Full sail!

So we built a boat and then we cut some holes in it….. Slightly nerve wracking  but after Si finished the main mast a couple of weeks ago cutting a big round hole in the deck was the last job to do before stepping the mast and going for a sail.

We were really lucky that good weather and spring tides combined to give us plenty of time on the beach without being rained on to cut the hole for mast in the foredeck and bring the remainder of the rigging down from the workshop.

Robin Edwards kindly transported the mast down to Kensa and along with Debs gave us a hand to step it using the crane on Percuil Boatyard’s moorings raft.

Everything went amazingly smoothly; the mast fitted the hole and foot perfectly and in seemingly no time at all we were rigged (albeit in slightly temporary fashion) and ready to go for a sail!

Kensa has an unstayed lug rig; this is basically the simplest form of rig you can get, involving as few bits of wire and rope as possible.

This not only makes it easier for us to fish from Kensa with a minimum of rigging to get in our way, it also makes it considerably quicker and cheaper to get her sailing.

Although we knew from Si’s drawings and plans how the rig and sails was going to look, it was still quite a surprise to see Kensa fully rigged and ready to sail.

As we set off, Robin followed us around in the punt taking photos before joining Si, Debs and me for the rest of the sail back to the mooring, which happily means we have pictorial evidence of our maiden voyage to show you all!

I’ve sailed around Percuil plenty of times in similar sized boats. We had been out on Kensa before and felt her float and sail downwind under mizzen. And yet there was something so special about sailing our boat that we’d built and Si had designed in bright sunshine in what is one of my favourite places in the world.

It was an amazing feeling; I don’t even think we were sailing – it was more like flying, having just invented it for the first time. She went really well; she’s got a lot of canvas and with a decent breeze we’ll probably reef quite early. But she’s still not properly ballasted, so she’ll settle a bit once that’s sorted, which we can work on now that the weight of the rig’s all in the right place.

The mast was looking a bit too flexible towards the bottom for our liking, where the length of carbon tube joins the wood, so we decided to wrap that in fibreglass and epoxy to strengthen it and see how that goes.

But despite a stronger counter spring tide and a head wind, we successfully tacked up to Kensa’s mooring and put her to bed looking proper, with both her masts in the right place. Unfortunately we were so overexcited by all this we were forced to go and sit down in the Plume of Feathers for a while to calm down…..


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