Sunday, September 5, 2010
Eider, by Sam Devlin
I recently received a note from my friend "Captain Kirk" Gresham, owner of Eider, a Sam Devlin designed daysailer which Kirk has outfitted for single handed cruising. I'd heard rumors that Kirk had made some upgrades to improve the sailor's comfort on his Eider. Let's face it, a 16.5 foot boat is not capacious, though her sailing qualities are legion. When a small boat can take the weather, the question becomes "can the sailor?".
Anyone who has spent twelve hours in an open cockpit in driving rain knows what I mean.
The Salish Sea, home to Eider borders the coastal rain forest of the western North American continent, and yes, it rains a lot here. Cold rain. And wind.
When we were younger, these things mattered far less than they do now.
Kirk is proud of his accomplishments and wants to share them with you...
"I decided to finally build that pilot house I've been fantasizing about for sometime. A real pilot house would look too hefty on Eider and perhaps a bit difficult to get around, going forward on her tiny side decks, so I simply converted her companionway hatch. It still took a lot of eyeing and awing to create something that gave the headroom desired to be able to sit upright below beside the wood stove and steer from inside. Curving the windows to match the camber of a roof that parallels the sheer did the trick quite nicely. The Plexiglas was free from a window suppliers scrap pile, including an oval tinted skylight just forward so I can watch the sails from below."
"The whole thing slides fore and aft as a hatch and will slide right off the rails if I prefer to stow it below on a sunny day."
"There has been nothing but compliments about her new looks, even from the old salts and she's much brighter, cheerful and more comfortable below."
"I thought it'd be great fun to be able to allow Eider to run up on a beach or mud bank and let her dry out at low tide so I could walk around, watch the birds, maybe dig some clams. She draws only two feet but I didn't want to be lying on my ear, so a set of "legs" seemed to be the answer. This set is made of some 2x6 mahogany."
"Eider was beached for the first time at this year's Sucia Island Small Boat Rendezvous. It was a bit scary waiting to see if she'd be stable and secure enough for me to move around freely and to be able to get off and on once she was high and dry. The legs are bolted through the sheer with wing nuts that I can reach through her bronze ports. Guy lines run fore and aft to keep them from swinging around the bolt. They're padded to prevent chafe with some deerskin a friend gave me."
"She bumped once or twice as she settled down on the rock and sand flats in Fossil Bay. She has a 2x3 purple-heart shoe on the bottom of her full keel which can take the rocks."
"Her attached rudder is about two inches above the keel so there were no problems there. She managed to miss all the big rocks and an hour later was sitting pretty while we socialized with passers-by strolling with their dogs along the beach!"
"After tip-toeing for awhile, I've now confirmed that she is absolutely rock solid on her beach legs and I am free to move about without wiggle, creak or groan. Eider's deck ends up just about belt height which makes it easy to climb off to explore new surroundings."
"I tested the upgrades on a recent cruise to Queen Charlotte Strait, Blackfish Sound and the Broughton Islands". [Inland passage to Alaska, Vancouver Island, B.C. Canada].
"My cruising partners where Lynn Watson in his modified Drascomb Peterboat, Kate Mae and Jamie Orr with his Chebacco 20, Wayward Lass."
"Several afternoons were spent ghosting down long narrow channels, gliding on three knots of current with thick forests on both banks and no other sounds for hours but the occasional scream of an eagle, a mimicked voice from a raven or the sigh of a breaching whale. We saw porpoise, humpback whales, otters and Stellers Sea Lions. There was prodigious evidence of black bears at Mammalillaculla, an ancient aboriginal site with totem poles laying on their sides among high thickets of black berries. Fortunately the bears weren't interested in wrestling us for the berries."
Eider is a unique Sam Devlin design of limited manufacture. She measures 16.5ft. LOD, 6.5ft. beam, 2ft. draft, and 1400lbs "all up". She is rigged as a as an unstayed spritsail cutter with staysl and flying jib on a short bowsprit, approximately 150 square feet in sail area. She also carries a drifter of about 100 square feet. The main and stays'l are tanbark.
She is a hard chined skiff with a slight "V" bottom and a full keel and poured concrete and steel internal ballast. Her cabin has sitting headroom, a solid fuel cabin stove and berths for two. She carries a 5hp Mariner outboard auxiliary.
Hopefully, sometime in the next year, I will have the pleasure and the privilege of sailing alongside Eider in the Valgerda, Saga. When that happens we'll take you along!