Confederation Marine Modellers
Member's tip from Paul: The surgeon's knot is a simple modification to the reef knot. It adds an extra twist when tying the first throw, forming a double overhand knot. The additional turn provides more friction and can reduce loosening while the second half of the knot is tied. This knot is commonly used by surgeons in situations where it is important to maintain tension on a suture, giving it its name.
Whether you are tying tiny line for rigging on your model or tying up a package for the mail this knot will save you from having to call your lovely wife to hold the knot while you complete the second turn.
Editor's note: It was Paul who suggested that he make "a few adjustments" that would make the model sail better.Part of me wanted to keep it the way my father had sailed it, but I didn't need much convincing that my father would have wanted to improve it if possible. Paul went beyond the "few adjustments" and replaced some missing handrails, one of the jobs I always meant to do but never got around to doing.
I recently updated a sailboat for the editor of this website and, as no good deed will go unpunished, he then asked if I would write up the process to share with you.
The boat is a model 575 and was from a kit built by Roy’s Dad many decades ago. It is a pretty boat with lots of detail, a nice layout, sensible rig and shallow keel. It was a little worse for wear as it had been transported from England on one of Roy’s many trips there but the bones were good. I saw it first at Leander Boat Club where Roy was sailing it and saw that the rig needed a few adjustments. I suggested I could do this and Roy was keen as I had done something similar to his Victoria and he was seemed pleased with the results so off I went with the boat.
First I cleaned up the rig. There were shrouds made of wire and of string neither of which were very effective and there was a backstay and forestay in a similar condition. Clearly efforts had been made to improve the rig but the previous lines had not been removed.
So I decided to replace all of the rigging. This may sound complicated but it really isn’t. Each set of lines may have a different name but I used a Gorilla brand non-stretching very strong line for each one of them. Unless you have quite a large boat string lines will do the job and are much easier to deal with than wire. Here are the lines we need for any sloop rigged sailboat:
Upper and lower shrouds – These lines extend from the top of the mast (uppers) or the top 2/3 of the mast (lowers) to the outer edge of the deck (gunwale). Since the 575 is quite small uppers have been eliminated as the mast will never bend with the small sails she carries. See Figure 1. The shrouds are made adjustable with neat little plastic tensioners called bowsies. See Figure 2.
Backstay and forestay – These lines hold the mast fore and aft and extend both from the top of the mast, one to the bow (forestay), by way of supporting the jib and the other to the stern (backstay). See Figure 3 & 4. Again, these are made adjustable with bowsies.
The main sail is tied off at the top of the mast onto the mast crane and at the bottom to an eyelet near the base of the mast with a line called a downhaul or Cunningham. This is made fairly tight without causing a curl in the sail. No adjustment should be necessary unless you plan to race very seriously. See Figure 5.
The foot of the main is made adjustable with a line along the bottom of the boom that uses a bowsie. Same treatment for the jib boom. See Figure 6.
The final line to be considered is the boom vang which keeps the boom level as the sheets are let out. It goes from a point on the underside of the main boom from a point about 1/3 along from the mast and it attached to an eyelet near the base of the mast (same one as used for the downhaul above). Usually a bowsie is attached for adjusting, however, on this size of boat there simply wasn’t room. See Figure 7.
All lines are tied carefully and tightly – I like to use a fisherman’s knot where possible and I seal all knots with a tiny amount of Cyanoacrylate glue (Crazy Glue/Super Glue). Place a drop on a plastic surface and then dip a straight pin into it and apply to the knot. Once treated in this way the knot will never come undone.
Image courtesy of wikipedia