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Core Sound 20 Mark III #3 "Skeena"

Steve W

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Longer Sprits

Paul described to me a problem of his mizzen sprit catching the mainsail when swinging over in a tack (if I understood the unfortunate event correctly.)  He decided the mizzen mast needed to be raked back sufficiently (he decided he built it too upright, I think) to avoid a repeat. 

I left my sprits long on my CS15.  In a stiffer breeze with the reefs in, my mainsail was caught by the sprit in a sudden gust while just getting the mainsail up.  My wife and I managed to scramble up to the windward side and got the boat rebalanced, allowing the mainsail to be released by the mizzen sprit and normalcy returned. Quite an exciting introduction to the boat for my wife. ?  I cut the sprits twice to what I think is a good balance length… or what was called for in the plans (go figure.)


The point is to be thoughtful about sprit length for the mizzen sail to avoid catching the mainsail in the various reefing combinations. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Joe mentioned on the messabout thread a tip Graham mentioned about better upwind performance by getting the sail flatter. I mentioned I felt I embarrassed the B & B legacy with my lousy windward performance at the MASCF. I had a great race going until the upwind finish. The problem/solution was twofold:


  • My water ballast tank had leaked overnight and was 3/4 full on a light wind day and I had no idea. While you were all having fun at the mess-about I wired up a three-way valve and a second bilgepum to pump water out so that never happens again. 
  • My sprits were a little short, so sail shape was really not very powerful upwind.  I made a new Main Sprit and moved the original main, cut down a bit to the Mizzen. FTR, I think the snap hooks add about two inches of needs to the sprit lengths, and if I had to do the race at the MASCF over again I would have tied the snotter lines and the sail direct as a work-around. No need anymore.

Finally, a tip for all who wonder what to do with the reef line excess when reefed or when transporting the sprits (I've made it a rule to always rig both reefs!). The little elastic bands girls and some boys used to tie their ponytails up that are sold in the drugstore are perfect for installing on your sprit. Tip:The black ones are the most UV resistant. Coil the excess and stuff under one of these. It also works for transport and I never bothered installing the fairleads on the sprits as  afew spaced along the sprit wit hte reef line run under works fine. Get extra as the sun will weaken them over a season, but they sure work good.



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  • 1 month later...

Skeena ais hibernating. 

I'm bored so I'm gluing up a new main sprit. Me plan is to replace the old main sprit and repurpose it to the mizzen, making each a bit longer. I saw somewhere in a post where there is a way to change the snotter so it doesn't need to be eased as the sail gets let out. While I'm back in the shop fooling around I'm interested in this change. 


Take Care,


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  • 4 weeks later...

Alan sent me an email asking if I had any good pictures of Skeena to provide to SCA for a story Marty Loken was doing on "camp cruisers you can build". I sent a few pictures to Marty, including one that was taken by a photographer from CLC that was on a support boat on the trip to Cox Creek winery. My longtime friend and sailing partner Joe was with me. This trip was a new event at the MASCF.


I got an email from Marty saying that that pic had been chosen for the cover, which has been quite a thrill for me. Building Skeena was a long process but having her is such a joy. I've been singing "when I get my picture on the cover, gonna buy five copies for my mother" who sadly isn't with us anymore, but was the one who instilled craftmanship into my life.


Thanks Alan, Graham, Carla and all the fine folks at B & B, and to all those who showed me the way, and answered my questions. Barring catastrophe, I will see you at the messabout with covergirl Skeena.  



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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 3 months later...

As one of the few people who actually turtled his boat being an idiot (story a few pages back, let's not do that again), I decided I should consider a mast head float. The B & B kit came to me while I was taking my daughter to visit Boston University Law school, where she will be attending this fall. I just took a good look at the kit (very well done) and I will start assembly tonight. I'm taking a trip to the Chesapeake May 15th (Tangier Island) and I'd like to have it as an option. 


I'll probably chronical the construction here, but I'll post the finished product here. 


If anyone has sailed around Boston Harbor, feel free to give me any advice. Looks like a good place for Skeena to visit. 



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  • 2 months later...

I haven't posted in awhile, but I just watched Alan's video on Youtube. That was really neat. Maybe I should do one like that for Skeena. Here are my comments. 

·       The Continental is a good choice for these boats. I have my bunks narrowed to support the longitudinal stringers. Replaced the bunk boards with 6” wide ones and the centerboard rests on the left one. That works good and keeps things simple.  

