Junk rig conversion for a Westerly Pageant!

  • 17 Aug 2022 17:00
    Reply # 12886680 on 12867914

    Just a quick question: My experience is that a riveted spur grommet is more abrasion-resistant, but that a sewn one is more durable.  I just checked Marinios "The Sailmaker's Apprentice", and he agrees with my memory, with the addendum that a proper brass grommet inserted into the sewn one is the "proper" way to do it these days.

    Now, this is not an attempt at nitpicking your work, actually more of a question: will a normal spur grommet be sufficient for a junk sail (used for long distance sailing)? That would certainly save a few hours when I get to that point in my own plans to "junk" a suitable saiboat.


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  • 16 Aug 2022 13:49
    Reply # 12885225 on 12867914

    Just a quick update to say my sail is finally fully grometted and ready for battens. It was a fun easy process and the result looks very pretty. In terms of spacing I tried to stay in keeping with the reddish Motto and used 1/9 of the boom as the maximum spacing. Up the luff they’re at 1/18 so the middle will be able to grip the external rope and up the leach between batten three and four I divided the space into three which ended up making the spacing a little closer. After I’d done them all my arms definitely ached! All round the edge there’s plenty of reinforcements for the grommets  and on centre seams the “let’s try and destroy it” test failed and the seams held extremely solid.

    All the best,


    PS: managed to rope in my brother to help hammer a few in. 

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  • 08 Aug 2022 05:07
    Reply # 12876372 on 12867914

    Yo!  i love the striped sail.  Fantastic!  And I love the enthusiasm, too.  What a breath of fresh air you are.

    I'm allowed to call Shirley by her first name: I've known her since 1995 :-)

  • 07 Aug 2022 20:47
    Reply # 12876059 on 12867914

    Hello everyone!

    It has been a lovely weekend for working on my sail. My sister and I have been hard at work coaxing our trusty singer sewing machine into handling the material. The feed dogs were overwhelmed by the sheer weight and slipperiness of the fabric so we ended up having to feed it through with one person on each side of the machine. It’s not the neatest sewing we’ve ever done but it is definitely strong and sturdy and passed the “let’s bully this piece of fabric until the seam fails test”.

    The shape is done, roped and pretty. We managed to pattern match the stripes rather well apart from the hems obviously. I had been hoping the grommets would be in too, alas it was getting too late to make that kind of a noise. It’ll happen next week. All in all still having a ball even though I’m not as quick as I’d like to be.

    The main reason for the setback was my amazing grasp of basic geometry. The yard is 70 degrees from horizontal so in my wisdom I drew it at 30 degrees from vertical because that is the same right?? Then never looked at my drawing again until transferring the shape across onto the sail. At which point I noticed the blunder and the sail was too small! Luckily, the scraps could be cajoled into place and it’s all ok now.

    Photos are attached showing the process of how we put it together! It was all very neat until it got to roping and hemming… I got to try my grommet tool and I love it. It gives a really awesome result. I hope to send pictures soon (it’s only the one grommet so I didn’t want to attach a picture and it turn out the good one was a fluke. Furthermore, I forgot to take a picture of the hemmed sail… that should arrive at some point.

    Hope everyone is well,


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    Last modified: 07 Aug 2022 20:52 | Anonymous member
  • 02 Aug 2022 21:17
    Reply # 12871011 on 12867914

    Thank you for chiming in Annie! I have followed that blog forever and now find myself reading and rereading her articles to glean everything I can. I also suffer from a rather chaotic mind and forget where I’ve read something and the specifics of what I read haha. Thanks for the link, these links make wonderful bedtime reading (surely I’m not the only junkie who does that?). Although I have to say, I used to read these blogs (speedwell is the boat that alerted me to the reddish rig) and was hooked almost to the point of fangirling… to have people refer to the author on first name terms is pretty cool!

    You saved me from making a boo-boo on the tizzy front! I was ordering heat resistent ones (they‘re my go-to and  get used for everything, in particular exhausts fixated on sleepovers with Dutch speed bumps) and I read your post just in time to swap out enough UV resistent ones. It’s looking like this weekend will see the sail cut to size and roped and just awaiting battens (if I can afffix all the grommets in time that is! Fingers crossed.


    ps: Please excuse the slightly over-exuberant tone, as bits of the puzzle fall into place and my rig inches further from phantasy and into the realm of achievable reality it is all becoming rather invigorating. 

