We are on the cusp of great sailing on black ice, but before we leave the summer hard surface sailing behind, don’t forget that as spring is the start of the ice boat building season, so fall is the start of the land yacht building. The first major regatta is being planned for mid-May at Loring.
We had a number of converted Lockley Skimmers at the September regatta. By the end of the weekend it appeared that there was room for some performance improvement. With that in mind, we took one and converted it into an approximation of a Mini Skeeter. As landsailors this class has done very well. This Lockley shares the footprint and rig, and weighs 20# less. There is an aerodynamic loss, but that might be resolved later. For now, it looks very optimistic.
The front fork and springboard are from the Mini Skeeter design book. Preliminary coasting tests ( with Croc brakes) indicate a very smooth and balanced helm. The plank is stock DN with Polaris ATV wheels and hubs.
The major change to the Lockly is to a free standing mast. This requires a pipe socket mast step and some welded supports. This particular boat already had the flat bar added from the stem to the old mast step so it made an ideal base upon which to build the new mast step. The double rod steering has been replaced with a single arm, like a DN. It runs from a ladder rung steering bar set just above the old mast step. This allows you to push hard against it with your feet while gently feathering the steering bar, as well as lowering your body by bringing your feet forward. There will be a heel plate coming soon. Having your feet and legs all inboard adds to security and aerodynamics, and, should you want a body it can easily fasten to the outside of the main rails.
The sheeting out back is fairly conventional. There’s plenty of room to duck under the boom, but it is low enough to keep the slot to a minimum. It might not be clear from the previous photo but there is a 2:1 downhaul there. One of the secrets to the Mini Skeeter rig is because the sheet hauls from the middle of the boom the whole sail is pulled down and therefore wonderfully flattened. The 2:1 at the gooseneck helps simulate this.
If this fine fall weather continues there may be a chance for sea trials, but if not then some one will be ready for May.