2009 Blog Entries

Islesburgh at the Akaroa Classic Boat Meet

Ian recently attended the Akaroa Classic Boat Festival with his Eun Mara, Islesburgh.

Islesburgh was selected as the “Best Boat, Overall.”Congratulations to Ian and his exceptional Eun Mara.

For more details see Richard’s Eun Mara site.

Gusty Sailing

We went sailing with Alistego yesterday and I thought I might share a few things with our regulars here. The day was in many ways typical for us here in Western Canada. The wind was averaging around 10 kts, which was fine but was gusting (I mean sudden, hairy, immediate, gusts) to 20-25 kts or so. Add to that our usual confused seas of short steep waves coming from all directions (seemingly) and you can get a rough, uncomfortable day of sailing in anything smaller than a keel boat. Other than the wind and waves, it was a warm sunny day.

After motoring out of the marina a reasonable distance we raised the mizzen and killed the outboard. After going forward I had the full jib flying just in time to feel the first of the big gusts of the afternoon. Wanting to see what the wind was going to do before deciding on how much mainsail we wanted to put up we set out on just mizzen and jib.

Off we went, bouncing across the waves having a fine time with lots of splashing and spray flying through the air. Some times the waves met us on the beam and sometimes on the bow, giving us some very interesting sea states to adapt to. Barb is very experienced sailing on the Great Lakes, but there was no rhyme or reason to these wave patterns. According to the GPS we were going between 3 to 4 kts, so we decided to have a relaxing sail under m and j rather than take a chance on the fluky winds and unpredictable gusts (meaning that we could find no agreement on how many reefs to run with) ;0)

Once again, we proved the boat's inability to tack (in most conditions) without a mainsail, but we did discover that she gybes beautifully and in a very controlled manner if the crew doesn't mind going the long way around for a "tack". Secondly we confirmed again that she will not sail very close to the wind under m and j, especially so if the waves are pushing the bow away from the wind. We proved this all afternoon and had several "discussions" on which line to take to our destination. The final revelation of the afternoon was that an Eun Mara under just mizzen and jib WILL tack reliably provided she has around 3 knots of headway before coming about and there are very small or no waves present at all. I believe this proves that the seas are the real culprit here.

The boat still gets tons of attention every time we take her out. A few times now, youngsters have called her a "Pirate Ship". A bystander walked up to us and asked: "Is that made of real wood?" While sailing, a small biplane kept flying by until finally, it came by us very low (est 300 feet) at which time we waved and were rewarded with much wing wagging. Finally as we were bouncing along at 4.6 knots (I love my GPS) I looked over to see a local sailor (in a 30-ish foot C&C cruiser) passing upwind of us allowing me to get some very nice photos of his sails backlit by the sun.

A New Eun Mara in Venice, as in Italy!

A short while ago I received an email from Giacomo telling me about his new Eun Mara. Here’s his email:

Dear Dale,

Congratulations for your site and your Alistego. you inspired me in choosing this boat three years ago, for my father, now a young sailor..

Maybe you will be interested in this new from Venice, Italy.

Here is the Eun na mara "Takatani" launched in Venice, designed by Iain Oughtred and professionally built by Roland Poltock, the same master shipwright who built the Ness yawl I sailed the Po river with, for Giuseppe De Stefano, my father, who, at the age of 78 will start sailing. The boat is equipped with an ASMO 6 kw electric engine, so smooth and quiet..(not to talk about the astonishing power and torque). Soon the pics of the boat fully rigged and with the tanned sails made by Ombra Renzini e Daniela Cometti. Something new in venice to fight the water taxi noise and waves.

thank you to Iain, Roland and the Vento di Venezia staff (who did the technical and electrical work)

All my best


Well done and we’re all looking forward to some great sailing stories from the “old world”. See all Giacomo’s photos here.

Skerry Construction Continues

Richard has been making good progress on the aft cockpit area of his Eun Mara, Skerry.

Check out full details on his site at:


While you’re there, check out his installation of his electric power unit. Very interesting stuff.

A Very Quiet Day For a Sail

On Monday, July 27, 2009, the sailing vessel Alistego finally

got a new log book entry after too long a time.

The weather for the day was for 25 degrees C, light wind in the

AM with winds of 20 kph with higher gusts expected for the

afternoon. So in our typical fashion we decided that it looked

like a good day for sailing. It seems that most days that we go

sailing we get a rousing bit of weather. Our last sail ended

with gusts of 30 kts, short but steep waves of 2 m or so and one

sea sick crew member. Even while motoring downwind to the

marina, we had waves managing to flood the decks and spray into

our faces.

So we got to the marina early (for us) at around 10 AM. Almost

immediately a local sailor came over for a look and a chat and

he told us that on Sunday the winds and waves were both large

and he just managed to get his sails down before the really

rough stuff hit just as he managed to escape to the marina.

Getting a little nervous now, we had her rigged in a little more

than an hour which was not too bad considering we were quite


Finally into the water, armed all bilge pumps, check for leaks,

none, start the engine and let it warm up a little. Our marina

is populated with a large number of large and expensive

powerboats and we have to creep along rather close to them to

get out of the marina, so every departure sounds like a pilot

briefing before takeoff. "OK, so if the engine fails, I'll try

to make the fuel dock, if we drift into any gold-platers, try to

fend off, otherwise keep an eye out for traffic." On this day

everything went according to plan and we were thankfully alone

in the lake.

