Cead Mile Failte
I own PAHI 31 Sail No 32 launched '92 and sailed mostly on the west coast of Ireland. I will be launching next spring after a major repair/refit and I thought some of you might like to share my experience of this boat.
Browsing (a new skill to me ) the forums I see many of the old questions are still as popular as they were 20 yrs ago!
This design has attracted it's share of criticism,I do'nt intend to repeat it all here! Bad news travels fast and far, good news is a tortoise.The fact that I have done so much work to keep this boat sailing is the last word on how highly I regard it.Opinions are one thing, putting your money where your mouth is, is another.....
This boat sails very well with the old cutter rig (30ft mast bermudan)once it gets a decent wind.In heavy winds it really comes into it's own and fully reefed it is a revelation working to windward in conditions when nobody should be at sea unless they work for the rescue service.At 54North you get the opportunity to learn this.....and not in a book.
In light winds with the standard sails not so bright!!Some have changed to TIKI rig I believe this will be very good but is expensive as a retrofit.The design sails on this boat are similar in size to a TIKI27 which has half the weight!Clearly it can carry more.Look at that cr/racer walking away from you - his foretriangle is 100% full while yours is only 50% and that divided into two handkerchiefs.I bought a used but good genoa, I had to have the clew lifted to get a good fit now I sail as a sloop with 110% genoa up to F4 and cutter above and I walk away from him.
Difficulties with tacking are also related to lack of foresail area.It's the jib that pushes the head of the boat around,I would not expect to tack under main alone.The major reason for missing a tack is letting the jib flog --one good shake can stop headway.The cure is simply to catch the sheet forward of the cleat and keep some pressure on it.
This mast has diamond shrouds and spreaders each side.The purpose of d/shrouds is to support/stiffen an unsupported length of spar.This mast as a cutter already has 3 inner shrouds supporting it half way up.I got rid of the d/stays and spreaders the only thing that fell down was my windage.
This was another poor point.The first improvement was an accident--having improved my sailing speed I found a marked reduction in leeway.Clearly these are related.This encouraged me to think a little more.I built the boat with one daggerboard saving a lot of trouble and gaining a super bow locker.PAHI's do'nt have leeboards.A leeboard hangs overboard on the outside of a hull without a casing.It is held in place by water pressure.Therefore it must be on the lee side always.Therefore you must have two.The best place for d/boards is central but moving them to one side makes very little difference.It makes no difference which side they are on.Therefore you only need one unless you intend to fly a hull regularly. I inspected mine in shallow water.It did not come down as deep as on the plans.It was being restricted by the construction details of the casing. This may be a common situation.Rather than change the casing I decided to add an extra 6in to the board. Then I said why not go the whole hog and add 2ft? So Idid and it worked and not in a little way.I am really happy with this and recommend it to any builder but I suspect that good sailing speed is central to the solution.I do not find any extra difficulty tacking while the board stays down.
I consider this to be one of the strong points of this design.There is a lot of cabin space which is important in our climate.OOOh you lucky souls who can do most of your living on deck!!I got tired of the division into 2 cabins per
hull. It was a standing joke that we could sleep 6 but only feed 2!!I moved the dividing b/head back to the end of the cabin to mirror the arrangement f/ward-- now I sleep and feed 4 and generally have better storage and comfort.
The volume inside in the PAHI range for those of you not familiar with them comes from having extra flare to the sides(for a given depth the hull is wider) also the sides are slightly curved which adds width at the point where you typically fit seating/galley etc..
I will be using a 10hp when I relaunch.Previously I used various small/old outboards chosen mainly by price.For much of the time I had none.It is amazing what this boat can do with a 4hp motor and just the staysail up.In a marina you probably have no choice.
This covers the major changes I am carrying out at the moment.These changes will not be tested at sea until may/june 2011. I was never happy with the crossbeam or maststep arrangements.I had rot problems in the hollow beams I will never go to sea again with anything I ca'nt inspect and paint.I did'nt like the bolt in the centre of the beam it leaked in heavy weather but less obviously since the pivot point is only 1/2 hull beam (2ft) from the lashings they are under double the pressure they need be.A TIKI type arrangement would solve this.When I say crossbeam here I refer to the heavy beams in the center not the netting or spacing beams at bow and stern.
The mast is stepped on a fore-aft beam which is on top of the forward crossbeams and finishing on a half length beam which rests on the inner edge of each hull.The major thrust (down)of the mast is therefore carried on the inner edges of each hull !The sidestays are then attached to the outer edges of the hulls where they pull upward to double the strain on the hull,the lashings, the crossbeams...this boat has 5 crossbeams 4 of which hold it together and one of which pushes it apart ?? Also with this arrangement the maststep and chainplates are constantly moving in relation to each other making it impossible to set up the mast. Sailing performance suffers.
My solution was to use three crossbeams one at each of the existing troughs at the fore and aft ends of the cabin with the other in a new trough where the old partial beam was.This also allowed me to remove 2 troughs which allows me to move about below without my crashelmet.I also extended the beams by 2ft as many have already done.I will mount the mast as it was before but bring the sidestays to the new central crossbeam so that,as the engineers might say, the forces are "resolved" before they are transferred to the hulls.All very well and good but I have'nt launched yet so watch this space---carefully---
All opinions are my own I may be a complete lula hithertofores and wotwithstandings apply complaints should be sent to M.MOUSE HOLLYWOOD USA no stamp needed.
Traditional songs often end with the "moral" verse so for the last word(for now)the moral might be that nothing is so good that it ca'nt be IMPROVED.