Likewise, as I finish up the top layer of planking I thought to myself, "I need to finish the inside of the bow compartment. Waterproof it and paint it. And then working back from there, make sure that my mast step and holes for the mast are in the right place." Which made me think about the diameter of the mast at its entry point through the deck, and the angle at which it needs to sit relative to the waterline. Which got me thinking about the spars in general and that I ought to make them before I actually cut any deck boards, And then of course, before I actually cut wood for the spars, perhaps I should know the exact size and shape of the sails that will be attached to them.
All of this is to say that I decided I had better make the sails sooner rather than later. Then make the spars. Then test position everything so that I can finish building the hull. It's like building the boat in reverse order from what logic might otherwise dictate.
ANYHOO...I originally thought to buy a suit of sails. There are some excellent choices for ready-made Navigator sails. And then I came across the Sailrite site, which encouraged me to make my own. For giggles, I submitted for a materials quote from Sailrite, and discovered that the materials cost was actually quite reasonable, IF I stayed away from the rainbow of sailcloth colors available. I sent in the dimensions, so kindly provided by Mr. Welford on the sailplan drawings, and within a few days, I was busy down in the sail loft (neé basement). I was fortunate to commandeer the ping pong table, and my daughter's Singer Stylist sewing machine. Over the course of the next 2 or 3 weeks, as time allowed, I knocked a pretty white suit for Puffin. A few photos and comments follow.
I had never used a sewing machine before. The hardest part was figuring out how to load and thread the bobbin. Given the small size of my boat and her corresponding sails, a little consumer machine, like my daughter's Singer worked just fine. I might otherwise have said "worked great" except for one thing: the volume of sail cloth for even a small gaff main like mine is bulky and heavy for a small, lightweight machine like our little electronic Singer. I found that as I was feeding cloth into the machine, I was pushing the machine all over the table. Yeah. Pain in the rumpus. Also the throat depth of the machine was •almost• inadequate for the job. But other things like the myriad choices of stitch style (including a customizable 4-point zigzag stitch!!), tension adjustment, and even power to push through up to 8 layers of 5 oz dacron, plus 2 layers of nylon webbing were just fine.
|Laying out the sailcloth panels for the mizzen sail. Decided to start with the smallest sail first, so if I really screwed up...well less damage done.|
|This is the mizzen head patch. Made up of 5 layers of dacron. Once it's all sewn together I'll appliqué it to the main body of the sail.|
|Cutting the batten pockets.|
|Here's the mizzen head patch and first batten pocket attached to the mizzen sail.|
|Jib. Laid out and stitched up. No luff wire yet, and no grommets.|
|Detail of the jib clew patch. Here you can see the 5-layers of dacron that reinforce this part of the sail that carries the greatest load.|
|Detail of reef points and batten pockets.|
|Three finished sails.|
|Finished Jib clew. Nice leather dressing on the clew will prevent chafe from a flogging jib. Hand-sewn to the nickel #4 grommet.|