So, out we motored into the lake looking for the wind. Once the

mizzen was up, the engine was shut down and Alistego slowly

turned into the wind. Up through the fore hatch, hook the jib

onto the traveller, run it out, halyard on, and sheets fastened,

so we're good in that department. Now for the mainsail. Halyards

ready, both together, and up she goes, sets nicely. Back to the

cockpit and let's get sailing.

With all possible sail area up we began to move through the

water at a nice pace and feeling quite smug about all the sight

seers passing nearby very slowly to get a good look at us.

Almost noon, so when will the blow hit? I nervously look at all

that sail and mentally calculate how fast we can reef the main,

douse the mizzen, and switch to the smaller jib when the time

came. Look back up at the main, what the he**? None, I mean none

of the luff was attached to the mast in any way shape or form!

Up front again, lower the sail and this time fix the parrel

beads and their lanyards into place. Up goes the sail again and

we're good to go again.

We sailed out into the lake a good long ways doing an estimated

2-3 kts, maybe 4 in the gusts, until we figured we were half way

done sailing for the day and turned around. I was wanting to be

very precise and technical in our handling of the boat so all

tacks followed the same procedure. The mizzen is uncleated

first, next the tiller goes over, while the main is allowed to

swing across the boat. The jib is not touched until it is

backwinded and helping the bow around through the wind. Once

we've made the tack the jib and main are set and finally the

mizzen adjusted. This worked every time even when we had barely

any headway. The sail back to the marina was relaxing to the

extreme, but I was still expecting the wind to develop with

large waves right behind it. It's usually about this point in

our sailing that all heck breaks out. But on this day it was not

to be. We enjoyed the sunshine and views and too soon the marina

was clearly visible in front of our bows.

So off with all sheets except for the mizzen and while she stood

head into the wind, we pulled down Alistego's sails one by one

until there was only the mizzen left and it came down and furled

quietly, as there was no wind left at all. A couple of pulls on

the motor and she came to life and soon we were creeping through

the forest of powerboats having to brake suddenly when a boat

leaving the marina slowed down to look us over while

inadvertently blocking our path back to the ramp! We eventually

managed to make our turn and quickly had the trailer back on the

ramp and the boat lined up on the trailer and "clang"! It seems

the bilge boards were still down and struck the trailer frame as

we approached the ramp. Oh well, live and learn.

Once again ready for the road we drove through town to grab a

bite to eat while everyone turned their heads while we passed

by. Eating and looking out the window I watched as car after car

slowed to look at Alistego. I couldn't help but think," Yup, the

girl still has it, she's one fine looker!"

An Old Friend Resurfaces

Long time followers of this site will recognize the name of the boat shown above though they will certainly be hard pressed to recognize the actual boat as she looks very different now!

Ibis was built in Perth by Mike, one of my very first correspondents when I decided to build an Eun Mara of my own. He was a big help when I finally got building Alistego but things change and soon after launching her, he sold Ibis and I lost touch with him soon after.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago when I received an email from Richard saying that he was in contact with the current owner of ibis. To make a long story short(er)- he had bought the boat from a neighbour and had re-rigged her as a sloop and was wondering if Richard was interested in the original spars. Oh, and the boat was now living on the east coast of Australia!

Apparently, the previous owner had converted Ibis into an open launch, and as the recent pictures, once again has a proper cabin and looks quite nice with her blue hull. Check out more pictures here.

Ron Launches His Eun Mara

Another Eun Mara hits the water!

Ron reports:

... I took the boat out again today and this time got the mainsail up. I have found the boat pleasingly responsive and stable with three of us on board. I will need to tune the fitting for the gaffs, the high angle makes it very hard, and I will have to look at the rake in the mast, there does not seem to be much there at the moment.

As for the name, maybe Lizzie 3, we have to keep the Windsor line going. We will have a big launch, once I can handle it properly, probably in May...

Congratulations Ron and Liz, she’s a beauty! More pictures can be seen in the gallery, here.

Howard Launches Meander

Yet another Eun Mara has been launched! Howard has launched Meander and has details and photos on the Wooden Boat Forum. He has a great video of the event here.

Congratulations, Howard, enjoy her!

Laminating a Tiller

Alistego’s Jib Sheeting Arrangement

Finally a view of the jib sheet traveller. The original design showed fixed “bull’s eyes” for sheet leads. I wanted something with some adjustability built in. The cost of bronze track and sheet cars was a bit steep but I did have a brass “dinghy gooseneck” originally bought for the mizzen mast that I wasn’t going to use. After some imagining and fiddling with some shackles and blocks, I came up with this arrangement. So far it has held up to some pretty good winds.

For Alistego we decided to not use winches for sheeting the jib. Our reasoning for this was simple. We had previously owned a boat with the same sized jib and had no trouble whatsoever handling it without a winch. Besides, we have no interest in racing, so how hard is it to head up into the wind, pull in the sheet and then bear off a bit?

The title photo above shows the deck hardware at the cockpit end of the system. It’s very simple, the sheet comes from the bow to a cheek block on the deck and through the cockpit coaming thanks to the neat little bronze fitting shown. All parts came from Classic Marine in the UK.

Dale Hymanyk 2022