I had the great pleasure to join George Blackford, the builder of the Island Trail 22, for a couple of days of sea trials. The weather was perfect (albeit warm for this Northerner) for the start of trials: sunny skies, flat water, and consistent wind. The learning curve for this unique rig was steep, but after some tweaks and adjustments, we improved the setup and take down time considerably.
The boat proved to be a real joy to sail. The cat ketch rig is easy to handle and adjust while underway. She accelerates quickly, points quite well, tacks are effortless, and I still can’t get over the feeling of sailing to windward at 4 knots in less than a foot of water! Downwind was just as fun as we hit 5.8 knots while sailing wing on wing. Allowing the sprits to trim forward of the masts creates a very comfortable motion with little fear of an accidental gybe.
Sailing and spending time with George was very memorable. After years of designing and building a boat together, the success of the relationship between the builder and designer is important to reach the desired outcome. In this case, a friendship has formed that will last far beyond the time when she sails over the horizon.