Well yes, it prolly DOES "mean a thing" :-) There is an old saying "If it looks right, it'll sail right", so you are right to be suspicious if something looks wonkey.
Looking at the EH24 profile in Sailboatdata, my eye tells me that she does, indeed, have rake. 10 inches or so in on a 25-foot stick would not be abnormal. So if the mast is stepped on the stanchion that goes from keel
to deck right through the saloon
table and your halyard
came down to the deck immediately forrard of the "pilot house", your rake is in the ballpark, and you should retain it as it is.
This boat was designed towards the end of his life, in 1973, or thereabouts, by one of finest naval architects then practicing in the U.S. - Walter McInnes. It would, I think, be unseemly for any of us on this forum to try to second-guess him! The very best thing you can do for yourself and for the boat is, as I've said, to bring her back into conformity with McInnes' intentions. I think of this little boat as a conceit, a folly. The old man was amusing himself and finding great pleasure in creating a tiny, perfect digest of all he had learned over a very long and successful career.
As the discussion has gone so far, it seems that only two things are required:
!) Fit a sprit! The original sprit was quite short and a replacement for the missing one is quite easily made from wood, same as the original was. The trick will be in the fastening of it to the deck, but I'd be very surprised if a little poking about would not reveal where the original attachments were. The holes in the deck may well still be there, just bunged and covered over. On the cutwater you may still find vestiges of the bobstay attachment.
2) Scupper the roller furling
jib. It is NOT original, and was not part of McInnes' intentions. Roller furling
jibs had NOT been invented when EH24 was designed! When you've fitted a sprit, a new headstay is a piecacake for a rigger to make up for you. You could even do it yourself, as we often did in those days. The bits'n'pieces you'll need are readily available.
Having done those two things you'll have a REAL EH24 in all her diminutive beauty.
It is a certainty that the roller-furling jib is a retrofit - and a bad one at that. Because this little ship was designed as a motorsailer
, her SAILING abilities, particularly in light weather, are, shall we say, slight. That was deliberate on McInnes' part. She sails
on the main when she sails, and the hdsl's function is in large part to trim the helm so she will steer her own course. which she will do beautifully if you don't monkey with her. The hdsl does indeed contribute SOME drive, mainly by smoothing the airflow over the leeward side of the mnsl's luff, which is where the real work happens. If you can maintain a nice, well-behaved airflow over the leeward side of the hdsl's luff, you are that much further ahead. You CAN'T do that with a roller-furl! Roller-furling jibs are for BIG boats. They are a different breedacat! A a roller-furl on a boat like this buys you piddling convenience at the cost of significant loss off sailing ability, which, as I've said, is already slight. That you should "need" roller furling is mere affectation.
The hdsl you have needs not go to waste. There is plenty of material in it to shape a hdsl that meets the needs of the EH24. To remove it from the furling gear
is no biggie and neither is laying a tabling on it with cringles for hanks. I doubt very much that the 150% you cite will do you much good. 110% seems to me to be more like it, since that is all it takes to smoothe the flow on the back of the mnsl. Sailmakers tend to charge what the market will bear, which these days is quite a lot. But here again, you can do the work yourself if you care to do some homework and learn some new things :-)
You should not, in any event, go to sea before you've learned the basic skills of the sailmaker