Friday, May 6, 2016

In the Wake of the Spray - Kenneth E. Slack

A good sailor friend, Tom Arnold, of Corpus Christi,  Texas recommended that I read In the Wake of the Spray after I published a blog about attending one of the speaker series at the Center For Wooden Boats where the Great-Great granddaughter of Joshua Slocum, Susan Slocum Dryer spoke,

Written by Kenneth E. Slack, the book is an exhaustive research into all of the "Spray Hulls" built after Joshua Slocum's successful sail around the world alone during 1895-1898. The copies of Joshua Slocum's Spray varied widely from exact copies to enlarged copies with several deviations. Slack gives a lot of insight as to why anyone in the 20th century would want to build a copy of a vessel that was originally designed and built in the late 1700's. The hull that Joshua Slocum rebuilt was already 100 years old when he refit the entire vessel in the late 1800's. The lure of the Spray hull is primarily in it's sea keeping abilities. Two of which stand out: 1. the ability of the crew to balance the sails so the vessel will self steer for hours on end and 2. the ability to sail through storms, even very serious storms without shipping any big water or waves on deck. Safety and self steering are all important on ocean voyages, especially for short handed crews. Slack's book goes into great detail about these two features of the spray hull design in great detail, even so far as to provide the drawings so you could build your on if so motivated.

In the event you are not motivated to build your on but still want such a handy little ship then you of course can pay someone else to build you a copy. These days you can have someone like Bruce Roberts to custom build a Spray hull of any size for you. just see . OR you can actually buy one that someone else has started to build but is incomplete for one reason or the other at bargain prices
There are many used Spray hulls for sale by owner  as well see
or the Brokerage market
I never got around to reading Joshua Slocum's book until well after we bought Wand'rin Star so all of this interest in the Spray hull design never entered into any of our considerations as we searched for our cruising vessel. Wand'rin Star has shown to be a very safe vessel even in big seas and high winds. The self steering though is by a very dependable autopilot. I have to admit above all other considerations, some type of self steering system and safety are the top of the concerns when it comes to long distance cruising.

What continues to amaze me that even in this age of modern yachts and technology, this very old idea of how to sail across Oceans is still relevant.I am sure Slack's book just intensified the interest in the Spray hull. There are a couple of more books out there written about Joshua Slocum so I will find time to read them just to see what they add to this incredible story that continues to be written along with each new Spray that sets out for yet another world voyage.

No comments:

Post a Comment