Jake Kavanagh / Pod

Preparing a junk-rigged Corribee for the Jester Azores Challenge:

Welcome to what I hope will be regular updates for fellow Corribee owners on improving these excellent little boats for offshore voyaging. Just for the record, the furthest I’ve taken Pod so far is to the Channel Islands, but she’s always struck me as a great little sea boat. The design has already crossed oceans – two (and a half) transatlantics that I know about, plus two round Britain’s (with a third in the offing – good luck, John).


I discovered Pod by accident whilst covering the filming of London’s Burning in South Dock, central London. (I was the features editor of Motor Boats Monthly magazine at the time.) Pod was one of four boats due to be ‘blown up’ for the grand finale of a dramatic episode, but at the last minute (around 4am) the wind shifted, and she survived. The other three boats alongside her – all ‘bad debts’ to the marina – were toast. I paid £1,400 for her, with another £200 for a 6hp outboard, and after cleaning off the soot, sailed her from London to the Hamble, where I was living at the time. Initially, I was going to do away with her junk rig, but on the delivery trip I found it so easy to handle that I was converted.

Over the last 15 years or so of ownership, we’ve covered many miles, but I wanted to take her ‘off-soundings’ and do some real deep-sea stuff. Then along came Jester, a race especially designed for boats under 30ft who could race single-handed across the Atlantic. My employers wouldn’t allow me to be away for that long (reassuring in a way) but I have since gained permission to enter the Jester Azores Challenge in June 2008. Pod is now being readied to take on Biscay.

Initial mods:

The list of modifications is a long one, and please forgive the basic overview here. More will come as work progresses. My dilemma is that I want the boat to be watertight and very seaworthy, but I also need her in cruising trim for when I bring her back from the Azores via the Med. The Med is hot, and the Corribee has her forward hatch glassed in to take the unstayed mast. The answer is to make more hatches for improved ventilation, but lots of ventilation means lots of holes in the hull, which is bad for seaworthiness. …But I think I’ve solved the problem. So far, Pod has been given a raised hatch, topped-off with a dome, so I actually have full standing headroom in a very small area. This is great for getting dressed, or just having a good stretch when below. It also means you can have a quick 360 of the horizon without going outside. The dome cost £40 at a jumble (around £150 new) and needed some polishing to become clear again. The housing is made of epoxied plywood.


The inside of the hull has been completely gutted, prior to quite a radical refit this summer. All under-berth lockers will become watertight with the addition of hatches, rather than the usual elasticised plywood covers. A big hole has appeared in the foredeck, courtesy of my Bosch angle-grinder. This will eventually form a self-draining anchor locker, but the aft-facing part will also incorporate a hatch. A big problem with the junk-rigged Corri is the lack of a through-flow of fresh air, but by opening the chain locker hatch, and then opening the inner hatch, you’ll get a draught. Will it stop an Atlantic greener? Plenty of epoxy may help. Besides, by using an angle grinder, the piece of the foredeck I removed is intact enough to be reused as a hatch.

Corri rudders never seem big enough with the junk rig (the mast isn’t far enough forward) so I had the trailing edge of my rudder extended by three inches. This made a huge difference, so now I’m dropping it by another 3 inches and making it semi-balanced. I’m also streamlining the skeg, as it seems very flat at the moment, and must act as a brake. Cockpit drains have been made huge, and all space under the cockpit turned into lockers. The hatches will probably leak, so the area will be used for non-essential stowage (ropes, fenders, water bottles) and be sealed off from the rest of the boat. Tek-Dek makes her look nice, but has added a lot of weight. Goal posts over the stern will take a wind generator and radar reflector, and also form the aft part of a cockpit tent.


All this top-hamper has made her a bit tender, so 90lbs of ballast is being – literally – stuck to the keel. (Didn’t fancy drilling through all those boiler punchings) This is really proving tricky, but two identical model yachts may provide the answer. Their hulls, filled with lead and glued each side of the keel will make a great ‘bulb’ with a wing. Pods belly flexes when pushed, so she’s being beefed up with some woven rovings and epoxy. I’m hoping this stiffer hull will prove more solid, but from what I can gather she should be fine as she is.

The Challenge:

Jester is all about self-sufficiency, so I’m looking forward to joining the other 55 competitors in Plymouth in June of next year. In the meantime, congratulations to Steve for this cracking site, and I hope to keep you updated with the refit! For a lively forum on single-handed sailing, featuring a very good posting from Tim, who has crossed the Atlantic in his Corri and lived aboard off the American east coast for three years, go to http://www.pbo.co.uk/jester.

Jake Kavanagh, May 2007

Locker and cockpit modifications:

The standard Corribee has loose fitting locker lids. In order to provide additional buoancy in the event of the unthinkable Jake has cut out the existing locker tops and laminated new plywood/epoxy composite tops fitted with screw-down hatch covers. Two layers of ply are used so that the hatches can be positively located within the rebate and fit flush with the top.




Before and after pictures of Pods cockpit. The original Treadmaster has been removed and replaced with Tek Dek. Note the modified hatch cover with the plexiglass viewing dome, stainless tube grab rails and the watertight hatch covers fitted to the cockpit floor. And, of course, the super paint job.


