New sails and running rigging, 2018

‘Cachalot’ needed a new suit of sails made the traditional way. We sought quotes, and decided on Ratsey & Lapthorn, the oldest sailmaker in the world, founded in 1790.

Andy Cassell and Steve Meakin drove up from Ratsey’s in Cowes to measure up on a sunny day in October 2017. We spot a post on Facebook early in 2018: “Mainsail for a beautiful, fully restored east coast (UK) gaff cutter. Traditional sail with narrow panels. Headsails already completed again with narrow panels, traditional mitre cut and of course handwork that only Ratsey & Lapthorn can produce.” We check whether these sails are actually ours, and yes, they’ll soon be ready to collect . . .

After picking up the sails, there’s the question of what to do about the running rigging. Having been stored away for ten years, and already old when we bought the boat, it comprises a fairly tatty mixture, some really past their best. The decision is to replace all the halyards, sheets and warps over the next few years. An order for cordage goes in to Larkmans in July 2018. To make handling the huge new loose footed mainsail easier, lazyjacks are also on the shopping list.

During a roadtrip to Dartmouth in May, 2021 Steve acquired a beautiful winch from Steve M. He’d taken it off ‘Cormorant’ and was about to sell on eBay. It’s now securely fitted on the foredeck along with the cowl air vent over the forepeak cabin. Winches, kindly given to us by John and Jane, are also now set up with two pairs of clutches for the foresail sheets.