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Thread: Building a Ross Lillistone First Mate

  1. #141
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    Default Re: Building a Ross Lillistone First Mate

    Quote Originally Posted by Autonomous View Post
    Vivier has digitized plans for CNC cutting which I suspect more designers will implement. Not as complete as CLC but still a big plus for accuracy and speed of completion.
    Hello, Ross, John, are you listening?
    Ross is retired now. I didn't intend to paint my comments as negative as they came across, sorry. I do really like how the Phoenix came out when completed.

  2. #142
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    Default Re: Building a Ross Lillistone First Mate

    Quote Originally Posted by pez_leon
    I'll say this for your motor: that $300 will get you most/all the way to an electric trolling motor and all needed accessories. I have yet to regret moving away from liquid fuel, its attendant slicks and smells, and its capricious demands, particularly after longer storage. My kicker is good for at least four miles in a dead calm and never fails to start - that's plenty for my purposes.
    I meant to reply to this a while back. I would love an electric motor setup. I've had plenty of daydreams about a shanty boat covered in solar panels and just cruising 10-15 miles a day from creek to creek. But at least right now, the battery capacity isn't there for some of the trips I want to do. I want my boat to be primarily sail and oar, but having a motor in some cases seems prudent. For example, there's a big trip I'd like to do someday that would include about 35 miles down a narrow, tree lined part of the ICW. I haven't tried rowing all day so I don't know if my back would hold up to that.

    An update on the BF4A... the $300 total was from a company that doesn't seem to want to do business with me, and buying parts from Honda would probably be $400+ so I'm thinking I may try to just part it out.

    Back in February I ordered a 25:1 needle for my British Seagull carburetor, but it took a month and a half to get here from England. I tried to find dimensions of the needle on the web because it would have been cheaper and quicker for me to make my own, but no such luck. So here's the measurements for a #2 needle, maybe someone will find it useful one day. It's tricky to measure where the taper actually starts, but it should be pretty close.




    I figured I'd give the carb a good cleaning while I swapped the needles. This motor really hasn't been used much so there wasn't much gumming up the insides.




    Pretty much everything is done on the boat now and there's a chance I'll get it launched over the weekend or early next week.

  3. #143
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    Default Re: Building a Ross Lillistone First Mate

    As far as rowing 35 miles per day... If your back won't hold up to that, do 10 miles per day and stretch out your trip to 3.5 days! Or 17.5 miles in 2 days (that's probably close to my longest rowing days, which haven't been too stressful--on those days, there's no need to hurry or do any more than a moderate all-day pace). It takes the time it takes. An open schedule is the chief requirement, not any kind of super fitness.

    Tom
    You don't have to be prepared as long as you're willing to suffer the consequences.

    www.tompamperin.com

  4. #144
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    Default Re: Building a Ross Lillistone First Mate

    Unfortunately I ruptured a disk in my back a few years ago and it's still not that great, but not bad enough to look into surgery either. I really haven't taken the time to see how far I can row, mostly because I've been choosing days that were good for sailing. The few times I've rowed for a couple miles seemed to go ok, but there's always a worry in the back of my head about going through all that again.

    I can imagine your willingness to do stupid stuff goes up if you're trying to push to keep to a schedule. The big trip I have in mind is about 200 miles down to the Outer Banks of North Carolina where I'd meet my wife with the trailer. There's a 35 mile section through Norfolk and the ICW that is busy and narrow. Some of that could be sailed, but definitely not all of it. My plan was to give myself a week and there are plenty of marinas and boat ramps along the way I could pull out at if I don't make it.

    But that trip is next summer at the earliest. I've got a few overnight trips planned this year to try and work out the camping bugs. I feel like I've got the boat pretty well set up.
    Last edited by The Jeff; 04-01-2021 at 10:17 AM.

  5. #145
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    Default Re: Building a Ross Lillistone First Mate

    Today was calm so I decided to try out my improvements with a test rigging. I’m pleased to say everything is working great! I’ve made toggle robands for the mainsail, a long pennant for the peak which runs down the sprit to a cleat by the heel, the snotter tension leads aft, there’s a toggling snotter arrangement, and a few other various time saving measures.





