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What makes Yilki go

Updated: Jun 3, 2022

Thought I write a blog about propulsion, what makes Yilki go, because I'm not sure that's obvious, sailing chums need read no further. Well obviously Yilki has sails but I thought I could tell you a bit more about how that works and also what happens if there's no wind, how do you make Yilki go then?

But first a pub quiz question and a quick tour of Yilki, I'm not sure we've shown you round yet? Here's the pub quiz question, how many ropes are there on a boat? There's actually 5, but on a yacht just 1. Mostly ropes are given other names, which generally go back a long way to times of pirates and square rigged sailing ships. On a modern yacht we've got mainly sheets, halyards and mooring warps, but only 1 rope, a bolt rope, which is at the front edge of the headsail. Even the rope that connects to the dinghy isn't a rope, it's a painter!

Now a quick tour of Yilki. Yilki is a bit of an old girl but has been very well maintained, she's a bit narrower at the back than a new boat but is 43' long so has plenty of space. So here's where we live a lot of the time, the cockpit. It has comfy seats and a table, twin helms for steering and all of the things needed to control the boat, whether sailing or motoring, but more of that in a minute.

We get down below using steps, called the companionway.

Down below Yilki is nice and comfy and has everything we need. There's a lounge area, with an open plan galley kitchen (lot's of words we regularly use, like galley kitchen, come from sailing, which probably shows our roots as a seafaring nation) and a chart table. The chart table used to be where all the navigation would be done, on Yilki the chart table has paper charts, guide books and boat papers as well as the main electrical panel for the boat. But these days chart tables are rarely used for navigation, Yilki has an electronic chart plotter in the cockpit and we have a chartplotter app on a tablet as well as a hand held GPS for backup. Of course we know how to use paper charts if all else fails (almost all of our RYA training was with paper charts).

Also in Yilki's living space are 3 bedrooms, one at the front with a small en-suite bathroom.

And two at the back as well as a main bathroom, so there are 2 loo's and 2 showers.

Absolutely critically Yilki has two fresh water tanks which supply all of the taps in the kitchen and bathrooms, with a capacity of 450 litres in total. Sounds a lot, but still needs preserving and we always keep topped up whenever we can. There are 2 hot water heaters, one powered by Yilki's Diesel engine and one mains (we only get a mains power connection in marina's in Turkey). Yilki has two additional things we rarely get on a yacht - a microwave (not used yet) and a proper upright fridge. The fridge is normally a weak point, its usually just a small box fridge, no freezer. We LOVE Yilki's fridge freezer.

So that's Yilki, our holiday home. But what makes her go? So when there's no wind or not enough or it's in the wrong direction and we need to get somewhere we use the engine. Yilki is a heavy old bird, she weighs nearly 10 tons, over 3 of which is in the keel, so you need something sizeable to shift her. Here's Yilki's engine, hidden under the companionway steps. The engine is 55HP and at 2,00 rpm, ish, Yilki is doing 7 knots, which is plenty for our needs.

How about the sails? This might get a bit blah blah so feel free to skip or pretend you've read it. Yilki has two sails, one at the front (headsail) called a Genoa and a mainsail which goes up the mast. The sail setup (rig) has an odd name, Bermudan rigged (influenced by the Moors but first developed by a Dutch born Bermudian). All modern yachts are Bermudan.

Yilki's Genoa (headsail) is rolled up around around a steel cable (one of the cables which stop the mast from falling down). You pull the sail out with a line called the Genoa Sheet (sheets generally pull things out and tight) and roll it back with a furling line. As with all of the sail control lines, they go back to the cockpit.

The mainsail, in Yilki's case, is rolled up in the mast. As with the Genoa there are two lines, one to pull it out and another to furl it back into the mast.

A couple of pictures with Yilki under sail today. Difficult to take pictures of sails when you're on the boat, but hopefully it'll give you an idea.

Most of the control lines finish up on the roof either side of the companionway in things called clutches which enable you to 'lock' the line or release it. They all have labels and the lines have different colours to make it easy to tell what they do.

There are also 4 winches, two primary winches to pull the Genoa tight (bigger because there's a lot pressure when the Genoa is powered up) and two on the roof used to pull sails up, furl them, that kind of thing. One other very important line is called the mainsheet which controls how far the boom goes out (in tight upwind and further out downwind). The winches are two speed and there because you need more than human strength to pull the lines. There's are a few other things I'll leave for another day, mostly with whacky names, the Vang, Kicking Strap, Traveller and Topping Lift, save sending you all to sleep.

Then possibly the most important sailing aid on the boat, at the top of the mast, called a Hawk, fixed to the top of the mast.

The arrow point tells you where the wind is coming from. In between the two black squares is to much into the wind to sail, the 'no go' zone, so you can us the tail of the arrow to tell you how to set the sails (how much upwind or downwind you are).

That's it, a little tour of Yilki and what makes Yilki go.

More soon,


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