FROM 1-22. Still heading south south east

Sep 29, 2005 - 1500hrs UTC │ About Berrimilla's Sails

1500hrs 29 Sep 2005 UTC 19’39”S 026’39”W Ref 394

When I bought Berrimilla in 1993, a year before the 50thSydney-Hobart, she came with about 20 sails all pretty much way past their use-by dates. We sailed around a bit and tried them all out to see what worked and decided that a new main and #1 would be the go.

I had heard from a friend about this guy out at Brookvale called Brian Shilland who made good workmanlike sails at the right price and I went out to talk to him. I discovered that he already had a full sail plan for a Brolga – an incredibly tattered old blueprint with a lot of superimposed shapes on it. Pure coincidence – he was making sails for the only other Brolga out there racing competitively, Take Time (which, at about that time, won the CYC Blue Water Points Score with Brian’s sails). We talked about sails and sailplans and agreed on a fully battened main, triple reefed and with a bit more roach (curve along the trailing edge of the sail to give it a bit more area) plus a couple of headsails, a #1 and #2, all in bog basic Dacron.

That main and those two headsails are with us today, 12 years later – the main sailed 8 Hobarts and 4 or 5 Lord Howes, winning PHS in one of each and the headsails went about half as far. A third headsail, the lightweight #1 is the much modified ‘cutdown’ I mention every now and again when we are twin poled. The heavy #1 is pulling us along as I write. Likewise the main, which has about 30 patches in it and added rainwater gutters but it still has shape and works well. I reckon that’s value for money and they owe me nothing.

Since then, Brian has made all our sails, including a series of experiments – the splendid assymetric kite, unlike any other, which we designed together and a staysail and a cheater and a big exotic #1. There have been 4 other kites, two #3’s, a 4 and a 5, a very sexy orange storm jib and a new main, exactly like the first. At a guess, the lot probably cost me less than a new exotic main for aSydney38 and the Fastnet result shows we can still be competitive with it. Occasionally!

Brian has become a good friend. He moved out of his loft after a rent hike and into his big garage at Curl Curl and it’s always a pleasure to go out there to see him and talk about the next job. Very much the craftsman and he has always produced the goods, on time and in budget. The only sails in the wardrobe that he hasn’t made are the trisail and the old sto

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