    My original snotter was a little too complex for its own good. It was all one piece and cow hitched around the mast, which was good for minimizing the number of lines needed but it was super awkward to rig and unrig. So I decided I’d make something with a toggle to make it easier, and a separate snotter line that stays attached to the sprit. I’ll cut the tail off once I’m sure this version is working, and I might add another seizing below the loop and a third above.





    Here you can see the snotter running from the heel of the sprit up to the low friction ring on the toggle arrangement and back down the mast to the mast parter where it turns aft to a cleat on the centerboard case. I’ve also addd a long line to the main’s peak which runs down the sprit to a cleat near the heel. I originally had the cleat on the other side of the leather, but it was too high to be convenient.





    Here’s the snotter running through a beehole in the mast partner back to a cleat on the centerboard case. I got rid of the mechanical advantage I had last year, but this still seems to work ok. It’s pretty close to the limit friction wise though so I’ll have to try it out on the water to make sure. The other cleat is for a boom downhaul which I haven’t fully decided how to run yet.





    Hopefully I can get out on the water soon!

  6. #146
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    Default Re: Building a Ross Lillistone First Mate

    Quote Originally Posted by The Jeff View Post
    Today was calm so I decided to try out my improvements with a test rigging. Iím pleased to say everything is working great! Iíve made toggle robands for the mainsail, a long pennant for the peak which runs down the sprit to a cleat by the heel, the snotter tension leads aft, thereís a toggling snotter arrangement, and a few other various time saving measures.









    Hopefully I can get out on the water soon!
    Outstanding paint job! Simple but not plain. Usually my eye wants varnished outwales but you have proven they aren't needed.
    On my possible next build I imagine the same white hull and dark green sheer plank treatment. I don't like glare so a sand-beige interior with bits of the same dark green trim was on the list too. I had assumed varnished outwales but that is not a given now. A boat without side decks may demand the varnish where side decks have the bulk(?) to stay with paint? What do you think?
    Thanks for posting the images of your beautiful boat.
    ​​♦ During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act
    ♦ The further a society drifts from truth the more it will hate those who speak it
    ♦ If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear
    ♦ George Orwell

  7. #147
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    Default Re: Building a Ross Lillistone First Mate

    Yeah Jeff, your paint's looking really good. This definitely looks a lot quicker to set up than what you had before. I hope it works well for you.

    I have found that purchase on both the snotter downhaul and boom downhauls to be worthwhile (on 3 trips out so far). Being able to tighten both into cam cleats helps get a little bit more luff and peak tension when needed, on the fly (rather than untying off a cleat). I didn't adjust the boom downhaul very often, but did quite a bit of tuning on the snotter for different wind and points of sail.

    Are you able to leave the main sail on the mast when you take it down now? That speeds set up quite a bit.

    Also, I'm curious how long your main sheet is. I started with 25' and things got a little hairy in a strong downwind and I couldn't ease the main any more (without losing the line out of the swivel cam). GPS showed 6 knots over ground and I was going up river, so maybe 7 kts boat speed. I had been using 5/16" line too. And, the weight of that (doubled out to boom end due to purchase), was affecting trim (pulling the boom in more than I wanted) in the lighter wind. So I went to lighter 1/4" line and made the main sheet 35' long, so I can ease the boom out more. How long is yours?
    Last edited by garyb; 04-03-2021 at 10:12 PM. Reason: fixed grammer

  8. #148
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    Default Re: Building a Ross Lillistone First Mate

    Simple, but not plain. That's exactly what I've been trying to do, although I hadn't been able to put it so succinctly. It's definitely a 10' paint job though, and the fairing might be a 20' job haha.

    I totally forgot about the glare issue and meant to correct it, but it'll have to wait until next season. Like you, I've seen some tan interiors that looked good. I'm generally terrible when it comes to colors, but I do have a knack for stealing other people's ideas!

