I often get asked about my Mizzen Staysail on “Nell”

Here is a message from my blog I received today.

Lewis Garnham says:
September 25, 2011 at 11:27 am

Hi,I own a Nauticat 38 Minerva, built in 1984 so she is not as swish as your beautiful boat.She was imported into Australia and in 2007 i bought her in Queensland and sailed her to Hobart Tasmania.She had been treated for osmosis and currently on the slip having had all the thick cracking ant foul removed to the glass. Will be epoxied.
How did you get 12 knots ? surfing a wave. What speed can she sail at ? I have a Bruntons Auto Prop to lessen drag and improve efficiency motoring.
I am considering a mizzen stay sail, so please tell me the size of yours. I noted its tack was to windward, ? where to? Can you tighten the luff for windward work?Do you find ithe sail useful?
I have a large asymmetric kite and sock. I mounted two extra winches on the back of the cockpit seats with the lead from a snatch block on the aft cleats. Please tell me your emailfor photos and correspondence.

Here is what I replied


That 12 knts was over the ground through an area in the English
channel to the west of an Island called Alderney, at certain times of
a spring tide it races through at 7-8 knts so to hit 12knts over the
ground was quite easy. Using just the engine (Yanmar 110hp) I get
8.9knts at full revs (3000) but for economy run it at 1800-1900 revs
which gives a motoring speed of 6.5 to 7.0 knts. The fastest I’ve ever
sailed my boat was in Plymouth Sound 8.9 knts in 23knts of wind but to
achieve that we had the gunnel touching the water and nearly had the
deck at water level too. ๐Ÿ™‚ not very comfortable for passengers ๐Ÿ™‚

The mizzen staysail is really only a fun sail, it needs quite a lot of
work to put it up. You can’t go to windward with it up, so it’s only
any good with the wind at 90 deg on your beam to about 30 deg astern
of you. it’s that angle where it comes into it’s own. I haven’t got
any measurements but I’ll attach a pic showing where it’s attached to
the boat and where to measure to size it. Saying all that it’s sail
area is as big if not bigger than the main so it does help quite a
lot, unlike the mizzen which is only any good for balancing the boat.

Hope it all helps you

From my primitive drawing the tack is to windward and goes to a eyelet
in the deck which is about level with the main mast. The head (top)
of the sail goes to a single block fitted to the front of the mizzen
as high as you can fit one. The sheet on the clew at the foot of the
sail goes to a single block fitted to the end of the mizzen boom and
from there it gets tied off on one of the cleats on the deck.

To measure for the sail I marked a rope and hoisted it up the mizzen
so the mark was at the top of the mizzen, then the other end I tied it
off to where it is tied to the deck, this rope is what will be the
luff. I then put a mark on the rope where I wanted the tack to be
(about 6″ above the pilot house roof), the distance between the two
marks will be the luff length. I then measured from the tack mark to
the end of the boom this gave me the foot length. When the sail was
made I assumed the tack to be 90deg from foot to luff.

Hope you understand everything.


Anco windshield wiper arms fitted on Nauticats

For several years I’ve wanted to renew the wiper arms on my boat because they were rusting badly. As it seems impossible to source any Anco arms in the UK I did manage to find a USA supplier but I had an idea that the arm was ok, the problem was the spring or rather the spring rusted badly stopping it from pressing the blade onto the glass when the wiper was used.

The web site for Anco shows how to remove them but not the type I’ve got ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

So how do you remove the arm from the drive shaft? Well this is what I’ve done…

As it looks when fitted. It’s impossible to see the clip that retains it on the motor drive shaft.

Cutting the rubber sleeve reveals the clip. inserting something pointed behind the clip made it easy to remove the arm using a couple of screw drivers.

Cleaned up and ready to replace the spring.
I found the spring used for Vespa Exhaust Spring is just the right size and it’s made of stainless steel ๐Ÿ™‚

A link to where I sourced the spring is here www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Vespa-RB-GP-NK-65mm-Lambretta-Taffspee…

New stainless steel spring fitted. Yes that’s old spring below the arm ๐Ÿ™‚ no wonder the wiper couldn’t do it’s job.

The spring can be obtained here

New arms & motors can be obtained from an American supplier

My Boat, “Nell” Nauticat 38

Nauticat 38 launched November 2000


Me boarding Nell in Fowey, my wife June on the after deck

Old Head Of Kinsale Southern Ireland. It was here the Lusitania was sunk.

