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Boat of the Month

May 2024

SV BEAU


Around 2010 I read articles on the JRA about Arne’s cambered panels and about Slieve’s split rig. I am very thankful for all the open-sourced generosity/ information.

I made a few rounds of my own cambered panels for a small sailing skiff under my care at the time, and went through learning about centre of balance, centre of effort, and weather and lee-helm.

One of the first sail designs would get stuck “in irons” and wouldn’t fall off, but I got it right eventually.

One of those early sails actually many years later became Beau’s mizzen. It was really windy and gusty often where I learned, and so I got schooled in having to reef to one panel and holding one’s breath through the gusts! Not to mention letting the sheet fly to stay upright. 

Along the way I met Godfrey Stephens, and after joining him aboard on a few ventures he thought I’d be a good fit for his boat Mungo.

Godfrey had become caretaker of the hull from Ron Pearson (the original designer) and made it his own in different ways. Once in my care I ended doing more or less the same thing.

I gave the boat a centre cockpit, like Bernard’s Joshua, mimicked elements of Allen and Sharie’s China cloud, added an aft cabin like those that I saw in the ancients from Derrick Maitland’s book ‘Setting sails’, studied the Hasler/McLeod bible, and added cambered and split sails.


I take great pride in “up cycling” and salvaged wherever I could to outfit. I found the poles for masts, and a retired sailmakers machine and canvas for the sails. Almost the entire interior is salvaged wood from one place or another.

The clearcuts that stain BC’s landscape break my heart and I didn’t want to add to that madness if I could help it.


I wasn’t quite ready to launch the summer when I did, but every book I ever read said just to launch, and finish underway or you never will. My friend that helped me with my engine was in the bilge for all the days we rolled it down the road towards the ocean. For the first week afloat I was tied to a tree on shore riding out some blows until we got the engine fired up finally! (I only had a foresail at that point). I have been rigging off and on for the last year while living aboard. The mainsail only went up a few months ago for the first time. What a dream. It’s a huge sail (the yard is 23’!) (7m) but feels pretty much perfect.

It was wild after designing my sail plan 12 years ago, and welding in all the partners and bits to support the sticks, finally seeing it all go together. I have a split rig on the foresail, and definitely wondered more than once if all that sail would work with my D:min’s for the sheets, my centre of effort and all the rest…
So far I’ve noticed that it is really nice having the 3 masts, to be able to shift sail balance fore and aft for different points of sailing and wind strengths. I used heavier cloth in my top panels (storm sails) and lighter cloth in all the lower panels (light airs). I also have more camber in the lower panels and less up top. I have stiffer heavier aluminium battens up top, and lighter wood ones down low.


Godfrey asked me to rename the boat. I now call it Beau after Beau Dick, a native artist, carver, and land defender from our area, who I feel lucky to have met before he passed on. You can learn more about him from the documentary “Maker of Monsters”

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=BGjg_abbbLM

Our "Boat of the Month" Archive is here, and the forum discussion for comments and candidate suggestions is here

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14 May 2024 21:13 • Anonymous member
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