From Gunter to Junk Main

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  • 20 Sep 2022 10:19
    Message # 12925379

    I'm pleased to report that this armchair junkie has at last managed to convert our previously gunter rigged Westerly 22 Palinurus to a junk main. 

    It all started with Arne's article "From Gaff to Junk" and seemed to make sense for us to work with the original stayed mast and not embark on a costly full conversion involving a new mast in a forward position, the old boat (1963) is just not worth the effort involved. 

    The sail is a flat-cut, fanned type, derived somewhat from Vincent Reddish's mathematics but a slighter higher aspect ratio. It's on the small side, about the same area as the original Gunter with one reef in. So, it needs some wind to get going but is so much more well behaved in light airs than the old Gunter which had overly heavy spars which were frankly dangerous. With a bit of wind she goes well. Upwind performance is as terrible as I expected, especially in a lumpy sea. However, even though the baggy staysail is from the 1960's (a no.2 jib from a Falmouth quay punt) the whole rig is perfectly balanced and she will happily sail herself slightly upwind with the tiller free. Reefing is a doddle, as expected and the whole rig just feels safe and steady. Fabric is 175g/sqm Dimension Polyant Dacron sailcloth seconds. Battens are Spruce and are over-engineered at this stage but will be planed down to an optimum weight as I gain experience. 

    I have individual sheets to the boom and first four battens, actually an un-lose-able loop from B1 to B2 and from B3 to B4 passing through cam cleats. It works pretty well and allows full control of the sail shape. The YHP was the only other line I needed at this stage but I want running topping-lifts and tack-lines etc. With the staysail down she's a real pleasure to sail on a run with just the main but I'd like to be able to control the balance of the sail fore and aft of the mast. Suggestions are welcome but they are probably already on the to-do list. 

    I have to move the sheave further up the mast and place it at a diagonal. The top two panel leaches need re-sewing to stop flutter. All parrels and other control lines need optimising and a myriad of other little tweaks that I have identified after three trips out. And I'm working on designing a horse for the sheets and a hoop to keep them clear of the cockpit, nearly lost my sunhat a few times! Lots of work for the winter and a busy spring getting the whole boat shipshape and West Cork fashion in time for Morbihan...

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       " ...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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