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Black Skimmer experience

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  • Wayne Gilham / Gig Harbor Yacht Sales
    I own a Black Skimmer built in the 70 s in Maine, I found her as a derelict in Annapolis and refurbed her, then sailed her in the Chesapeake (perfect skinny
    Message 1 of 3 , Jul 31, 2002
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      I own a Black Skimmer built in the 70's in Maine, I found her as a derelict
      in Annapolis and refurbed her, then sailed her in the Chesapeake (perfect
      "skinny water" boat; our point-to-point distances were always shorter than
      the other sailboats, 'cause we could skirt the headlands much closer: sail
      till the leeboard bumps, then hard-over). Still own her out here in Puget
      Sound, tho I gotta admit my other boat -- big center-cockpit Irwin 43 -- has
      taken my attention due to growing family -- WON'T get rid of the Black
      Skimmer, tho: too much fun, and too easy to sail!

      Guess I'm a fairweather sailor; never had her in really wild waves.
      Nonetheless, on those Chesapeake-choppy trips, the rig is so forgiving that
      I never felt in trouble. Remember, you can flatten the main and mizzen with
      the snotters so flat that they have little drive and little heeling (my main
      snotter is a four-part tackle led aft, so I could really tighten her, and I
      am constantly adjusting this setting according the wind). I did reef her
      occasionally. My mainmast and sail is the one originally built for "Red
      Zinger" -- see the chapter in "30-odd boats", about the story of getting the
      "cut" right -- she does drape REALLY well from the mast, and keeps proper
      shape as the rather flexible mast bends with increasing wind. (I bought the
      set from Zinger's owner when he decided to go aluminum-tube rigid mast so he
      could fly a spinnaker without overbending the mast). My reefing is (I
      think) easier than with Bolger's originally-designed laced-on main, which
      may fight the snotter connection-point on the mast as the main is
      lowered.... I don't have that concern, as Red Zinger's mast has sailtrack
      and slides.

      I built a galvanized tabernacle for this one-piece square-section mast,
      which attaches on galvanized angles, with pivot point about 6 inches above
      the forward edge of the cabin -- the heel of the mast DOES (just) clear the
      stem! But she's a handful to raise, quite heavy and I sure don't want her
      to go sideways on the way up or down -- I use a LONG strap on the
      trailer-winch, the hook of the strap snaps into to the snotter's
      connection-point (on the front of the mast about 6' above deck) and is
      guided over a roller on the end of an 8-foot length of steel c-channel that
      slips inside the typical angled-forward trailer-winch support tube... this
      gives a decent "lift-angle" to help pull the mast up while the boat still
      sits on her trailer. I always feel more secure when I have 2 friends, each
      handling a line to the side off the mast-tip, to keep her in-line -- maybe
      I'm just paranoid. I built some nice crutches -- one is on the end of a 6"
      dia cedar post about 5'long that replaces the mizzenmast for travel, the
      other fits across the aft-end of the companionway hatch slider. Crutches
      have slots for mainmast, mizzenmast, and main sprit. Photos available if
      this design intrigues you.

      The most important modification I made, which gave me much more confidence
      in heavy weather, was a pair of davits (?) and multipart tackles to raise
      the leeboards... without these, It's a bitch to lean WAY out over the
      leeward side to get proper straight-line pull up on the leeboard pennant --
      and a hard pull it is! -- so now with the davits (which are 1 x 3 boards
      attached to the inside of the cockpit sides, about 18" high, angle-braced
      forward) allowing the pennant to be led higher than the boards when up, thru
      a 90-degree block, then forward to a 180-degree block at the big
      leeboard-attachment timber on top of the cabin, then back to cam-cleats at
      the aft end of the cabintop...whew!... I can pull up and lower either board
      without going down to the in-water rail! (does this make any sense?)

      Regards,
      Wayne Gilham
      Associate Broker
      Gig Harbor Yacht Sales
      253 / 851-2674
      cell: 253 / 318-9873
      personal e-mail: wgilham@...
    • Stuart Crawford
      The words of a truly sane person.
      Message 2 of 3 , Jul 31, 2002
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        The words of a truly sane person.

        > Guess I'm a fairweather sailor;
      • pvanderwaart
        ... confidence ... raise ... I think crane is the word, rather than davit , but would be interested in the opinions of others on the matter. The lifting of
        Message 3 of 3 , Aug 1, 2002
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          > The most important modification I made, which gave me much more
          confidence
          > in heavy weather, was a pair of davits (?) and multipart tackles to
          raise
          > the leeboards...

          I think "crane" is the word, rather than "davit", but would be
          interested in the opinions of others on the matter.

          The lifting of leeboards is one of the areas where PCB often either
          skimps on the mechanical advantage or leaves the detail off the
          drawing, or both. The Cynthia J. plans don't show any method at all,
          as I recall.

          PHV
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