    Gary, I have a suspicion that I may want to add purchase later. Cam cleats would be nice, but I couldn't convince myself to pay 60 bucks for them at West Marine. I've always hove to to adjust the snotter, so this shouldn't be any worse.

    I haven't really decided what to do with the sail. I'm pretty impressed with how quick it is to attach to the mast after what I had been doing. Do you roll it up next to the mast? Or around the mast?

    My sheet is 5/16" and I notice it pulling the boom in too, but sometimes I push the sail out with an oar. Not sure of an exact length, but I can let the boom out maybe 120ļ before I run out of line. I've heard anything past 90ļ (actually at the head of the sail) can lead to death rolls, so I figure if the situation is that bad I'll just let it all come out of the block and deal with whatever needs to happen.

  9. #149
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    Default Re: Building a Ross Lillistone First Mate

    FWIW I spoke with Josh at Duckworks about 3/8" main sheets and his recommendation after I vetoed their Marlow Premium colors follows.

    "I think the RaidBraid has maybe the nicest "hand"—it's the right amount of soft while still being firm for blocks and such. Technically the Marstron Plus is the "best" choice for sheets as it is lighter, floats, and doesn't hold water. These things are not a big deal on some boats, but if your sheets will often be sitting on a wet cockpit sole it's nice not have to wring them out.
    Best,
    Josh"

    Their Marlow Excel Marstron+ is 5/16" (8mm) in silver only.

    The lighter main sheet makes sense, my 3/8" three part double braid does get draggy in light air.
    ​​♦ During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act
    ♦ The further a society drifts from truth the more it will hate those who speak it
    ♦ If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear
    ♦ George Orwell

  10. #150
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    Default Re: Building a Ross Lillistone First Mate

    Quote Originally Posted by The Jeff View Post
    I haven't really decided what to do with the sail. I'm pretty impressed with how quick it is to attach to the mast after what I had been doing. Do you roll it up next to the mast? Or around the mast?
    I don't have a brail set up. When I drop the main it comes down in between the lazy jacks and is held along with the sprit on top of the boom. That's how I leave it when I put the boat on the trailer to take up the ramp. Then in parking lot, before unclipping the lazy jacks I tie the various halyards and snotter traveler position line to the hole in the port side knee, the one next to the jib swivel cam. This keeps them from getting tangled and makes set up the next time easier.

    Then I unhook the lazy jacks to drop the boom, sprit and main sail down (resting the boom and sprit on the aft bench). I clip the forward and aft lazy together, connecting them around the lowest roband on the main sail attach to mast (the ports ones on the port side, starboard ones on starboard side). Again, this keeps things organized for the next set up.

    Next, I untie the mast from the partner - lift it up enough to tuck the lower end inside the port side deck plate hole on forward bulkhead, and slide it forward as far as it will go toward the bow.

    Then I tie a few lines around the entire bundle of mast, boom, sprit and main sail, adding some foam cushions on the ends of some spars to keep from banging up the deck. This is what it looks like ready to travel (I travel about 12 miles, on mostly 40 mph roads). You can see a blanket aft where I bundle up the rudder assembly and tiller. For longer trips I'd bag everything up better. My best set up time so far is 8 minutes, and it takes about 10 minutes to get it travel ready once I pull it out of water at the ramp.

    travel_ready.jpg

  11. #151
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    Default Re: Building a Ross Lillistone First Mate

    Oh, I see how you're doing it... that really would make for a quick setup. Thanks for such a detailed reply!

  12. #152
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    Default Re: Building a Ross Lillistone First Mate

    I managed to get out for a short sail earlier this week and I'm happy to report that all of my modifications and repairs worked well. The toggling robands make rigging the boat faster than last year, but thereís still a lot of fiddly stuff that Iíd like to improve. I'm still breaking everything down father than I'd like... so I'm thinking some sort of sail bag with a long zipper might be a good idea to keep everything together.





    Inserting the toggling snotter turning block between the right robands. This is a vast improvement over the cow hitched version Iíve been using, but I think a mast traveler and a dedicated halyard is the way to go. Also the peak pennant is a good upgrade. The only downside is itís pretty long.





