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sailing aeolus - 1966 caravelle yawl

May 25, 2012
2,247
john alden caravelle 42 sturgeon bay, wis
i am coming up on my 39th season withthis boat. i will get aeolus in in a couble of weeks. i can't wait to sail this boat again. i have never tired of this vessel. i have alwas tried to mantain aeolus as the 1966 design that it is. no roller reefing. i have a 155% genoa, a 140% genoa, a 110% high clewed genoa, a club footed jib, a forward staysail we call a tall boy, the main has been changed to be loose footed, a mizzen staysail, an asyemetrcal, a 3/4 oz, a 1 1/2 oz spinniker and the mizzen is also loose footed. i have a two bladed "sailing prop" and the old perkins 107 spinning it. i refuse to have a dodger so i still enjoy a clear view from the helm. i still carry ice. no radar. all nav-electronics hidden down below. the cockpit is nice and dark at night for better viewing. love paper charts. love dead reconing. love running a log. i have two gps's for backup. still have the brooks and gatehouse radio direction finder on board as a conversation piece. aeolus has been maintained at palmer johnson's service yard (now called great lakes yatch services) since 1980. aeolus has never had a rebuilt just alwas kept up. we are not shy about saling aeolus in all sorts of weather. the way i have aeolus set up it performs well in the light stuff and is a delight in a big blow. this boat is so strong and stiff after all these years, amazzing. i retired from the merchant marines back in 88' and have spent every summer since dedecated to sailing this grand vessel. before aeolus my dad had an alden US one design. i really cut my teeth on that vessel. before that a 1922 star and a 1936 lightning. i sailed over 1,000,000 miles on steal ships, but it is these boats pushed by wind is what i enjoy the most. my sail number is 1597 (blue hull and wood decks) and if your ever up my way blow a salute. may you all have fair winds while navigating your summer of 2012, jon
 

TomY

Alden Forum Moderator
Jun 22, 2004
1,940
Alden 38' Challenger yawl Rockport Harbor
That's an amazing story and tribute to a great boat Jon. Do you have any photos?
 
May 25, 2012
2,247
john alden caravelle 42 sturgeon bay, wis
as of today i cannot share pictures but i will work on it. i can however share many things i have learned over the years on how to sail these aldens well. i hope to also learn from you all some new tricks. skilled yawl sailors i find are very rare indead. if i start preaching "i know best' i am sure it will be a turn off for many and so the sharing of skills will be lost. that being said, how would some of you like to increase your sailing speed by 10%, improve helm responce off the the wind dramaticly, and start driving to weather like a pro. run, don't walk down to your boat and unbolt those three bladed props and donate them to your favorite pub as a wall decoration. they are like draging a bucket with a painter off your taff rail and worst of all it is right in front of your steering foil. in racing one is alwas looking for tenths of seconts and those three bladers are hours of drag. the width of the keel at the appature was designed to hide a two bladed prop nicely-- the alden boy's designed it so. there is no benifit when motering or monuvering with these three bladers. the are for moter boats only. if anyone tells you they are ok they are wrong. want another great tip (oh no--- here he goes again), buy a copy of frank bethwaite's book 'high performence sailing' . i have read many books on how to sail well throughout my life and frank's book offers more knowledge than all the rest combined. happy sailing, jon
 
May 25, 2012
2,247
john alden caravelle 42 sturgeon bay, wis
one could say that i like to throw a shot across the bow to see who is paying attention. does any one else use the club-footed jib to drive to weather? aeolus came with this set up and i've learned to love it. tight channels or inner harbors and these boats sail like dingys. in the north channel and georgeon bay there are 30,ooo islands. and this setup it is great for sneeking around in places where few will sail because those big genoas are to much work. this was a work boat setup from when sailboats worked for a living. aeolus is a great scout and this is one of the great features for doing such. no need to tend any sheets all day while tacking effortlessly. this way instead of tailling a sheet the crew can be passing the carlsbergs to the helmsman. i figure the builders were carlsberg boys and so maybe the sailors do the same. on another subject i have found that beer doesn't stain the teak. happy sailing ,jon
 

TomY

Alden Forum Moderator
Jun 22, 2004
1,940
Alden 38' Challenger yawl Rockport Harbor
Keep it coming Jon, we need all the input here we can muster. I should look into a 2 blade. I'll try to run the numbers with someone that knows to see what my boat would take. I've always had the 3. My last boat, a full keel had a two. Anything that helps light air sailing is worth doing, but there is plenty of debate on how much it will help.

