New sailors, old Lark

Brian Armstrong

Posted: 09 Oct 17 09:20
Message ID: 2616
Hello to the forum! My Son and I began learning to sail this summer (mostly Sunfish, some time on a 25ft MacSomethingorother) and a friend has given us an old Baker Lark with sail number 305 (I suspect the hull is the same but can't find the number). She is an aft sheeted Lark with a traveler and for now we intend to keep her that way. Our intended use is to cruise with her once she is in shape.

The Lark needs a good cleaning, the sails have some damage that need repair, and many of the plastic hardware pieces have been gnawed down by varmints while the boat was stored in the woods by the previous owner. We have also encountered some devices we are unfamiliar with. We are hoping this forum can help us revive Lark 305.

I know a picture is worth a thousand words, but it seems I can't post them here. Maybe I can link them if hosted elsewhere? In the mean time, maybe I can gt a few questions answered?

Our Mainsail has some holes in the luff near the tack, and a couple of tears in the leech just above the top batten pocket. Does anyone know what weight sail cloth the mainsail is made of? I'd like to purchase some and make repairs.

Our spinnaker is also quite torn. I don't think we will be using it any time soon, but I'd like to repair it as well. Does anyone know what weight the spinnaker is made of?

Our lines and sheets are quite old and I'm not sure they are the correct size (the jib sheet is suspiciously thick). Does anyone know what size line should be used for the sheets?

There are two small plastic fittings at the fore of the mast gate. one is directly in front of the gate and is a fair lead. The other is at about the 10 o-clock position and has been gnawed flat. Does anyone know what the damaged fitting is or what either of them are for?

There are two plastic fittings on the gunwales near the aft that are also both gnawed flat. These are not the cleats for the traveler on the inside of the gunwale (those are still there), these are towards the outside of the gunwale. Did these have something to do with the spinnaker maybe?

Lastly, there is a pulley mounted to the starboard on our mast near the foot of the mast mast with a cable wound around the arbor in the center channel of the mast. This cable has a pin on the end that looks like it may connect to a v-grooved device I found on the boom. I have seen a pulley set up like this to raise a centerboard, but our centerboard already has a system to raise it. if this cable does match the fitting on the boom, could this be some sort of a boomvang setup? In all my research I haven't seen a boomvang setup like this. Usually they are all some sort of block system.

Any help would be greatly appreciated. My Son and I are very much looking forward to taking this boat out on the Toms River inlet and Barnegat Bay in NJ.

Thanks to the Forum!


Brian Armstrong

Posted: 09 Oct 17 10:23
Reply ID: 6813
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Brian Armstrong

Posted: 09 Oct 17 10:24
Reply ID: 6814
Okay, it looks like I have the image posting sorted. So here are some more pictures. These should include image of most of the items I inquired about above. Thanks again for any help.

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Stuart Hydon

Posted: 11 Oct 17 10:14
Reply ID: 6815
Lots of questions there!
1. Sails - better off buying a cheap set as looking at the condition they wont set right.
2. The fair lead was probably a spinny pole downhaul system.
3.Jib sheets 6mm and main 8mm
4. Fittings at rear of gunwhales - probably spinnaker. Most Larks have a pulley through the deck leading the spinny sheets back to the thwart. PS you are correct re cleats on inside of gunwhale they were originally for the traveller however even in the day they where tied off and left on the centre-line.
5. The drum on the side of the mast is the kicker. The wire that attaches to the boom is in the middle of the mast. The drum on the side basically has a rope wrapped round it to tension the wire. The kicker from the drum is normally led back to the rear of the boat. all modern boats dispense with that fitting and use a rope/pulley cascade system.

Hope that answers your points.


Brian Armstrong

Posted: 12 Oct 17 08:36
Reply ID: 6816
Thanks a bunch for the answers! Unfortunately I think purchasing sails is out of the budget right now so we may try putting it in the water with these (after a bit of patching) until we can locate affordable sails in the US or fund having a set shipped across the pond. I think I'll try this kicker for a while (as we've never really used one before) but plan to upgrade in the future. I just need to figure out how to attach a line to this wheel and locate a good place to cleat it off.

In the mean time we have a bunch of cleaning up and refitting to do.

Brian Armstrong

Posted: 12 Oct 17 08:42
Reply ID: 6817
PS. I believe I found the weight of the main and jib (yes, I found a hole in the jib). One supplier in the UK has new sails for the lark listed as 4.46oz so I imagine 4oz cloth will do.

Brian Armstrong

Posted: 18 Oct 17 15:38
Reply ID: 6819
Can anyone tell me what purchase is necessary for the vang if I choose to replace the drum?

Would a small 3:1 system like this work?

Or would I be better off getting something used like this for a quick and dirty vang setup?

Brian Armstrong

Posted: 23 Oct 17 07:24
Reply ID: 6820
Well, it looks like I am going to have more work than I hoped. I found an 8" crack in the hull right through a previous repair a few inches to port of the port bailer. It's time to pick up a fiberglass repair kit and learn to use it.

Paul Roe

Posted: 07 Nov 17 03:27
Reply ID: 6822
Its not worth spending a lot of money on a boat of this age.
Try a buoyancy test on it at an early stage: see
section B3, particularly if you are going to sail alone although the tanks should have polystyrene blocks built in.

For cruising, I'd keep the kicker drum winch, just replace the wire with a modern rope if necessary having checked for sharp edges on the tube.

Brian Armstrong

Posted: 14 Nov 17 13:43
Reply ID: 6823
Thanks for the advice. Sharp edges on the tube? What tube is that?

Brian Armstrong

Posted: 14 Nov 17 13:44
Reply ID: 6824
Also, what type of rope and how much do I use on the drum; AND... where do I tie it off to?

Paul Roe

Posted: 15 Nov 17 03:21
Reply ID: 6825
The cast drum wheel is mounted on a stainless steel tube that the wire kicker wraps around. the end of the wire is held in place by threading it through a hole in the tube and a knot (very primitive) The sharp edges to look for are on the hole through the tube where you would thread the new kicker rope if you replace the wire.

To replace the wire you'd use a length of Dyneema and splice the end to the key that fits into the boom. If the wire is OK don't bother: just measure it ready for when it breaks.

The rope around the drum could be almost anything e.g. 4mm prestretched polyester. Your picture shows the hole it threads through backed by a knot

Trade name/type of both the above depends on your local supplier.

The lead from the drum probably first goes to a fairlead low down near the front of the centerboard case. It could then go anywhere, but probably to a cleat at the rear of the case or under the thwart.
you will have to determine the length by measurement/experimentation but I think it needs at least three times around the drum to pull the kicker on from slightly tensioned.

During use you'll find it easiest to hoist the sail and fit the boom and kicker 'wire' then tension it slightly by rotating the drum by hand and then wrap the rope tail several times around the drum to be able to apply proper tension.

The great thing about this old system that none of it has to be set up to precise measurements.

Brian Armstrong

Posted: 15 Nov 17 06:25
Reply ID: 6826
Great, thanks a bunch for the info. Unfortunately there is nothing mounted to either the centerboard case or the thwart, but I have some extra bits I can probably make use of.