Spring Training Aboard Lucie

“We’re so lucky. On Day One, we had four knots to start, and up to 15 in the afternoon,” said Craig Healy, Lucie’s skipper. “That allowed us to go through the whole sail inventory.”

Lucie’s opening day of spring training started in 4 knots and ended with 15. Sailing photos by Jens Lange

In late April, Craig’s St. Francis Yacht Club team of John Hayes, Tom Ducharme, Isabelle du Moulin and Keith Stahnke arrived in Portsmouth, R.I., for four days of preparation and practice. Except for Keith, all had sailed Lucie at the 2018 6-Metre European Championship, and with two days of practice, finished 9th of 20 boats. This year, they are ready to take it up a notch as they head to the World Championship in Finland.

(From left) Craig Healy and John Hayes discuss sail inventory with Doyle’s USA Head of Design Glenn Cook and coach Ed Adams.

On that first day, with coach Ed Adams and Doyle Sailmakers’ Glenn Cook and Moose McClintock observing, the team set all of their sails—more than a dozen—then came ashore for a lengthy debrief. A 6-Metre can carry a wide variation of sails of different shapes, sizes, and weights, and discussion ranged widely, from mast bend and complementary mainsail luff curves to spinnaker shapes, stabilities, and cloth types.

Tom Ducharme goes up the mast to adjust tension on the runners.

Sailing in the 6-Metre’s Classic Division, Lucie’s mains and jibs are made of Dacron, which doesn’t hold its shape for long. It’s crucial, therefore, to choose the right sails and preserve them for the most important regattas.

On the last two days of practice, coach Wally Henry ran the team through lots of maneuvers and crewwork. Heavy, gusty winds on Saturday provided a good test, coupled with light winds on Sunday.

The team gets set for one of many mark roundings over four days in all winds.

“We did more than a dozen sets and takedowns on Sunday,” said Craig. “And we did our best to make it difficult for ourselves, with lots of jibe takedowns.”

Jens Lange, boat restoration expert at Baltic Boat Works and Lucie’s primary caretaker, spent the weekend in Lucie’s support boat. Jens had built a new wood mast for Lucie in 2018, and said, “This was the best test yet for the mast. The crew played with all the options—mast bend, stiffness, the jumpers. It was a better test than the Europeans because we took her out in 25 knots. The mast was fine, but my heart rate went up!”

One day, the breeze on Narragansett Bay piped up over 20 knots.

According to Craig, the crew will return at the end of May for three days of boathandling practice, sailing with one or two other 6 Metres. The California crew also plans to sail in the New York Yacht Club Annual Regatta before the boat is shipped to Europe for the championship regatta in the first week of August.

Vintage Lucie

We’re always on the lookout for vintage photos of Lucie. Here’s a fun flashback to the 1930s: Lucie on the right, racing in Cowes against the 6 Metre Bob Kat II.

LUCIE Gets New Mast

By Jens Lange
LUCIE is in the shop for the winter – taking a much earned break and awaiting her regular maintenance to make sure she continues to turn heads and be the fastest Rule II boat out there.
When LUCIE returned back from the Worlds in Vancouver she arrived back home with a damaged mast – somewhere along the almost 4,000 mile trip from Vancouver, BC to Newport, RI the overhanging mast was clipped and caused damages too severe to be fixed. This was a big bummer for team LUCIE as we had spent years to tune and develop this beautiful wooden mast. There now was only one thing to do: look forward, built a new mast and incorporate everything we have learned over the years.
In December we were successful in finding the proper material for the new tube: Finest Sitka Spruce in a length of 30’+ and at 16/4 quarter-sawn – which means we only need one scarf per stave and we could re-saw the wood to exactly what we needed. The last design of the mast tube was reviewed carefully and some adjustments were calculated, drawn and discussed until we finally had the design and construction method that will produce the next iteration of the LUCIE mast. While many details will remain proprietary we can release this much: The mast will be 8 staved and hollow with focus on weight as close to the rule as can be managed with a wooden mast.
Last week – with a little room in the shop before another 6 Meter was scheduled to come in – we milled the re-sawn planks close to maximum thickness per stave as per the section drawings, then we scarfed all eight staves together to give us the 48’ building length needed. Somewhere in that process the planks were ripped to a little over needed width as well. Once the scarfs had cured all eight staves went thru the planer again, now bringing them down to final maximum thickness. That was obviously done with shop doors open as it now needed a 100’ run (50′ on each side of the planer).
Next step will be the detailing of the staves, trimming to final width and thickness taper towards the top, and then heading for bench set-up and dry-fitting. Stay tuned!