than I had seen in four and a half months doing double transatlantics. Granted we were passing cape Finisterre in March.. This was aboard the 1100 ton full rigged ship Hermione.

    Anyway, I'm not here to spin yarns, for the last few years I have been deciding on a boat that will take me across oceans and Ive seen enough ugly squalls (one that laid that 1100 ton ship almost on her beam ends, and she was already reefed down) and a few hard gales to know that when I'm looking at small boats I imagine them in the very worst scenarios I've been through and ask myself A. would that have been survivable, and B. in moderate weather with ocean swell whipped up would the boat be solid and run true (and relatively comfortably) amidst a decent sea, and be able to lie-to snugly without being overwhelmed. Thus I decided on a heavy displacement full keeled traditional boat (this is also where all my experience lies, so maintenance wise it makes more sense than going over to a high tension rig and a tupperware boat.)

    After looking at Bristol Channel Cutters (expensive) and a number of other boats, both fiberglass and wood, I saw a beautiful William Atkin Eric at the Victoria wooden boat show and fell in love immediately, after doing some research it became evident that they and similar Atkin designs are highly regarded for ocean passages.

    Bruce, really appreciate your chiming in, you have a beautiful boat, and great insight. Yes Jean and Rob have a wooden boat shop at the bottom of my street here in Brentwood Bay, I have looked at their restoration work in awe, saw the Carlotta Pilot cutter right after they refinished her.

    I had wondered about running a lightweight jibboom and a light flying jib, good to see that you've put it to the test. What does that bring your total sail area to with the gaff topsail and the Yankee cut jib?

    Cheers

    Ryan

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Increasing William Atkin Eric sail plan for light airs.

    Woodwind is a Venus 4 design.
    11.3 tons displ. 30 ' wl,34' on deck .
    her main is aprox 250,
    top 100
    mizzen 100
    staysl 100
    jib 100-125
    flyin jib 125
    so, her regular sailarea is 650, with the fj...getting close to 800.


    http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...tch&highlight=

    the photos of her above were from a low key "race" in the USVI a few years ago. The white jib is my "big" jib, which I do not even carry anymore,I use a higher/smaller yankee.
    mind you, she is not set up for a drift across the pacific, I only sail her in the winter inthe Caribbean trades anymore, so I don't need a lotta sail area anymore.
    good luck with your search.
    a few years ago I could have gotten a decent FG Ingrid for free .
    Last edited by wizbang 13; 08-04-2020 at 08:27 PM.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Increasing William Atkin Eric sail plan for light airs.

    Thanks again Bruce, wow, quite the history with you and your boat. thanks for sharing.

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    Default Re: Increasing William Atkin Eric sail plan for light airs.

    Bruce, I'm curious, how would you set the boat up for a Pacific crossing?

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Increasing William Atkin Eric sail plan for light airs.

    I'd put the nosepole back on.
    Get a few slightly bigger and lighter jibs..not lapping genoas.
    I'd put my max prop back on, I own one but have it in the bilge for the past ten years.
    I'd put 5 coats of TBT anti fouling on.
    big mizzen staysl
    Avoid straight downwind passages. Reach back n forth. More comfort,safer.
    Moat double enders roll more than transom boats.
    my boat, fer instance, has no flat area underwater except for the bottom of the keel.
    Without that "hard" bit under the transom or harder bilges....they roll more side to side.So...one wants to avid going straight downwind, unless it is blowing hard and the sea is flat...and just when does that happen?
    not to mention apparent wind. This translates to slower passages.
    Catch 22 ...heavy boat can carry more water/fuel/stuff.
    Slower boats cannot outrun weather...this is a tactic used by, and relied on, by modern fast cruising boats. Floating radio shacks .(but now I'm just expressing my personal bias..sorry)
    Woodwind used to go up n down 8 inches on her lines when I did more ocean bashing.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Increasing William Atkin Eric sail plan for light airs.

    Treading gently here. A nylon drifter with a squeezer/sock, would store easily and stow in little space. You could pull it down at night, it it gets overwhelmed, blowing the sheet or the halyard, would put you back in control. I ran low on fuel on a passage once (or actually many times), but one time a drifter on a 50 foot boat gave me 3 to 4 knots for days in no real breeze. I could ser and douse it singlehanded.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Increasing William Atkin Eric sail plan for light airs.

    Thanks Bruce. How big is that nosepole of yours? I guess Woodwind is over 44' sparred?

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Increasing William Atkin Eric sail plan for light airs.

    Bowsprit sticks out 6 n a half ...I established that by how far I could reach from the mainstay (inner) to the outer .
    nosepole goes another 5 feet.
    With the monitor decorating the stern, she is ,well, was, about 50'.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Increasing William Atkin Eric sail plan for light airs.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hwyl View Post
    Treading gently here. A nylon drifter with a squeezer/sock, would store easily and stow in little space. You could pull it down at night, it it gets overwhelmed, blowing the sheet or the halyard, would put you back in control. I ran low on fuel on a passage once (or actually many times), but one time a drifter on a 50 foot boat gave me 3 to 4 knots for days in no real breeze. I could ser and douse it singlehanded.
    No doubt Gareth most would have that or a even a few.Big sails scare me, I'm really a pussy of a sailor. I would have failed at yacht delivery very quickly.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Increasing William Atkin Eric sail plan for light airs.

