Friday, April 15, 2016


I'm very relieved and happy to report that my wife Lorri is doing really well two weeks after her bypass surgery.  She'll be running and swimming circles around me by this summer I expect!

However, in the meantime I've been somewhat of a stay at home nurse.  I did manage to buy materials and supplies to glass the hull of Autarkia and will do so this weekend with the help of my son-in-law.  But as I was mostly confined to the house I decided to finish the sailing model of Autarkia, AKA Little Autarkia.

I got jiggy with her though.  Followers of this blog know that I am very fickle with regard to a sailing rig.  A great concern is the ability to drop the rig to get under bridges.  But another one I have not yet mentioned here is the very light air we normally have on the Fraser, and in the Georgia Strait in general most times except for winter.  A reasonably powerful rig is desirable and also one that is high enough to catch those breezes.

Lug rig has been mentioned to me before and I thought I would re-visit the idea with the model.  One thing that bugged me about the lug rig and the lateen for that matter, has been the issue of the bad tack.  I thought about this some years ago and drew up a quadrapod instead of a mast, which would solve this problem.  Upon further consideration I also surmised that the quadrapod could be lightly built of smaller aluminum tubing than a single mast, and could be hinged so that with the help of a winch, and without a gin pole, be lowered and then further dis-assembled to get under the lowest of bridges.

So how will it sail?  Dunno so I spent some time finishing the model thusly:

It is a honker of a sail, yes.  I will need a winch - no biggie.  The sail would be over 600 s.f. and would be reefable by lowering the yard and brailing up.  The yard is quite long - around 40 feet but could be made of aluminum sections that could be dis-assembled.  The sail on the model by the way is made of roll plastic tablecloth for banquet tables and is reinforced with masking tape.  This acts more like a real sail than sewing one up from cloth, and is faster and easier to make.

Here is the quadrapod.  I made it from steel rod.  For the real one, there would be cross members at the bottom that would hold it together when hinged back from the aft attachment points.  Once hinged back the cross members could be removed to allow it to fold flat.

I made the rudder and boards from dollar store plastic cutting boards.  The rudder hinges are waxed twine and are tied to eye hooks.  I got the idea from Dave's blog and I will use rope hinges on the full sized boat for sure.  On the model it doesn't kick up but it will on big Autarkia.  The leeboards (I have decided on both sides) are hinged on a pin and will carry loads from ether side.  They scale up to 3' by 7'.  That leaves 3' by 3' in the water for each one.  It may not be enough but with the rudder and both boards ther is 27 s.f. of lateral resistance added to another 20 or so s.f from the hull.  We'll see...

I'll sail the model soon.  There is a lot of water around here but I need a pond I can walk all the way around to retrieve her should there be problems.  Might have to drive a bit for that.  In the meantime, I have some help this weekend so getting the epoxy and fiberglass on the hull is priority.


  1. Thank-you from us both Everitt.

  2. Al,

    Happy to hear about your progress -- wife's recovery and model boat. Cool-looking model!

    Few questions:

    1. Flying Lateen: Not sure if you told me about this one originally or I stumbled onto it myself or I already told you. In any case, how does your model's rig compare to this one:

    (and does anyone know what became of that company and guy?)


    2. Dude ... masking tape? Really? ;-)

    Clearly you missed this episode:


    1. Thanks Yoda. I saw the flying lateen design a few year ago and it got me thinking. The flying lateen uses a tripod though and the fwd leg - I thought - would be in the way if you wanted to play with sail shapes. Why not give yourself some clearance with another leg? The other thing about the design on the website was a roller reefing system for large sails. This requires the yard to sit in a rolling cradle. Also - I thought - if the yard were long it would bow somewhat. This would make it difficult to turn and along with the roller cradle system prone to jamming and especially hard wearing on the sail at that point. Perhaps that is why we haven't seen it take off. But I can't find fault with the idea of a quadrapod instead of a mast and that is why I intend to test it. I can play around with any sail shape and it will be accommodated.

      I have lot's of masking tape so that is what I used but duct tape would work really well too. Going to look at the episode from Mythbusters now...

    2. I guess the important questions would be these:

      * What benefits does a quadrapod mast have that a normal mast does not?

      * Do those benefits outweigh the cons of a quadrapod (cost, complication, extra superstructure to get in the way, etc)?

      There are a few Mythbusters episodes that focused on duct tape. Haven't seen them all. However, the one most applicable to this thread, and unusually entertaining, is Duct Tape Island:

      Great way to relax your mind, laugh a bit, and relieve a little stress. Oh, and feel completely vindicated for your lifelong devotion to duct tape!

    3. I'm thinking that a quadrapod can be quite lightly built, say with 3" aluminum pipe perhaps. There would be four attachment point to distribute the load unlike an unstayed mast that needs to be massive and quite sturdily anchored. An aircraft engine mount for a Cessna or Piper for example is a very light tube steel structure weighing 4 or five pounds, and attaches at 4 points. A quarapod would need nothing else to support it such as stays. The functional advantage is the sail billows to its natural shape on either tack.

