After almost 20 years of hard sailing, Juno’s original mainsail is due for retirement.

During the past winter, we have been having detailed discussions with Steve Hall ( who trades as North Sea Sails at Tollesbury) and it was decided to commission him to construct a new sail and alter the mainsail rig on Juno. The original sail made by Gowens in 1999, was designed as a standard gaff rig mainsail, laced to both boom and gaff, and lowered after each sailing passage. Although this has served Juno well, the lowering and stowing of this sail has always proved to be a heavy and time consuming task, particularly in a high wind and heavy sea.

The new sail incorporates five brailing lines, as on the mainsail of an original Thames Sailing Barge, so that it can be brailed up to the gaff and mast, leaving the gaff permanently hoisted (see photo). The mainsail has now been fitted and sailing trials are taking place over the next week (as soon the fog lifts and we can find some wind!). We are confident that the new sail and brailing system will be a success, saving us much time and toil when sail stowing!

Steve Hall has made a superb job of this new sail – workmanship throughout is of the highest standard with much of the construction being hand sewn in the traditional way. We are proud that we now have two of Steve’s sails on Juno, both mizzen and mainsail.