Mirror Mods 3

Mirror Mods 3 by courtesy of David Sumner is now up and running.

It shows the standard Mirror dinghy with a true gaff rig (as opposed to the original gunter rig). The mainsail is more easily reefed for strong wind sailing and is increased for light wind conditions with a topsail not requiring its own halyard. It is clipped in two places to the top of the gaff, and is raised with the mainsail. It would be interesting to see this done at sea. As it is a device for light conditions, I see no essential problem. It’s a rather interesting setup. He had a mainsail specially made to replace the original cut-down Mirror mainsail.

My immediate concern about this gaff rig is its complexity, more things to go wrong or get damaged or tangled in rough conditions. I’ll need to see this video a few more times and find out more about how well David’s boat does in time.

It is very interesting to know that what I call the “chicken gybe” is actually called “wearing ship”. In strong wind conditions, gybing can expose the sailor and the boat to a broach and a capsize. Instead of gybing, the boat is eased up to the wind, tacked and then reaches or runs on the other tack. I have found the term “chicken gybe” from the idea of using an easier or safer manoeuvre because a gybe would be risky.

Here are some examples of gybe-broach-capsizes in racing dinghies in a 25-knot wind. Cruising does not involve this kind of “thrills and spills”, because this is where reefing the sails comes in. With the equipment we carry on-board, we avoid capsizing at all costs (speed for example).

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4 Responses to Mirror Mods 3

  1. Juan de la Fuente says:

    I see you and David – and what the heck – me myself, as birds of a same feather in a way.

    Yet David is a fanatic. Looking at his unending Mirror mods I wouldn’t be surprised if one day he tells us he has installed a hot water shower on his Mirror dinghy.

    How complicated can gadgets get on a dinghy without crossing the thin line between the genius…and the ludicrous?

    David is a hell of a brave sailor, and… -oh boy-, doesn’t that top sail look just gorgeous!!.

    I think that – us dinghy cruisers – are a bit like children who never grew up, and our adult DIY know-how just thrills on pleasing that kid whose imagination was once aroused by some Errol Flynn pirate movie.

    As Tom Waits sang…”we are innocent when we dream”…

    Greetings from the Mediterranean!


  2. Laurie says:

    Hi David great video clips you have done great things with your mirror have put any of these ideas in to a book or a blog
    Thank you keep up the great work
    Laurie Dillon

    • Hello Laurie,

      I am not David, but you should be able to find a way to write to him via the Dinghy Cruising Association or his Youtube page. David has given me many clever ideas for my own boat and I praise him for his inventiveness. Roger Barnes The Dinghy Cruising Companion is also a great book.

      As it will be the end of the season for you in the Austral regions, happy boat maintenance and courage for the cold months.

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