A new Houdini for Christmas

Houdini has become a bit of a pet design for me, I really enjoyed my own prototype and sailed her extensively over a couple of years, camping aboard for a week at a time and making journeys of 20/30 miles a day while exploring the interesting creeks and inlets around the harbours near Auckland where I lived.

It is with those good memories in mind that I love to hear what others are up to in these tough and spacious wee cruisers. Duncan Holdsworth and I have kept up contact as he has been steadily working away on his Houdini. I was really excited to get the following email this morning and pass it on to you to show you what he has achieved.

Although I have not had a chance to see the boat in the flesh, his photos show that he has made a nice job of her, and its really nice to see another Houdini sailing those waters that were home to my original.

John W

(click pictures for larger version)
Hello John
Finished at last (apart from lots of fine tuning!) Launched her yesterday from the little sailing club at Point Chev. There was very little wind but I was very pleased with the way she went even with 6 people aboard. Seemed to be able to point quite high too, much more than I and the much more experienced guys who were with me expected. Its been a long time but well worth the effort if yesterday is anything to go by. Hope you like the photos. I have lots more if you want them.

I have had so much comment on Duncans Houdini that I got him to send some more pictures of her Launching Day.

Here they are together with his email with more detail about the boat and the day. I’ll be putting a step by step construction article together soon so “watch this space”

John Welsford

From Duncan-----( Edited a bit, JW)

(click pictures for larger version)
Hello John

Glad you liked the pictures. Feel free to do with them what you will. Actually I was rather flattered to be on your web site home page! Here are three more. They are a bit dark as it was 7pm on an overcast evening. Note the 6 bodies in one of the shots. She's certainly not short of space! -----

(a 13 and a bit ft boat with 6 people aboard needs to be spacious, but in this case there’s probably space for the dog as well)

Yes I will probably go to the Mahurangi regatta, and yes I have been before although in a much bigger boat. If I get plenty of opportunities to get the hang of her in the interim and weather permitting, I quite fancy the idea of leaving the trailer and car on the Whangaparoa peninsula at Tyndall bay and sailing from there. However we will have to see.-----

(That’s a lovely sail, I took our own one from Stanmore bay just along from there up that coast to The Mahurangi estuary mouth, cracking sailing with great scenery)

I need to sort out lots of things before then, the first being a simple and efficient means of reefing the sail. I thought of putting a cleat on the boom, well forward and arranging slab reefing lines similar to those on a bigger boat. Any thoughts?-----

(In answer to that one, you need a simple slab reef on the leech, and a second tack downhaul on the luff, that latter connected to the reef point cringle on the luff, you ease off the sprit outhaul, let the sail out to a pre marked point on the halyard and cleat off, pull in the leach reef point and cleat it, pull down the tack and cleat it, pull on the outhaul and you are sailing again)

Also whilst we are swapping photos, do you have any of the inside of your boat showing how you organised securing points inside for such things as tying down the motor, boxes, oars etc. Also what fittings did you use to attach the boom tent you made. No doubt I will sort these things out for myself in time, but I'm always ready for some advice.-----

(I put small saddles (deck loops) in all the corners of the sole, drilled ¾ in holes in the frame webs at sole level and up under the deck and laced everything to those. The tent laced under those little hooks that Tonneau covers on Utility trucks are kept on with. I fitted those to the underside of the rubbing strip plus a deck eye at each corner of the tent. I put shock cord all the way around and a stainless wire hook at the after end each side which kept it tensioned. JW)