  • 02 Aug 2022 02:52
    Reply # 12870133 on 12867914

    Shirley has a nice piece about making her present sail on her blog, which you might well find interesting.  Since then, she replaced the battens with new alloy ones she bought in NZ, which have been a great success.

    It's probably wise to lace on bamboo battens rather than using pockets, because they are so knobbly and rarely dead straight.  Be careful about using cable ties: you need to source some that are UV resistant (they usually have a stainless steel lock, too): the sun quickly attacks the ones you buy at your local hardware store.  Kurt Ulmer talks about using them on mehitabel, but I'm afraid I can't give you chapter and verse on this.  It would be about 8 - 10 years ago, if my memory serves.

  • 31 Jul 2022 18:02
    Reply # 12868533 on 12867914

    Before I forget, good luck with choosing tomorrow Jan!

  • 31 Jul 2022 18:01
    Reply # 12868532 on 12867914

    Thank you for your replies guys!!

    Today I attached the battens again on my model and I much prefer that system. I think using tizzies to attach the sail to the battens will be a great place to start. So much so I’ve ordered stainless steel grommets for the task!

    Also, thanks for sharing the link! I had read it but I had completely forgotten the pictures showing how the yard was attached. It gives me lots of ideas. Thanks.

    I like how clearly your model shows the camber. I’ve attached pictures of playing with my model to show the twist induced camber, and especially on the pictures it’s hard to see because the model is rather dinky.

    I think the next step is to actually attach my hammocks together and rope around the edge of the hem. Thanks for the tip about maintaining momentum James. I’ve definitely noticed that continuing while everything is still fresh on my mind is making every little succes and setback far more enjoyable!

    The only regret is I wish the fabric for my real sail was as cool as on the model haha. But seeing those stripes just spoke to my inner Viking so it had to be stripes!

    All the best,


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  • 31 Jul 2022 12:42
    Reply # 12868398 on 12867914

    Zachary, congratulations on making the prettiest sail model ever!

    The Roscoff junket really was an awesome event, as you say the friendliness and encouragement were inspiring. 

    I am thrilled that you are making a Reddish Rig, it makes a lot of sense on a heavy old bilge keeled Westerly that is never going to win races to windward whatever the rig. Speedwell of Hong Kong is one of my favourite boats and proves the rig beyond doubt.

    I'm not sure if your model is big enough to demonstrate how a flat-cut fanned sail develops camber when you induce twist in the sail. When I built a larger model (of a higher aspect ratio Reddish-type fan) it was a real epiphany to view the phenomenon. At risk of inducing the wrath of junkies who have been developing the many and varied cambered panels, I often think that many of the older ideas have a lot of merit and may have fallen out of fashion for any number of reasons, not just performance.

    We'll be sitting at the drawing board tomorrow and deciding between the higher aspect ratio Reddish rig or a fanned Gunter-Junkette (watch this space...) on the existing mast on our Westerly 22. 

    As far as sailmaking is concerned I'd suggest following PJR and trusting your own instinct along with any direct answers you can glean on here. For example your lacing chafe concern would probably only become an issue half way across the Atlantic, it just might not be a problem for you. 

    In Roscoff I was impressed by Fly's sails and the battens laced on with cable-ties through two eyelets. Lacing on battens by whatever method rather than using batten pockets will give you more leeway in experimenting with different sized battens or possibly hinged battens in the future. 

    You must have read this too?:


    Please do keep delivering updates.

    Some rushed photos of my model. The dark embroidery thread leading horizontally back from the luff at the third batten shows six to seven percent camber about half way along. 

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  • 30 Jul 2022 21:18
    Reply # 12868016 on 12867914

    Hi Zachary - awesome news!

    It was lovely to meet you and your tribe at Roscoff, and very interesting to talk over your plans.  I'm glad you've decided to take the plunge!  The only advice I'll give is to keep the momentum up - get the boat sailing quickly, even if not perfectly.  It's such a lovely small boat that even if you need to totally redo something, it won't be too big of a job.

    I hope that your full sized sail will also be in a delightful floral pattern!

    Yes, do please keep us all in the loop.  There's loads of good advice available here, and I can guarantee that there will be a following of others, just behind you, looking for inspiration for their own builds.

    Good luck with the conversion!

       " ...there is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in junk-rigged boats" 
                                                               - the Chinese Water Rat

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