Skerry Sail - Comments/Questions

I just got back from a week of "sea trials" with my Skerry on tidal Winyah Bay near Georgetown, SC.  The bottom line is:  I'm really going to enjoy this boat!  She sails like a dream with the Gunter Sloop rig.  I accidently got caught out in winds over 20 knots and whitecaps higher than my free board.  It was a lot of strain on the boat (and the sailor), but no real problems.  After a good hour trying to get in, nothing broke, bent, tore or showed any signs of strain.  The bilge was pretty dry too.  I don't bruise easily, but that evening I discovered matching bruises on my legs between my knees and my hips.  I realized they were from bracing my sheeting arm on the tops of my legs.  Left leg bruise for starboard tacks and right leg bruise for port tacks.  That brings me to the questions:

1 - How do you gracefully tack a boat with a push/pull tiller handle?  From my position on the floor behind the middle seat, I would raise the handle and slide under it while changing hands.  Then I would be fouled in the mainsheet and tiller tether.  Are you supposed to change hands in a tack as with a "normal" tiller, or just keep the same hand on the sheet/tiller regardless of tack?  I know this boat is supposed to sail flat, but when pointing in the conditions mentioned above, you have to allow a little healing to get anywhere.  You need to sit on the windward side.

2 - I have not been able to get the yard parrel to work very well.  When it is tight enough to hold the throat jaws to the mast, the jaws bind going up the mast and the sail will not raise.  When the parrel is loose enough to prevent this, the jaws disengage from the mast.  There is no in between.  I finally just left it a little loose.  It doesn't seem to matter once the halyard is made fast.  This prevents the ability to lower and raise the mainsail while on the water, however.  Any ideas about what I might be doing wrong?

What do you think?

Hooper Williams - Brevard, NC

5 replies:

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RE: Skerry Sail - Comments/Questions

Hey Hooper, none of the experienced sailors have weighed in so here’s two cents from my dory experience. I usually grab the main sheet and tiller extension in the same hand then pivot my body around the front of the extension, backside to the mast. It’s not graceful.  

What are you using for parrel beads? I’ve used 6mm braided line without beads on my lug rig yard. It does wedge tight sometimes but a thicker line eases the bind somewhat. This season I’ll switch to a smaller line with beads of HDPE material left over from another project. Probably can turn a 5/8 bead and I hope they are slippery enough to spin on the line and slide on the mast. Best part - no BLO required ;-p


RE: Skerry Sail - Comments/Questions

   I have the lugsail rig on my skerry, not the sloop, so the lines may fall a bit differently.  However, I always keep the tiller handle in my right hand.  On starboard tack, I'm generally leaning over to the starboard side, so tend to rest my right hand with the tiller in it on the starboard gunwale.  On port tack, I'm usually slid to the port side somewhat, but the tiller is long enough with enough pivot that it just stays in my right hand and comes along with.  On longer tacks, I seem to wind up using my knee as a prop for my right hand with the tiller in it.


RE: Skerry Sail - Comments/Questions

   Had her out yesterday on Lake Norman.  Again, too much wind.

 This is the same rig that the Passagemaker uses, if any Passagemaker owners want to chime in.  The manual just says to tie some string through the throat of the sail and around the mast for a parrel.  I bent the mainsail on with para-cord so I just used a piece of that.  I tried some Walmart wooden craft beads for parrel beads, but they haven’t helped at all.  I think some holes are going to have to be drilled in the jaws to get the correct angle.

 Tacking is still awkward, but getting better.  I’m going to have to continue switching hands.  To use the same hand on each tack would be like learning to sail all over again.  Then I would have problems in other boats.

It’s hard to get this boat in and out of the water because so many people come over to admire it!  I even had to pull off the interstate because another driver kept waving and pointing at the boat.  I thought it might be coming loose or something.  He just wanted me to know he liked it!



RE: Skerry Sail - Comments/Questions


Here’s what I think I know about parrel beads.
HDPE turns easily. I cut out a 3/4 square x 9" long section of material left from a table saw fence makeover. Put it on my wife’s lathe and ended up with a strong 5/8 diameter bead. Well maybe bead is too generous, think cylinder with rounded edges. Apparently turning beads is an acquired skill, who knew. Made a little jig to drill the over sized center hole after they were cut free of the blank. Used the same jig to chamfer the hole with a countersink bit. Although they work with 1/4 bradded, I'm using 1/8 bradded line as I find it easier to tie to the yard. They are really slippery and spin and slide quite well with various amounts of slack in the line. Really happy with how they function. Pretty embarrassed about how they look.


RE: Skerry Sail - Comments/Questions

Thanks e.  I drilled holes in the jaws and mounted the parrel through them for a better angle.  It has worked fine since then.  I'll get a picture of it up when I get a chance.


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