Crab claw sails evolving to rectangular shape

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by gonzo, Nov 28, 2020 at 3:18 PM.

  1. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

  2. Rumars
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    Rumars Senior Member

    Nope, rectangular (lug) sails were traditional in some areas like PNG, nothing new there. They simply switched woven pandanus leaves for more modern materials. Crab claws are the newer invention actually.
     
  3. Will Gilmore
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    Will Gilmore Senior Member

    There are some modern takes on the Pacific Lateen or Crab Claw that, I think, hold some promise.
    upload_2020-11-28_20-37-47.png

    upload_2020-11-28_20-38-20.png
    I especially like this version
    It's like putting a hang glider on for a sail. Lots of potential for reducing heeling while also reducing displacement.


    -Will (Dragonfly)
     
  4. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    I've seen drawings from Captain Cook's exploration that show crab claw sails. Do you know when the square sails developed into a crab claw? Seems like a step backwards.
     

  5. Rumars
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    Rumars Senior Member

    It's a difficult question and I doubt anybody can give a definitive answer. We know for sure that in the Bismark Sea the lug was common around 1900. There even is one good example preserved, a 15m lug schooner proa. In the same timeframe we have evidence of classic crab claw with curved spars in the Port Moresby area. This is all photographic evidence wich I can link to if you desire.
    The question is if the islanders copied the lugs from europeans, or if the lug is a more ancient form of proa sail, or if it is a separate local evolution that did not got swallowed by the enroaching crab claw. If they copied it from the europeans it would be a singular case, most islanders elsewhere converted either to the european sprit rig, or to the gaff rig. This is normal, ships smallboats usually had sprit rigs and later gunters and gaffs, the standing lug as used by the proas was not common by 1800. The balanced lug came into fashion later for navy lifeboats.
    I am of the opinion that the standing lug (wich is always used on the "bad" tack with the sail against the mast) is either an older and/or local form. We even have one picture of an "oval" sail, where the sides not supported by spars are rounded.
    When the europeans arrived the pacific area was well into a process of change, the shunter with crabclaw was widespread for enough time to have local character, but did not had become the dominant boat form everywhere. The european arrival killed the V shaped standing sprit sails on tackers, but the different forms of delta shaped shunter sails survived because european sails were not easily adapted to shunting.
    In the PNG area there are two areas that use lugs, the Bismark sea islands with standing lugs and the Louisiade Archipelago with balanced lugs. The balanced variety certainly looks more "european inspired", but I don't have good info on that.
     
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