Folksong: below decks

If this is your yacht – or a similar size to yours, then you need read no further as this is a short post about the space below deck in a small boat with no standing headroom. This post is for Folksong owners and anyone interested in small boats. I would welcome feedback and tips. Feel free to use and improve any ideas you find helpful here.

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Folksong: Temporary sail ties

In 2009, I wrote a post on lazy jacks. In 2012, I posted another three posts on lazy jacks, here, here and here. Then in 2013 it occurred to me that I was being very slow on the uptake, the boat is small enough not to need them. So I removed them.

No lazy jacks means that a whole series of lines are no longer there to be tangled with but it brings to the fore those vulnerable minutes between lowering the mainsail and stowing it neatly, when the wind can get hold of the sail and blow sections of it over the boat or, worse, over the side. At the same time, there may be other boats in the vicinity, so attention is divided between containing the flapping sail and avoiding the possibility of a collision. Lazy jacks are designed to avoid this so, if I have decided that the boat doesn’t need them, what is the alternative? This is the solution that works well for me.

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Photographing at sea to show pace – trial images

In the previous post, I mentioned the difficulty of photographing waves at sea – the boat moves in tune with the waves and it’s difficult to record their size on a still photograph. Yesterday,the wind was gusting heavily and we were at the point when I considered reefing. However, the sails were reasonably balanced and the tiller easy enough to control the boat with one hand while holding a camera in the other. I wondered whether it was possible to share the pleasure I was getting on the water by trying to demonstrate the pace we were going.

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Shakedown sail – in the way, bodies learn then need to relearn.

We were away at the weekend so yesterday, belatedly, was my first sail of the year. There were a couple of problems, so, while it’s still fresh in my mind, here’s a short description for Folksong owners and anyone else who might be interested. If, by my not keeping quiet about my mistakes, it sounds as if I have no pride, you’d be wrong, I have lots of pride, but as I get older I find I can take it or leave it . . .

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A good team. Job done.

One of the features of a boat that was launched in 1988 is that any fittings that haven’t already been replaced are now over twenty five years old. I thought of this yesterday when, the winds having abated, we were able to get a couple of jobs done that had been scheduled for two days earlier.

I took the boat down river to Plymouth Yacht Haven. We slipped into a berth beside yachts twice the size of Blue Mistress. In such austere company we seem to be batting above our league. However, let’s concentrate on the job in hand . . .

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Dowsing the foresail

Now the boat is back in the water, I can assess the changes made over the winter.

One of the tricks for a single-hander is to be able to lower the foresail and dowse it before the bulk of the sail slides under the lifelines and into the water. 99 times out of 100, there’s no problem. Occasionally everything goes wrong. It happened to me at the end of last year and it was time to do something about it.

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Brush strokes – good enough – sometimes

Blue Mistress is slowly coming together.

Because we won’t be back in the water before Easter, I have had time to tackle the planned jobs and some unplanned ones as well – like painting the floors of the quarter berths.

I now know why I avoided this for so long. It meant forcing my 42 inch chest five feet down two 38 inch holes – cleaning, sanding and then one, two, three coats – shoulders hunched, arms outstretched, pushing an open paint-pot before me, having to work out how to use my right hand accurately and then how to worm my way backwards without touching the fresh paint.

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