Shellback Dinghy

These are pictures of the "Shellback Dinghy" I built from plans in the spring of 2002. At that time I had a chance to buy a complete marconi sail rigging for a great price, alum mast, boom, rudder, sail and daggerboard. The sail was too small for the boat but it helped me meet a deadline and got me onto the water but I was disappointed in the boat's performance. The "Shellback's" sailplan is 54 sq ft vs the 31 sq ft marconi and the mast, boom and yard are wood vs the alum one I had bought. So wanting to be traditional, this spring I decided that I would hand craft new wooden spars and either build or buy a sail to suit. Anyway time and money being factors, I decided to build a sail and at the last minute ordered a "Polysail" kit from Dave Gray. The best investment I ever made.

I was just finishing the mast and spars when the kit arrived. Since this was my first experience making a sail, I couldn't put it together in the 3 hours an experienced person might be able to, but it was laid out, cut, gusseted to add shape, taped and rigged by Saturday afternoon, and the pictures are taken of her sailing on Sunday.

I am very happy with the materials in the kit and the instructions I had downloaded to study prior to receipt of the package. The sail performs well as you can see the water rolling of the bow and the wind was light. I sailed an 18 ft Hobie for several years so I know how the boat should perform. I will probably replace this sail with a professionally made one someday. I want to add headboards for extra strength at the stress points where the four corner grommets attach. Comments: a large, clean, flat surface is a must.

Ray Hodsdon