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A design to teach students to sail classic rigs

by John MacBeath Watkins

I've been thinking through the logic of a new sort of sail trainer, the object of which is to get people to learn to sail with traditional rigs.

As some of those who follow this blog know, I helped start a sail training course called Sail Now at the Center for Wooden Boats. As the classes have evolved, more and more the classes are taught in Blanchard Junior Knockabouts, 20-foot spoon-bowed keelboats that are tractable and pleasant to sail. Unfortunately, some of the students come out of this feeling that the only boats they can sail are those like the BKJ.

The Center for Wooden Boats is a museum founded to preserve, not just the objects, but the skills, associated with classic boats and wooden boats in general.

Near the end of his life, Dick Wagner, who founded CWB, wrote a letter to the Collections Committee complaining that the fleet was becoming too homogeneous, with plenty of sloops about the same size, but fewer and fewer boats with traditional rigs…

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