The mast should be set vertical with respect to the waterline, as raking back will result loss of boom headroom in the cockpit.
The mainsail shape, and hence boat performance, benefits from a small amount of mast pre-bend. In practice this is impossible to achieve with the original rigging, with its swinging spreaders, even in the Express Pirate version which has separate deck fixings for lower and cap shrouds. Negative pre-bend is likely to occur with the original rigging, resulting in a baggy sail shape
Some owners have fitted a backstay in an attempt to get a good sail shape, but a backstay is likely to foul the roach of the sail when tacking.
A more common approach is to fix the spreaders back at an angle of 40 degrees using commonly available dinghy fittings. The lower shrouds should be set to remove any slack but without any real tension. The cap shrouds, in contrast, should be set taught enough to give a distinct musical ‘twang’. By this method a pre-bend of about 20 mm is achievable (judged by lying on the foredeck and ‘sighting’ up the mast.
Previous page Next page
All versions are lively, responsive and rewarding to sail - a real thoroughbred. They can ‘turn like a polo pony’ when tacking, like the best of small dinghies. They perform well when sailing close to the wind.
All Pirates are easy to sail single handed (a tiller extension can help here). They are relatively dry to sail, helped by the generous cockpit combings, and any water that does manage to get into the cockpit, self-drains via the 40 mm hole at the back of the sole plate. This means that it is not necessary to use a cockpit cover to keep out rainwater. The washboard is effective at keeping the weather out of the cabin.
The cabin size is generous compared with most boats of similar length, with 3 adult berths. A locker is provided in the foredeck to take the anchor, warp and chain, and a locker under a seat in the cockpit is large enough to store the outboard motor, fenders, etc. Stainless steel pulpit, pushpit, stanchions and guard wires give security against going overboard. The cabin roof is flat and easy to clamber over, and all areas likely to be stepped upon have an slip resistant texture moulded into the laminate.
Boat stability is conferred mainly by the ballast, rather than by the shape of the hull. The hull is designed to sail well at any angle of heel, and gives a comfortable ride in rough seas. The hull is strongly built and can withstand accidental impacts better than many cruisers of similar size.
On the slightly negative side, the cockpit starts to feel cramped with three or more sailors, mainly because the arc of the tiller takes up so much room. Although the mast has fittings for a spinnaker, it would seem inadvisable to use one unless a backstay is fitted to take the strain. Early reefing is advisable in a blow - although this is made easy by the slab reefing points in the mainsail and the Plastimo 406 roller reefing headsail that most boats possess.