KATE – The transformation November 2010
Kate has now completed her metamorphosis and emerged as a beautiful yawl.
Gone is her bright ‘Fighting Lady’ yellow paint.
Kate now sports a dark blue hull, masts and booms and gaffs.
Yes, Kate now has two gaffs. One on the main and one on the mizzen.
Kate now lies at a massive mooring in Whitehouse bay St.Kitts.
The 46’0” boom has been shortened, cut back and reconfigured/planed with lots of weight removed.
A mizzen mast was fabricated and along with a 14’0” gaff and a boom, were installed in the location of the former lazarette.
The massive ‘barn door’ mainsail was re-cut and a new mizzen sail commissioned.
It was a concern that Kate might lose some of her good looks, but these have been completely unfounded, as once again, Philip Walwyn, Kate’s captain, owner and builder, has excelled in the design and workmanship on Kate’s transformation.
The next question is does she sail worse, the same or better than before?
First, with the reduced size of the boom (now booms) and gaff (now gaffs) the Olympic super heavyweight lifting strength required in hauling up of the sails is now a pleasant activity. Although there is still a bit of grunt required. Take this from one who knows both, before and after the transformation.
Second, with the additional sail, the mizzen, there are a few more lines to tend, halyards, sheets and topping lifts. The mizzen is self-tacking, so only minor trim is required there.
Third, the reduced size of the mainsail and the addition of the mizzen allows easier handling, and Kate is quite a bit easier to gybe and tack. With the original ‘barn door’ mainsail on the 46’0” boom, gybing tended to be avoided where possible. Gybing required tremendous teamwork. Split second timing, especially in higher winds, was required in releasing the back stay, letting the boom swing across, then pulling in and winching up the other backstay. Gybing is now a delight and less stressful. Winching is now a pleasant and relatively easy task.
As to performance, I have only sailed on Kate once since her transformation. That was yesterday, Sunday the 28th November 2010, her first outing. Kate cut a dashing figure through the water, as usual, in 19 knots of wind. That was with one reef in the mainsail and one reef in the mizzen. Only once or twice did we put the leeward rail underwater. For the most part Kate forged along perfectly with the rail a little above water. For sailing under full sail, Kate will probably ideally be best in 10 to 15 knots of wind. Kate also sails well and responsively under jib and mizzen. I think she is much faster.
Kate is still responsive as she always has been to her tiller. Plus, Kate does seem to be quite a bit more maneuverable.
Yesterday, Kate took part in a local regatta with some ‘modern’ yachts. Kate took line honours in her new outfit of sails.
From what I have experienced, Kate certainly enjoys her newfound wings and so does her captain and crew.
Kate has dispelled all fears and continues to be sheer delight to sail. However, I do miss the ‘Fighting Lady’ yellow.
'Mañana' ? Well, down here in the Caribbean islands we don't need a word with that sense of urgency.