In a previous post (stephenswaring.com/bob-and-paul-set-sail-with-zingara) we announced that Zingara was purchased by Stephens Waring principals Bob and Paul and will be cruising and racing in Maine this summer under the stewardship of the pair at times and either of them with their families at other times. We signed off that piece with a “watch this space” announcement so fellow watchers here we are.
You’d think that being owned by such knowledgeable sailors with immense industry experience, Zingara’s spring launch would pass without a hitch. Right. As most snow-belt boat owners know, spring launching is a dance of the wicked with Mr. Murphy himself conducting the orchestra. Despite knowing all the moves, Messieurs Stephens and Waring were not fully protected from the occasional misstep as Spring wore into early Summer and launch day approached.
Zingara was stored at Belmont Boat Works, a small, do-it-yourself yard near Belfast, Maine, so it was pretty much up to Bob and Paul to put her together for launch. During the first week of June she slid into Belfast waters at the Public Marina where a full week of work went into getting to know her . . . again. “The work included commissioning and understanding all her systems, wiring of electronics in the masts, bending on sails, then provisioning and in general setting her up to our liking,” according to Paul. “Tuning the deck-stepped fractional mainmast had a bit of a learning curve, but once we had the Selden mast tuning guide in hand all was better. Probably the largest challenge we have left is setting up the mizzen to make it more user-friendly as far as raising and stowing the sail easily.”
With the boat ready to go Friday afternoon, Bob and Paul shoved off for a short shakedown cruise to a nearby harbor about nine miles away. Zingara performed flawlessly under power and they spent the first part of the weekend getting to know the boat, her systems, and how and where items should be stowed. They had some time for relaxing as well as some good food.
“I enjoy cooking, particularly aboard boats,” Paul said. “I love the idea of keeping people fed and working with any limitations of being aboard to create very similar dishes to cooking at home. Both Bob and I share a passion for cooking in general, so we are never very long without a good meal when we’re together!”
Under power: check. Under anchor: check. Galley works: check. Acoustics: too tired to play guitar but will do. Now for some sailing!
First time sails up it was blowing 20-plus in 2-4 foot seas. Any experienced sailor will tell you that it’s best to set sails in say flat water and 10 knots to get things going, check rig tune, sheet leads, etc. so in the 20 and decent chop Zingara was having a blast, but prudence said pull her back a notch do some more tuning and bash upwind another day. Still check off the sailing box, she’s awesome.
With the rig-tuning more advanced and all comfortable with systems, the team will be looking for ways to improve light air performance, maybe add a square-top to the mix, work on smaller headsails, etc. Zingara was designed at a time, 30 years ago, when the gearbox was located predominantly in the size and shape of headsails. With today’s materials, designs, and improved aerodynamics the gearbox has shifted to larger mainsails and more efficient smaller jibs on many boats and especially those boats whose crews desire performance with maybe a little less sail-changing in the middle of the night. This is something to follow as the new owners settle into their new ride. “One thing we are thinking about is whether it makes sense to add a Code Zero-type reaching sail to the inventory, set to the masthead and tacked on the anchor roller, as Zingara’s spinnaker is now,” says Bob. “This sail would add power in light winds, and would also be a great addition to the cruising inventory– much easier to deal with than changing jibs on the furler foil. The rating cost under CRF looks manageable, too.”
Zingara will be living the life of a racer/cruiser in the Spirit of Tradition world of classic racing. Her first event will be the Camden Classics Cup, July 29-31, of which Stephens Waring is a founding sponsor, then other Maine events through the summer. The cruising side is just as important, however, and Paul and Megan were the first to get off on a weeklong cruise.
“We headed out to Seal Bay on Vinalhaven in 18-22 knots on the nose so upwind sailing for 16 miles or so. Zingara loved it and provided a comfortable ride with her first reef tied in,” Paul reported. “Megan received a bunch of experience steering as close to the wind as possible and putting in sharp tacks.” (It is unreported how Paul, the crew, handled the jib sheets during this time . . . ).
Once in Seal Bay for the evening, sheltered from the 25-28 knot winds that built through the night, the duo created a wonderful dinner of roasted salmon steaks and anchovy/capers/artichokes in penne pasta. Food is a core element of cruising after all.
“Running back to Buck’s Harbor was a downwind sleigh ride in 26 knots sustained with gusts to 35 knots in 4-6 foot seas. Zingara hit 10.5 knots,” Paul told us. “She is a wonderfully balanced and well-behaved sailing vessel in all conditions so far.”
Performance cruising: Check mate.