Just bought an Otter.

Discussion forum for the Otter class of sailing dinghy

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alant
Posts: 10
Joined: Tue Sep 18, 2012 4:32 pm

Just bought an Otter.

Post by alant » Tue Sep 18, 2012 4:46 pm

Just bought an Otter, its sail number 486, no makers plate on the hull!

Because I have to trail it to nearest launch site (about a mile), I have to keep the mast unrigged, rigging each time just before launching (bermudan rig). The previous owner, connected up the shrouds first, then lifted the mast into the deck slot, finally connecting up the forestay. Is there a quick & simple way of connecting the stays, without all the fiddling with very small pins?

Also, should the mast be perpendicular, or raked forward/back?
I have fitted a new forestay (which came with boat) & connected directly onto the deck fitting, so unless I put an adjustable (bottlescrew perhaps) onto this, will find pulling back on the shrouds difficult. Not sure I can get a small enough bottlescrew.

Should there be a wire 'horse', to connect the mainsheet block onto?

PS,
how tender are these dinghies?

PPS
Previous owner, said that when he bought it, the then previous owner, said that he had sailed it in the North Sea & had post installed the bouyancy tanks. However, these look original & part of the normal moulding. Were Otters ever built without bouyancy tanks?

What was extremely impressive, was the deck strength when the previous owner stood on it to reach up the mast, seemed to be little flexing at all.
Last edited by alant on Thu Sep 20, 2012 3:31 pm, edited 4 times in total.

fossil
Posts: 14
Joined: Wed Apr 18, 2012 8:34 pm

Re: Just bought an Otter.

Post by fossil » Tue Sep 18, 2012 5:40 pm

Hi Alan,
I'm sail 532 , just restored mine .
I'm sorry but I cant help with your questions as I'm new to sailing (and my Otter ) But I'm sure someone will be along soon that can help I would also like to know the easiest way to get the mast up.
can you post some pics of your Otter when rigged , I think we need to build up a library of our special boats .


regards
Ade

Otter915
Posts: 19
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2012 10:18 am

Re: Just bought an Otter.

Post by Otter915 » Tue Sep 25, 2012 5:36 am

Hi mate,
I will try to answer your questions as well as I can.

1) The mast should be straight up or raked back a bit, you will have to play with the settings to get the best balance for your boat. Basically you want a tiny bit of weather helm (raking back increases weather helm).

2) With regard to the shrouds and forestay I assume you are using a pin with a hole at one end and a cotter pin at the other, these can be a bit of a pain. I use a type of pin called a "fast pin", basically you push it through the hole in the shroud adjuster and it stays put until you pull it out again.

3) Otter dinghies are fairly stable for a 12ft sailing dinghy. They don't have a very large sail area so it is easy for one adult to keep them under total control in most conditions. In fact I hardly ever even bother to hike out in mine (but I do weight 14 stone). However remember that it only a 12ft boat - I wouldn't try to go anywhere too ambitious in one!

4) There is no real need for a wire horse for the mainsheet block, basically the otter is a fairly low performance dinghy that is best kept simple. On mine the mainsheet is secured near one end of the transom, it runs through a block attached to the end of the boom, then through a block at the other end of the transom.

5) The early otters didn't have integral tanks when built. Not sure if yours would have had them or not as it was built near the middle of the production run.

All the best with the new boat
Regards James.

alant
Posts: 10
Joined: Tue Sep 18, 2012 4:32 pm

Re: Just bought an Otter.

Post by alant » Sat Sep 29, 2012 11:13 am

Otter915 wrote:Hi mate,
I will try to answer your questions as well as I can.

1) The mast should be straight up or raked back a bit, you will have to play with the settings to get the best balance for your boat. Basically you want a tiny bit of weather helm (raking back increases weather helm).

2) With regard to the shrouds and forestay I assume you are using a pin with a hole at one end and a cotter pin at the other, these can be a bit of a pain. I use a type of pin called a "fast pin", basically you push it through the hole in the shroud adjuster and it stays put until you pull it out again.

3) Otter dinghies are fairly stable for a 12ft sailing dinghy. They don't have a very large sail area so it is easy for one adult to keep them under total control in most conditions. In fact I hardly ever even bother to hike out in mine (but I do weight 14 stone). However remember that it only a 12ft boat - I wouldn't try to go anywhere too ambitious in one!

4) There is no real need for a wire horse for the mainsheet block, basically the otter is a fairly low performance dinghy that is best kept simple. On mine the mainsheet is secured near one end of the transom, it runs through a block attached to the end of the boom, then through a block at the other end of the transom.

5) The early otters didn't have integral tanks when built. Not sure if yours would have had them or not as it was built near the middle of the production run.

All the best with the new boat
Regards James.
Looked on-line at fast pins.
Presumably those little balls hold them secure.