    Cleating off the peak pennant. I then coiled up the excess and tucked it between the sprit and pennant which seemed to hold it pretty well.





    Brailing up the sail. This is the probably the biggest issue after the improvements outlined above. I found it hard to get the sprit and peak pennant between the brail line and sail without losing the tail of the brail up to the throat. A longer line would help so I could get enough slack to thread everything through.





    Looking up to the head. Iíve always seemed to have trouble with the brail line pulling in the leech. The weight of the line coming down the mast is more than from the peak to the grommet, and the sprit pressing on it doesnít help. I think a snotter traveler might make the brail line obsolete which would be nice.





    Here you can see the spiral toggling robands and how the excess peak pennant is coiled up and secured. I havenít run the boom downhaul aft yet, but once I do Iíll have an unused belaying pin for a snotter traveler halyard.





    So that's where everything is now. I think I'm going to try to get a basic sleeping setup going next.

  13. #153
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    Default Re: Building a Ross Lillistone First Mate

    The last improvement to the boat was the addition of a turning block for the boom downhaul. Previously I've just been using the tail of the main halyard to pull the boom down, but I've been a bit wary of doing it that way since it could increase the time to get the sail down in a hurry. So today I drilled a hole through the base of the mast, chamfered the edges well, and attached a low friction ring in a loop of line. We'll see if I need to add any purchase or not.



    With the sailing stuff pretty much finished, Iíve been thinking of some sort of tent. Iíd like to use the sprit as a ridge pole with a crutch on the transom. I think having the tent low at the bow might be a good idea to try and get the boat to weathercock into the wind too. Iíll probably make a prototype out of polytarp and carpet tape and just clamp the crutch onto the motor well for the first few outings until I can get a better idea of how it needs to work.



    Possibly the tent could be used in this position too in calm conditions.


  14. #154
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    Default Re: Building a Ross Lillistone First Mate

    Quote Originally Posted by The Jeff View Post
    I'm thinking some sort of sail bag with a long zipper might be a good idea to keep everything together.
    I made a long zippered bag for my sail and yard. It was a fun project and well within the abilities of a novice sewer. The hope is that I'll be able to drop the whole kit into the open bag, zip it shut, and call it stored. I can't tell you how well it works in practice because the boat hasn't been built yet!








    If you're interested in the materials and techniques let me know and I'll write more.

  15. #155
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    Default Re: Building a Ross Lillistone First Mate

    You're making great progress Jeff - you'll be set for a fun summer!

    I just keep everything in the bottom of the boat, ready for the next hoist, and I put a cover over the entire top of the boat.

  16. #156
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    Default Re: Building a Ross Lillistone First Mate

    I'll be watching these First Mate/Phoenix III threads to see how long it takes before you all come to your senses and abandon the spritsail for some kind of lug rig...

    More importantly, to see some more reports about neat trips! Any specific plans for the summer yet?

    Tom
    You don't have to be prepared as long as you're willing to suffer the consequences.

    www.tompamperin.com

  17. #157
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    Default Re: Building a Ross Lillistone First Mate

    Thanks James, that's exactly what I was envisioning. Do you think the 500d Cordura was a good choice?

    Gary, I haven't made a boat cover yet, but that would help the issue of lines and sails flapping their way out while I'm going down the highway. Every time I cross something off the list I find three more things to add...

    Tom, when I was setting the boat up the other day I definitely thought "I bet Tom would be preaching the virtues of his standing lug right about now."

    I did write up my little 3.5 mile trip, but wasn't sure it was really worth making a post on. You can read it here though: https://sailingmoga.com/mill-creek-2021/

    As far as overnight trips, I think one of the first would be ~100 miles down the Rappahannock from Fredericksburg. Can't get lost and the shore is never more than two miles away. Using Google Earth I've found every boat ramp on the river and I should always be within 10 miles of one of them. Eventually I want to do the same on the Potomac, York, and James rivers.




