Nov 23, 2016
Vidas Stukas of the Royal Victoria Yacht Club has always experimented with his sail boats to maximize their performance. Owl, his current T’Bird has been at the front of the fleet many times because of these efforts.
Having seen the launch of the Cadboro 26 on the Royal Victoria Yacht Clubs web site, I just had to know how and why this new boat came about. I sat down with Vidas to hear about his idea for a club boat for teaching adult sailing classes. The boat needed to have a large cockpit, good performance on the water and have a low purchase price. To keep operating costs down they would experiment with used sails from area racing fleets.
In Vidas’ own words: ”It was time for another project. Zig Zag, a rather tired, wooden 1966 T`Bird , with quite a bit of rot in the cabin and decks, became available quite cheaply in January. “
“Adrian Betanzo, its previous, enthusiastic owner, and Dennis Woodward helped take the cabin off the first day. What a fun way to start a project. Then, ZZ went into the shop of John Booth. There, I learned how to make a mold, how to fiberglass well, and how not to mind the smell of styrene. John is simply amazing at 78.”
“We launched ZZ after Labour Day, and went for an inaugural sail – what a revelation! We even had to add in more rake even though we pushed the mast back 15 inches. Now, we had a delicate amount of weather helm with either the genoa or the working jib. Besides the obvious comforts of an open boat without sharp coamings, the new ZZ was a delight to sail…well balanced, well mannered and agile.
Then came the day of reckoning. As we took Owl out using the same sail plan on both boats. We didn`t require the sophistication of probability plots and math to see the outcome – ZZ had much better point with the same or better speed. Well, that satisfied that question. Now, we just have to refine the sails so that we don`t have as much backwinding, or simply stay with the cheap route of a working jib. Time will tell.”