Boat of the Month Archive 2014

The Junk Rig community features a wide range of boats, rigs and ideas.  We like to showcase one boat on a regular basis and are interested in hearing from any members who would be prepared to share some photos and details of their pride and joy. 

December 2014 - Minke Luna - owner Ben Luna

Minke Luna is moored in Evans Cove in the Deer Harbor/West Sound area of Orcas Island, in the Pacific Northwest of USA.  Our previous two boats were Wharram catamarans (also lovely), and

we have continued with the concept of flexi-space for the interior, albeit now only one hull.  The interior readily converts from king-sized bed to workshop, to camping kitchen, to navigation center to … private commode with the luggable loo.  There is one house battery and one starting battery for the always-faithful, inboard Yanmar 3M.  Electronics are minimal, although we did bump up this year to a snazzy GPS, proper radio and running lights. 

The mast is keel-stepped and about 30’ above the partners.  ThMinke Lunae sail has seven battens.  When asked its size, we say it’s red and big, and it reefs ‘like butter’, both up and down.  In summer months, we enjoy raising up the two bottom panels for light airs meandering, while friends sit on the cabin roof. It looks funny but works fine.  Our best sailing (when we’re feeling serious), is between December and March.  The winds are consistent and steady and push the little junk along at a steady 5.5 knots.  Aside from exploring the many small islands and following the minkes, orcas, and humpbacks (not too closely), the little junk is the mother ship while our youngest son, 11-year-old Aristotle, races his lateen-rigged, outrigger canoe in West Sound.  We can’t hope to keep up, but we have a dandy of a time resupplying the racers with kimchee and hot chocolate, another odd combination, but the young sailors love it! 

Please come visit!

Love, the Luna Clan

November 2014 - Shui Jen - Sailing in the Southern French Alps

A childhood spent playing on and sailing in Junks, a quiet longing to own my own Junk, an inheritance of £2000 (thanks Grandma), a broker called Robin and an astrophysicist called Vincent, a husband who gets on and makes things happen, a great friend with a 4x4, a little boat called Shui Jen. And the French Alps in between.

I'm 42, married to a ski instructor and we have two children, seven and five years old. We live in Serre Chevalier, southern French Alps, and run a ski school and a small tour operator. We're surrounded by magnificent mountains, and we have a boat.

In May 2011, I received the most exciting email ever. Vincent Reddish (Reddish Rig) was happy to sell his boat to us, a Kingfisher 22' – with a Junk rig. The exact model of boat my mum and dad had owned when I was... much younger.

Our trailer-sailer then succumbed to an 1800km journey, from Largs, Scotland, to Cambridgeshire, then onto Windsor (with a nine-month stopover), and finally a 15 hour drive in April 2012. Final destination: Lac Serre Ponçon (Chorges). When she arrived, along with some April snow, the kids were not more excited than me, but they were ecstatic. The driver on the other hand was exhausted, having negotiated the snake-like climbs towards, and descents into, the southern French Alps for well over a few hours. Thanks Hans!

Five weeks later, after much guess-work mixed with a large dose of common-sense, photo-sharing emails, phone calls and a mind of knowledge from my dad, we had 'Shui Jen' rigged and ready to sail. Why did it take so long? Frustratingly for water lovers, our nearest sailing lake - Lac Serre Ponçon - is a reservoir, one of the largest man-made lakes in western Europe, and it empties annually to supply the French Riviera with electricity and feed their fields with fresh water. “Is the lake deep enough yet?” we start asking ourselves every year in May. “Wonder if she's hit the bottom yet?” we ask each other every October.

Day trips with friends and family. Weekend breaks together with a tent. Week-long holidays in the incredible Ubaye valley just a couple of hour's sailing south from our mooring at the Base Nautique. Shui Jen gives our summers a new purpose, away from the mountains yet cradled within them. The High Alps watch over us... and the catamarans, sailing school kids, swimmers, wind- and kite-surfers, sea-planes and para-gliders.