    Also I'd really like to visit Tangier Island before it sinks into the Bay. I'd leave from Windmill Point and head 20 miles up to the Little Wicomico River to spend the night. Then 14 miles over to Tangier to spend the day. Steve with his Navigator Spartina seems to have good luck anchoring by the sandy beach down at the southern end. Then 20 miles back to Windmill Point. The weather would be a huge factor in this trip though.




    Someday I'd really like to sail ~200 miles down to the Outer Banks and meet my wife there with the trailer for a vacation. Definitely need some practice and work out all the bugs with camping before attempting something like this.



    Have you got anything lined up?

  18. #158
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    Default Re: Building a Ross Lillistone First Mate

    The 500d cordura feels about right. I think it's probably what my large backpacking backpack is made from. Because ounces aren't a concern with these boats, I might go a notch heavier next time, but I don't anticipate problems with the fabric. Good luck with all the sewing you've got lined up!

  19. #159
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    Default Re: Building a Ross Lillistone First Mate

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post
    I'll be watching these First Mate/Phoenix III threads to see how long it takes before you all come to your senses and abandon the spritsail for some kind of lug rig...


    Tom
    I was nearly seduced by the spritsail and jib rig when building my First Mate. It just looks so nice! Also, I liked the idea of some extra sail area since our summer winds are often light. But simplicity won out and the ease of rigging, sail handling, reefing on the water, dropping sail, etc, have made me happy with my choice.

  20. #160
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    Default Re: Building a Ross Lillistone First Mate

    I hear you Cracked Rib! If I would have known when I started what I know now.. But it's been a great experience and learning so far. We'll go with the sprit, at least for now. Since I can use the same mast, same partner and step, I can always get another sail and whip out another boom and yard to use as balanced lug, and then have both options available depending on how much "rigmarole" I'm up for. Having set up down to about 10 minutes, it's not so bad.

  21. #161
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    Default Re: Building a Ross Lillistone First Mate

    If I'm honest, I probably would have went with the lug too had I known how much work the sprit is. But I'm glad I went with looks over practicality and the rig is growing on me. Although it might just be Stockholm syndrome...

    I went on a 40 mile trip today and the improvements I made over the winter have really made it more user friendly than ever before. There's still a few things that need to change though... the snotter definitely needs some purchase and I'm going to cut the thumb cleat off the mast and use a mast traveler. I'll make a post, once the world stops rolling!

  22. #162
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    Default Re: Building a Ross Lillistone First Mate

    I wanted to attempt an overnight trip this weekend, but that got put on hold due to rain and me feeling like I got run over by a truck after getting the second Covid shot. I'm not sure what temperature I was running, but 8 blankets didn't do anything to keep me from shivering worse than I've ever shivered for about 3 hours. Anyway, today I decided to work on getting reefing figured out.





    I added a pair of cleats up near the boom jaws and a pair of fairleads to try and keep the line from dangling down too much. This is the first time I've ever reefed a sail... growing up with a Sunfish reefing meant hiking harder and holding onto the tiller tighter. I only turned it over a few times!





    I've decided the thumb cleat on the mast for the snotter has to go if I want to get reefing working well. So I planed it off and rigged up a "snotter positioner line" that Gary and I talked about a while back. This is a 1/4" piece of Dyneema that runs from the main halyard down to a toggling mast traveler. In this picture it's tied onto the mast traveler at the back, but that causes the travler to pinch the mast and make it hard to raise. I later attached it just behind the block and it works much better.





    I'm pretty sure the angle is terrible, but I wanted to try it to get an idea of the max length the reefing line needs to be. I'm thinking of drilling another bee hole farther up and rigging up a bypass reef. Maybe a bowline around the boom, up through the grommet, then back down through a beehole before turning forward to the cleat.





    I'm pretty pleased with how fast the sail comes down now. No more fiddling around with the snotter block halfway up the mast or robands catching on the thumb cleat. The sprit hangs over the bow 28 inches since it's still attached to the peak of the sail. It tends to roll off the deck so I'll probably need to come up with a solution for that. The next time I take the boat out I'm going to see if I can launch from this position instead of brailing up the sail.





    A minor issue, but the stopper knots for the toggling robands can get jammed up together when raising the sail after reefing.