Rigged the boat today, with repaired mainsail up (the hole in the headplate had pulled through, so repaired by riveting another alongside. Main boltrope seemed to have a lot of friction, possibly due to lack of use. Eventually got it full up the mast, but needed a downhaul to get good shape.

albacore43
Posts: 21
Joined: Wed Oct 14, 2009 2:00 am
Location: West Norfolk

Re: Just bought an Otter.

Post by albacore43 » Sat Sep 29, 2012 12:52 pm

Alant, if you are not having to travel too far to launch or return home, have you considered simply releasing the forestay, tilting the mast back and lifting slightly until you can remove it from the step, then as you lower it to a horizontal position, LEAVING THE SHROUDS AFFIXED, slide the foot forward far enough to be able to drive safely.
Saves a lot of time (and expletives when fingers are frozen).

alant
Posts: 10
Joined: Tue Sep 18, 2012 4:32 pm

Re: Just bought an Otter.

Post by alant » Sun Sep 30, 2012 7:48 pm

albacore43 wrote:Alant, if you are not having to travel too far to launch or return home, have you considered simply releasing the forestay, tilting the mast back and lifting slightly until you can remove it from the step, then as you lower it to a horizontal position, LEAVING THE SHROUDS AFFIXED, slide the foot forward far enough to be able to drive safely.
Saves a lot of time (and expletives when fingers are frozen).
Of course I've considered that.
However, trying to raise/lower the mast when alone, requires a lot of balancing to prevent sideways toppling & since there is no actual pivot at the foot, it seems easy to drop it through the bottom of the boat. Which direction do you (presumably you've done it often) suggest moving the foot when out of the deckslot, toward bow or stern? I've only tried it in my driveway, in low wind conditions & it wasn't easy to control the mast from the bottom. When lowering, I had help, much easier, but quite tricky.

Otter915
Posts: 19
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2012 10:18 am

Re: Just bought an Otter.

Post by Otter915 » Mon Oct 01, 2012 5:16 am

To raise the mast single handed I find that the easiest way is as follows:

1) Lay the mast on the ground and attach one shroud at the correct setting on the shroud adjuster.
2) Attach the second shroud - but lengthen it by approx one inch by adding a carabiner to the shroud adjuster.
3) Put a bit of old towel on the floor of the boat just behind the foredeck, then lift the mast up and rest the foot of the mast on the towel, adjust your grip on the mast and lift it vertically up and into the mast step.
4) Hold onto the mast with one hand pulling it forwards and towards the lose shroud while you grab the forestay with the other hand.
5) Pull on forestay as you move towards the front of the boat and attach the forestay.
6) Return to the lose shroud, remove the carabiner and tighten the shroud.
7) Return to the forestay and tighten by pulling on the jib halyard as well as the forestay to get a good grip.

Making the shroud longer makes getting the foot of the mast into the mast step easy. With a bit of practice I would say that it takes about 3 minutes, gives good control of the mast and you can get the rig fairly tight.

ps. If you are on sloping ground and you position the boat nose down you can get the forestay and hence the whole rig tighter with less effort.

pps. I really should be charging for this stuff!

albacore43
Posts: 21
Joined: Wed Oct 14, 2009 2:00 am
Location: West Norfolk

Re: Just bought an Otter.

Post by albacore43 » Mon Oct 01, 2012 11:04 am

Nice one "915" but you are not really that tight are you?
Cannot add much to that except that if Alant attaches a long enough piece of small diameter rope to the end of the forestay and feeds this through the stem fitting, bringing it back to where he is when about to raise the mast, he will be able, by putting tension on this, to keep the mast in position whilst making his way to the bow.
Following all the advice that he has received on this forum, he will probably be seen wearing a crashhat when rigging!

alant
Posts: 10
Joined: Tue Sep 18, 2012 4:32 pm

Re: Just bought an Otter.

Post by alant » Mon Oct 01, 2012 12:42 pm

Otter915 wrote:To raise the mast single handed I find that the easiest way is as follows:

1) Lay the mast on the ground and attach one shroud at the correct setting on the shroud adjuster.
2) Attach the second shroud - but lengthen it by approx one inch by adding a carabiner to the shroud adjuster.
3) Put a bit of old towel on the floor of the boat just behind the foredeck, then lift the mast up and rest the foot of the mast on the towel, adjust your grip on the mast and lift it vertically up and into the mast step.
4) Hold onto the mast with one hand pulling it forwards and towards the lose shroud while you grab the forestay with the other hand.
5) Pull on forestay as you move towards the front of the boat and attach the forestay.
6) Return to the lose shroud, remove the carabiner and tighten the shroud.
7) Return to the forestay and tighten by pulling on the jib halyard as well as the forestay to get a good grip.

Making the shroud longer makes getting the foot of the mast into the mast step easy. With a bit of practice I would say that it takes about 3 minutes, gives good control of the mast and you can get the rig fairly tight.

ps. If you are on sloping ground and you position the boat nose down you can get the forestay and hence the whole rig tighter with less effort.

pps. I really should be charging for this stuff!
I have tried it with both shrouds attached - not bar tight, so some play.
When rigged, the forestay is taut, with a little slack in the shrouds. Not sure if all should be taut, assume/hope the mast will not unstep when sailing.

