Sunday, November 29, 2009

Jack Tar Calendar

Meegan in her foul weather gear

Align CenterLia

Captain Amanda Rose

Images courtesy Jack Tar Magazine

Kim Carver over at Jack Tar has put together her 2010 Calendar. As before, it's stunning, and remember these are all working sailors. Kim is doing her best to help folks bridge the gap between learning and preserving traditional sailing skills aboard tall ships and having a viable life in today's economic world, which is a stretch. We may all need these skills or those who have them very soon so I'm urging you to support Kim in her endeavors. I've offered a couple of 'teasers' here, but go to Kim's site to buy the calendar and catch up on her projects. The calendar is definitely on my wish list.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

70.8%'s Mailbag

Anna Elisabeth

Anna Elisabeth

Tekening Amals

From time to time I receive unsolicited emails from folks wanting to know if I am interested in their material. I always am. Here's a couple of recent grabs from my mailbag.

These photos and the drawing come from a Dutchman who wishes to remain anonymous. He originally sent the material to Dylan Winter, of Keep Turning Left, who forwarded them to me as he figured I am the most eclectic sail blogger on the internet, a tag I'll gladly accept.This boat is described by the sender in this way :

VD 93 is a "Markerrondbouw "named "Anna Elisabeth " build in 1936 inMakkumin Holland.She is made of steel and designed as a sailing fishing vessel for theIJsselmeer .Lenght 10,5 m beam 3.8 m deep 0.9 and a displacement of +/- 11m ton .

All material,courtesy 'anonymous'

Howard Potts sent me these photos of his work building skin on frame canoes.

all canoe photos courtesy Harold Potts

Harold Potts sent me a couple of photos of his
skin on frame canoes which intrigued me, and I wrote back requesting he respond with his design brief and a bit of his passion. I give you Howard's response:


I'm glad that I have sparked your interest in my canoes. Boat
building can be a solitary activity much of the time, and it's often a hit-and-miss process communicating to others what is behind the process,so I'm happy to send you details of my work.

As regards photos I have a collection running into several hundred,
so choosing what to send is not easy. There is also the limitation in the size of the packet of information that can be sent at one time to consider. In view of this it is often the case that physical
transmission is the quickest when large amounts are involved - say a CD or memory stick. [ It's been remarked that transmission by carrier
pigeon can still a viable alternative depending on the amount of data and the point to point locations ].

Regarding who and what I am: I am a professional engineer, who
retired early in 1991. Part of my career was spent in naval
engineering. At the outset of my retirement I started building model
ships - an activity I still indulge in from time to time. This led to aiding a friend in design and construction of model yachts -
specifically in the US One meter class. This in turn led me on to the realization that now that computation costs about one thousandth what it did 40 years ago, the time had come to introduce mathematics into hull design. Over the last 15 years or so I have been engaged in this process. Basically it solves the age-old problem of drawing hull lines which can be accurately and simply reproduced, as well as ensuring that the lines are " fair " - that is do not incorporated wiggles in the surface.

Having been part of the design and construction process, it was a
natural transition to start building small boats. Being Canadian it was natural to choose to build a canoe. My first attempt was in 2006 and I started building a double-skinned monocoque of my own design of 3 meters length in my garage. Like many first attempts it ended in disaster. In 2008 I had the opportunity to rent my own workshop, and since June of last year I have built 3 skin-on-frame canoes - each one different from the other, and all to my own design.

The first boat was put in the water this year. It appears in the bottom photo, and shows a friend paddling. You will note the almost flat sheer
line. It is constructed of ash wood and covered with treated hemp
cloth. Note also the series of bumps on the hull surface - these are
the lashings which hold the stringers and frames together. My later
boats use less material in the lashings and are therefore less
prominent. This canoe - called " Little Bear " weighs 50 lb.

The next photo shows " Little Bear " alongside the next build
which I refer to as " Archie ". Little Bear has the solid plywood
floor, and Archie the lathe floor. The name Archie refers to how the
hull is constructed: each stringer is a circular arc. Archie also has a more pronounced sheer line than Little Bear.

The photo above this shows Archie in the showroom along with some manufactured kayaks. And the first photo shows Archie under construction - specifically with the gunwale strap being glued in place. The third boat [ a photo of which you already have ] - provisionally named " Sparrow ", after a sparrow flew into the shop and perched on it - good omen I think. She is also designed using circular arc stringers and has a prominent sheer and what I think is a natty bow/stern profile. The main difference that Sparrow has is the use of circular section stringers - the others use a square-section. To incorporate a square stringer it is necessary to twist it between the main section and the bow/stern positions, so that one side of the stringer remains tangential to the hull surface. Use of circular sections obviates this and makes for easier construction.

