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The Sails

Besides a seaworthy hull and dependable rigging the sails are probably one of the most critical aspect of s/v Wookie. This is even more important as I have an electric motor with the capacity to go in and out of a marina only, i.e. it really is an auxiliary motor. Consequently, Wookie must have well shaped easy to handle sails. The original sails were replaced with tanbark sails but these were made after measurements were sent to the sailmaker. When these arrived they did fit but they needed to be reshaped.

After several months of looking around I was fortunate enough to run across KEITH DONALDSON the owner of ADVANCED SAILS in St. Petersburg, Florida. This turned out to be a stroke of good luck as this experienced sailmaker patiently listened and considered my needs for Wookie. He was also familiar with the Flicka and of course was well acquainted with Bruce Bingham.

My Requirements:

  1. The foot of my main needed to be cut so as to allow the boom to slope up 7 inches above my compass box to accommodate my dodger.
  2. As the foot of the main was going to be cut then the reef needed to be re-shaped to take into account the slant of the boom.
  3. The reef needed to be easily set in place when required during bad weather.
  4. All stitching, repairs and modifications needed to be done taking into account this was for an off-shore sail.
  5. The foot of the jib needed adjusting without any of it hitting the bow pulpit or the shrouds.
  6. A new staysail needed to be built. This needed to fit well within the deck blocks and jam-cleats installed at the factory. This too should not flog against any of the shrouds.
  7. The staysail would stow in a bag on-deck when not in use.

My intention has always been that none of the sails overpower the boat. The result is some sacrifice in speed but I feel a safer boat to handle in adverse conditions. Bottom line —- I am not ashamed to admit I am a slow-poke of a sailor and probably just plain lazy to some. Who cares……. I like sitting back watching Wookie surge along at whatever speed he feels like doing.

The Old Sail and The New Main Before Reshaping


The Main Reshaped

Keith set about on his task like the consummate professional he is. There is no outsourcing here folks. This chap gets in there and does all the stitching, cutting, shaping himself. An experienced sailor, sailmaker and a pleasant respectful personality to boot resulted in me getting exactly what I asked for. All for a price that came in lower than his estimate and work completed in the time he promised.

One of the interesting aspects Keith included when he cut the foot of the main was to leave a “flap” or “shelf” that ran along the foot just above the boom. By pulling the outhaul tight this flap shuts to make the sail flatter. When the outhaul is released the flap unfolds to allow the main to perform better in lighter air.

The New Main Reshaped With Room For The Dodger



Keith And The Rest Of The Sails


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