I once had a boat with a club footed jib and wasn't a big fan. On that boat, it was too small for anything but a gale. However I switched down when I had a new genoa built fro Xmas a couple years ago. I'm glad I did. I love to sail in and out of harbors(when it's safe to do so) and anchorages and the old 150% was too slow to tack. The new 135% is much better(not as fast as a club footed) and I find Xmas is well powered in light air so I think the bigger genoa was rarely of much better use and more often, a detriment, especially on a reach.

My next sail will be a new main and my goal will be a good setting sail that is fast and easy to hoist and furl. I like to sail our boat so much I want to make it easier to do so.
 
May 25, 2012
2,247
john alden caravelle 42 sturgeon bay, wis
to make the two bladed prop effective one has to mark the shaft to hide the blades vertically or it two has lots of drag. is it more work,sure, but well worth the effert to me. 60 seconds to greatly improve the sail,easy choice i think. this is the design. three blades are for moterboats, jon
 
May 25, 2012
2,247
john alden caravelle 42 sturgeon bay, wis
sails are either push or drag, there is no inbetween. top to bottom we try and present the foil properly to wind. all the sails on aeolus that use a boom are now loose footed. if a sail's foot is attached to the boom 10 maybe 15% of the sail's sq ft. will not be foil, therefore it will be drag. my mains are very powerful and so the small size of my c-footed jib is fine. the jib also allows for a better slot for wind flow in a hard beat i believe. the same reason we drop the mizzen in a beat is the slot for air flow has been closed off making the mizzen all drag. hey - have youall figured out that bean bag chairs are the best seats ever on sailboats? three books i keep on aeolus, the sailor dog, the complete cruiser, and frank bethwaite's high perforence sailing. happy sailing ,jon
 
May 25, 2012
2,247
john alden caravelle 42 sturgeon bay, wis
all my mains and mizzens cary large roaches. they therefore extend up to 6" past the backstay on aeolus. downside is chaffing and hanging up in light air while tacking. upside is lots and lots of free power. i like large roaches, just saying, jon
 
Jan 27, 2012
12
Jon when we bought Muskrat she had a traveler, fairleads, and a winch on the cabin top to tend a club-footed staysail. There is a handsome bronze plate where the fore stay went for this rig forward of the windlass and aft of the forestay. There is an unused mast hound in about the right place for the top of a fore stay for the staysail. Muskrat does have roller furling ( lazy Jack must have invented this!) but even with out, my question is it fairly easy to come-about with that stay there, or can it be disconnected with a pelican hook or some other arrangement so it's not in the way when using the full rig?

My better half and I have been muttering as we tack up the river in a stiff southwester that that arrangment might be more suitable to grinding winches as the wind pipes up!

I talked to Niel at Alden and he said the Challenger (Muskrat) never had a staysail rig as designed.

Fun stuff!!

PS we're located in Southport, ME ( a suburb of Boothbay Harbor) and really want to do an Eire canal/Great Lakes voyage in the (probably) distant but (hopefully near) future!
 
May 25, 2012
2,247
john alden caravelle 42 sturgeon bay, wis
the jib boom attaches to the forestay. there is no jackstay. there are two bronze plates with grooves in them that are mirror images of each other that bolt together. the grooves surround the stay and this is the pivot point. the plates come back about 3" and there is a 3/4" whole in the middle of this area. i leave this attached peranently. at the front of the wood boom are matching bronze brackets about 12" long x 2 1/2" wide. they extend in frount of the wood and have a 3/4" whole in them. you lift the boom up and stratle the plates with the goose neck fitting and insert a 3/4" x 3" bronze pin. at the bottom of the plates a 20" pendent gets shackled on and goes down to where the the jibs tack down. this is the jist of how it works. there is another plate involved but i need to learn to post pictures really. the whole set up was clearly manufactured as an unit. the track for the sheets are mounted behind the forward hatch. i got married on a private beach in blue hill and spent my honeymoon on aeolus sailing around that area. a side note, i took my dad, my sister, and my best man on that sail. i had to make that move up to her later. jon
 
May 25, 2012
2,247
john alden caravelle 42 sturgeon bay, wis
on aeolus we us CNG to fire the shipmate stove. got tired of the flames from the original keroseen unit. i make a mean chowder inspired by 'the complete cruiser' read so many years ago. also inspired by 'the complete cruiser' i store in the lazerette 8 or 9 toy boats with string painters for kids of all ages to tow off the taff rail. i do not give kids whitteling knives on aeolus the toy boats are plastic.
 
