Ken Remembers: the stories and wisdom of Ken Jensen (W1348)
chapter 1: lifelines, trysail & strong, shifty winds


From: Uncle Al []
Sent: Sunday, December 2, 2018 11:31 AM

Now you've done it, Ken! I will build a web page complete with the attached pics and make it the first of a series I will call "The stories and wisdom of Ken Jensen (W1348)". Will get on it right away. Stay tuned.  Cheers,   Uncle Al  W3854

From: KEN-Krist. H. Jensen []
Sent: Sunday, December 2, 2018 9:42 AM
To: Tom Wilber W3133; Uncle Al Schönborn

Hi, Both of You, NA *W.jockeys*!


Lovely reading, thank You both!

[Here rough seas, current, at high latitude, OAT now less +5°C, water cold, so W1348 will always, if more than 15 knots, heave to under main alone -for easy roller reefing- using 1/2 CB or less].

Agree on RED text, by You my dear W.Uncle, plus the adding of lifelines for running/sailing under foresail(s) alone. These lifelines must from those aboard be attached to your W.vessel.  Al's note: next time I sail solo in a blow, I hereby resolve to be smarter and add lifelines. The alternative does not bear thinking about. Remember the Patrick O'Brien book where Aubrey falls out the back window of his captain's cabin and ends up rescued in the South Seas by Amazons who see him as a useful servant/slave. That part was left out of the film  Master and Commander.

Foresails -'plural'- both in use are called *Tradewind Sails* and made of W.Genoa 3,2 sqm and W.Jib 2,8 sqm and both 'winged' on either side of the forestay by whisker- and spinnaker pole]. Cannot go to windward on a foresail alone, BUT you can easily do so on one placed on the mast as a W-trysail. Ours originated in 1968 after reading Adlard Coles Heavy Weather Sailing. Funny you should mention this, Ken. It brings to mind one of my more adventurous moments. More here.


Family Cruise from 1973 from Kristiansand to OSLO.

[Windy grey skies with four aboard -late wife, two boys and me- in W1348 sailing from South Norway by way of Kristiansand and then NE bound for Oslo under W.jib(2,8 sqm) alone in what we term a 'small gale' about ~24+ knots. Big breaking seas from UK [against Baltic Outflow reaching Lofoten beyond the Polar Circle] nearly reached top of our rudder head before W1348 surfed away!  At the helm -using our short family tiller- I feared/expected pooping. Didn't happen - thankfully. But quite anxiously I looked aft at the white 'grins' in pursuit! Meantime, my late wife, and life's greatest love, Mait, was calmly reading from 'Jules Verne' to our boys who were eating fruit + chocolate with nuts. Naturally -read Frank Dye- lifelines on all four].


My suggestion, Tom W3133,  is to anchor close to home and practise the cruise-camping with your Wayfarer!  Mandatory for me who does a lot of cruise-camping, is to have the cockpit arranged for very easy handling in cruising and with appropriate gear for a solo skipper! Perfecting the arrangement has taken me 52 years with W1348! You can, or rather I do, sleep well on board under a cockpit cover for quick night stops. We also carry a small tunnel tent to use for possible base camp on a nice islet, quiet lagoon or bay, for example.


Enjoy high season month with primarily important *winter solstice* and shortly below the 'Kiming'[Viking's horizon] what my good Uncle Al is stretching his neck to look for - south in the new Year!


Got to go now, via icy slipway, to take W1348's for sail no. 71/2018, only a few days before stepping into my 91st year. Longevity is due, I am convinced, to my W1348!


All the very best. Rightfully yours, Ken the older W1348 "Maitken".



another sailor is put under Ken Jensen's spell:
Hi, Tom:

Lovely to hear from you! I will put my two cents’ worth in red below. Am also copying Scandinavia’s #1 Wayfarer, my friend, Ken Jensen (of the W-trysail in KISS) if he promises not to nit-pick about the jib really being the genoa. Ken is always good for thoughtful commentary from a lifetime in Wayfarers!

Cheers,   Uncle Al  W3854



From: Tom Wilber
Sent: Friday, November 30, 2018 10:01 PM
To: Uncle Al
Subject: Advice on Wayfarer rigging


Greetings Al,


Great hearing from you and thanks for keeping in touch! Congrats on Storer Trophy win! Thanks, Tom. Feels good. Especially at my age of 77.

Wow! I do like this font. Will borrow that idea from you!


Very busy summer with work and family but I managed to fit some time on W3133 on our end of lake while continuing to get the boat up to spec. Resealed both buoyancy tanks, bedded keel band, fixed the centerboard brake (with your helpful advice and after reading the body of work you have posted on line concerning this). While I was at it, I dug out and filled a soft spot around the pivot-bolt hole with cabosil-thickened epoxy. Turned out fine. What a hard worker you are!!


Also added some cleats for ground tackle and, when possible, worked on single-handed launching, landing, anchoring, reefing, heaving to and RR position etc. under a variety of conditions. Your book is an oft-consulted item and kept on the coffee-table. I’m still far from expert but gained some hard-won experience!


Unfortunately, my kids are not sailors. They’re soccer players. But the whole family is supportive of my developing passion. My goal is to keep learning while improving the boat and hopefully be ready for some significant cruising when the kids leave the nest in another two years.  Sounds like a fine plan, Tom. You’re always welcome at the Chesapeake Cruise as well.