What a fabulous place. Who needs the Mediterranean Sea, even if it is just a few hour's drive from us? (Oh go on then, we'll get there one day. But our local lake will do just fine for now).

October 2014 - Zebedee in Caledonia

As nobody has sent any photos in for the BOTM this month and I've not had the time to find something for myself, I'm posting some photos sent to me by Alan Martienssen of Zebedee. Alan is in New Caledonia and no doubt, after looking at the photos, you will also want to be there. I have no captions or any other information, so just enjoy.

Bay MaaSunset at Bay Prony

Zebedee in Bay Maa New Caledonia               Sunset at Bay Prony - New Caledonia

September 2014 - Shoestring

In the JRA our members come in all shapes, sizes and character... as do their boats. This month it is the Leprechaun's (also known as Roger Scott) turn, Roger is always smiling and never at loss for something to say... and invariably has a different perspective. The BOTM this month is Shoestring... yet another example of the endless variety that the junk rig supports... not to mention their owners!.

Shoestring shows off her rig

Roger writes: Having officially been inaugurated into the JRA in 2013 and sailed 2000 miles along and among the islands of  New Zealand's east coast,  it is time to share some stories about Shoestring.

Most would go along with the idea that boats have personality, almost like horses. They buck and yaw and often seem to have a mind of their own, but once you become good friends, respect and care for them, they are the best and often  the only loyal companions on those lonely trips between dawn and dusk. I say that because not yet have I sailed throughout the night on Shoestring, or any boat for that matter. I always plan several anchorages ahead and look forward to that sheltered bay at the end of the day.

The Leprchaun and the Grasshopper enjoying two of the thinks they love best... 2013 NZ Winter Rally
Poor old Shoestring, I am sure she thinks her owner is wholly unworthy. She started out as a Junk rig sporting one proud 500sq foot flat Hasler McLeod style sail with three 'fan' panels at the top. After sailing her for about three years, mainly around Auckland, I discovered a rotten part three meters down from the mast head and more than ½ way around. I was lucky not to have lost it but never had sailed in more than 25 knots.

n an earlier life, I was used to sailing Scorpion class dinghies in the UK, and perhaps was frustrated at Shoestring's windward performance and tacking ability. So instead of repairing the mast, I decided to experiment with  aspect and COE. I simply cut off the rotten part, sealed it up, added a mizzen  and had an 8sqShoestring at anchor meter Dacron Hasler McLeod sail professionally made for a tear jerking $NZ1000.00.  So much for the 'shoestring' budget. To accommodate for the shorter mast, I had planned to cut the bottom two panels off the original mainsail and have eyelets sewn in along where it was cut. In case I ever wanted to extend the mast to the its original height again, I could lash the panels back together through the eyelets.  That was the plan!
To balance the rig, I was originally aiming to have a bowsprit and self tacking Jib, but having met Annie Hill shortly before installing the bowsprit, I opted for the more traditional look and made a small foremast to carry a little junk sail. It was a good decision until I got greedy for more sail area and extended the Shoestring... the view from the deck... may it ever be of LC's stern!foremast using two pairs of old skis as splints. They lasted surprisingly well, but eventually gave out in about 35 knots going across to Great Barrier Island. So much for my 'shoestring' budget! Fortunately I salvaged the foremast and tackle from lumpy seas and reinstated the original stumpy  stick when safely anchored at Barrier. Annie reckons the foremast looks more like a toothpick when naked, but when fully adorned with her smart $NZ200.00 weedmat rig, Shoestring proved worthy of the most prestigious prize at the 2014  Tall Ships Race at Russell in the Bay of Islands. She won a bottle opener for having the best looking sails. Thanks Annie!

