Some pals gave us a new mainsail for Solara. That was good, because our old one was stretched out and the leech flapped chronically. The new sail was great, but our mast has a track for brass cars to slide on and this sail didn't have them.

The privateer knot is the quickest way to tie d-rings or other attachments to a sail.
Zan Armstrong demonstrates how to put grommets on the edge of a sail and tie on cars for a mast track. She uses straps of scrap leather to do the job. Here's the finished knot, front and back views.

It took us a couple of hours to grommet the sail and tie the cars on this way. The other methods would have probably taken a couple of days. It looks complicated, but after you've done a couple the rest go on really quick.

In his book "Sailmaker's Apprentice", Emeliano Marino says: "Use heavy, well-oiled latigo leather, cutting an experimental piece to determine the length you need. No not make the slit too close to the end of the leather, and finish all slides equidistant from the sail edge. This is a salty and durable method." This is the best sailmaking book I know of.

continues the Free Yacht saga begun at How to Get a Free Yacht

Here's the table of contents of the whole saga:
Chapter 1: How to Get a Free Yacht
Chapter 2: Maiden Voyage of the Free Yacht
Chapter 3: Fix Broken Stix and other Trix
Chapter 4: Outboard Motor Mutilates Foot
Chapter 5: It's sinking and it's on Fire.
Chapter 6: How To Give Away a Free Yacht
Chapter 7: Get an Even Better One and Fabulize it.
Chapter 8: Celebrate Freedom
Chapter 9: Technicolor Dreamboat
Chapter 10: Privateer Knot
Chapter 11: Dismasted!
Chapter 12: Kiteboat!
Chapter 13: Mast Raising

Step 1: Get Leather

Zan skins a leather car seat she found in a dumpster.
The leather is good quality, and it's free!
I'm a sailor, and your explanation was great and salty. Any "sailor that doesn't know about external sail cars or slides needs a power boat. Now, about my mast hoops?
I'm kind of surprised that you didn't avoid the stitching when punching the grommet holes. Then again, I'm not a sailor.
Cool! It took me a couple of times through, but I think I've got it down. Now I'll try to find some non-sail boat applications for this knot (I haven't owned one for years).
have you actually put that into the mast track? looks like it may go up but not come down. looks like a lot of friction.
They work great. These cars slide on the outside of a 'T' section track. It's a whole lot more convenient than a boltrope in a slot, you can leave the cars on the track when you flake the main down on the boom. And there's a whole lot less friction when raising and lowering the sail.
Huh? I'm a sailor and you lost me at the word 'car' in the intro. I know what a car is on a boat, but when I saw it in the intro, and then D-rings, I was expecting a cool knot to tie my car keys to the boat. When I got to the end and there was no car keys, I had to start all over again. It wasn't until the third read that I slowed down enough that the light bulb went on. On my boat the sail goes up inside the mast so the concept of external cars is foreign to me. But even knowing what you were trying to do, I cannot follow the technique from your pictures.
Coolio! That looks hard to master.

About This Instructable



Bio: Tim Anderson is the author of the "Heirloom Technology" column in Make Magazine. He is co-founder of www.zcorp.com, manufacturers of "3D Printer" output ... More »
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