Pilot house view

Galley View

Stern cabin a view looking aft

Everything needed to navigate

Moored alongside in Falmouth

Boarding Ladder Down

Boarding Ladder Up

The Admiral Driving

Flying a Mizzen Staysail

100 miles from nowhere

June getting some sun


Bow sprit & double rollers

Under power

Some of the crew

Wednesday July 11th 2007 Nauticat Rally

John flew in to Heathrow from San Francisco and joined us down in Cornwall. Thursday July 12th saw us on board Nell and a quick trip up to Salcombe where we stayed in the bag for the night. Next day was a long haul to Weymouth and had to be timed to get round Portland Bill exactly right on the tide, but getting out of Salcombe at six in the morning was slower than normal owing to F6 westerly wind blowing down the fairway against the tide causing short steep waves in the fairway, as soon as we got out of the estuary we had quite a large following sea all the way to Portland Bill.

Portland Bill

Arriving in Weymouth exactly at five minutes to six we were perfect for the town bridge opening at six o’clock.

Weymouth Town Bridge

Escorted in to the inner marina we were shown our birth with all the other Nauticats who had arrived earlier and some the day before.

Some of the Fifteen Nauticats at the Association Rally

Early Tuesday it was all go for Guernsey and soon we were well out in the English channel and crossing the shipping lanes east of the Casquettes, often we would see other sailboats but today would be quite different when we spotted this…..

It’s a Submarine

Enlarged pic of the Submarine

not a very good pic I know but it’s quite unusual to see them on the surface way out at sea.

The rest of the trip down to Guernsey was uneventful except for the speed we went past Alderney

Almost power boat speed

The speed did top 12 knots before our arrival at St Peter Port Guernsey, here is a pic of June chatting to our neighbour and the crew enjoying a drink. ๐Ÿ™‚

Several days later it was off to Jersey for a day or two then on to St Malo, here’s a pic of Nell in Jersey

With worsening weather and England under water it was back to St Peter Port Guernsey here are a few pics on route.

Back in Guernsey but this time Beucette

Our trip back to Plymouth from Beucette we were joined by Wally & Allene Scrimshaw on their Nauticat Pelagos.

Pelagos NC33

Another encounter with the Casquette shipping lanes.

I think he’s a bit bigger than us, so he’s got right of way, sod the regs motor gives way to sail ๐Ÿ™‚

Passing Salcombe it got a little bumpy but all in all a good trip, here’s a pic of Nell in her birth having a rest.

April 2010

It all started when we scrubbed all the teak decks down that took my wife and I three whole days of scrubbing, and whole days mean a 7am start and finish about 6pm with no breaks ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

This week we needed to fit new anodes, clean the prop off give the hull a clean and get some fresh antifoul painted on.

7am high water and waiting for the tide to turn.

Three hours later and we’re high and dry, thats my legs up near the bow, I’m cleaning off the bowthruster prop.

Prop done, next job is power wash the crud from the hull.

Power washing the sh*t off ๐Ÿ™‚

Many thanks to Allene & Wally Scrimshaw for taking the pics and emailing them to me.

May 2010

Yes we got a crab on board ๐Ÿ™‚

June 2010

Falmouth bound

Early morning en route for Falmouth on dolphin watch and the odd basking shark.

A pic of the mizzen staysail set

June taking in a few rays

Early evening in Falmouth looking towards the maritime museum.

Helm Seats

Nauticat made helm seat, plus a few mods I’ve done to the steps to make the steps into a seat and add an alternative helm seat in the pilot house door way.

First is the Nauticat made helm chair.

Helm chair in it’s highest position and anchored down by the strap on the lowest rail.

The helm chair in the highest position showing how the seat is hooked under one of the rails and the weight taken on the rail below.

The Steps Seat

Step seat folded away.

Step seat in use. Note the space to the left top step left clear so it can be used without removing the cushion.

Step seat in the up position. Without the cushion fitted.

The cushion is fixed in position with press studs.

The step seat viewed to show the leg storage with the folding part stowed away.

The Door Seat

The door seat in position and hooked under the inner lip of the door frame to keep it in position.

The lower lip can clearly be seen under the door frame.

How the door seat is constructed. Made from solid teak with the underside covered in felt to stop it moving when in position on the door frame.


On the left and looking tired a Plastimo dorade box with cowl. Along side my home made dorade boxes.

Similar in size was a must, the new ones have to fit within the deck guard that protects the dorade from fouling any loose sheets (rope) flying around on deck.

One turned the opposite to the other, this is how they will be normally used.

Just a good rub down with some fine wire wool and that’s it they are finished. ๐Ÿ™‚

How I made the dorade boxes can be viewed HERE

All these pictures can be viewed full size on Flickr here HERE

2011 Season about to start

Hull scrubbed and anti-fouled new anodes fitted, generator craned out for overhaul, main engine oil and filters changed, three of the five sails have been cleaned and repaired but still to be rehung, just needs the topsides scrubbing down, dinghy inflated and hung on the davits and she’s ready for the coming summer. ๐Ÿ™‚

Prop cleaned and polished by the Admiral (my wife June) ๐Ÿ™‚