Having fact checked my latest Minisail I always called the “Meson”, the boat might turn out to be a fun hybrid.
Following the two existing guides:
the MS-identification guide
the MS-list from the 1976 MS-yearbook
This boat doesn’t fit any discription. It’s hull is wooden and veed (read not flat but V-shaped) , has no handle built in at the bow, and it’s deck is “flat” with a drop keel. Terminology used in the guides is not helping but combining the lot makes me think a flat deck is the self draining type, say flush deck (check!?) and the drop keel would be a centre board (check!).
So I think this MiniSail hull started life as an early wooden flushed decked Monaco-One and was rebuilt in Meson style later on.
What it makes a fun hybrid -assuming I have the historic background guessed right- is that it combines an actual first wooden hull from the late fifties/early sixties with the latest wooden superstructure inspired or derived from the Meson kit (a 1975 GRP Sprint II hull to be completed DIY with a self draining wooden top).
Mmm, a super MiniSail springs to mind: a light man-made fibre flat bottomed hull combined with a varnished wooden Meson-inspired superstructure… equipped with post-1960 rudder/centerboard/rig/rigging/sail and an optional seat.
I would at least try one of these.
This assembly had to snap sooner or later didn’t it? Look at the picture above. The leverage is straining the seat tray way to much.
And it snapped all right. I gave the Meson for a spin into the hands of a young Europe Moth racing sailor and she sailed it back home with a broken seat ten minutes after she left.
Just in case, the Meson I talk about here below.
Genuine dinghy racers roll tack the boat and throw themselves to the windward side of the boat, hooking into the hiking straps (I don’t). With no hiking straps and only the seat to rely on my dear young friend threw her on the extended seat that then gave way.
I guess she sailed all right and I made a faulty seat.
A better seat for a Meson would be a straight plank like this one:
As I will need the item for the Minisail gathering 2018 at S.C. Bowmoor it’s now repaired. Probably to be modified to fit the Sprite later on. For the Meson a better and even more simple plank will have to be made.
Anyone still reading? Thank you and how about this:
Would an inverted sliding seat be any good? It might not be, then again it looks all right, anything inverted does. I might make one.
To be continued!
With the hull the right way up, the amount of blue surface is pleasingly less prominent. Good, it looks fine now.
Notice the aluminum bumperstrip added. I wasn’t going to at first but after only six or seven days sailing the unprotected bow had taken a good beating. The bumper should take care of that.
The leaks at the transom have been taken care of, some dents and bruises were buffed out, the split sliding seat base is mended (happened when trying to roll over the hull not knowing the seat extended).
She’ll be fine for next weekend.
But it didn’t work.
Arriving at the club this morning I found out it was occupied by a triathlon circus – no club facilities for the members, everything reserved for the triathlon intruders – so I had to return home.
Anyway I made a non-skid floor: two battens and some strips of abrasive tape glued in. (Very abrasive, I recon its grid 60. Hope I don’t fall on the strips, this would eat some skin or wetsuit no doubt)
Next time also I will be using the mast that came with it. It is after all 100 mm longer than the one from Minisail 9000, and I think it will be a gain in comfort during maneuvering with the boom 10 cm higher up.
Oh and yes, I’ll paint the hull. The Mrs thinks the scruffy look doesn’t do justice to the lovely old wooden boat. She might be right (and it needs at least one other coat anyway).
Went out to sail the Meson for a first time this afternoon; It went fine.
Would have been happy with less than 13 to 15 knots to try out the unfamiliar and freshly refurbished boat but it didn’t rain and the wind was warm coming from South; Things could be worse.
Basically the rigging of the Meson is quite identical to my other boats so little surprises there – Except for the few odd bits of string missing on the new sail ,with some improvisation that was easily fixed.
First impression of the boat unmanned on the water: it doesn’t keep it’s balance and falls over. My Monaco’s and Sprites did behave better on that aspect but would this be a good sign? I see moored light racing dingies tipping over all the time, hence would this be a sign of racing pedigree?
Close hauled went surprisingly effortless but during the first seconds of sailing I soon felt no grip at all anywhere for the feet. A slippery floor and no edges to brace against. So I couldn’d move to a good position on the seat and sit out properly.
Beam reaching (with a brand new sail!) in 4Bft was fun. Instant lift off and enjoy the ride. Spray as much as you can handle, this is a very wet boat.
On one occasion I stopped to get the main sheet sorted and unwillingly the boat got head into wind … not easy to get out of. I suddenly remembered my days with the Monaco with the same veed hull. The flat bottom ones recover far more easy.
So in all yes this is a good Minisail variant: It’s light, doesn’t drag it’s tail in the water (so I won’t need to mount transom flaps), it has a cockpit and seat, it flushes any water coming in out and it’s wooden: Perfect!
Next weekend we’ll be saliling the Europeans in Wormer Holland.
UPDATE 22 May: the Europeans in Wormer will be 11-12 June (not 28-29 May)
Will have to mend the slippery cockpit, but once that’s done I will have a fine Minisail to do well there.
The hull is now varnished. Not to factory standards by far, but waterproof and fine for me.
One coat of Poyester is more than glossy for the time being and to find out if this boat is good for sailing and racing.
Only the fittings need to be re-installed and the inner-edges to be filled and she’ll be ready.
Next post will be about how it is on the water!
Removed all the fittings and gave the deck it’s last layer of epoxy.
Weirdly the “varnish” doesn’t seem to cover the surface uniformly. The new wood is fine but in the areas of the old wood where nails were hammered the varnish seems to be repelled.
I’ll now gently sand the hull once more and will apply the UV-proof polyester varnish just after cleaning it with some white spirit. Let’s hope for a better result.
Fitting the hardware seems to go in three stages:
Finding out what needs to go where (and what it needs to do).
Sourcing for the parts starting in the own boxes and bags of goodies, and ultimately go shopping.
Finally fastening them, usually to find out that you will need to stop because you are out of stainless screws.
As you see most of the tinkering and experimenting is done, I expect to have the Meson on the water soon.
Now still waiting for a Laser rudderstock I have ordered, that will probably need a different blade than the one I had made for the wooden MS stock, and will have to get a supply of black prestressed string to replace the array of bright coloured ones.
The centerboard king pin was installed.
I have chosen for a permanent waterproof yet not serviceable installation. With this option I will be certain the king pin will 1)always be there and 2) it’s mounting will never be the cause of water getting into the hull.
Screwing in two PE retaining plates was a bit of a challenge with the only 20 cm holes giving acces to the inners. A mini cordless hand drill screw driver came in really handy.
The lathe piece was made by a friend, some parts just need to be created I guess.
Approaching the expensive phase of the game: fitting blocks, pintles & gudgeons, eyelets and straps.
Still not just there yet, the sanding, gluing and painting continues.
The hull had it’s first clear coat of epoxy.
Turned it over and sanded the deck. The centerboard slot needed a proper shave with the router.
A new standard rudder rudder stock was glued, but I am not at all pleased with it. Though well made and new it’s one concern less on the water, it looks outdated and just wrong. The clumsy block of wood will need a replacement later on and I think to have found a lovely rudder design on an Imperial Moth to copy.
Rudder and center blade parts will look black, and white when the boat should occasionally be the wrong way up in the water.
Yes the centerboard fell on the floor making a nasty dent in the sharp rear end. Bummer, will have to make that better.
Minisail Meson varnished hull