buoyancy recommended - especially for cruisers who must usually be
of self-rescue under all conditions - unlike racers who can rely on
----- Original Message -----
To: email@example.com ; Dick-Harrington@uswayfarer.org
Cc: Al Schonborn
Sent: Wednesday, March 12, 2003 8:28 AM
Subject: Cruising / Mast head boyancy
I just read
exchange with Richard Johnson on Uncle Al's whiffle web.
[Quote] Mast flotation. You can obtain from Britain, a self-inflatable flotation pillow which is the best solution I've seen. It is probably available over here also, but I can't tell you where. This device is hoisted to the mast head via an auxiliary halyard and is unobtrusive. Upon contact with the water it self-inflates. [/Quote]
Having gone through the process myself, in preparation of my first open sea cruise, that due to circumstances did not happen yet. I can give you the following references:
flotation devices you refer to, are made by Secumar, a German
is a well known company and a popular brand over here for rescue
They have many dealers in Germany, France, England and Holland. I am
that you can locate one that accepts mail orders, through their on-line
dealer data-base. http://www.secumar.com/
Personally I am a bit sceptical about these automated gadgets. You need to take them down after each sail and store them in a dark, dry spot for they age rapidly in sunlight. Also you need to check the mechanism regularly and replace the salt tablet. Failing to do so may jeopardise the reliability of the device. (This is no different from the automatic life vests you probably already know).
I prefer the
(and more cost effective) solution of having an inflatable cushion in
top of the mainsail. Though hoisting a Skippy ball or a fender, as
in your mail, may be a good solution for inshore, sunny weather
I would rather rely on permanent sail head buoyancy for when the going
really gets tough. An inflatable cushion made exactly right for the
sail is available from Boats 'n Bits in Norfolk, England. (I believe it
was made on Ralph Roberts’s specifications, not sure though). Boats 'n
bits accept mail orders through their web site: http://www.boatsnbits.co.uk/
When the buoyancy cushion isn't inflated to its maximum and its shape is allowed to follow the curves of the mainsail, it will not distort the most important, leeward side of the sail. The "bubble" is mostly on the luff side where it doesn't do much harm to the sail's efficiency.
Jens Konge has
a drawing of the pocket that has to be made in the top of the
which can be found by clicking here.
I just copied the drawing and gave it to my sail maker together with the cushion. Then I told him I wanted Ralph’s idea added; that is to have a closing flap at the rear of the pocket that flips over the leech of the sail and closes with Velcro. My sail maker then suggested to add an opening to the lowest corner of the pocket to allow water to escape from it. Actually, he left a small part of the seam unstitched. The Velcro closes the pocket nicely and in regatta’s (with the cushion removed) you hardly notice it’s there. (Note: Later I discovered that a drain hole is required by the class rules)
Racing cruisers or Cruising racers (?) should be aware of rule 31.7 that a/o limits the size of the sail head buoyancy pocket.
Be advised that not all their products are listed on the Boats 'n Bits web site. Send an Email to Richard Parker, the owner and a Wayfarer sailor, and ask about it. Boats ‘n bits also have a special Wayfarer page: http://www.boatsnbits.co.uk/acatalog/Online_Catalogue_Wayfarer_fittings_66.html
That page among other things, shows the ultimate outboard bracket. While Porter's is still using their cast aluminium one, a new SS version is now available (not listed). (Serial numbers 1 & 2 are on Ralph's boat and SN 3 is on mine :-)
Ton Jaspers (NED W5011)
I just located the US and Canadian dealer for Secumar products: http://www.stearnsinc.com/
They do not list the mast head buoyancy cushion. But often not all products are listed on the web pages. A phone call may solve this mystery.
Ton Jaspers (NED W5011)