Jake has completed an incredible number of modifications to Pod in preparation for the Jester Azores Challenge. Many of them are of interest to the less adventurous among us – in particular the anchor locker (which was the basis of a PBO article) and the portlights in the cockpit well. Shelves in the stern locker would also be a useful addition to any cruising Corribee (judging from the amount of smaller bits and pieces which litter my own).


Pod always used to stall when going about, so a few years ago I had the rudder extended aft by three inches. (The Corribee apparently suffers from the junk rig being not far enough forward).


This extension made quite a difference, but I’m going one further by making the rudder more semi-balanced, and extending the bottom edge down by another 4 inches. This, I hope, will make her easier to handle when surfing down an Atlantic breaker! I used a thin grinding disc to make a deep groove in the bottom of the rudder, and then made an extension out of three pieces of ply epoxied together, the thinner, central piece forming a flange to fit the groove. Thickened epoxy locked it all together. The leading edge of the skeg has also been sharpened with the addition of a laminated and sculpted plwood/epoxy cutwater. This has made the skeg a bit longer, but it no longer presents a wide, flat surface to the passing water, which was acting as a brake. As you can see, work is still in progress, but the shape is coming along nicely. Sculpting is done with an angle ginder fitted with a coarse sanding disc. Fine details are done with a Dremel fitted with a drum sanding disc. By the end (and after creating tons of sawdust) I should have a nice aerofoil shape.

Extra mast:

I used to use a large cruising chute in light airs, but this would bend the mast quite alarmingly in gusts. Instead, I have fitted a down pipe to take a small unstayed aluminium mast through the foredeck. (In fact, it can also take my large emergency sweep to act as a spare mast).


The plastic pipe has been reinforced with epoxy rovings (it needs more than is shown here) and wedged into wooden blocks glassed – and sealed – into the bow. Note also the curved reinforcing pad that sits directly behind the bow. This will form the backing for a stainless steel deflector strip. The tube has a drain hole at the bottom, and the mast itself can also double as a bowsprit for a small jib (as used by Ming Ming) I plan on using a loose-footed lugsail up forward, which should give me the ability to goosewing downwind.

Anchor locker:

Currently featured in PBO, this locker is designed to seal up tight at sea, but be fully open when at anchor. The idea is that a wind scoop will feed air down into the locker, and then force it through the watertight hatch at the rear, and into the cabin to create a flow-through.



As you know, Corri’s with a junk rig don’t have a forehatch, so can get a bit stuffy. The locker also allows me to keep a lightweight picnic anchor handy (on warp) and thanks to a (sealable) drain, I can wash off the muddy anchor rode when it comes aboard. Smaller additional hatches give me access to the under-deck fittings, should any additions/adjustments be needed. (Well, you never know!) The main anchor chain is being fed back aft to sit under the triangular hatch under the inner moulding. This will be completely enclosed, although a drain cock will allow it to empty back into the bilge for washing. With the weight further aft, it should reduce the seesawing. The main forward bulkhead is also being positioned further aft.



Work to seal up the quarter berths is progressing well, with the area now receiving it’s transverse bulkheads. The idea is that all the lockers are sealed with watertight hatches, so the boat has at least four compartments each side to contain a hull breach.



Why not drop a window into your quarter berth. I’ve cut the slot for one already, and the difference it makes to the light inside is huge. As you can see, I sighted it high to clear ther bunk cushions, and dead centre to get the best spread of light.




The first of my winged ballast bulbs has been made from a mould, weighing 11lbs and looking like a sliced elephant tusk. The mouldings are designed to be symmetrical, so one mould should make four bulb sections, two each side. (More pix of this to follow.)



This should add a total of 44lbs to the very bottom of the keel, which as you can see has had the gelcoat ground off to accept it. Judging from the discussion group, the keel is full of hard metal, so drilling isn’t an option. Instead, I’ll be relying on a combination of epoxy, rovings and 3M UV4000 to stick each ballast wing… for ever!

Lazarette shelves:

Two shelves about 8in wide have been added to the lazarette. These also give a bit of strength to the sides. The process was a bit fiddly, and I’ll have some more pix to show it step by step soon.


The area was finished with flo-coat. Two longitudinal dividers will hold the fuel and water tanks, but again, they are being moved as far forward as possible.

The inside of Pod still looks like a bomb-site, but she’s taking shape slowly. Too late, I think, for any winter sailing, as the weather this year has really slowed things up. I hope this was of interest, and I’ll keep you posted on any further design changes! Jake Kavanagh Sept 2007


Source: corribee.org


Do you have a story, information, brochure, manual, link or other relevant content that should be on this page? If so, we would be very grateful if you would leave it as a comment or email corribeeeditors@googlemail.com so we can post here – thanks!


One Response to “Jake Kavanagh / Pod”

  1. Dawn Says:

    This article is now 3 years old. How did Jake and Pod get on? I cannot find any reference to it. I also checked the Jester listings and cannot find Pod there either. If someone could let me know, or let me have an email for Jake I would be most grateful.

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