      I'm in full fiberglassing mode right now (all day yesterday and probably the next two) but I'll check out the Mythbusters while I can. You may know this but duct tape was originally popularized on TV by own own Red Green! Google him up...absolutely mindless and unsophisticated Canadian comedy.

    4. I'm thinking of using that quadrapod for a mast and a support for a cargo boom. Need to give that a lot more thought. One major obstacle: I probably would need to become a Buddhist first, though. Need to ensure reincarnation for a few lifetimes to allow me the time to save money for all of that aluminum.

      I've seen Red Green. As I recall, I thought he was very funny! However, if you're trying to tell me that Canada invented duct tape, like the father in "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" thinks that everything originated in Greece, not sure I can buy that! :-)

  3. Congratulations on your wifes sound recovery! Inestimable value in a wonderful life partner. IMHO great value in a low aspect rig broken up into various sails that are well spread fore and aft so as to play with balance and not have to manhandle, and possibly be overwhelmed, by the size and power of a single monster sail. My 430 ft. sqr chinese lug was a handful. 600 would be do-able though. That yard sounds pretty overwhelming too. On a well spread multi-sailed rig one could fly any number of light air sails. And fun to play with numerous sail configurations trying to eeek out that extra knot when you're ghosting along. So many rigs..... so little time. It's all fun in the end....

    1. Thanks Yuri! As Barry White says, "She's my everything."

      I expect the model is going to sail well but there is no way to tell how that translates completely into a full size boat. But it could be a start, and would not be difficult or time consuming to build. But I'm thinking that I will likely want to play with it over time anyway once she's launched. So I'm going to make provisions to accommodate masts if I want them in the future.

      The other thing I'll try with the model is putting on 2 leeboards per side so that I can play with the balance that way.

      In any case there is still lot's of time to finalize a rig choice. Probably some months and no doubt there will be waffling...

      For today though, we're (my son in law and me) are off to pre-coat the hull with epoxy and then get ready to start glassing tomorrow!

    2. Good times!! On my big build the hours would tick by unnoticed, nightfall would approach, often I'd sag into the shower after the north Florida heat had drained my energies. But just content as could be. Chalk it up to the yankee work ethic but perhaps better attributed to just being in the bliss zone, more or less, doing something totally engaging and rewarding. What is more grounded than building (and designing) your own shelter by hand..... good times.....

    3. Last night I sagged into the shower and everything else I encountered. Did not even finish the first layer of glass though all the vertical surfaces are done, and they are getting only one layer. The bottom will be easier because I can pour on the epoxy and squeegy it. The bottom will get a second layer, and then a third on the chines and bow where I might hit flotsam. My back is not saying 'good times' though. I think it hates me...

    4. The older I get, the more I'm astonished how fast I get tired. All of my body hates me when I do that stuff, but usually, it's my joints that complain the loudest. I think I need to fight back and get off my ass and make triathlons a new hobby or something. Of course, I wouldn't win anything, but it might at least embody the same spirit as my favorite blacklight poster from high school: Huge eagle swooping down on the tiny mouse, and the mouse is giving him the bird. Always loved that.

      So, where were we??? ;-)

  4. Good news for your wife, and progress on the glassing. A question, how far can you put the sail out to the side before it hits the foremast? (I assume that the front part of the quad support would be called a fore mast?) The conditions I am thinking of is running straight downwind.

  5. Thanks Dennis!

    The sail goes way out there, I'm impressed. I'll probably sail the model this weekend at my son's place. His backyard backs onto a creek that feeds the Fraser. He has a canoe there for chasing so it's a good place. I'll take lots of pics and maybe a video and post it all. I'll make sure to show the sail sheeted out as far as it will go..

    1. Hi Al,

      That all sounds great. You probably intend this anyway, but just in case not: If you make a video, prior to launching it, would you mind manipulating the sail with your hands through the full range of its movement to both sides? Maybe mention the points of sail along the way. I'd be quite interested in seeing that, and of course the actual sailing trial on the water, but the latter might not show the full range clearly.



  6. Hi Alan,

    Catching up, here. So glad to hear that Lorri is doing well!

    Your quadrapod is a great idea! A couple of thoughts:

    Mounted aft, you could run the double stays'l rig on roller furling. This rig has always appealed to me for barges, as it provides considerable lift. The aft placement is a better windage situation, when sails are dowsed.

    In terms of lowering (from fwd placement), I wonder if the fwd struts could slide along the aft ones, with point of contact under running control? To lower, the whole could be 'leaned' aft as far as necessary, supported by triangulation for most of the way. Might need a spring pin to lock at several points along its travel?

    Of course, these might not appeal, or be too complex to pay their way. Opens some fun possibilities, though!

    Dave Z

    1. Thanks Dave! Now I'm once again reeling in thought!