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Just aquired a PT


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Hey All,

Well it had been sitting in it's previous owners front yard for about five years and his wife had had enough. I'm a mate of a daughters partner who used to love sailing and got a little over excited when the option came up. Anyway, long story short i have just acquired my very first boat, a Paper Tiger. Technically a free boat, but I've already had to build a new light-board for the trailer and replace the wheel bearings just to move it. It also needs at the very least a new rear traveler, new hatch covers and i suspect the trailer might require some work prior to being registered so I guess 'free' is a relative term. Anyway i was in need of a project and now I'll get to teach the kids to sail.

Hoping you guys can help out with some info. Sail number is 1167 (it's a blue sail) and apparently the boat was bought in Victoria many years ago. Also hoping someone could send me an updated version of the Tuning Guide and any other info, everything that came with the boat is from about the early 80's. Anyway looking forward to hearing from you and maybe even catching up for a sail once i get it all sorted.




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G'day Chucks,

Welcome to the Paper Tiger class! You are about to discover that they are a very enjoyable boat to sail.

The various PT associations are here to help you, so feel free to ask any questions you may have about the boat.

I have a detailed listing of many Paper Tigers, but have no records for 1167. Could you possibly let me know the name of the boat? Can you also let me know which club you plan to sail at (I presume YMCA SC in Canberra?). I would also be interested in the sailmaker's name/brand, as blue sails are very rare in the class.

The NSW PT association uses the ACT Multihull Championships at YMCASC as one of the rounds of their traveller's trophy. It is usually held on the last weekend in October. It would be fantastic to have a local PT there for the regatta. There are numerous other events we sail at as well. I can send you the latest copy of our newsletter, which contains the list of events.

Yes, we can also send you the latest PT Tuning Manual. I can also send you a free CD of articles and pictures about rigging, tuning and racing your PT. If you can post your e-mail address here, I can send some of it and also get your address for the CD.

You might also be interested in having a look at the PT International Championships, to be held at Koonawarra Bay SC (just south of Wollongong) over the Easter weekend. You won't be able to sail in it, as it is a selection-only event, but may be worth the trip up from Canberra to have a look around at the best PTs from Australia and New Zealand. You can check the event website for further details at http://internationals2009.papertigercatamaran.org

Anyway, feel free to post here or call me should you have any questions or need any assistance.


Dave Stumbles



0400 476 449

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Thanks for the reply Dave, and thanks also for the tuning guide.

One thing I didn't mention, but one of the first things I'm going to have to do is re-string the trampoline, maybe even replace it altogether. So I was wondering what rope to use, and if it turns out I have to replace the tramp, where I would get a new one? Was seriously considering getting hold of an under-utilized kids trampoline and cutting it to size, but not sure if it would be worth the effort.

One other thing I have now realised is that the boat currently has neither a downhaul nor a boom-vang. So in terms of class rules as i would like to be able to race the boat eventually, is do i have to have them? if so how hard/expensive would they be to set up?

Thanks in advance.



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G'day Chucks,

Good to talk to you on the phone yesterday.

For re-stringing a tramp, I would use "Spectra" line, probably 2mm or 3mm. This stuff has very little stretch, so once you've tightened it a couple of times, it shouldn't need further adjustment for some time.

I would presume by the age of the boat that you would have a tramp that has string all the way around? (Please correct my assumption if incorrect). Modern PTs usually have a track along the two sides and the rear beam and are only strung at the front (on the beam). This is much better for avoiding ropes going down the gaps in the tramp and dragging in the water. The "bias" of the tramp material needs to be on the diagonal though for this method (in order to keep it smooth and flat).

Given the age of your boat, and the fact you are trying to make this a cheap project, I doubt you will want to outlay on a new trampoline. However, if you do, Redhead Sails in Gosford (NSW) are one source for them. You can contact them on (02) 4329 7070 or at sails@redheadsails.com. Other PT sailmakers such as Goodall, Ashby, Hooper and Irwin have all made good quality tramps for PTs as well, although all these are based in Victoria. You would need to specify the "tie all around" option if you wanted to stick with that. The track to use if you want to convert to a track-mounted tramp is caravan annexe track, available from most aluminium retailers.

Alternatively, many of the New Zealand boats use a Tornado-style trampoline that ties to the front, fits into track at the rear only, and then is tensioned by a wire with a turnbuckle on both sides. There are a number of these photos on the CD that I will send you shortly.

If you want to retain the "tie all around" style (the simplest option, though not the best), any sailmaker (even a shade-sail maker) should be able to reproduce what you currently have. Or, as you mention, getting an old trampoline mat and doing the same is an option, though it will need to be reinforced and stitched well along the edges to withstand the load at each eye point.

There is no requirement by the rules to actually force you to have a vang or downhaul, but the boat will be far better to sail and race if it has them. The vang is used to control mast rotation upwind and on tight reaches, so it is virtually an essential, as it prevents the mast over-rotating and being damaged in the track by the boom forcing it open. The downhaul is less important in the early stages, but helps you flatten the sail as the breeze strength increases, making the boat more manageable.

