Re: Mast

Perry W. Phillips (
Sun, 30 May 1999 09:11:31 -0500

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West Wight Potter Website at URL
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Thanks for your reply. You've given me some things to ponder.

>Doesn't the Laser have about the same sail area as a Sunfish?

The Laser and the Zuma (which is actually what I had) have about the same sail
area as the Sunfish. If I remember correctly the Sunfish has around 77 sq ft
and the L & Z have about 68. The Laser could be purchased with different size
sails, based on the weight of the sailor.

>I would think that building a strong, rigid tabernacle would be the difficult
part of your design, more critical than the strength of the mast itself.

The more I work on the interior of the boat, the more difficult the tabernacle
approach proves to be. I haven't ruled it out yet, but, I'm certainly not
opposed to simplicity. I'm just not sure that the added convenience for quickly
lowering and raising the mast will outweight the problems incurred by the
additional weight of the tabernacle and the loss of useable space inside, plus
the matter of properly securing it at the deck level. This probably makes me
sound rather wishy-washy, but I'm trying to think through all of the possible
scenarios, as it were.

>The Laser seems to be much more tender than the Sunfish.

It is, and so was the Zuma. I used to race my teenage sons when we had both the
Zuma and the Sunfish. The Sunfish could out sail the Zuma hands down off the
wind, but the Zuma would come into its own to windward. Overall, they were
pretty well matched. The Zuma was frightening off the wind. It was apt to
develop a violent pitching from side to side. It took careful balance and the
sailor moving forward to the center of the boat to settle it down.

>Your Chinese lug, assuming the same sail area, would be
even more tender (on a Laser hull) because of the higher center of effort
plus the added weight aloft. But the Potter is substantially heavier, and
the junk rig is easily reefed, I understand, so the rig may be quite
compatible with the Potter.

This is my thinking also. The added weight plus the unstayed flexible mast
should spill the wind when its too much.

>I would like to try a Laser rig on my Potter sometime, but I don't think the
Laser mast will fit in my Sunfish mast socket.

The Laser and Zuma mast are identical, and the diameter is consderably less than
the Sunfish mast that we had. You could perhaps create an adapter that would
serve as a sleeve to couple the Laser mast to your current sunfish socket.

>Comparing the strength of your mast with that of a stock Potter mast
wouldn't be meaningful since the stays carry most of the load on the stock

I agree.

>I hope you can communicate with someone in the UK who has the
junk rigged Potter. He should be your best source of information. Your
planned rig looks very salty, by the way. It should be a lot of fun and
will get a lot of attention.

I've written to Bruce Longstaff, and he will hopefully get some information from
Bob Lomas (I think that's his name).

>If you haven't installed that push rod on the rudder yet, I recommend you
attach it lower on the rudder than is shown on the drawing. If you put it
on the aftmost edge of the rudder you will get maximum leverage, which will
reduce the effort required and the strain on the mechanism. I also
recommend a ball on the end instead of a T-handle. I would be afraid that
the T-handle might snag the mainsheet when coming about. I have such a rod
on my rudder and have been using it successfully for many years.

I like your ideas here. I'm going to have to rebuild my rudder anyway, so I plan
to implement this. I also agree about the ball instead of the T. I'm always
getting stuff hung anyway.

>If the junk rig can be removed easily, you might want to keep your original
rig, just in case.

The ease of removal will be entirely dependant upon the weight of the mast. If
the idea of the Laser mast pans out, it will be a cinch. I'm hoping it will.
Then I'll just drop the tabernacle out of the plans. By the way, your idea
about the bracket as a mounting device is so sweet, I've decided to employ it.
It will be the easiest way to glass in a mast step in the cabin. I've decided
to use the top mast and the boom off of my Gunter rig to finish off my Junk sail
configuration, so I won't be going back to the old rig. The spars had never
been finished out anyway.

>If you really want to sell your gunter rig sails, though, I might be
interested. If you do, please send me the luff and foot measurements so I can
see how they will fit on my spars.

I'll get the measurements and let you know. I'll also take a picture and post
it on my homepage so you can get an idea of their condition. If you think they
are worth it, make me an offer.

>Does your sail have the emblem your drawing shows on the junk sail? If so,
that is yet another version of the old WWP emblem, one I've not seen before.

Not yet, but it is what I came up with to try to honor the junkrig and the
original Potter insignia.

Thanks for all your help. I've gotta run... time to go to work.


Perry W. Phillips
"A better world begins with you!"

1970 C Type West Wight Potter "Frodo" Un-numbered Hull
Port Arthur, Texas (Sabine Lake/Gulf of Mexico)