    I set out today to fix reefing a sprit rig since nobody else seems to have done it in the last 500 years. I thought my snotter positioner line idea would solve all the issues, but I didn't take into account where the slack in the snotter would go as you lower the main halyard. Lowering the sail 1' causes the sprit to drop ~2' so I found I needed to keep tensioning the snotter as I lowered the main halyard which is a bit awkward.


    The obvious solution is to cleat the snotter to the sprit so the tension is independent of where the snotter turning block is on the mast. But it's also handy to be able to adjust the snotter on the fly to suit the conditions. So I propose an electric winch mounted to the sprit to control the snotter tension. Then I'll need a diesel engine and alternator to keep the winch battery topped up. But since I have an engine, I might as well add a propellor while I'm at it. And with a propellor I really don't need sails, so toss those. There! The sprit rig reefing woes have been solved!

  23. #163
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    Default Re: Building a Ross Lillistone First Mate

    Quote Originally Posted by The Jeff View Post
    The obvious solution is to cleat the snotter to the sprit so the tension is independent of where the snotter turning block is on the mast. But it's also handy to be able to adjust the snotter on the fly to suit the conditions. So I propose an electric winch mounted to the sprit to control the snotter tension. Then I'll need a diesel engine and alternator to keep the winch battery topped up. But since I have an engine, I might as well add a propellor while I'm at it. And with a propellor I really don't need sails, so toss those. There! The sprit rig reefing woes have been solved!
    Sounds like you've got it all figured out!

    Tom
    You don't have to be prepared as long as you're willing to suffer the consequences.

    www.tompamperin.com

  24. #164
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    Default Re: Building a Ross Lillistone First Mate

    Jeff, Usually it's big wind that makes us think about reefing, versus a covid shot! Sorry that hit you so bad.

    I haven't had to reef yet, but it's on the short list to try it out. Looks like you've done a good job on it. I wasn't planning to get too fancy with additional lines at the clew and tack. At the clew, am thinking I'd untie the bowline at the outhaul, keeping the line going though that cringle still, and then retying a bowline onto the upper cringle at reef point. Then I'd pull the same outhaul tight and cleat off as usual. I'd just tie another short piece of line through the clew down around the boom. You can do the same - I wouldn't drill another big hole in your boom for it. At the tack, I was just going to tie it down to the jaws, and then use boom downhaul to tighten it up.

    I've posted a picture of my snotter position traveler before, but including it here. It does stay horizontal as it rides up/down the mast. Have never had it bind, but I have had some roband knots catching on each other during sail raising. Now I watch for it.
    snotter_traveler_done.jpg

    When I drop the sail, the lazy jacks catch the sprit too, so it doesn't go falling off the front of the boat. But the heel of the sprit does bang on the foredeck first, before I loosen the peak line on the sprit, hence the tennis ball cushion. :-) This picture shows what it looks like when it's put in the water, and just before raising the sail. It looks the same after lowering the sail on the water.

    20210323_120615_resized.jpg

    While reefing, I had envisioned lowering the main halyard at same time as snotter position traveler - they are both tied off on port side of mast partner close together, but I haven't tried it. Might be awkward as you found.

    Thanks again for sharing your learnings - it's helping all our boats, with this rig, improve.

  25. #165
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    Default Re: Building a Ross Lillistone First Mate

    Quote Originally Posted by garyb
    While reefing, I had envisioned lowering the main halyard at same time as snotter position traveler - they are both tied off on port side of mast partner close together, but I haven't tried it. Might be awkward as you found.

    Unless I'm not understanding how you've rigged yours, I think you'll have the same problem as me. As you lower the main halyard and snotter traveler halyard together, slack in the snotter is going to go from the cleated side through the block to sprit's heel. The sprit will drop faster than the sail and to counteract that you need to tension the snotter to push the sprit up. Since you've already got the main and snotter traveler halyards loose that could be tough with a third line to handle.


    Yesterday I had to inch worm my way down in two or three tries. Drop the main a bit, cleat it off, tension the snotter, and repeat. Today I had an idea to fix this problem which worked really well and lets me move the sail and sprit all as a unit.