May 25, 2012
2,247
john alden caravelle 42 sturgeon bay, wis
i was tied to the dock at mackinaw island having just finished the chicago- mac race and the crew had left to wet their whistle at the pink pony and i was in that post race daze trying to maybe sort of straighten up a bit when a voice from the dook said "i have some questions for you". i looked up and there were three coast guard officers in their dress uniforms standing there. i wondered to myself 'what have i done now'. one of them introduced himself as the captain of the icebreaker mackimaw (the great lakes largest and escort of the race) and he proceded to explain that they had been stationed just outside grey's reef where the the race does a dogleg right to the east (and the finnal 30 miles ish) to the finish line. he explained that it had been blowing 35 with puffs into the lower 40's from the west northwest and that that all the racers going by had reefed mains with small jibs when they noticed aeolus sail up to the turn under full sail and throw up a large spinniker. he said that the racers with reduced sail appeared to be stuggling while aeolus was standing tall. he said that they had walked over the find out why. i simply answered "it's a john alden design". i then invited them to come aboard in look around a properly designed and built vessel. i will tell you that the dash to the finish line that year was one of those great sails that i will alwas remember. race crew tickling the sheets and this bulldog of a boat running 9 knots with surges down some waves to 14. all the pieces of the puzzel in place and the oppertunity to take advantage of such. is was a great thrill that day. i hope to get some more, jon
 
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May 25, 2012
2,247
john alden caravelle 42 sturgeon bay, wis
tom mcintosh with his concordia yawl misty- hull #66- was my nemesis during the nine times we race the mac race. it was great fun dueling tom in these cca boats. once we found ourselves neck and neck running down the straights of macanaw. both of us where down wind reaching. both were flying five sails. we both jibbed the five sails over a dosen times that morning. changing leads on as many crossings. i was standing on the quarter locker holding on to the mizzen like a conducter of a small band. it all was very exciting untill about one mile to the line when during the dipping of the spinniker pole the helmsman ( my brother) lost concentration an momentarally rounded up there by losing momentum. tom beat us by 100' to the line. it took me a long time to recover but has now become a fond memory. it is funny that even the bummers become a good story as time passes by. happy sailing, jon
 
May 25, 2012
2,247
john alden caravelle 42 sturgeon bay, wis
tom, i just want to say that after browsing around these forums, you do beautiful work. the maintence projects that you have shared here are insirational. thankyou for sharing, jon
 
May 25, 2012
2,247
john alden caravelle 42 sturgeon bay, wis
the first time i went through a lock was on the ss. edmund fitzgerald at the soo locks, i was a deckhand. when my father purchased aeolus the boat was in stanford conn. he asked me to bring aeolus home to north cape yacth club in lasalle, mich on lake erie. when i reached the erie canal we droped the rigs and secured them to saw horses on deck. i was almost ready to start through the canal westbound when a sailboat came out of her last lock eastbound and tied up next to me. seeing such a youngster with such a stylish yacth he felt compeld to giving me some advice which i welcomed. he had 22 burlap bags filled with straw that he gave them to me telling me to hang them over the side for the whole trip and that way i wouldn't have to worry about hitting the lock wall. this worked well. the image of that beautiful hull shrowded in burlap makes me giggle today but we did go through unskaythed. he also explained that one of the duties of the lock master was to walk around the lock after being used to check for any trash. he explaind that if i were to leave one ice cold beer next to the control stand as i departed the lock it would be the lock masters duty to dispose of it. the result of following this advice was that every single lock was ready for me with the green light on as i aproached all the way to buffalo. on the steal ships we would drop off 5lbs. of coffee with each transit of a lock. when going through a lock system one can waist alot of tine waiting for locks to pump down etc. having an edge can help save days of time. happy sailing ,jon
 
May 25, 2012
2,247
john alden caravelle 42 sturgeon bay, wis
i was just thinking about D-day sixty eight years ago today. it certainly gives me pause.
 
May 25, 2012
2,247
john alden caravelle 42 sturgeon bay, wis
i often refer to aeolus as a "camper" not a condo. most systems are manual not automatic. i have purposly not tried to blend the two. for me i have found that guests want to help, want to get involved. having aeolus setup manually allows for alot of crew interaction. last summer my daughter and i helped deliver an alden 50 up north, the owner is about 80 and had just returned from a 35 year cruise. as we departed the dock and cleared the marina, he explained that every compartments and all equipment were available for for us to use, he then handed over the helm to me, i like an open boat. share the wealth. i like to offer the chance to dock the vessel to the newbie on board. i like to get the whole crew in line to pull up the anchor while singing a chantie. i like to use the best sail for the situation, i like to do sail changes. we are good at flying spinnakers because we do it alot. i like flying the staysails, with five sails up there are plenty of obertunities for crew envolvment. i like to put the kids in charge of the navi-quessing, binoculars ,horns, bells, bubbles, plastic tow boats,kites, squirt guns, beanbag chairs, the dingy,etc.etc.. i like to make sailing a party, not a visit to a monestary. the unitended consiqueces of all this that aeolus is maximized as a sailing machine.
 