·       Those starboard rub rails are sweet, but I just used teak and it’s held up well. I did not use SS hollow back. They do need to be touched up once in awhile. 

·       What is the manufacturer and PN of the plug used for the mast lights through the bulkhead?

·       The anchor roller mount is clever.

·       Only having two downhauls is why I changed my hatch to sliding. Going on the deck solo is a bad idea.  

·       I’m a knucklehead. When I added the mizzen tabernacle, I never adopted the bridle line setup of the main. I followed the plans for the rotating masts. I need to fix!

·       I like the shackles instead of lashing. It may be I’m just a bad lasher.

·       The 20 seems so huge compared to the 17.

·       I ordered “anti-re-cleat-ers” and have them on every cleat. Buy spares as they are hard to come by and they can catch on stuff and get ruined.

·       I like those forward shelves.

·       Not having opening ports has not been an issue.

·       The sweat on the back of Alan’s hands reminds me of how much I dislike hot and muggy. Bless you southerners.

·       Moving the CB trunk forward is something I want to avoid for now. I have completely neutral to lee helm though, so I need to tackle this at some point. The only time it Is bad is when I have both sails reefed twice.

·       I like the idea of the electric outboard and two batteries. I use a wheelchair battery I have in the front locker and a 50-watt solar panel for everything else. It hasn’t let me down and is usually fully charged mid-morning.

·       I go back and forth on whether I should have installed a cooler. The space below is nice.

·       I like the downhaul on the centerboard. I just finished the masthead float but the extra length of the post hits my vehicle, so I’m weighing my options. I’d hate to have to unscrew the mast at the tabernacle. I got an idea I’m working on.

·       As soon as I get it on I’ll test it on Skeena.

·       A four-part mainsheet seems excessive even on a 20. I do agree the mizzen could use a bit of extra purchase.

·       I like the S hook on the aft end of the main sprit.

·       I think I’m going to adopt Richard’s reefing setup.  

·       I put my mizzen snotter cleat on the front of the mizzen tabernacle. It’s easy to adjust from both sides, but I might not need as much adjustment if I had the bridle rigged right (duh!)

·       The bands used for ponytails around the sprits work good instead of fairleads and give you a place to bundle the reefing line during transit.

·       On the 20 there is enough room between the hatches to put a stationary solar panel.

·       I never put on the dodger coaming. It was designed after I started Skeena.

·       I used a Yeti style cockpit rubber latch as I was afraid I’d catch my heals on those metal ones in the video. I’d like a report as mine aren’t lockable.  

·       Yes, a pivoting tiller allows me to put the tiller on the bunk when I’m traveling on long trips.

·       I like that bungy rudder downhaul setup, but it looks pretty Rube Goldberg-ish. My uptight German genes are slightly offended.  

·       I went a different direction on the ladder as I felt like that type of ladder would catch the sheets. Am I wrong?

·       The idea of putting a cleat on the cabin top for a spring-line is appealing.

·       Mizzen sheet holding the masts down…..genius.

·       Those light masts are really a joy.

·       The mizzen cleat should rotate. When I capsized, I just couldn’t release the mizzen without leaning forward to try and release. That put my weight in and contributed.

·       My mizzen sheet loads are high for all the reasons in your race follow up.

·       Rowing isn’t something I plan to do much, but a standup paddleboard paddle is amazing. You can bump the tiller over a bit and paddle from one side facing forward and get a lot of power for short bursts.  



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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 4 weeks later...

Awesome, Steve.  I love Helen's confidence about law school.  If she needs anything, send her my contact information and I'll see if I can reach back into the distant past and give any advice.


Your former boat is still taking kids out for overnights.  I had a great overnight near our house just tucked in to a little inlet off the bay.



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Those pictures makes me happy. WildCat was my favorite boat until Skeena and there are still a few things I miss about her, notably her light air manners and fast setup.


Helen's confidence started a long time ago, but grew a lot on WildCat. I'm planning a trip next summer with her probably in Maine. I may open it up to a group if that is of any interest. Here's a pic from the way back machine in Muscongus Bay.


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  • 3 weeks later...

For non-skid, I mask off tje area I want it.  Then, I buy fiberglass screen at the hardware store, and glue it down with epoxy.  Once tje epoxy has cured, I trim away tje excess at the masking tape line.  Then, I primer and paint it.  It is pleasant to the touch, and looks great.  I’ll show you my floorboards at this year’s messabout. In the meantime, you can zoom in on these photos of my cruising panel.



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