Bags or Chute or This Skiff Thing?…….!!

For years, we have all trundled along with the bags versus chute debate.  It’s a close call and I guess the fleet might be split half and half….  well, split anyway.

Then along comes Chris Turner and Graham Vials and makes us think all over again.  Did you see their boat at the show a couple of years ago?  And then this year’s boat at the Dinghy Show, fitted by Bill Chard had the same setup.

If you’re not acquainted with it, then let me summarise:

  • It’s a chute design
  • The crew does the hoist and the drop
  • The cockpit sock no longer exists, the crew stuffs the stored sail up under the foredeck
  • Maybe the point is that either crew or helm can do the hoist and drop…. you get choices, which might depend a lot on what spinnaker pole system you use (At the show, Bill Chard had fitted the most automatic twin pole setup you can get)

Of our four fifteens we have had, the first had a chute and the last three have all been “bags boats”.  Mainly for us,  it’s about a different distribution of work between front and back of the boat.  Anyway, I am dead intrigued by all this….

I’ve got some photos for you to look at

Here you can see the cleat at the front of the cockpit so the bowman can control the release.  Note there is a turning block set further back… that’s where you draw the halyard on the hoist, and so I reckon maybe either helm or bowman can make the hoist.

Keen eyed Mk 10 owners will notice that Ovington have changed the moulding at the front of the cockpit floor to accommodate this… so I assume that the trap door is a bit shorter.

This is what it looked like on the traditional Mk 10 floor. Note that the trap door had to be bolted down as it becomes load bearing.

The halyard goes back to a turning block on the port side where the downhaul emerges and from there it travels forward to the downhaul patch of the sail.  Again, I’d suggest that maybe the helm has the choice of doing the hauling down back there.  I think Chris Turner just hauls the sail down pulling at the cockpit coaming itself…. then stuffs a few feet of sail from the floor up under the foredeck.

So simple enough an idea isn’t it?  For me it only gets complex thinking through who does what and when during the hoist and drop.

What else to say?  Two things :

First is that a lot goes on under the foredeck of a fifteen these days.  I’m a bit concerned as to the spinnaker staying snag free up there.  To be fair, I was chatting to buddies so much at the show I forgot to have a peep under the foredeck of Bill Chard’s boat.  I do though have photos of the  setup Chris Turner has which I must say is very, very neat indeed.  Chris has a curtain running up along the fore tank, so control and snagables sit one side, and the spinnaker sits the other.  Really impressed I am …

Very neat, eh? This second photo below is the camera view from the bow hole back towards the cockpit.

The second thing is that Mervyn Wright has automated the issue of tidying the sail away under the foredeck of 3904.  Mervyn has a shock cord (triple loaded I think under the foredeck) with an eye that sits on the downhaul line.  As you pull the patch back into the boat, when you let go the shock cord pulls the downhaul patch back up to the bow again, tidying the bulk of the sail as it goes.  Neat.  Difficult to photograph though!






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