Dec 4, 2007
52
Hodgdon Bros. Alden Caravelle Seabrook, Texas
Hey Jon,

Very much enjoyed reading your posts and thought on sailing Aeolus. I have one of the Hodgdon Caravelles - a sloop. I too only use loose footed sails both on my current Alden sloop as well as my previous Alberg 37 yawl. My mainsail on the Caravelle hits the backstay while tacking as did the old Alberg 37. ...roach on the mizzen for that boat was also increased. I had pretty decent racing success with the Alberg and it was a killer in light air especially when the water was flat. She carried a 164% genoa (pentax).

I've not been able to crack the code on the Caravelle yet ...at least not on inshore races. Get her out in deep water especially with that big spinnaker pulling and she is both fast and just an absolute dream to sail. All that said I am truly lacking in a good genoa at this point. The main and the staysail are both brand new and really nice sails. I've got a high clew 139 reacher that works well off the wind and I often set a genoa staysail underneath it if we have a long enough distance to run on the same tack. The staysail also works well when we get stuck in a blow. -also added inboard tracks for better sheeting angle for the staysail.

On Banjo Girl we added a bit less than 5 feet to the mast making her a 15/16 fractional rigged sloop. - I found her to suffer from lee-helm prior to this change - you have to realize the Hodgdon boats have there mast about one foot further aft than the Molich boat and therefore a shorter boom. I think with the increased P dimension Banjo Girl probably has the same sail area as the Molich boats now. At any rate she is an extremely well balanced boat now.

I would really like to see some photos of your club foot set up. This is something that I have been seriously considering retrofitting on Banjo Girl. I think it would be great for single handing. I'd am interested in if it would positively effect the windward ability. ...One problem I have is the sheeting angle with the genoa on Banjo Girl. ...being that the genny sheets to the rail I've found that the slot is not really effecient upwind.

BTW, you've convinced me I'm going to put the two blade prop on and see how she handles.

Cheers,
Jay
 
May 25, 2012
2,247
john alden caravelle 42 sturgeon bay, wis
square footage, square footage, square footage. first three rules for racing aeolus. loose footed main and mizzen. large roaches. spinnikers with huge shoulders at top.(which deffinatly create "elephant ass" as the wind softens) deck sweeper cut genoas. my #3 genoa is high cut. the most important sq. ft. are the stay sails. the stay sails are UNRATED square footage. they are the free-bee that allow these old boats to win. while i have the stay sails up- during that part of the race the other boats cannot beat me on rating. of course in a beat i can't compete on rating. every dog has it's day. if i am in a long reach and can fly the stay sails by cracking off 10 degrees and sailing 70% of the leg that way and then heating the boat up with out the stay sails to lay the mark i have found this to be faster. of course all the non- stay sail sailors on board will want to argue with you the whole leg that they would never do that. ahhh the fun of racing. now the other side of the coin. aeolus is fastest standing tall. as a boat heals over it's "projected" sail area is reduced there by ajusting to different wind speeds without having to switch sails. it is my opinion though that the hull is quicker at 15% or less of heal. head sail size and crew positioning are the big variables. in the real light stuff i ask the crew to heal aeolus over some to help maintain sail shape so that mean mr. gravity dosn't flaten the sail shape. in the light stuff i also use an adjuster system i rigged to the topping lift to get the weight of my wood boom off the sail again to try and hold shape of the sail. so, these are some of my observations about aeolus. but as we all know, the skipper that keeps his or her vessel in stronger winds than the competiter will win every time. every time. the way the wind crosses the surface of the earth is number one and most sailors i have met are cluless. i start talking wind and most people look at me like i am speeking in tonges. there are only two types of wind-gradiant and thermal,right? becoming a student of "THE WIND" is the number one science to becoming really skilled with these toys, racing or cruising. FRANK BETHWAITE is the perhaps the greatest teacher of the wind and it's relationship to sailboats ever!!!!!!! google his name. read what he and boys have acomplished. order his book 'high performance sailing' today if you are a cruiser this book is also an absolute must. his explanation of weather is the best ever. ok, enough ranting, happy sailing , jon