Did you ever wonder what your boat might look like if it sported a different rig? How it might sail and change the way you sail? I know I have.
When I purchased my Westerly Nomad, Francesca-Rose, I did so with the intention of cruising (shorthanded), lakes, rivers, estuaries and specifically, the US Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) between the west coast of Florida and the Chesapeake Bay.
My wife and I enjoy shallow-water sailing. I like the challenge and she feels more comfortable sailing close to shore. And it’s always been my intention to sail-away part of my retirement with her.
Francesca-Rose was built in 1968 and came to me in a somewhat shabby state, and was equipped pretty much as when she left the factory.
From the beginning, I adopted changes to her rig to facilitate single handed sailing. For example; all lines are led to the cockpit and downhauls are used for main and jib. For Lake Michigan sailing the rig works fine, but in short-tacking situations as one might find on rivers, channels or canals, the original sloop rig, with baby-forestay, is just too much work for this old man.
Need an easy sailing rig.
From the get-go, I thought of changing her to a junk rig.
I contacted Robin Blain at Sunbird Marine in the UK and sailboat designer and junk-rig aficionado, Tom Colvin in Florida. Both men reviewed my situation and provided me with general plans, encouragement and quotes on hardware and sails, but, unfortunately, both expected me to do the work or find someone who could do the work for me. Well, Chicago is not Poole or Annapolis.
Then, while out in California a couple years ago, I discovered a new variation to an old idea, the Flying Lateen, (Animation) which proved to be a remarkably simple rig to sail in tight quarters. After a two hour sail, weaving in and out among the moored boats and tacking back and forth across the channel, I was hooked. And I still am. Unfortunately, my circumstances changed a bit and I was forced to implement Plan-B; the purchase of a new main with three-reefs, a jenny.with reef-points and a new 4-stroke outboard. The rig shown on the picture to the right.
So, what would Francesca-Rose have looked like had I implemented Plan-A?
Ok! I know it’s a kid-level picture but what can I say? I used Microsoft Paint to doctor up a drawing. You do get the idea however.
Simple lines, simple deck stepped rig, easy sailing.
Shortcomings? There are a couple for sure. Not traditional! Also, a bit more windage than when sloop or gaffed rigged. Doesn’t point as high as a sloop either. Finally, I found it slower to come-about requiring a little more planning on my part. For the kind of lazy sailing I have in mind, none of these issues is a problem.
Now, I’ve also been reading a lot lately about older couples (much older couples) sailing their “trawlers” over the kind of waters I plan to sail. What would a Westerly Nomad look like as a 22’ “trawler” for two?
Add a bimini and voila!
Now, how would you change your “Rayner” to suit your sailing needs?