    The trick is to tie off the snotter to the heel of the sprit with a few wraps and a clove hitch. The tail is completely loose as it goes to the hole in the mast partner and turns back to the cleat on the centerboard case. The little cleat on the sprit that holds the peak pennant comes in handy as a jam cleat to keep the snotter from sliding up the sprit.





    With the snotter tied off to the sprit, I can move the sail wherever I like with the main halyard and everything moves together. After it's in place, the clove hitch comes off pretty easily and I cleat the tail back at the centerboard case. Need more headroom? Not a problem!


    It remains to be seen whether this will all work out on the water though! I am going to be busy this weekend, so I won't get to test it until the 22nd at the earliest.

  26. #166
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    Default Re: Building a Ross Lillistone First Mate

    I'm curious: I know spritsails were very commonly used in traditional workboats, especially on the east coast of the U.S. Did they not have reefing systems? Were they all just set up with full sail, and dropped entirely rather than reefed when the wind piped up? Or just scandalized, and not reefed?

    I'd be interested in hearing from those who know traditional rigs--how was this reefing issue handled for spritsails way back before engines became a thing?

    Tom
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    www.tompamperin.com

  27. #167
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    Default Re: Building a Ross Lillistone First Mate

    A thought:

    Would it be simpler to reef a spritsail by simply carrying an extra shorter sprit to use for each reef point? For a sail with two reef points, carry 3 sprits? These are small light spars, so it wouldn't be impossible.

    Might save a lot of fussing around trying to build a more complex system. Ready to reef? Drop the sail, switch sprits, and re-hoist with a shorter sprit and a reefed sail.

    It's been 10 years since I've used a spritsail, so I may be forgetting some things that would make this idea more trouble than it's worth.

    Tom
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    www.tompamperin.com

  28. #168
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    Default Re: Building a Ross Lillistone First Mate

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom
    I'd be interested in hearing from those who know traditional rigs--how was this reefing issue handled for spritsails way back before engines became a thing?
    There's a good article in WoodenBoat Magazine #165 page 80 with a lot of traditional tips and tricks. I don't have any real knowledge other than what I've documented here and on my website, but I tend to think traditional boats would have been bigger and more stable than my First Mate. It's pretty tender when I get up forward to the mast and a more stable boat would make adjusting things a lot easier. Although sneakboxes used sprit sails and they're pretty close to a dinghy, so I don't know what they would have done. I can say that they didn't have to worry about making everything easy to disassemble for trailering though!

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom
    Would it be simpler to reef a spritsail by simply carrying an extra shorter sprit to use for each reef point? For a sail with two reef points, carry 3 sprits? These are small light spars, so it wouldn't be impossible.
    I think I see what you're getting at. If I wanted a second reef, the sprit would be too long and the heel would hit the deck. I think there should be some way to use one sprit, but have the excess stick out past the peak. Probably slacking the peak pennant the right amount would work, but it might need a traveler or something to keep the peak from bowing out away from the sprit.

    But the unfortunate fact is that the more you reef, the worse the angle of the sprit will be up at the peak. It'll be putting more tension on the head of the sail than keeping the peak lifted. I think at the end of the day the sprit rig just isn't that user friendly and I've probably done about the best I can hope for. Hopefully I can get out next weekend and practice reefing. I'm sure that'll bring up some problem I haven't through about.

  29. #169
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    Default Re: Building a Ross Lillistone First Mate

    I'd say, it's just a different kind of user-friendly. Short spars, simplicity in use. The only disadvantage I know is the trouble with reefing. I think traditional spritsails in small boats like duckers just didn't reef on the water--they beached for that, I imagine.

    Using different sprits for reefing, though, would allow you to keep the proper sprit angle, wouldn't it? Just size each sprit for the new luff length for that reef point. I'd be tempted to try this if I had room aboard for a couple of extra sprits. Maybe incorporate them into a boat tent set-up? Seems like it would solve the issue of how to reef pretty well. But maybe not, as I've not hear of anyone doing this.

