Tag Archives: Rigging

Caledonia Yawl Project: Shakedown

After the launch on Sunday I spent a couple days working through the final rigging for the mainsail and getting a few more small daysails in to test the setup properly.

Mizzen sheet block tied to boomkin

It was a real pleasure to have all the blocks I made fitted and feel like the proportions I chose were appropriate.

mainsheet dyneema stropped fiddle blocks with cherry cheeks.

It all came together nicely for the maiden shakedown daysail on Wednesday.

under full sail

Everything went quite well except that the centreboard was quite tight in the centreboard well when I tried to lower it. It would appear that the extra layers of paint on top of the graphite epoxy finish might have been a little superfluous and causing me grief.

So I removed the thwart to get the centreboard out the next day and saw exactly where it was a touch too wide.

centreboard just a little too wide

knowing that these parts are well hidden and have lots of epoxy coats. I sanded down the paint and re-installed it in the centreboard well.


I’m now ready for the planned first voyage out to go camping in Howe Sound on Friday with the family.

Caledonia yawl project: Spars and rigging


I made the remaining thumb cleats, jam cleats and fairleads needed just in time to be varnished along with the spars.

I also rounded out the base of all of them that would be attached to a spar, so that they are seated well.


I also made a copper 6 gauge wire lock for the boomkin brace.


It rained for a couple days so I moved all the varnishing inside and kept the fan running to help the drying process.


I’ve also been holding on to pre-1996 pennies that have a high copper content for precisely this use. It is kind of fun to put in some centennial pennies somewhere were they will continue to be admired.


Then onto making rope strops for the blocs while I wait for the varnish to dry.


This was a super satisfying moment to see this come together into fully functional blocks. This fiddle block with two eyes was the most complex of them all.


The dyneema is easy to work with and is so stiff that getting everything snug and tight was relatively easy.


I have home made, blocks for the main, jib and mizzen as well as the jib halyard.

Today is the eve of my self imposed launch deadline. So I also started doing all the leathering on the spars.


Tomorrow will be a full day preparing for the launch at the Jericho Sailing Centre. My hope is to be ready by 4pm. I still have to splice the eyes for the halyards, the gaff span and leather the mizzen and boomkin. Then I think the last job will be lashing the sails on and running all the halyards and sheets.

still a little work to do, but almost ready.

caledonia yawl project: late fall tinkering

COVID has meant that the big move out of the boat is delayed. But I don’t want to lose momentum. So I’ve started to think about the rigging in anticipation of getting started on the spars in the spring.

I’ve decided that with the new Dyneema materials it is a nice way to simplify the rigging and keep it light and strong. So I ordered some materials and a splicing tool to start practising my splicing and work through what I want to do.


I started with 4mm per-stretched heat treated Marlow Dyneema line that I’ve made into a few soft shackles and a strop.


I was also inspired by the article in the latest issue of Wooden Boat magazine #277 by Harry Bryan on a more accurate spar guage.

Wooden Boat Magazine #277

as it turns out that is my next upcoming task. So I set to work with a few pieces of my reclaimed cherry wood and the prescribed parts for making the tool.

Spar guage with urban reclaimed cherry wood
3/8″ machine screws that are now heavily modified
Not yet quite as pretty as Harry’s example but with a litle finish work it will get there.

I’ve also ordered a few sheaves with the idea of making a modern composite wood rope stropped fiddle blocks for the mainsheet with Dyneema for the strops. If my idea succeeds they will be light and look at home on the Caledonia Yawl. This was inspired by the illustration for rope stropped blocks in Brion Toss’ Riggers Apprentice book.

Delrin sheaves on reclaimed urban cherry wood

The cheeks for the moment are 1/2″ reclaimed cherry wood that is hard and easy to work with. All I’m missing at the moment is the rod for the bearing of the sheaves. The strops will be made of 6mm Dyneema.

6mm Sampson Blue Dyneema for making the blocks

I’ve also have to make or find some thimbles to complete the block ends.