Re: She was asleep for two years in a garage
Mon, 23 Aug 1999 23:14:55 -0700

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West Wight Potter Website at URL
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I visited your web site and enjoyed the account of your first sail in
Beatrix. I was particularly interested in the photos because your boat
appears to be one of the first generation of U.S. built Potters, as is
mine. Your hull/sail number would be somewhere between 150 and 300,
probably something close to my own number 234. Your boat has apparently
undergone a number of modifications that make it quite different from mine.

I'm sure your boat was originally a gunter rig, which had a wooden mast
that stepped through a hole in the cabintop and into a slot on the cabin
sole. It would have had a wooden gunter yard or gaff that the sail attached
to and which was hauled aloft by the halyard so that it formed an extension
to the mast, and it had a wooden boom. Yours is the first Potter I've seen
with a wooden mast and boom that is not gunter rigged, at least so far as I
could see in the photos.

I like the neat tabernacle on the cabintop, but I don't see any kind of
compression post inside the cabin to transmit the mast load down to the
hull. Has the structure been beefed up some way to support the cabintop
mast step? When the stays are tight, there is a powerful downthrust on
that mast, much more than the original cabintop could support without
flexing. I've sawed off my mast at the cabintop so the upper section could
be stepped there, but I kept the lower stub in place inside the cabin as a
compression post, so the upper section still butts against the lower stub.
I also had to beef up the cabintop and attach it securely to the lower stub
to prevent any possible buckling when the stays are tightened. The aluminum
mast of the new Potters also steps on the cabintop, but again there is a
tubular compression post inside, beneath the step.

I also like the modified hatch on your boat. The boat did not originally
have a sliding hatch; that appeared on the second generation at around
#300, I think. The vertical hatch opened all the way to the cockpit sole,
and the rowing seat over the centerboard trunk was not there. The bulkhead
below the seat was not there either, but is a good idea to help keep water
out of the cabin. That made the sliding hatch almost essential since it
would be hard to get in and out over the added bulkhead. I will need some
such seat if I ever get around to mounting oarlocks, but I would want the
seat to be removable since it occupies the space that my legs normally
occupy when sailing. (It is usually desirable to keep your weight far
forward in the Potter's cockpit to balance the boat for best performance.)
The portion of the centerboard that extends into the cockpit looks
different from mine and may have been rebuilt. My centerboard trunk is
constructed the same inside and outside the cabin. My mainsheet cleat was
originally a swivel type mounted on the CB trunk, but I removed that and
installed a headknocker cleat on the boom, an option that HMS Marine
offered in the early 70s.

If your hull number is in the high 200s, it's possible that some of the
modifications described above were actually done at the factory and your
boat represents a transition between the first and second generation
Potters. It is not like any I've seen before. Most interesting. The nearest
I've seen is #230, which has been converted to a cabintop-stepped aluminum
mast (with compression post inside) and which also has a bulkhead added
across the lower part of the cabin hatch, but it does not have a sliding

But I guess we can expect a wide variety of modifications in a boat that is
about 32 years old.


1. What is your hull/sail number?

2. Does the mast extend several feet beyond where the stays attach?

3. Does the boat have a standard Potter mainsail? If so, is it the
three-sided type used on the gunter rigs and Mk I or the four-sided type
with the full-length batten used on Mk II and subsequent Potters? (I can
use either sail on my gunter rig although the long batten of the newer sail
is an annoyance when I lower the gunter yard.)

4. I think I will copy your oarlock installation. Have you found the
location to be optimum?

Welcome to the Potter cult, and thanks for providing all the great photos
of your interesting P14.

Happy sailing,

Harry Gordon
P14 #234, Manatee
Mountain View, CA

> but now she is back in the water and very happy.
Kind Regards Emile and Isabelle du Toit,
Irving (near Dallas), Texas