Fat head Bermuda Sail Design rules

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by sharpii2, Nov 4, 2016.

  1. sharpii2
    Joined: May 2004
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    Location: Michigan, USA

    sharpii2 Senior Member

    I've seen short gaffs, sometimes referred to as 'head sticks' in paintings of dutch sailing vessels from the 18th century. I think their use had a lot to do with the materials science of the times. It seems Bermudan mains, with head boards, weren't used much in yacht racing until Egyptian cotton became widely accepted. It was more dimensionally stable than the old flax stuff.

    It seems to me now that the advent of the flat head main is a consequence of two causes:

    1.) the advent of stiffer very light hulls, which can plane more readily, due to their lighter over-all-weight and their concentrated ballast down low, and
    2.) the fact that it is lighter to make a huge main than it is to make a huge jib.

    Once the jib gets smaller, the Back-Stay needed to hold its Luff taught, can be eliminated. Once this happens, the Roach can be made broader, as it no longer has to get by the back stay. And once the Roach can be made broader, more of it can be concentrated at the top of the sail.
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