    Tom
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  30. #170
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    Default Re: Building a Ross Lillistone First Mate

    I thought short spars would be a big benefit when I was building the boat, but after using it for a few years I'm not so sure. They don't fit in the boat without hanging over the end unless I open the two inspection hatches by the mast and slide them into the buoyancy compartment. That's not ideal when I'm on the water, and when the boat is being trailered rain runs down the spars into the compartment. Although from a windage and weight point of view shorter is definitely better. Perhaps a boat cover would solve the rain issue, but that's pretty far down the list right now.

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom
    Using different sprits for reefing, though, would allow you to keep the proper sprit angle, wouldn't it? Just size each sprit for the new luff length for that reef point.
    I'm not so sure, as the luff length decreases, the foot length stays mostly the same. You're changing the aspect ratio of the sail from a tall rectangle to a wider rectangle, but the sprit can't go lower than the deck. In normal use and at the first reef, the sprit will stay 24ļ in relation to the head. As I add more reefs, the angle decreases and the sprit becomes less effective at holding the peak up. It may work ok at 13ļ, I really don't know... but I'd be back to needing to adjust the position of the snotter in relation to the throat which is what I was trying to avoid.



    I have wondered what would happen if the heel of the sprit fit into a "cup" on the top of the boom jaws. It would need to be a fair bit longer, but there wouldn't be any need for a snotter since the peak pendant could tension the head.

  31. #171
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    Default Re: Building a Ross Lillistone First Mate

    I went on an overnight trip to Tangier Island this weekend and got to test out the reefing system! I didn't need to try it out while I was on the water, but the second day was windy enough I put in a reef on the beach and later shook it out without trouble. Tying off the snotter to the heel of the sprit temporarily while I raise the sail is really working well. I think I should be able to reef on the water too, but that remains to be seen.





    Getting everything set up behind the protection of the sandbar at the southern end of the island. I'm not sure how hard the wind was blowing, but it would have involved lots of hiking with full sail.





    I'm almost ashamed of how long it took me to get reefing set up... it really changes the feel of the boat. What would have been a puckering ride turned into a pleasant sail with big waves and all I had to think about was following the compass. Imagine the luxury of not needing to luff the main at the right moment to keep from going over!





    Once things calmed down around midday, I backed the jib and hove to.





    Next I took out the reef and tied the snotter off temporarily to the end of the sprit. When I raise the sail to the top of the mast, the sprit comes with it since I've got the snotter block tied to a pendant from the main halyard. After the sail is up I can properly tension the snotter and cleat it off back on the centerboard case. I do need to tie the nettles into the grommets so everything is ready to go.





    And off again with full sail. I've found my slab reefing lines tend to work themselves loose from the cleats on the boom since there's very little tension, so I made two loops of bungee cord to keep them on the cleats. I'm thinking maybe I'll just tie bowlines around the boom between the cleats and dispense with the bungee cords.

  32. #172
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    Default Re: Building a Ross Lillistone First Mate

    Awesome, Jeff! To Tangier from where, Windmill Point? How about a trip report?
    "George Washington as a boy
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    He could not even lie."

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  33. #173
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    Default Re: Building a Ross Lillistone First Mate

    Quote Originally Posted by The Jeff View Post
    I'm almost ashamed of how long it took me to get reefing set up... it really changes the feel of the boat.
    Gaining the ability to reef while afloat was a profound transition for me and my small boat. Lots more water and conditions are now open to you, with lots less fear. I'm glad to hear you're happy with your setup!
    Count me among those who would enjoy a trip report.

  34. #174
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    Default Re: Building a Ross Lillistone First Mate

    Have no fear, a trip report is coming but it's taking me a while to sort through the pictures and try to write something coherent. Here's my GPS track:



    James, reefing was one of those things that was intimidating because I've never done it before so I put it off. Plus it took a while to figure out an easy reefing process for the sprit rig. And to some extent I didn't think a ~20% reduction in sail area would do as much as it does. But I'm definitely looking forward to a lot less white knuckling!

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