2007 season and the new rig

After 18 years of trying and with the amazingly generous help of the Manx Heritage Foundation 2007 will be the year that White Heather gets her new clothes in the form of the re-instatement of her original standing lug rig.

The rig will be as authentic as we can make it given the amount of information we have avaliable to creat the details. The other limitation will be that the final rig will be practical for short handed sailing too.

These first sets of pictures are of Mark Kermode and myself delivering WH to Scot Metcalf's yard in Port Penrhyn on the Menai in Wales over the weekend of 24/25th March.

The second set was taken when I ferried across to Port Penrhyn to look at progress. There are pictures of the spars under construction and of poor White Heather with no masts on her and in winter trim.

At the end of May 2007 I traveled across to Penrhyn to take delivery of the finished White Heather. I think Scott was under pressure because I arrived to find her still full of tools and sawdust in spite of our having to leave on the tide the following morning.

Only the big forlug had been delivered from North Sea Sails so we were only able to set forlug and a jib but we spent a good while trimming and setting the sail for the first time underway. I had never sailed a lugger before other than a Montague Whaler while in the Sea Cadets; this was a very long time ago and I had forgotten the details.

We sailed on the Saturday morning tide with a light breeze from the west, and after much practice we managed to set the lug to a fairly reasonable shape but realised that the sail needed to be hosted rather higher than expected to clean up the creases in the sail.

The passage from Penrhyn to Port Erin consisted mostly of motor sailing in order to keep the passage time down to daylight hours since the yard had forgotten to rig the lights.

A very pleasant evening spent aboard and a late start we headed off up the coast to Peel with a surprisingly fresh southeasterly breeze, F6 possibly 7 in gusts. White Heather ran before it beautifully with the first tuck in the forlug and no headsail set. Although we were pushing tide she felt as though she was going well but I admit to having no inkling that she was going so well - she achieved 10.5 kts by GPS plotter against that tide, some two knots better than her previous best. Photographs of this trip are here