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Spray by Tomculb - BlueJacket Shipcrafters - ⅜” to 1’

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Those are wonderful sails, Tom, and your sail making tutorial is excellent too. I had no clue as to how to make sails without using a sewing machine which, like you, I know nothing about using a sewing machine. When I decide to make some sails, I'll use your method. Thanks!

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  • 3 weeks later...

My first step in attaching the main to its spars was putting together something that looks somewhat like mast hoops.  The kit-supplied brass rings to me just look way too big and heavy, even if they are cut to create a smaller diameter. I used thread instead, tying it around a slightly larger dowel (the 5/16” one that came with the kit) than the ¼” one I used for the mast.  I used heavily diluted white Elmer's School Glue on the hoops (and on the knots of course) to encourage the hoops to  maintain their round shape, and slipped the hoops off the dowel when the glue was mostly dry, but not so dry as to be difficult to get them off the dowel.


The forgoing description sounds quite a bit simpler than what really occurred.  I spent at least a couple of hours finding just the right thread.  Too thin and it didn’t maintain the desired round shape; too thick and the knots became enormous and unwieldy.  Once I found the Goldilocks thread -- not too thin, not too thick -- it went pretty smoothly.  Also I found the dowel to be a little larger than I wanted, so I wrapped the thread quite loosely around a spare ¼” dowel, which seemed to be about right. The hoops are a little looser than appears in the photo below, which is what I hoped for.


The plans show the mainsail lashed to the boom and gaff with a spiral of line running the length of the spar.  Boats of that era I have seen (or more likely replicas) are tied on with a bunch of separate lines, tied parallel to each other.  Though my experience is limited in that regard, I decided I liked the look of the latter better, and at the risk of being historically inaccurate, that is how I proceeded.




Now to do some rigging, namely the main halyard and the peak halyard.  The kit comes with some good looking (i.e. looking like rope) thread, but it’s white and must be dyed.  I have lots of thread of different thicknesses and color, left over from previous builds and pilfered from my wife’s sewing box (she hasn’t sewed anything in decades), and it wasn’t hard to find some I liked.  I also read somewhere in the last few weeks that all the kinks and coils thread seems to have off the spool disappear if you wet the thread and then let it dry.  Maybe I’m the only person on these boards who didn’t know that, but somehow that bit of useful knowledge had escaped me.  It makes a big difference:



The kit comes with britannia metal blocks which need to be trimmed and painted, but I have a lot of wooden blocks left over from previous builds, and I prefer the look of natural wood.  The kit also supplies some wire for stropping the blocks. I tried wire some years ago and failed miserably. But I have some thin but very strong fly tying thread that for me works very well. The thread isn’t too large to scale as the wire would be (imho), and with a drop of diluted white glue on the knots, they hold well even after you cut the excess thread off right next to the knot (although I have certainly cut a few too close to the knot). I try to tie the blocks on so they will line up with the course of the rigging running through them, but blocks and knots can be stubborn sometimes, and holding one in the proper alignment while a drop of glue absorbs and dries can be very helpful.


I mentioned in a previous post finding the mast bands to be a little smaller than I felt the mast diameter should be at the top.  When I bought some Chartpak black tape to do the water line, I also bought some narrower (1/16”), flat white tape to simulate the mast bands at the top of the mast.




Back to the mast hoops, they ended up on the mast at a variety of angles, but with some gentle clamping and more drops of diluted glue, I got them all pretty close to being parallel with the water line.  I see that one appears to need a little more persuasion. 




The kit comes with two large cleats, and the only place cleats are shown on the plans is on either side of the boom, one for the outhaul, and one for the toppinglift. It doesn’t seem to me that cleats of that size would ever be put on a boom, and I found some smaller left overs from previous builds to put on the boom, and also at the foot of the mast for the downhaul.  Dampening some black thread helped make it hang slack as the toppinglift (which would never be taught while the main is raised), but unfortunately I ended up with some waviness at the top I will have to work on.


The rigging of the downhaul shown below is strictly the product of my imagination.  I don't know whether a typical downhaul of that era would attach to the boom or the sail, but attaching it to the sail would entail getting it around the boom jaws, so I attached it to the boom.






Next up -- deck furniture, then jib and headstay.

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