Each of the 3 canoes is 14 ft overall length, and their weight is
progressively less each time. Sparrow's frame is at present 30lb, but the finished boat will be maybe 5lb heavier. This ensures that old codgers like me can handle them fairly easily. They have good secondary stability and are intended for recreational use on lakes, and would not do well in most river settings due to the hemp covering. Being wood and canvas they are not exactly maintenance free, but will appeal to lovers of wooden craft, free of synthetic material, and incorporating no metal except bronze pad-eyes.

My latest design uses a parametric function for mainframe and
stem/stern profiles which is the result of about 15 years research intothe problem of hull form mathematics. Using these forms, stringers are deployed between them according to a simple formula: recall that 3 defined points in 3-space will define both a plane and a circular arc in that plane. So, defining points on the stem and stern post as well as on the main frame will define a circular arc to which the stringer is bent. Another design feature is that all the stringers on one side lie in parallel planes. The form of the sections, or ribs, is therefore theresultant of the stringer configuration. The diagram I sent you last time illustrates this and also demonstrates that a fair shape results.

I hope this answers some of you questions. Please feel free to stay
in touch.

Best Regards,

Hal Potts.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Jigsaw, replica of an 1889 Jersey La Rocque spritsail cutter


Jigsaw's progenitors in La Rocque harbor c.1890's

Jigsaw's original rig and later adaptation

Her hull lines as taken off The Volunteer by Mike Harrison with help from Alan Buchanan, Mike Jackson and Russell Wyness from Jackson's Yacht Services while lying at the quay in St. Aubin on the Gulf of Saint-Malo.


All images courtesy Mike Harrison

While researching lug sails I ran across an image of this little gem and was immediately struck by that stunning topsail. I managed to contact her owner Mike Harrison and get some background. Launched in 1992, Jigsaw is a replica of a Jersey Oyster skiff, traditionally built of pine on oak. She was built to lines taken off a Jersey La Rocque spritsail cutter, The Volunteer, built 1889, by Mike and some friends. She's only 13' with a 5' beam and draws 21". The original boats were rigged double masted with a standing lug but Mike opted for a single mast standing lug with a jib forward. Initially he found the boat the boat a bit sluggish in light air, and after much experimentation solved the problem by adding that beautiful topsail, and reports her performance greatly improved.
There is a more detailed article on Jigsaw in the April 2007 issue of Classic Boat magazine. Initial contact with Mike was through the Woodenboat Forum. Much thanks to Mike and his daughter Phillipa for their ready assistance.

Oyster stuffing, anyone? Happy Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 23, 2009

A VOYAGE OF PLEASURE: the Log of Bernard Gilboy’s Transpacific Cruise in the Boat, “Pacific” 1882-1883

Webb Chiles, author of several books on his sailing adventures may be best known to my readers for his near circumnavigation in an open Drascombe Lugger, chronicled in
The Open Boat and which I wrote about here. Webb is an intelligent and gifted writer, poet and photographer, and you can access much of his work at his website. Webb has the laudable distinction of making several of his books available in PDF for free download. Others may be accessed via my amazon bookstore in the sidebar. Today he graciously sent me a heads up about this latest post in his Journal:

Evanston: fools

Monday, November 23, 2009

I seldom read sailing books any more; but recently a small boat sailor and reader of this journal generously sent me a copy of A VOYAGE OF PLEASURE: the Log of Bernard Gilboy’s Transpacific Cruise in the Boat, “Pacific” 1882-1883.

I had read this slight volume of only 64 pages several decades ago. Naturally I had forgotten many details and found interest and pleasure in rereading it, particularly from the perspective of greater years and experience.

In 1876 Alfred Johnson made the first solo Atlantic crossing in a 20’ dory, sailing from Gloucester, Massachusetts, to Abercastle, Wales, in just under two months, with a brief stop in Nova Scotia.

Johnson named his boat, CENTENNIAL, and said his voyage was to commemorate the nation’s first hundred years.

When I completed my first circumnavigation in 1976, a journalist wanted me to claim that I had done so to honor the Bicentennial. As readers of STORM PASSAGE know, this was not true and I refused.

Inspired by Johnson, Bernard Gilboy, a professional seaman, had an 18‘ schooner built in San Francisco specifically for his voyage at a cost of $400. He considered this the smallest boat capable of holding provisions for the five months he thought his non-stop passage would take.

Her length of 18‘ and beam of 6‘ were almost identical to those of my open boat, CHIDIOCK TICHBORNE; but the PACIFIC had a keel and a draft of 2‘ 6”, as apposed to unballasted CHIDIOCK TICHBORNE’s 12” draft with her centerboard up and 4‘ with it down.

Gilboy somehow squeezed into his craft: “14 ten-gallon casks, read more...

Thanks, Webb.

Bernard Gilboy's story is also featured in Bill Longyard's 'A Speck on the Sea'.