July 2014 - David & Lynda Chidell's Tin Hau

Our "Boat of the Month" for this month is the Chidell's Tin Hau a Colvin design with Hasler type sails. When Lynda and David built Tin Hau there were not many large junk rigged boats in the west so their voyage and their building of the boat were pioneering efforts. Lynda subsequently wrote a book Cutting the Dragons Tail that can be purchased here or if you are a member you can download it in pdf form from the JRA library.

Tin Hau sailing off MauritiusLynda writes: Our idea when building Tin Hau in South Africa was to create a unique charter boat for working in the eastern Mediterranean. Our original plan was to sail north through the Atlantic, entering the Med via the straits of Gibraltar. The hope was that the boat would be well proven by the time we started chartering. Fate (in the form of bureaucracy) stepped in and changed our plans, forcing us to leave at the wrong time of year for the westerly route. The maiden voyage, therefore, took us to Mauritius. More bureacratic nonsense sent us on our way via Agalega and the Seychelles to the Chagos Archipelago. Here we spent several idyllic months anchored off a desert island. At the change of monsoon, we headed north-east to Sri Lanka, there to await another monsoon change to take us across to Aden and onward to Cyprus via the Red Sea. Tin Hau at anchor in the Chagos ArchipelagoTin Hau was hauled out in Cyprus and, working through a very hot summer, we overhauled everything that needed attention after two years in the tropics. We fitted in a brief visit to Turkey before returning to spend the Winter in Larnaca. Spring saw us on our way to Greece via Turkey and a year was spent working our way round the islands to Corfu for the next winter. It took a whole summer to cross the Mediterranean and out into the Atlantic, all plans to charter having been abandoned. We made landfall in Cornwall in 1990 and regretfully sold Tin Hau. She returned to the Med with her second owner who enjoyed sailing for a good number of years before passing her on to her current owners who have made many changes and sailed her extensively around Greece and Turkey. Sadly, she is now looking for another loving family to care for her.

June 2014 - Pugwash

The featured "Boat of the Month" has tended to focus on the larger boats, not because we do not care about smaller boats but it's what our members have been sending. This month I'm glad to say, we feature a small boat. However she is small only in size, for the Portland Pudgy has a big heart and is a wonderful little voyaging boat.

Marcus writes: For many, many years, I had wanted a boat with junk rig; in fact I conned my dear grandmother into buying me a first edition copy of PJR for my 21st birthday, way back in 1989.

But, alas, decades passed, filled with marriage, children and that seemingly-endless treadmill, providers must run on.  But now that’s all in the past, so when I met Paul Thompson, and saw the cute, plump wee Portland Pudgy up against the fence, under La Chica’s bow, well, I just had to have it.  And what’s more, it came with a Van der Loan-style, six-panel cambered junk sail that Paul had made.  I only needed to make a mast and I was sailing!

And what a joy to sail he turned out to be!  I named him Pugwash because the wee dink looked like a toy caricature of an 18th century ship; and that bluff bow and board stern gave him a deep waist, very roomy for 8 ft overall. 

They are designed and built to be sailing liifeboats, in Portland, Maine, USA, so Pugwash is quite a capable little beach cruiser, and I intend a happy week away, next summer.  The rig has proved brilliant, as I expected.  Reefing so easily, you always have just the right amount of sail area, and stowed, the sail is never in the way, with the bundle lying in the lazyjacks and tied over to the port gunwale, so so can sit and row.  The boat (I am happy to say) also came with the inflatable exposure shelter, which allows sleeping aboard and extra buoyancy when semi-collapsed for sailing.
Pugwash, has proved to be a joy for after-work sails on the river.  Left rigged, and waiting on the ramp at Norsand Boatyard, I can be in and away in moments.  Thanks again, Paul, for my fabulous first junk-rigged command.

May 2014 - Arne Kverneland's Malaena

This month, it is 20 years since Arne Kverneland put camber into Malena's sails, starting what eventually became a revolution in the performance of Western, junk-rigged boats.  So Malena is a more than usually worthy candidate for the BOTM page.

