With a few breaks for national holidays and work, the Spawn program continues apace. This is, for any latecomers, a purpose-built rowing sloop that will compete in the 2016 Everglades Challenge race in March. A labor of love and an excellent way to keep a couple of fellas off the streets for months at a time, the boat was designed by O.H. Rodgers, and built by O.H. and my favorite skipper, Mr. Linton. Come March, the crew will include O.H. (Ninjee), Mr. Linton (TwoBeers), and Jahn Tihansky (Morsailesed).
In the weeks since the maiden voyage, launching the boat has become less "exciting." The boat's little tricks and ways are coming clear, and the team is taking time to short-circuit gremlins that might be lurking about.
For instance, the racks didn't hold up to the addition of a third full-grown sailor, so back they went to JTR. And it turns out that the third sailor also wants to be out on the trapeze, so that needs constructing. The inverted vang native to the Melges 20 mast didn't perform and had to be replaced. And the placement of blocks and cleats is always a source of refinement.
But good news is abounding. Spawn is a different creature than Frankenscot: less tubby, more frisky, but with a healthy dose of self-preservation built in.
When it flips, Spawn is easy to right. The addition of a bit of floatation inside the tip of the mast will not go amiss. And with break-away transom flaps, clearing the boat of water should be painless and quick.
With the centerboard and rudders kicked up, Spawn zips along like a black skimmer in shallow water. It's unsettling to look overboard and see a panicked mass of shallow-water creatures stampeding in every direction in a flurry of sand. Poor old stingrays.
Without pushing, and with hand-me-down sails, the GPS has reeled up to 17 knots, which is very heartening, especially when considering the prospect of a 300-mile sprint.
And in off chance it's less sprinty than, say, airless, Jeff is putting together Spawn's rowing gear with help from The Stewards Foundation. Onward!
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