Again, the CD I will send has many pictures of vangs and downhauls. While most of these use modern fittings, old discarded blocks can be well utilised to save money, as long as they still function. Most sailing clubs have members who have boxes full of fittings they no longer have use for and are usually willing to give (or sell them cheaply) to those fitting out older boats. I will shortly e-mail you a couple of sample pictures of double-sided vang systems and vang systems, as well as a couple of diagrams.



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Hi Chucks

You might be able to darn the splits and weak spots in your existing trampoline. Dental floss is strong nylon string that could work if sewed back and forth enough.

New tramp fabric is "Outlook" or "Vistaweave" from an awning maker, $66 to $90/m for 2.4m wide roll. Comes in lots of nice colours. See: http://www.shadeaustralia.com.au/products/Custom+Size+Shadesails/416/129/

I’m looking at replacing my old tramp with an annex material offcut & part of an old bouncy trampoline mat. Next trip to the tip will be to strip off some annex track!

For racing, you really need swivelling cam cleats to allow adjustment on the fly. Ronstan RF5 are about $65 each, Riley have PYF102 for $50 each. With all the blocks & cleats, it's $170 to $240 for the downhaul, and $130 to $200 for the vang. Racing boats also use a 4:1 outhaul with cam cleat under the boom, and cam-cleat adjustable leech line. Another $150 or so.

Whitworths has a good on-line catalogue for pricing parts:


The budget option is fiddle blocks with V-jam cleats. 4:1 downhaul is just adequate, but double the vang's 4:1 by tying the fiddle block through a single block at the boom (Dave's photos should help). $120 the lot.

Don’t give up! Just to go sailing get 3mm white braided nylon line for 70c/m and thread it through a shackle at each end, back and forth to get about 8:1 purchase. Tie off the outhaul and leave the leech line loose. Can also use this to thread the trampoline (Spectra is about $2/m). Job lot less than $20.

I've restored 2 tigers from wrecks & they now both race regularly. Gliding smoothly in light winds, flying a hull low over the water, or just laughing at trying to see through all the spray when you sail it flat with 2 on board. It's worth it!


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Hi again Chucks,

Dave sent me a photo fo your boat; nice one! It's near identical to 1464 "Why Worry?" in construction and the fittings it came with. I can send photos if you're interested; tonyquoll@yahoo.com

The good news is she's a great training boat, cheaply fitted with just fiddle blocks & v-jam cleats, a 2nd hand sail and home-made foils. For blasting around the lake and giving friends a taste of Tiger action, she's perfect. My mate Max loves having a boat that's not too precious for him to muck around on, and take in regatta races.

The bad news is those chopped-strand fibreglass sheet hulls are relatively heavy and slow. If you press in the middle of the panels near the bow, you may find it easily moves about 1cm. New boats are so stiff you cant move that panel at all. Sadly the weight and lack of stiffness means finishing distant last is predictable. Why Worry has won a race; on handicap where slower boats get a headstart.

A boat like yours is perfect for casual sailing, and getting started in club races. When you want a more competitive boat, a 2nd hand one will come complete with all the good bits, so dont worry about top gear at this stage.

I was lucky in that I got two old Tigers, one with wrecked hulls, so I could merge all the bits together and creat one fully working boat. I've since scored another local bargain wreck, with light foam-core hulls, that has become a great racing boat.

The Ronstan part numbers I recommend are:

- fiddle block RF186 $24.50

- becket shackle RF807 $5.95

- fiddle block with V-jam RF187 $27.90

2 of each above, for vang & downhaul.

Double the vang purchase with:

- single block RF280 $7.95

For the outhaul, use skinnier rope and put a single block on the end of the sail:

- RF571 $7.50

a sheave to take the rope into the boom

- Riley RM305 $19.90

another single block suspended inside the boom, and then a cam cleat mounted to a home-made angle bracket under the boom, which accepts the rope as it comes out of the slot you've cut

- small T-cleat RF5001 $31.50

Making the lower forestay adjustable is also worth it, which requires re-swaging one of the existing wires to about 1/2 length ($5), a single block at the end of it RF571 $7.50, a single block with swivel on one forward chainplate, RF573 $13.95, and then more fiddle blocks to attach the end to the cross-bar.

Prices from Bias Boating mail-order catalogue. Roughly totals $250 including ropes & shackles. Add a ratchet block for the mainsheet, such as RWO $64.50 or the good stuff; Ronstan Orbit $180.

These parts will last forever, and having everything working and adjustable is an investment you wont regret. Good luck!

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Hi Tony,

Thanks again for all this very useful info, it's fantastic!

I know what you mean about the boat being heavy ... I read the class rules and saw the weight limit of 50kg Ha! more like about 80! at least it will behave a bit better when it starts to blow.

Am off to to try and scrounge up the makings of the new tramp over the weekend with your advice in mind, and trailer should have its rego sorted in about another week fingers crossed. So with a bit of makeshift tying off of vangs etc I should get it on the water for a test sail in a few weeks.

Does anyone know which is generally the cheaper option, Bias Boating or Whitworths? Haven't sussed out the local yacht club shop yet, but as there isn't anywhere else in Canberra to get sailing hardware I suspect i'll be getting most of the gear online.



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