What is it really?

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.

Snapped off sliding seat

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!

Taking MS 9000 to the Europeans, guess why…

Here is why: Look at the lovely poster of the event:

Now take a look at my Minisail 9000 sail:

Minisail Sprite 9000

Minisail Sprite 9000

I can’t but suspect but the designer of the poster artwork must have seen the sail.
So, dispite not having sailed that boat for more than a year I’ll take 9000 to the Europeans at Wormer Holland in a few days.
Four boats with two excellent local sailors (Frans and Yakko),David A. and daredevil Dean M. are the competition in the Minisail class.
I’ll choose for presence rather than win, probably sailing along carefully and pleasantly kind.
Done that on several occasions and it wasn’t only pleasant but it ended with a good result as well.

Fun isn’t it; five Minisails in an European event.
Three MS Sprint, one Monaco and one wooden Sprite; All with seats. (I’ll remove mine when it’s below 3Bft, but don’t tell anyone).

Report on the event will be next.

Keyhaven Kruise 2017

Our English mates from the Minisail owners club David A. and Tom M.once again organised a lovely weekend of sailing and staying at Keyhaven.
The warm welcome and hospitality from the Keyhaven Scouts and the Hurst castle sailing club we know but the feelgood experience is one that doesn’t wear.

Sailing out from the beach towards open water tacking along in a channel between three lines of moored yachts is challenging and good fun.
Spring tide was on our side and gradually the estuary opend up for us to play and sail quarter miles back and forth on the plank; With a shiftless 18 to 20 knots wind, the conditions couln’t be better.

Venturing further on toward Hurst Casle tacking along moored yachts I went in the water. Nothing bad but my drysuit unzipped rendered me soon as a helpless lame duck in a water-filled +70 kg suit. The situation was heary and I got slightly hurt during the recovery.

No matter, it was a good sociable event and we returned with good memories and stories to tell.

Keyhaven 2018, I look forward to it.

All is well

Minisail and Merlin Rocket 2482
Not really on a global scale but it’s well in my boating micro-environment, indeed a bit of a nuisance for this blog: not much to report about.
Meson 2287 is now water tight, the centerboard slot gasket is a fine addition, and she goes like the clappers once the wind picks up. Mind she’s a handful to keep upright in shifty conditions. In 4+Bf she sails best with the centerboard half-way down and that’s not a lot to dampen any heel. Add to that the light weight (hardly no inertia moment at all) and the plank acrobatics.
Picture following: Nice run upwind riding the plank 1/2 extended. A wind shift forces to let go the main and slide in gently and rapidly both together. By the time you recover balance the following shift kicks in and blows you over. That had me swimming a few times.
This part of the learning curve now mastered (well a bit) I am confident the little witch has some more tricks to throw me off I need to find out about.

Let’s hope for a not too cold winter so I can get her out plenty before the next season begins.
Some weeks ago the Merlin Rocket 2482 and Minisail 9000 were out together on the pond. With hardly any wind we at least had the time to take a picture.
(MS 9000 had the plank removed for that day and somehow didn’t carry the right sail.)

The Meson at Staunton Harold

All images courtesy R.Baker
At Staunton Herald things are well organised, sailing’s only allowed when the green flag is up. And at about 6 P.M. it went up on Friday evening. For Friday evening clubsailing… How I love this and just cannot imagine this kind of discipline would get installed in clubs in Belgium.
I rigged the boat and got out in the midsummer sun (and a gentle breeze) on the lake to discover it along with some other plankers, the lovely TOY playing along.
Half an hour later I came back in and heard water slashing in the hull when pulling it up a trolley. Quite a lot of water in the hull there.
It didn’t take a drop in Ostend or Wormer.

The 760 km on the trailer between Wormer and Staunton Harold must have shaken the old hull and opened some seams.
And it did fill up really good since I saw the bow submarining on the last race downwind course day two second race. Never had that with a boat before.

Still it was fun to sail and not a big issue, I’ll waterproof the cigarbox. A bit disappointing it sank during a Nationals yes.

Different issue and completely my fault was losing the centerboard all together during race two of day one.
The item freed itsself from the c.b. king-pin (because I didn’ secure it) and slid away trough the c.b.slot happily knocking the hull. I managed to pull it back to into place again after a while, but by then the race had ended.
As also by then the wind was gone, luckily the gentle rescue-people towed me in.

So really the first attempt racing the Meson wasn’t flawless, still I love sailing it, and as usual: room for improvement.

All images courtesy R.Baker

Minisail Europeans 2016 , some pictures


Three irregular figures got together in Wormer near Amsterdam for a great weekend of sailing.
We had some adventurous days on the water, both on the wild side and in the slow motion spectrum of adventuring (there were moments when I saw water spiders overtaking me in the Meson and have also seen Dean’s worried face
while he clung to the top of a yacht mast when it was about to tip over).
That mixed with camaraderie, after all that is half of what these gatherings are about, made it complete.
The obvious absence of any guests showing up was dissapointing but didn’t discolour the weekend, we adjusted the agenda at random.
Thank you Frans for the hospitality, for sorting things out with your club and the camp site plus the extras you added.

Dean’s comment:
I’m just back from another great weekend of sailing ‘camaraderie’, as
Ronny correctly described it.
A little bit more wind would have been nicer, but the beautiful location and excentric company made up for it. Saturday’s social was at a local Chinese restaurant serving excellent food in large portions. (And very cheap drinks!)
Sunday’s mast climbing shenanigans nearly ended with me swinging onto the neighbouring yacht’s family breakfast table. I would have had egg on my face if it hadn’t been for some frantic counterbalancing from my two sailing buddies!
All-in-all a very positive weekend for everyone involved. Including my wife and dog.

All images Courtesy of Dean Martin.

Meson 2287 first sail (in Ostend)

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.