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Question from one of our many visitors....can you help?
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Hi, My name is Roger.

I am a retired farmer from England, now living in sw France.

I have been sailing small craft, from day boats in Poole harbour to Hobies on lake Malawi.

I was very interested to read your article on leeboards.

I designed and built the attached "Tigger" last winter as a proa.

However, whilst sailing on a very small lake, the swinging of mast etc on shunting convinced me that a conventional rig would be easier. At this point I had not fitted any leeboard.

The craft design was based entirely on proas I had observed on the utube videos. Since this is an experement for me, I decided to attach what I thought would act as a centre board, in line with the mast and rudder, all set to one side of the main hull for ease of construction! (see attached photos)

With the outrigger hull and "centreboard" to leeward, all is well. However, to windward ( on the opposing tack) the craft luffs up to the extent that I am unable to bear away at all and am obliged to contrive to shunt! Much to the amusement of onlookers. I think this was happening in the proa configuration. I put it down to trees and wind veer.

Do you think this phenominum of luffing up, is due to not having a leeboard on the lee side of the main hull, or to something more fundamental, like the position of the mast or seats?

On the subject of the seats. The idea is that they slide out to allow balance (either the float lifting or digging in, depending on the tack) retained by bungies to draw them in, and foot pressure to push out. This also keeps me away from the boom.

You may know that the proa uses a prop, placed on the float to support the mast. In the conventional configuration, I have used this prop as the forestay allowing the shrouds to attach foreward of the mast. This was necessary as I need to use the cross member,which is foreward of the mast step, to attach the shrouds.

The float is also problematic as it is made from 4" plastic tubing. It has been increased from 3 to 4 tubes, the end caps now too bulky. This is next winter's project to make it from ply.

You may also notice that the main hull is in 3 sections. This is to allow me to stow it away in the space over the cab in our camper van. The whole craft disassembles very satisfactorily. The sailing characteristics are my main cancern.

Thank you for reading this. I hope you might be able to focus on what is happening here.

Best wishes, Roger F

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Disclaimer: Always wear life preservers, drink and party responsibly, sail at your own risk, and please pass the word that leeboard sailing is now a blast from the past that will soon be in the news as being the latest sailing craze.