By midnight on Sunday my new yard is  ready to go. She has been fashioned by Opinel, rasped and sanded but she maintains a very rustic appearance. I have made her more robust than the original yard as I feel it is inevitable that she will be stood on. I apply 2 coats of wood treater stuff and then 2 coats of varnish. It takes forever for each coat to dry and I pace up and down the beach kicking conch shells and watching the sunset.


Is that a Korean missile?

I apply the last coat of varnish at midnight and er go to bed.

At 7:00 this morning, I bend the sail to the new yard. It all seems to fit.


UV damage to sail. I was thinking of buying a new one but they are asking 100 quid to ship it from England. It only weighs  a couple of kilos.

So, off I go under a very pleasant breeze. I keep an eagle eye on the rig anticipating I know not what but doubting and fearing.  It is a glorious day, I am on vacation and heading straight out to Ie-jima.


I had my DNA er decoded in the hope that my Jewish origins would be revealed. I have always wanted to be Jewish. They are an exceptionally amusing bunch. Unfortunately the results claim that I am 98% British with no obvious evidence of ancestors from traditionally Jewish areas like Palo Alto .

I sail out a few miles with the Scaffie demonstrating her wonderful seaworthiness. She is very dry, meaning waves do not crash over her bows and dump themselves into the boat. She diplomatically shrugs them off. Actually, there are no waves to speak of but there are occasional gusts. She does not heel dramatically but just tightens up all round and goes faster.


I am not happy with the masthead set up. The yard is about 6 inches from the top of the mast due to sloppy rigging.

I am determined to get the sail as high as possible and having sailed back to the mooring, I start to rejig. I redesign the system for connecting the main sheet to the yard using a tight harness made from wire and attaching the sheet using an anchor hitch rather that the original bowline. I also strengthen the lashings to the throat and peak of the sail. I take her out for another major sail.



Overall, thanks to the new horse set up and new yard, the sail is much higher than in the last 2 years.  The power increase is er significant. Honest. Anyway, as I write this I feel the exquisite pain of mild sunburn, general exposure and weariness that comes from a day out on the East China Sea.

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2 Responses to Mayday

  1. Lew Davidson says:

    Neil- Thanks for the enjoyable Scaffie posts. The updated, improved Scaffie looks great, and you are clearly enjoying the new sailing season. Sorry about the anchor and broken yard, but the new yard and adjusted rigging appear to serve you well. I’ve also made some adjustments to allow my sail to move right up to the top of the mast. Here’s to lots of exciting sailing adventures this year in the South China Sea (Amazing!). Oh yes, clever comment on Pablo Alto-especially witty for someone who is “98% British.” 😊

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