Arne's Malena
For most of those 20 years, Arne was a lone voice in the wilderness, crying out that he had discovered a simple way to transform the performance of the Western junk-rigged yacht.

He wrote about his work with Malena, in JRA Newsletters 24, 26, 30 and 31 (members can download them from the Magazines page), but for many years little attention was paid to his message, probably because it was much too simple and everyone was too busy with more exotic ideas, like Bunny Smith's "insect-wing theory” or jointed battens.

However Arne persisted with his message, writing many articles and papers, which explained in detail how to recreate his successes (see Arne's collection of articles here ) In time, people started listening and after the JRA Stavanger Rally of 2010, it was no longer possible to ignore Arne's message.

Today, cambered sails have become accepted and Arne's simple methods, along with his detailed instructions, have made it possible for many people to make their own cambered sails, and so have a junk that sails to windward as well (or nearly as well) as her bermudan-rigged sisters.

April 2014 - Keying II

We usually feature boats that members have built, bought, begged or 'saved', but "here's a genuine junk that desperately needs conserving." So says our incoming Treasurer Chris Gallienne, adding, "But we don't have the funds to save her!" Chris is writing a 'History of the Western Junk Rig', and has penned this piece for us:

Keying II is an authentic fishing junk, built in Hong Kong in 1980 for the 'Hong Kong in London' festival in Battersea Park. She was presented to the Hong Kong government by Sir Yue-Kong Pao CBE, probably the world's largest shipping owner at the time. She was then donated to the International Sailing Craft Association for their extensive collection at the Exeter Maritime Museum (UK). Dr Stephen Davies (ex-Director of the Hong Kong Maritime Museum and now Research Fellow at the HK Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences, University of HK) believes that the basic hull design is a late 19th century, possibly early 20th, derivative of something like the HK sampan and the fast Chinese police junks, themselves derived from rice-carrying junks in the mid-Qing. He suspects "a fair bit of design tweak emulating the finer waterlines and entries of western vessels".

During her time at Exeter, Keying II made several voyages around the UK coast and France. Following the closure of that museum in 1996, Keying II sailed to Lowestoft, remaining until the late summer of 2004 when she went to Eyemouth International Sail Craft Association. She is now deteriorating fast, and EISCA have neither the space nor funds for her maintenance. They seek a new home where she might receive a sympathetic restoration.

So if you're looking for a project, have lots of money or ideas of how she might be saved, jot them down here where some of us have been chewing this over. See Chris's personal JRA photo album both as she is now and as she was in happier times, and download a guide to the original Keying (1848) [pdf, 5 Mb].

March 2014 - Roger Taylor's Mingming II

"Mingming II is very much a development of Mingming I. She is a rebuilt and re-rigged triple keel Achilles 24, 23' 9" LOA, 19' 6" LWL, 7' 1" beam and 3' 3" draught. She has a single mainsail of 280 sq. ft., a standard Hasler-McLeod shape, but with cambered panels. The top four are joined, with the draught broad-seamed in, while the bottom three are individual panels 'hinged' to the battens. The aerodynamic shape is achieved by varying the width of each hinge. Sail control is by a 6-part sheet, yard hauling parrel and a running luff-hauling parrel. The mast is a cut down conical aluminium lamp post, 200mm diameter at the base, 76mm at the top, and with 3.3mm walls. Battens are carbon fibre.
Like Mingming I she is unsinkable, fully insulated and totally watertight. However, whereas Mingming I just had a single central hatch, Mingming II has a fore hatch, a central hatch, and a working hatch at the aft end of the 'observation pod' - a kind of doghouse that gives full standing headroom and all-round visibility from inside the boat, and which aims to increase instability and righting moment if the boat is inverted. The very large mainsail is designed specifically to keep the boat moving well in the generally very light summer airs of the high Arctic, her intended cruising ground. All being well, her maiden voyage, later this year, will be into the Barents Sea via Bear Island and, if ice conditions allow, an anti-clockwise circumnavigation of the Svalbard Group.

