Subject: Re: Problem with my Wayfarer

From: "Richard C. Harrington" <>

Date: Sat, 15 Sep 2001 13:43:57 -0400



Greetings Dick,


It's nice to be able to take a few moments to get back to thoughts of

sailing and forget briefly about our national tragedy. Ireland was

indeed terrific and my 'long winded account' is coming along OK. I'm

glad for the reference to the Potomac River, as previously I don't think

I knew where you resided. Should things begin to resume some normalcy,

next week I may even try coming down to the Chesapeake area for a few

days with "Blue Mist". I have two married daughters and four

grandchildren living in Maryland.


The story about the kinking mast is indeed interesting. I could never

really fathom the 'why' with my mast, but just concluded in the end that

was what must have happened. Your story lends a strong supporting

argument. In using the "hatchet" try not to make burrs and other rough

spots--or at least file them out very smoothly with a very fine mill

file. (The high strength aluminum alloy used in masts makes opening up

the grove difficult--you can spread it but it just springs right back to

where it was.) The grove needs to be smooth or any time there is any

pressure on the sail cloth, such as raising the sail when not pointed

directly into the wind, the added friction will still cause binding.


According to the English 'W' champion, Mike McNamara in the UK

newsletter, the recommended shroud tension is: light winds - 300#; medium

winds - 330#; heavy winds - 350#. My shrouds don't have a very high

pitch twang - they sound more like a middle/lower base string. There is

a inexpensive shroud tension gage that is easy to use which can be

purchased at any good sailing shop, i.e., West Marine, etc. Another

thing to do is the next time you're out on a breezy day (you are having

to hiking out, etc.) look at your leeward shroud when sailing hard upon

the wind. It should be just on the verge of showing some slackness. It

is too slack (you need more tension) if you can see it moving about.


When sailing the shoreline on rivers and estuaries don't discount the

effects of tidal and river currents. There could have been forces at

work which you were unable to see by eye. When Margie and I were river

and canal sailing on the English Broads two years ago on several

occasions we had to extract ourselves from the tall reeds along the edge

of the waterway. When ever trying to sail closely parallel to something

I try to avoid over pinching (heading too much into the wind). If you

don't maintain good forward speed you are going to have more sideward

slippage. Besides, Murphy's Law says, whenever it's possible expect the



The commonest why of capsizing is from the unexpected jibe. The jibe

leads to a broach, which then leads to the capsize. Jibing in breezy

conditions takes skill that comes from practice. As a result of practice

it you will develop some inherent (instinctive) reactionary moves that

will cause you less emotional trauma. This is a good topic for Uncle Al

to check in on. I will just briefly touch upon the basics.


1) You need to employ the 'S' turn technique, i.e., immediately after

jibing briefly sail the boat back to a almost "sailing by the lee"

position. This brings the hull back beneath center of effort of the

sail, reduces the heeling moment and allowing you to regain control.


2) Move the weight in the boat (crew and skipper) toward the stern.

This brings the bow up and helps prevent the bow from digging in and

causing the broach.


I expect I'll be hearing from some others. Nice to have your questions -

keeps the blood moving.


Best wishes---DICK



On Fri, 14 Sep 2001 15:18:51 -0400 Dick Bulova <> writes:


> As always, enjoy reading your articles in The Skimmer.


> Very much appreciated your suggestions re the problems I wrote you about

> some weeks back.

> *On the tight groove in my Proctor mast, and the mainsail sticking

> before it could be totally hoisted: You mentioned you had a capsize, with

> no visible kink. Now I recall a few years back where I had the boat parked

> on its trailer under the deck of our vacation home. The hull filled with

> water as I forgot to open the drain plugs. It tilted up, forcing the mast,

> which was secured on top in the travel position, to wedge against the bottom

> of the deck. Couldn't see any damage, but with your response, no question

> that was what did it. I eased the slot with a mallet, using a hatchet as a

> wedge. It helped, but I'll need to repeat it, as I found it doesn't hoist

> completely smooth yet. *Reduced the mast rake with a shorter shackle on the forestay.

> Now I don't have to duck quite as much. A question on this: How do I

> measure an acceptable tension on the stays? I've been plinking at it, and I

> stop tensioning when it starts to ring, rather than replying with a dull

> plunk. I also try to get the same ring from each stay.


> If I may ask another question, please. When I was out on the Potomac the

> other day, I made two mistakes. The first was sailing close to the

> wind along the shoreline, and finding myself being pushed into the shore.

> My sail seemed full and wasn't luffing, so I erroneously thought I was

> progressing OK, albeit slowly. I finally tacked at a 90 angle, and

> that got me away from the shore with only a few scrapes which will have

> to be touched up. Moments later, in trying to correct my course, I got

> into an accidental jibe (lost my hat on that one!). In a flash, my boat was

> screeching along at high speed and an angle sufficient to have water

> pouring in over the side. Somehow, I managed to regain control, but both I

> and my passenger were sufficiently shaken to where I dropped the sails and

> motored back into the marina. Is there some action I should have

> immediately taken when it seemed like I could capsize? Steer? (which way?), pull in

> the sail?


> Thanks again! Hope y'all had a great vacation in Ireland. I hope

> to get

> there myself someday.


> Dick