Canoe to schooner conversion

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by rcnesneg, Jan 15, 2015.

  1. rcnesneg
    Joined: Sep 2013
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    rcnesneg Senior Member

    Sure. I don't have any really good ones of the inside of it at the moment, I have installed a modified mast step in the front, but I'll be removing that.

    This was messing around in the Puget sound on a vacation trip. I had no clue what I was doing at the time... About 4 years ago. 8' PVC mast with a perfectly flat sail and no rudder or leeboard. LOL!!!
    [​IMG]

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    [​IMG]

    Edit: After messing with sail plans a bit more, I'm really starting to like the sailplan of America, with either single or double headsails, and a gaff topsail on the main. This still leaves lots of room for adding stuff up above the foremast. I guess the hard part will be getting it to look just right.

    [​IMG]
     
  2. TANSL
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    TANSL Senior Member

    The America is beautiful.
    Please note on your boat that the more sails, the higher the heeling moment that you will somehow compensate. But on that topic, here's foremost experts than I, who can advise.
     
  3. rcnesneg
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    rcnesneg Senior Member

    That's very true. I think this is the way I should go, and I would say the Gaff Tops'l may be left off some of the time, especially if the wind kicks in.
     
  4. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    If you look at a gaff with topsail, the shape is identical to a Marconi with a full batten about 2/3 up.
     
  5. rcnesneg
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    rcnesneg Senior Member

    Yes! I was thinking about that. I have a 15' fiberglass mast that is very light and I may do some sort of fake-gaff marconi for the mainsail. It's not too different from the Bermudan Schooners, and it would still look like the gaff with a topsail. The only problem is I can't drop the topsail if I want. I suppose I could make two sails, one a gaff, and one with the topsail, because I would be lowering it all the way anyways if I wanted to take off the topsail.

    [​IMG]
     
  6. sharpii2
    Joined: May 2004
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    sharpii2 Senior Member

    Topsail trouble

    The topsail you drew has two problems.

    1.) the top mast needs brackets on the mainmast to to hold it in place and to hold it upright. This means that or lower the topsail you will also have to lower the main mast, or even un-step it. If you merely lower it, it's top will trail way behind the stern and you won't be able to reach it.

    2.) If you intend to leave the top mast standing, you are not only going to need a separate halyard to hoist the sail, but a braille line to squash it down, to furl it. The original AMERICA probably had crew go up the mast to set and furl the top sail, and maybe even send down the top mast, when it was not needed. Such is an easy thing to do with a 100 ft boat, not so easy to do with a 14 ft canoe.

    3.) The Boom to this top sail is attached to the Gaff of the mainsail, so even the strategies I have just mentioned will not work, unless you can manage to un-step the Main Mast with its sail still set.

    Beaching the boat then tipping it on its side, to set the topsail, is a practical, if not glamorous, solution.

    Attached below is a schematic of a topsail added to my proposed rig.

    It looks like a small crab claw sail, due to the orientation of Boom.

    The Topsail boom is attached to the Main Sail Gaff by hooks or brackets.

    The Topsail Yard is attached to the Topsail Boom. Its halyard is on the top of the Main Mast, which is one of just two lines that run from it down to the cockpit. The other is a Braille line, so this topsail can be furled without dropping the Mainsail.

    The whole system can be removed by dropping the Mainsail, un- hooking the Top Sail Boom from the Main Gaff, and just setting it aside somewhere in the cockpit.

    This is about as close to the real thing as I can think of right now.

    Attached is a sketch of a sail with a Braille line, to give you an idea of what one might look like.

    As I hope you can see, the line that kind of zigzags across the top of the sail is the Braille line.
     

    Attached Files:

  7. rcnesneg
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    rcnesneg Senior Member

    Yes, Topsails are a pain. I have one on my gaff sloop and I have to lower the main to detach the topsail from the main, then raise it again. Basically the topmast sticks on to the gaff jaws and has a little bracket on it to keep it centered on the mast. It actually works alright, but I don't like it. I think if I were to do it again I would have the topmast on there permanently and just have an extra halyard for it. The worst thing about the whole arrangement is that the gaff halyards tend to get pushed around by the gaff jaws, so it limits the gaff rotation a little bit on one tack(reducing twist) and through the gaff's range of motion, the peak halyard gets tighter or looser depending on which side of the boat the sails are on...

    Here is my setup.[​IMG]
     
  8. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    I worked a Novi schooner in the Caribbean many years ago. It was a topsail schooner. Handling the topsail required climbing aloft.
     
  9. sharpii2
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    sharpii2 Senior Member

    I mus confess. I like your topsail system better than mine. It reqires no halyard of its own.
     
  10. rcnesneg
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    rcnesneg Senior Member

    Thanks! It does require putting a bolt on to connect the gaff jaws to the topmast, and I have to re-tie the halyard to the topmast bracket. The biggest thing is you have to lower the whole sail down to the cockpit to take off the topmast. Not as big of a problem on a tiny boat like this. :p
     
  11. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    There are several types of topsail arrangements that you can use. Some furl in place (brail) while others can come down, with or without their yards. The "Dutch" topsail is the best for small craft, as you can hoist and douse from on deck and the yard can stay up or come down. Typically the yard comes with the sail, but it doesn't have to. It'll need a halyard and a leader, plus the outhaul on the end of the gaff. The above drawing shows about 77 square ft. of area (located too far aft BTW) and hoisting this diminutive topsail adds less than 10% to the total area? Hardly worth the trouble and windage. I'd try to get some area moved forward with different proportions, say 20 in the fore triangle, 25 in the fore and 30 in the main with another 10 in the topsail.
     

  12. tspeer
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    tspeer Senior Member

    X thwarts would help to stiffen against torsion. Placed fore and aft of the pilot, they might not cut too badly into the cockpit space.

    I learned to sail in a canoe with a lateen rig mounted through the forward seat. The hull twisted quite a bit! I had the leeboard thwart mounted on parallel rails between the front seat and center thwart so it could be moved fore and aft to adjust the balance of the boat. Once the balanced location had been found, it would have been better to have replaced the rails with two diagonal thwarts. They would have resisted the torsion and freed up some space.

    I'm a big fan of leeboards for canoes. They don't require a trunk in the cockpit, and no holes have to be cut in the bottom. They can be made long, for good efficiency, and kick up in shallow water. They can also be made more narrow than a typical board for less wetted area, because when the boat is downspeed during a tack, it has two boards in the water and double the planform area. Once the boat is underway again, and the leeway is low, the windward board can be retracted for less wetted surface.

    I made my leeboards with the handles at the top raked back. A shock cord ran forward and held the board horizontal because of the leverage provided by the rake. I had a pendant on each board that ran aft, and it only took a tug to drop the board and cleat it in the down position. Once the pendant was released, the shock cord retracted the board automatically.

    Tacking the boards was dead simple. I pulled on the windward pendant to put down the board before the tack, and cast off the other pendant after the tack. Executing the tack itself wasn't any more complicated than tacking a boat with a single board.

    So don't shy away from considering leeboards for a sailing canoe. They really are a much better solution than a daggerboard or bilgeboard.
     
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