On Saturday I went to Brighton to see Jake McLewee’s Sinobee, a Newbridge Coromandel and sister-ship of Tammy Norie. Once again it was time to put on my deerstalker and uncover Sinobee’s history from the evidence. We discovered quite a few interesting differences.
Firstly, Brighton Marina is gargantuan. Jake told me it was the largest in Europe for quite a while, and I can well believe it. The marina occupies reclaimed land below the cliffs east of Brighton, and the approach reminds me of getting in to an airport. Half of the area is occupied by a food and entertainment complex the size of a small town.
Sinobee was moored up in the boatyard pool, waiting for her turn on the crane to have her mast stepped.
She has a one-piece mast (no hinge) and so once it’s raised Jake won’t easily be able to get to the mast head to alter rigging, add the VHF antenna, etc. I’d almost forgotten about this problem, since I can dip Tammy’s mast in a few minutes whenever I want. There are a couple of strange things about his mast. Roughly the top quarter has been painted.
We’re note sure why this is, but speculated that it’s to protect the mast from chafe from the yard. The other odd thing is that the mast has been extended by about 300mm at the base.
Clues to this mystery were revealed when we unwrapped the sail from its cover. Jake had so far never seen the sail, so it was quite a reveal! Unfortunately we didn’t have space to lay it out flat and see its shape, but we soon learned that it wasn’t an original Coromandel sail like mine.
The battens are fibreglass tubes, backed with narrower tubes on the other side. What’s more, they’re very bendy. The sail is cut flat, but every panel is tapered, so it must be a fan-shaped sail. I think it might be a Sunbird 90’s rig. Part of the reason for this is that it was made by Chris Scanes, who often works with Robin Blain of Sunbird Marine. I’ll write and ask Robin if he remembers Sinobee.
The sheeting system is a complete mystery and makes little sense to me. Various spans had long loose tails not tied to anything. I started a thread on the Junk Rig Association forums to see if anyone else had any idea. This diagram shows what’s there as far as I can tell.
There may well have been a sheeting system designed to go with the sail, so it’s important that we figure out what was intended. In the meantime we can put together something sensible from the blocks and lines he has at the moment. If we can find the mainsheet or its block!
Sinobee’s mast cone has clearly been completely rebuilt. It’s considerably thicker than the original cone, and the fibreglass has been coated, but clearly didn’t come out of a mold. I broke my mast cone the first day out with Tammy Norie. I’m now pretty convinced that this is a weak point in the design, and any Coromandel owner would do well to beef up their cone with extra layers of fibreglass.
Sinobee’s pushpit has been replaced. It’s definitely a modification, rather than an improvement by Newbridge, because you can see the filled holes for the old pushpit’s feet on the deck. The new pushpit has a rotating fixing for the mainsheet block at the extreme port quarter.
Robin Blain recently advised me to change my block fixing for a track. I often find my mainsheet block’s offset position a bit unhelpful. I have to adjust the sheet when tacking. Sinobee’s is going to be worse, I think.
Sinobee has a few differences to the foredeck. A rather handsome Sampson post replaces my large low cleat, and there’s an additional cleat on the starboard side.
I can see the advantage of this. Even though my cleat is large, I often find it gets crowded. Sinobee’s post will nicely handle the anchor chain running out of the locker and over the bow fitting. In fact, Sinobee has a welded stainless steel bow fitting, unlike Tammy Norie’s molded aluminium one.
Those are all the main differences that other Coromandel owners might find useful, I think, but if you have any queries please do leave them in the comments below.