The Pathfinder Design

March 2, 2020

After deciding on the balance lug yawl sail plan and receiving the drawing from John Welsford, I began comparing the new drawing with the lug yawl shown in the original plans. It was obvious that the mast steps for the two rigs are in different locations: The lug yawl mainmast is located just foreward of BH-2, while the balance lug yawl mainmast is located just aft of BH-1.

The practical implications of that difference were not apparent until I was well into the build. Standing next to, or inside, the boat, I realized there would be several issues to stepping and unstepping the mast. The distance between BH-1 and BH-2 is a bit over 30” (76.2cm). The deck between the two bulkheads is 24” (60.96cm) above the foreward cockpit floor. The idea of lifting a vertical 18’ (5.49m) mast two feet and then balancing it while reaching forward 30” to set it through the partners and into the step was, well, daunting.

My solution was to create a slot in the king plank between the two bulkheads, as described in Mast Raising Considerations

. Creating the slot facilitated stepping/unstepping the mast, but there was one more piece to the solution: a slot plug to hold the mast in place: Slot Plug/Cap

This arrangement has worked well for Gardens and I through countless yard-sailing rigging sessions and two sailing seasons.

February 16, 2020

Having Pages dedicated to various topics doesn't do me any good if I don't maintain those pages. I've decided to describe changes and modifications I've made to the design on this, the Pathfinder Design, page. Some of the modifications impact how Gardens was built, some impact how she sails, and some are personal touches that suit me and how I use the boat.

The first change was to the sail plan. As noted below, changing from the original sail plan (gaff yawl with jib, main, and mizzen) to a balance lug yawl eliminates some of the construction details (bow sprit and mast stays) as well as the jib and attendant rigging.
I couldn't have made this change without John Welsford's concurrence and assistance. However, everything comes with a price: figuring out how to step the mainmast involved some additional construction details (the slot and plug) that took a bit of trial and error (this I did on my own) before I worked out a workable solution.

November 18, 2011

Photo demonstrating the stability of the Pathfinder hull:

While I do not expect to have three grown men standing on Gardens of Fenwick's gunwale, it is nice to know the hull is this stable.

John Welsford's Pathfinder design is, to my eye, elegant, beautiful and purpose-designed for boat-camp-cruising.

Now, having said I think the design is great looking boat, there is one element of the design I would like to change. The lug yawl sail plan includes a jib, lug main and mizzen. This is a fine rig but to my eye the plan is too "busy."

What I want to do is rig Gardens of Fenwick as a balance lug yawl. My experience with the Goat Island Skiff's balance lug has been eye-opening for its simplicity and performance. Rigging GoF as a balance lug yawl would simplify several aspects of not only sailing but of building the boat. Without the jib, the bowsprit, roller furler, jib-sheet and stays are unnecessary. The balance lug yawl has fewer sail control lines to adjust while sailing. It seems to me the balance lug yawl is a good sail-plan for the Pathfinder.

I had the opportunity to discuss this potential change with John Welsford at the Sail Oklahoma messabout in October 2011. He told me not only is it possible, he has drawn the balance lug yawl sailplan and he will send the details to me (the mast position is slightly different for each sail-plan and needs to be addressed fairly early in the building sequence).