Mid-Atlantic Small Craft Festival 2013

Life being what it is, there was no time for sailing in the first half of 2013. Things finally settled enough by September that I was ready to try Puzzled Mullet at the MASCF again. MASCF is a wonderful festival if you are in the least interested in boats. It's on the grounds of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in the lovely historic town of St. Michaels, Maryland. It is full of beautiful boats and great people all united by their interest in boats.

We arrived after sunset and as we were unloading the boats in the dark, we were approached by a gentleman who had recognized Puzzled Mullet as a Bolger Singlehanded Schooner. This was in the dark, with the masts unstepped. Definitely our kind of people.

Click on any image below for a larger view

Setting Up

The first step next morning was to set up for the judging. There were a gratifying number of people stopping by to ask about the boat. The puzzle joints were the most popular topic, followed by the cockpit coaming. A lot of folks also wanted to know if it was from a kit.

There were a few changes in the rigging from Okoumefest. Most obviously, all the cable ties were gone, replaced by robands and lacing. The robands allow the sail to be bent to the mast in approximately 1 minute per sail.


Here's the cockpit, rudderbox and tiller, and the main boom. The universal joint for the tiller is a used stainless steel gooseneck that I picked up at Bacon Sails' consignment shop and modified for use on the tiller. A co-worker graciously did the necessary lathe work for me.

The boom is the composite mast that I built for my sailing dinghy Krakenbait . Due to a math error, the internal reinforcement was positioned above, instead of at the dinghy's mast partner. Because of this, the mast's thin shell took the concentrated stress of the mast pressing against the boat. In spite of this, the mast actually served for a year, including sailing through a small craft advisory. Then one day it couldn't go on any longer and down it came, broken off at the mast partner, below the reinforcement.

Fortunately, everything above the mast partner was still in excellent shape, so I cleaned off the broken carbon fiber and fiberglass, squared off and plugged the end and attached the boom jaws to the internally reinforced section that was the new end. It was exactly the right length. So now I have a 2-lb main boom. I'm hoping that if it ever decides to whack me in the head, being so much lighter it will cause less damage.

Finally, there is a matching bungee cord on the other side of the boom. When the sail and gaff are dropped, the hooks pass over the gaff to engage their opposite numbers and the sail is secured much more quickly than with sail ties.


And ready for the judging.

The sails were custom made by SailRite . There was already a kit for the Singlehander Schooner and they were able to scale each dimension by 94% through the magic of computer-aided design. Then came the true magic - for a reasonable amount of mere money they sewed the kit and I got my sails in much less time than if I'd tried to do them myself.

And speaking of things textile, the hatch cover was sewn by my wife out of rubberized paint tarpulin from Home Depot. She custom fit it to the coaming.

Sun Through Tanbark Sails

This is a good demonstration of SailRite's workmanship. The cut of the sails and the reinforcements are all easily visible.

Also visible is the ratchet strap mechanism that holds the hatch cover on. There is a channel sewn into the hem of the cover to hold the nylon strap. Tightening the ratchet exerts a clamping force that holds the cover against the coaming. It was totally secure in a 60 mph wind while driving, so should be impossible to blow off while sailing.

Rigging for Launch

Since the ramp at the Museum was too small to handle a trailer and a fully rigged boat, everything had to come down after the judging and be redone at the City Docks. So, here is Puzzled Mullet being rigged yet again, this time at low tide at the City Docks.

Finally on the Water

As we sail past the relocated Hooper Strait lighthouse on the Museum grounds, my wife is sitting in the hold (which also doubles as the passenger compartment) taking pictures. .

Friends on the Water

Out on the Miles River we run into John Harris, Mr. Chesapeake Light Craft himself, demonstrating the light air capablilities of the PocketShip. Tanbark sails, gaff rig, not too bad. All it needs is another, taller mast in the back.

View from the Hatch

Lots of strings to pull on this boat.

Image courtesy of Chesapeake Light Craft
Sailing Away.

The water is wide, I cannot cross o'er;

And neither have I wings to fly;

Give me a boat that can carry two,

and both shall sail, my love and I.

Land Ho!

As the wind starts dying completely away, we follow PocketShip in to the museum docks.

An Audience

Sure hope the I don't mess up. Every move is being watched, photographed and commented on. Goes with the territory when there's such a large crowd of boat lovers around.

Image courtesy of George Krewson
Under Full Sail.

The wind was so anemic that we were hardly making steerage way.

The sails could use some resetting and the port jib sheet got jammed under a cleat and kept the jib from completely unfurling, but other than that, not to shabby looking, if I say so myself.

Image courtesy of George Krewson
Auxiliary Power.

The wind died completely for a bit. Fortunately, the hull shape is easily driven by a paddle, even with all the sails up.

All Dressed Up and No Place to Go.

The scarcest commodity at MASCF, a place to dock. We finally found one, but it took a while.


The Judging.

And how did the judging go? Puzzled Mullet was entered in the contemporary design category. Did the natural finish, decked sailing canoe look with tanbark sails work? Were the judges impressed by the wood accents, the handmade carbon fiber spars and the puzzle joints? Click on the "?" to find out.

Copyright © 2014 László I. Mórocz. All Rights Reserved.

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