Page updated: 28 May 2014

Go to TopThe Standard Sail Plan

Wintin #344 with Standard Main and Jib

Sails have been a great curiosity on SeaHawks. This is because there is a large variety of dimensions found in different documents, and because Chris Jeckells supplied information which all other evidence suggests must have been mistaken.

The 1970 Reedcraft brochure states that sail area, main and jib is 126sq ft. This figure is repeated in the later Reedcraft and Moore brochures, the latest of these is believed to date from 1985.

The main sail includes three short battens. In spite of the earliest John Bennett drawings, only more recent sails have the lowest of these set horizontally. Early boats all appear to have all three set at right angles to the leech. No reefing points were provided on the main sail supplied as standard, so it appears that it was intended to be rolled around the boom. However, many owners of early boats report that roller reefing is not possible on their oval booms.

The photograph shows Wintin, #344, built in 1977 or very soon after and an early Moore's Crossover Boat. It has its original sails which appear to be the then standard 126sq ft sail plan, with the bottom batten set at right angles to the leech.

The confusion starts with the Yachting World article, published in June 1971, which suggests the sail area is 133.5sq ft. The article is full of metric miscalculations, so the figure can probably be dismissed as inaccurate, especially as the sail plan drawing included in the article appears to come direct from a John Bennett plan, the original of which would confirm the 126sq ft figure. Incidentally, that plan also lists an additional head sail, labelled as a "Racing Genoa" at 49sq ft.

The diagram accompanying the intriguing Tall Rig memo from Jeckells' archives, dated February 1972, shows the dimensions of two main sails and three head sails for the existing rig in dotted outline. These consist of a standard and large main at 89.5sq ft and 103.7sq ft and a jib, genoa and large genoa at 36.5sq ft, 49sq ft and 104sq ft. Add the jib and standard main and you again get the figure of 126sq ft. The size of the racing genoa matches too! So it would appear that by the following year someone had requested a still larger sail plan on the existing rig.

The tall rig plan

It's worth noting that the tack of all these head sail in all these sizes was secured to a short strop to allow the near horizontal foot of the sail to clear the cabin and the pulpit and that the luff does not extend to the full height of the forestay. A further point is that the sheets for the large genoa are designed to pass outside the shrouds and require additional gear that wasn't standard on either the Reedcraft or Moores boats.

We now come to the mid eighties, when it is believed that Moores were still using the brochure that showed the sail area as 126sq ft. The Moore's price list dated 12/86 doesn't mention a standard sail area but does offer additional sails. These are a standard genoa at 50sq ft, a large genoa at 70sq ft and a spinnaker of unspecified size.

In November 1987 a sail plan for the never-manufactured Mark VI SeaHawk is produced by John Bennett. A print of this, dated 20 April 1994 (seen below) obtained from Jeckells files, has a table at the top left indicating the dimensions of the sales: Main 92sq ft and Furling Jib 56sq ft.

Mk VI sail plan

On a later print, dated 22 March 2004, held by David Cornabe, the drawing has a note added clarifying differences to the existing SeaHawk:

NEW RIG 1987 - Boom lower 6" - Xtrees same height - Hounds 12" higher - Mast same length - New Sails

In other words, while the bottom 9ft of the mast is the same, the distance from the spreaders to the point where the forestay connects has been lengthened, so we have a taller but still fractional rig. In addition, the later print shows an additional Cruising Jib with the same length luff but the foot sloping heavily from the reefing drum on the forestay to the clew in line with the mast and a little above the boom, having a size of 38sq ft.

This diagram could be dismissed as irrelevant as the Mark VI was never put into production. However, there is no technical reason for the new sail plan not being applied to the existing version of the SeaHawk. Further, the two different prints demonstrate a continuing development of the SeaHawk. The only reason for wondering if something like this might have happened is the Moore's price list dated 12/91. This announces a new sail plan saying:

The sail area has been increased from 107sq ft to 168sq ft and the foresail is now fitted with reefing gear as standard.

The furling genoa furled

The original sail area given is clearly wrong, but almost certainly can be accounted for as a mis-read for the "10.7sq M" figure that, since the days of the first Reecraft brochure, had always been given as the metric equivalent of 126sq ft, in spite of the fact that 11.7sq M would be a more accurate conversion.

If such errors can be made, why couldn't the true figure for the new size also be wrong. The Mark VI sail area on the revised mast is 148sq ft, a more obvious typographical mistake for the 168sq ft suggested on the price list. Could this also be the reason why the 1992 show boat, #412, was believed to have had the 1972 "tall rig". While it clearly doesn't have the three foot taller mast, given the numbers of boats built around this time, it is possible it could have been the first built with the new mast. Photographs do suggest that it may have a longer forestay than older boats.

Part of the reason for the appeal of this theory, was that the owner of #267 found that his new mainsail bought from from Jeckells in 2005, to replace the original 1973 one, was distinctly longer, probably by 6", though the two have never been put side by side and measured.

No dimensions of the sail plan of Mistral Craft boats is currently available. Their sails were not supplied by Jeckells but instead by an Essex-based supplier. However, photographs of these recent boats do suggest that the dimensions of the mast may more closely reflects the Mark VI's 9-7-4 ratio than the original 9-6-5, and while not all the boats were supplied with furling head sails, those that were are likely to have a 148sq ft sail area.

If you have further information on any aspect of the sails originally supplied with a SeaHawk or can provide details of the Mistral Craft sail plan please post it on the Forum and this page will be updated.

Go to TopAge of Sails

New owners frequently want to know the age of the sails on the boat they propose to buy. The label that Jeckells sewed to the sails when new changed over the years.

In a conversation, in 2004, Chris Jeckells recalled six types of logo that had been used by the company and the years in which they were introduced. On this basis and from photographs then submitted to the site, the list below was created.

Chris Jeckells reported the 1976 design as "a black square in plastic" and reckoned it is very rare as the plastic became brittle and broke up easily. If your boat has old sails and only a trace of a sailmakers logo then yours may be of this vintage. The 1994 design was described by Chris as "printed". It would appear that its unique feature was, in fact, that it is not sown but fixed by adhesive. If you can provide a better photograph of this type, let us know via the Forum.

Since the conversation with Chris a further type has been seen, shown on the left. From the job number stamped on it it would appear to be later than the type previously believed to be the 1998 version. Currently, it is not known whether this is the version thought of by Chris as the 1998 version. If it is then it indicates that an additional type was used between 1994 and 1998.

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