Is anyone competent enough to comment on this rig?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Small Craft Advisor

I am pleased to announce that 70.8% has been invited to contribute to the Small Craft Advisor's weblog. I will be sharing many of my blogposts with them, hopefully concurrently. If you are not familiar with the magazine, you owe it to yourself to visit their website, but really, this is a magazine best experienced in print. We share many interests, and most readers of 70.8% will find engaging material in their pages. Editors Craig Wagner and Josh Colvin are doing good work (and have been doing so since their beginning in 2000) and the magazine is obviously a labor of love. The primary focus of the magazine is on small trailerable craft with articles that range from how to's, improvements and maintenance, to boat reviews, cruising grounds and readers voyages, with a great group of contributing editors returning in each issue with new columns. If you like small boats... Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

'Fear is a Giant Octopus': Onawind Blue's Passage

Arrival at Javea

the ramp


During the first night out, Onawind's rudder was damaged,

causing some distress,

but successfully replaced using an oar.

The wind picks up and Ben shakes out a reef.

And is sailing in earnest.

The approach to Ibiza

These still's are video captures by Thomas Armstrong, original materials courtesy Ben Crenshaw

Onawind Blue is a Gavin Atkin design, a light trow built by Ben Crawshaw in Tarragona, Catalonia, Spain. She carries a balanced lug yawl rig and is inspired by British workboat history, but as with all of Gavin's designs, adapted for modern materials and building techniques. Ben's build and subsequent adventures are chronicled on his weblog, The Invisible Workshop. This summer Ben and Onawind cruised from Javea to Ibiza and back again. Ben was able to chronicle his journey on video and has assembled six episodes documenting the trip. Having viewed four of these serially posted episodes, I am compelled to write about them and share my impressions, as I feel they are exceptional.
Ben begins by sharing his trepidations about the journey at the launch. The night before he'd dreamed of a giant octopus dragging him and Onawind down to the depths, and he is candid about his fears.
Watching these short vignettes of the cruise I was entranced. There is a mystical and slightly surreal quality to them, an intimacy which pulls the viewer into another world, the world of the mythic voyage. The mood is set early and enhanced by the mesmerizing and slightly eerie music of Mónica Oca. The somber tone of her piece contrasts sharply with the bright sunlit Mediteranean Sea. Ben has, for me at least, managed with simple and spare means to raise the cruising documentary to the level of art. I hope you will enjoy them as much as I am.

Thanks to Ben and Onawind Blue, and thanks to Gavin both for designing such a smart small craft and for posting Ben's videos at intheboatshed.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Paul Frankowski, documenting working sail

Ganges Bhur

Thames barge Blackwater Essex

Koga in The English Channel

Fishing boat, Porquerelles

Loading caique

sail of dhow

helming dhow

Align CenterJahazi dhow hold

pasanger dhow Zanzibar

Zanzibar fishing dhow

Zanzibar harbour

Sail Ship KOGA

Align CenterZanzibar Jahazi

cargo freighter sail boat dhow Perahu Boutre sloop

Lambo Perahu in Bira

Lambo Perahu Makassar

Haitian cargo vessel in Nassau harbour

Haitian fraighter

Haitian sloop

Align CenterHaitian sloop

Align CenterHaitian sloop

Haitian sloop full loaded deck

Haitian sloop in Nassau

working sloops from Haiti

all photos and captions courtesy Paul Frankowski

(I have made some slight edits to the captions)

I was contacted by a young sailor, Paul Frankowski, who urged me to write about Hans Klaar and his rather amazing endeavors. I have been aware of Hans Klaar for some time and there is some info on him and his proa accessible through the Arpex site. There had been, until recently, far more info on Hans but it has seemingly been removed. I love Hans' story, but I was arrested by a footnote to Paul's email , giving me a link to his Flickr postings. With further correspondence more of Paul's own story emerged. Paul has been tracking working sail in out of the way places and has some meaty evidence of his research. He's a fairly interesting specimen himself, to boot.

Born in Poland, he immigrated to the UK in 1995 after learning to sail on the Baltic in what he terms "the tough school sailing world of a communist regime," where he was denied entry to foreign ports. He's made his way by working as a builder and was inspired by Clifford Hawkins' The Dhow, and the book and film of The Last Sailor, by Neil Hollander and Harald Mertes to document indigenous working sail, or as he puts it, cargo ships.

After a visit to the Mediterranean, where he experienced the local ciaques, he sailed to Tanzania and Zanzibar where he managed to sail on a Jahazi, an indigenous dhow, and reports "it was like to be back in Vasco da Gamma times (with) no radio, no life preservers and so on." Next he went to Indonesia where he sailed a Lambo Perahus, a type of Günter sloop. Lately he's been to the Bahamas to document the Haitian sloop - certainly a lot of adventures. There is also a photo of an Indian dhow on the Ganges, so I would assume... ?

Paul has also published two articles about these craft in Polish sailing magazines. His next research landfalls would be to Brazil to sail Saveiros and to Madagascar where there are still plenty of cargo schooners, Gaolettes and dhows. I am hoping for the best of luck for Paul and the book he's writing on this subject.