    Why not build the cutter version? The sail plan carries 200 square feet more canvas than the ketch.

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Increasing William Atkin Eric sail plan for light airs.

    Hi Ryan,
    I read your PM about the strip planked Clione you found.
    First, trust your own surveyor, not the sellers.
    A sellers survey is only obligated to tell you what is RIGHT with a boat, not what is wrong with it.
    Does the surveyor know wood, and particularly, strip plank.
    We wanrt a thorough understanding of how she is built, not a 5 page list of ground tackle and battery condition.
    Fer example, the boat you found that was built in the 70's, was she epoxied? was she sheathed? with what? how many layers?Was the planking bead and cove or square? Was this the builders only(first) boat?What are her fastenings? Keelbolts...50 years old ...is time to pull a few.



    "Saturated" with epoxy is an in correct term, don't be fooled by it.

    One romantic thing about carvel, is the notion they can be repaired in exotic far away ports with basic tools on a budget, as you mentioned yourself.
    Books will tell you Strip plank is difficult to repair.(they are wrong)
    I have found that the ease of repair of a carvel cruising boat is a self fulfilling prophesy...they need more repair in general.
    Yes, fixing an epoxy boat needs a sawzall ,grinder,generator, noiseanddustanditspoisonbygod...not so much romance,but for me, real life trumps romance of hand plane cedar peelings on a shop floor.

    If not for covid, My wife and I might make a pleasure trip up there to have a gawk at her...alas...none of that jusnow.
    more later....

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Increasing William Atkin Eric sail plan for light airs.

    Carvel needs better quality planking ..yes, I have seen many repaired with crappy pine, kiln dried junk that will be shot in ten years,(that is the norm for west indian builders)
    A 5 gallon jug of epoxy is getting easier and easier to obtain almost anywhere, proper timber getting harder and harder.
    Strip planked boats were built before epoxy, some were glued with other glues, some had devil sperm (5200 type)between the planks, some were fit closley and left dry.
    How the boat is built helps keep her dry and stable.
    A big nog of keel (one piece) usually does not work out on a laminated boat. The keel is moving/planks stable...you can imagine things going wonky. See Larks boat...So, laminated EVERYTHING is better...keel and frames.
    so, shifting from light air sail discussion to hull construction... hope the drift is okay.
    Last edited by wizbang 13; 08-19-2020 at 11:07 AM.

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Increasing William Atkin Eric sail plan for light airs.

    Thanks for the Insight Bruce. I am still not sure if I will look at that particular boat seriously, his survey wasn't even glowing. If I were to look seriously I would get Jean and Rob to survey her. They advertise a surveying service here and are probably the most knowledgeable shipwrights actively working on Vancouver island at the moment. From what I gleaned from the owner she is strip planked in yellow cedar and is not fiberglass sheathed, and her planking was put together with Resorcinol Glue, which I had never heard of but wikipedia tells me it was a precursor to epoxy. The survey noted corrosion in the keelbolts, and one of the pintles, and reccomended steps be taken to preserve them. All the fastening below waterline is galvanized. He said he refastened the topsides with stainless fasteners in the last couple years.

    Anyway. I'm always looking, and gaining more knowledge along the way to the right boat. I don't think I will bias either glued boats or carvel, as there are so few of either in the type of design I'm looking for that are still in decent shape, and with owners willing to sell and also willing to sell at not astronomical prices, Alas, I am a difficult customer. It has to be Gaff rigged, heavy, preferably ketch, double ended, and have good solid bones that will allow me to preserve her for most of my lifetime and many demanding voyages.

    There is an interesting looking Jay-Benford Sunrise Pinky Ketch in Victoria Harbour, the owner was telling me there were only 2 built. Not sure if thats true but it is a pretty interesting design. Ill probably go pick his brain some more about it.

    Also, DEVIL SPERM? Hahahaa. Thats a gem.

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Increasing William Atkin Eric sail plan for light airs.

    Since you are not restricted by measurment rules, you could add a telescoping spinnaker pole and fly a big chute off the wind.
    Another sail you might consider would be a captains handkerchief which involves a yard that can be lifted on the fore from the deck with a square sail added for down wind work. Then, of course, there is the ring tail that is added to the leach of the main and mizzen. Heck you could even turn her into an Aussie dinghy with all that cloud of canvas. Here the Common Sense sloop, that was designed by Matt Walsh, is sporting a ring tail that increases the area of the main by a fourth. Note that long spinnaker pole and the ring tail that just can be seen to the left at the clew of the main.
    Jay

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Increasing William Atkin Eric sail plan for light airs.

    What Bruce said, basically. Don't go up, spread out horizontally. Flying jib and / or flying Mizzen staysail.

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