report from montana

Eric Johnson (
Thu, 12 Aug 1999 06:10:51 -0700

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West Wight Potter Website at URL
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hi everyone, I'm sitting sipping coffee at the cabin overlooking our P19 on
flathead lake.
The 500 mile trip from seattle was uneventful. We towed it for the first
time with my wifes 97 Grand Cherokee laredo and it towed pretty well. Got a
little unstable around 70mph so i kept the speed down. I kept the motor on
the transom, with a docking line wrapped from one stern clean, around the
motor, to the other stern cleat, to help spread out the load. It worked

Launching was more interesting than usual because the ramp I use (west shore
state park) has no dock and there were above-average-sized waves. Couldn't
get the motor started after the customary 3 pulls. A new spark plug fixed
that. the old one was coated in oil.

The most interesting new thing I'm trying out is my new (used) cruising
spinnaker. It really couldn't be a better match for this boat - its
red-white-and-blue coloring matches my other sails perfectly. I have no idea
what boat it was designed for, but it is working well. I'm running it from
the jib halyard, though i will probably eventually put a block at the
masthead for a separate spinnaker halyard. Anyone see and problem with this?
I have a backstay, but am a little concerned that since the last few feet of
my p19 mast is unstayed, reaching or pointing with this sail might put some
weird stresses on the mast. Actually, with a masthead block, i could run an
even larger spinnaker. I'm using my downhaul line for the spinnaker tack,
and some yellow poly for the sheets running through my genoa blocks on the
rear quarters to the horn cleats at the transom. I'll eventually mount some
cam- or clam-cleats and get some real marine line for sheets, but for now
thats how I jury-rigged it.

winds have been very light here so I haven't sailed as much as I'd like. But
the few times the wind did pick up, I had a lot of fun. The spinnaker sure
is a lot of fun to fly and seems to stay full in the lightest of air. It
will be a lot easier to singlehand than I first thought too - its easily
doused from the cockpit. Ease the halyard and tackline, trim the sheet
tight, and the leech is right there in the cockpit and you can drag it down.

I'd like to see some photos or descriptions of deck hardware layouts for
those of you with cruising kites. I think I've got the halyard all figured
out, but i'd like ideas on locations for the sheet cleats and cleating/lead
arrangements for the tack downhaul. I'm mostly concerned with keeping the
lines somewhat organized without creating too many trip-wires on deck.

By the way, Bacon Sails was a pleasure to work with. I ordered the sail on a
monday, got it in wednesday (ups 3-day) for only $6.50 shipping.