Roger has several 'good reads' under his keel - just search your favourite bookstore for Mingming - and describes as 'a bit utilitarian' this You Tube video of a talk that he gave last month at the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club, Burnham-on-Crouch. Finally, here's a Yachting Monthly video which includes some great shots of her sailing.

February 2014 - Robin Blain's Gigi

Our  last Boat of the Month was a 'big un', so here's a trailer-sailer  that's long overdue for this honour.

Robin Blain's Gigi is a water-ballasted (405 kg empty, 400 kg water) Swallow Bay Cruiser 20 which he bought from new to rig as a junk. LOA is 6.17m, beam 2.3m and draft, centre plate up, 0.2m. Her ply hull is epoxy sheathed, deck and coach-roof in Airex foam. Spars are by Needlespar - New Zealand built carbon fibre yard and mast, the latter hinged at boom height for single-handed lowering, but “never disconnected for trailing.” With a GRP poltruded tubular boom, and battens of 1 inch OD alloy hinged tube, she's an interesting mix of  the materials that Robin has researched over the years for his and others' boats.

So does she work, and why a Swallow? Robin says, “I wanted something light and easily towed. From the first time I saw Swallows I knew they would love a junk sail. Gigi has an exhilarating, dinghy-like performance, planes without ballast, is very fast off the wind, typically 5.2 knots with 3 crew, and tacks through 90° (4.2 knots).”

So is she Robin's 'last boat'? “Mandy and I have been looking for a new house for ages," Robin says. "If our next vendor pulls out 2 days from completion, the stress could provide the answer!” Photo Phillip Corridan at Bradwell.

January 2014 - "Mau Yee - Münchener Freiheit" - Sepp Huber and Carina Beierling

  Any junk that gets to sail the canals of Venice deserves
  to be our Boat of the Month. Hans Schaubler did it in his
Liberty 22 (see JRA Magazine issue 34), and now the 25
  ton, 15m x 4.5m x 1.5m high-sea Chinese junk "Mau Yee
  - Munchener Freiheit"
  has done it too.

   Regular site visitors will know that last autumn we were
   asked if we could help locate a 'proper traditional junk' for
   a commercial video to be shot in Venice. We scratched our heads but didn't come up with the goods until we indirectly did - read this thread. That's what the JRA is all about: networking, sharing and helping people out.

Mau Yee was built in Aberdeen, Hong Kong in 1962 and, in 2010 was bought and then extensively renovated and updated by her now owners Sepp Huber and Carina Beierling. Mau Yee moved to Slovenia, not too far from Venice, so that was good news to the video production company. Sepp and Carina had only a few weeks to get her to the 'gig', which meant de-rigging, pulling the masts, hauling and shipping her against a tight, commercial deadline. Doing all that was tough, but 'driving' her fully rigged through the canals of Venice must have been a real challenge. We would have loved to have seen the shoot, but at least we can see the end product here. (Er, is that the real David Bowie?) There are thirteen further images of the ship in Venice in our ever-expanding Photo Gallery, left. Sebb and Carina's website (in German) is here and there is more information (in English) here.
Why is she called Mau Yee? Carina says, "In 1945 her builder, Rupprecht Gerngross, attempted a coup against the Nazis in Munich. Although the attempt was unsuccessful, it encouraged the  Americans to stop bombarding Munich and to march in as liberators. Munich's famous Schwabing Square became 'Münchner Freiheit', so 'Mau Yee' means 'Freedom of Munich'. So she stands for international understanding, freedom and peace, as do we, and during the Balkan War Mau Yee took humanitarian aid to the in-crisis population along the coast."

For BOTM features from other years click on one of the links below:

CURRENT  BOTM 2016   BOTM 2015   BOTM 2013  BOTM 2012  BOTM 2010-11   

       " ...there is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in junk-rigged boats" 
                                                               - the Chinese Water Rat

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