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Building a custom wood sailboat
The 25' Black Skimmer

Photos of the 25' Black Skimmer under sail

Photo by Carl Frisk
U'I IPO scoots along in about a 12 knot breeze. It's a deceptively fast boat. Because it's so light, it doesn't make much of a midships trough or pull up a quarter wave behind it. One just suddenly realizes that one has covered a lot of water in the past 15 minutes. We could have pulled the weather leeboard up a few inches higher. When all the way up, the bottom corner barely drags in the water and is no hassle at all.

On the yard - that's the stick that's hoisted against the aft side of the mast - you can see three pairs of mahogany blocks, one at the masthead and two above it. The halyard is attached to a piece of seat belt webbing that passes through these blocks and that's what holds the yard up. To reef the sail you lower the yard and pass the webbing through the next set of blocks higher up, then rehoist the yard.

There are big advantages to this type of a rig. First of all, it's a Marconi so it has a long luff to generate power going upwind. The top of the yard gets lower as the sail is reefed, so there's less windage and weight aloft. Unlike a sliding gunter rig, which looks similar, the yard doesn't drift away from the mast when it's reefed. So this remains an efficient rig even when reefed all the way down. The mizzen doesn't need to be reefed because the center of the main moves forward as the main is reefed, keeping everything more or less in balance.

On this day, in about a 15 knot breeze with full sail set, we went hunting and found that we were as fast or faster than anything else our size in the bay.

The happy owner takes the helm on U'I IPO's sailing trials. The mizzen is setting well, especially considering that we could have gotten the downhaul tighter!

Here we have the first reef in the main, as the day started out breezy. The sails were made by Carol Hasse of Hasse & Co., Port Townsend Sails (see our Links page). They set very well. You can see the perfect airfoil shape of these sails. She cut a little hollow in the leech because the sail has no battens.

Another shot of the reefed main. With each reef, the sprit protrudes further in front of the mast.

A shot of the full main with the sprit on the leeward side. The sail sets fine on this tack, too. It probably doesn't generate quite as much drive since the sprit interferes with the sail's shape. You can see that the yard is starting to bend a bit. As the wind picks up, the yard bends more and flattens the sail, which is just what you want, quite the opposite of a conventional jib, which gets more belly in it as the wind picks up.

Stay tuned for more photos.



For brochures on semi-custom wood boats or further information on our custom wooden boat building and design services, please email us by clicking on the E-MAIL icon below, or inquire by mail to:

Nexus Marine Corporation   Phone 425-252-8330
3816 Railway Ave.    
Everett, WA 98201-3838 Email to Nexus Marine Corporation
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Custom wood boat builders!

We are located on the Snohomish River in the Pacific Northwest, about 20 miles north of Seattle.
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