I missed the gang at Maine this year. Just could not swing it. Are there reports and photos online?  I had the flu and missed Hermit also. Money saved though. What I have is accessible as follows:  (Cruising > N.A. Rallies 00-18) >


Wanted to get your thoughts on something:


Off shore winds on my corner of the lake, when they prevail from south east and east with certain weather patterns (rather than a.m. localized off-shore variety) can be hugely variable and gusty – probably a lot to do with land shadows. On one such day I went out (reefed) and relished the idea – reinforced from my days in the motorboat -- of sailing on a calm lake along a windward shore. As cat paws raced across the surface, I got schooled! I had a scare or two and almost got knocked down.  Conditions where you want to stay very alert with hand on mainsheet; that’s for sure. But upwind that W is harder to capsize than you might think. If you want to leave yourself a bit of safety cushion, don’t pinch. That way it takes a larger windshift to blow into the wrong side of the sails. And even that shift will get less of a grip since your sails are partially eased.

It’s on a dead run that you need to be nervous under full sail in the winds you had. Either jib alone and straight downward – oops! Freudian slip J - downwind, or tack downwind at angles where you luff up until the jib fills, i.e. is no longer being blanketed by the main. If you’re after relaxation, gybing is a lot less fraught with danger if you are sailing under jib alone J


Forecast was for 12 knot winds but buoy readings in the harbor later showed them ranging between 8 and 20 knots. I found this much scarier than sailing in a steady 15 knot on-shore wind with white caps and I’m still a little spooked by it.  When I’m sailing solo in conditions like that I always sail on a close reach as opposed to strapping the sails, esp. the jib, right in. Makes it easier to luff up without backing the jib. Removes much of the spookiness for me.


Another thing... Sometimes (not always) when I heave to she wants to bear off. Maybe due to centerboard or mast rake?  In those conditions especially, I like to heave to with the boat full up. That makes it virtually gust-proof and drags the tiller to leeward due to much leeway  being made. Something I should perhaps have mentioned in the book, you need to fine-tune the main, once the jib is backed. Bring the main in until there is little angle between the moment that your jib takes over from a main that is starting to luff. Don’t know if I am saying this right. When I heave to, I back the jib (hard = leech past pole eye on mast) and then sheet the main in until the boat’s see-saw course tendencies smooth out. The thing is that you don’t want the main out far enough to give jib a chance to really push the bow off to leeward. Practce is good.


Hope we get a chance to get together next summer. I see the 2019 rally is again in Georgian Bay and that may be a fit for me. I hope so!  Hope to see you.







Family cruise camp 1973

Peaceful shelter in our Wayfarer tent

W1348's Trysail (from Jib, Genoa or made new to slide into mast and fitting the spinnaker
 pole as boom for trysail complete with downhaul/'kicker' and possible preventer.

Then a photo for smile and enjoyment of neat 'updated roller reefing' - the fastest way of quick tidy reefing from hove-to position. Lowest batten now parallel to boom.

The last photo shows our cockpit cover, easy to pack to get away from an exposed anchorage.
Eight minutes from above status to hoisted sails.  


I was searching through some of my old flickr albums when I came across the following pics from the last day of our 2015 Chesapeake Cruise, 12 n.mi. from Tangier Island to Crisfield.


SHADES a.k.a. Glory Days at Milton Parks' Marina in Tangier Harbor just before the fateful incident.
I think the place I got hung up was near the third shed from the left across the way.

The other boats had left before me, and I was sailing solo. To make a long story short, I tried taking a short-cut by sitting in mid-channel (above) to hoist the main instead of hanging off the second post head to wind, as I had done the previous day. Board up, jib flogging, no forward momentum - what could go wrong? Let me count the ways: no one at the helm so the jib, even one that was luffing pulled the bow around and my halfway-up mainsail did the rest. Seconds later I looked up and realized I was committed to a full-speed ahead landing in a pile of metal junk. I reached my tiller just in time to tweak my course enough to prong one of the big mooring posts instead of the metal scrap pile. This time I did stay tied up on the leeward shore until the main was up in the gusty breeze. The lesser of two evils seemed to be to work off the lee shore with both main and jib: better speed, control and pointing. The drawback were two near-by  wooden pilings between which I would need to go. Taking care to remove all sheet slack that might catch on things, I pushed myself off onto port tack dove for the tiller and began to gather speed and heave a sigh of ... ooops! the boom bounced off the downwind piling. Good news and bad news: the good: I did not get hung up and do a pirouette back into the junk pile; the bad: my venerable mainsail got hung up on a nail in the piling and ripped in half.

By the time I had collected a few of my thoughts, I had drifted downtide and downwind right out the west end of Tangier Harbor (above). My faithful wooden Wayfarer soon showed that you can, when necessary, beat under genoa alone, even against a bit of a tide. Luckily for me, it was largely a one-tack beat (starboard, with only two short hitches south on port), but I must say I was very relieved when the channel turned left.

Off Crisfield: The W3854 trysail has mast slides but what with the genoa flogging,
I was rushed and just did things in the original, slide-less Ken Jensen way (above).
larger image here

What better time than this for a quick selfie?

Outside on the Chesapeake Bay, the breeze was a respect-inspiring 12 to 15 knots. It was not until we neared Crisfield that I gave in: a flashier entrance into Somers Cove was called for, and the trysail was added (above) to my sail plan. For all the good it did! No one even took a picture as I smoothly landed in Somers Cove.