Standing facing forward,then lifting the mast into the slot, means that there is a lot of mast above where it is held, so any movement is quickly magnified. Standing on the foredeck helps reduce the movement, simply because the mast initially can be held further up. However, in this position, the whole hull is more easily moved (unless tightly strapped down), so cancelling the original benefit.

Next time I try it, if alone, I will use a line from the forestay to the bow deck fitting & see how it goes.

Thanks for your comments, very useful.

alant
Posts: 10
Joined: Tue Sep 18, 2012 4:32 pm

Re: Just bought an Otter.

Post by alant » Mon Nov 05, 2012 9:15 am

alant wrote:
Otter915 wrote:To raise the mast single handed I find that the easiest way is as follows:

1) Lay the mast on the ground and attach one shroud at the correct setting on the shroud adjuster.
2) Attach the second shroud - but lengthen it by approx one inch by adding a carabiner to the shroud adjuster.
3) Put a bit of old towel on the floor of the boat just behind the foredeck, then lift the mast up and rest the foot of the mast on the towel, adjust your grip on the mast and lift it vertically up and into the mast step.
4) Hold onto the mast with one hand pulling it forwards and towards the lose shroud while you grab the forestay with the other hand.
5) Pull on forestay as you move towards the front of the boat and attach the forestay.
6) Return to the lose shroud, remove the carabiner and tighten the shroud.
7) Return to the forestay and tighten by pulling on the jib halyard as well as the forestay to get a good grip.

Making the shroud longer makes getting the foot of the mast into the mast step easy. With a bit of practice I would say that it takes about 3 minutes, gives good control of the mast and you can get the rig fairly tight.

ps. If you are on sloping ground and you position the boat nose down you can get the forestay and hence the whole rig tighter with less effort.

pps. I really should be charging for this stuff!
I have tried it with both shrouds attached - not bar tight, so some play.
When rigged, the forestay is taut, with a little slack in the shrouds. Not sure if all should be taut, assume/hope the mast will not unstep when sailing.

Standing facing forward,then lifting the mast into the slot, means that there is a lot of mast above where it is held, so any movement is quickly magnified. Standing on the foredeck helps reduce the movement, simply because the mast initially can be held further up. However, in this position, the whole hull is more easily moved (unless tightly strapped down), so cancelling the original benefit.

Next time I try it, if alone, I will use a line from the forestay to the bow deck fitting & see how it goes.

Thanks for your comments, very useful.
Update -
Managed to get mast up alone, on first launch, but not easy.

Launched last week & got a great sail, on mainsail only, whilst getting used to boat.
Quite impressed with its ability.

My current set up, is that the kicker on the boom, is attached by a small pulley to an eye on the floor just forward of the centre board casing, with one end of the rope attached to the eye at the bottom of the mast. However, with the centreboard partly up, the kicker fouls the end of the centre board & makes it difficult to move. I found that the boat tracked quite well on a reach, without much c/b & would even start beating without much leeway.

On this first sail, warned that some Otter wooden centreboards where difficult to get down, due to swelling/damage, mine was rigged so that the line pulled backward & dropped the c/b. However after getting it back onto my trailor, I had difficulty stopping the c/b from dropping down, so should I re-rig so that the line keeps it up, or will its own natural bouyancy keep it up when afloat?

Otter915
Posts: 19
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2012 10:18 am

Re: Just bought an Otter.

Post by Otter915 » Mon Nov 05, 2012 11:08 am

Hi Alant,
Unless you are one of those racing types who constantly play about with the kicking strap you might find it easier to just rig it between the boom and the mast fitting. That way it won't catch on the centreboard but will still keep the boom down when sailing downwind or during a gybe.

I suppose to what extent your centreboard floats depends on how it was made as it is unlikely to be the original one. Mine sinks but then I did change it to an aluminium one after I broke the last wooden one - at least with an aluminium one you can be certain it won't snap when you need to right the boat.

Regards James.

fossil
Posts: 14
Joined: Wed Apr 18, 2012 8:34 pm

Re: Just bought an Otter.

Post by fossil » Mon Nov 05, 2012 7:29 pm

Hi James ,
where did you get your aluminium cb? on my last outing we capsized and when attempting the standing on the cb there was a cracking sound :o , it didn't break but who knows how long it will last .

Ade

Otter915
Posts: 19
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2012 10:18 am

Re: Just bought an Otter.

Post by Otter915 » Tue Nov 06, 2012 11:15 am

Hi Ade,
I bought a firefly centreboard off ebay (I think I paid about £3 for it), it was longer than the otter centreboard but the bottom 3/4 of it were a fairly close match for the otter board so I just cut the top off to match the top of the otter board. I expected it to make the boat a bit slower but was happy to accept that for the reliability of an aluminium board, however it actually seems to make the boat a little bit faster (it is thinner than the otter board was so I suppose it has less drag).
Regards James.

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