Gaff Rig or Bermuda Rig?

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by nwfoust, Apr 9, 2009.

  1. nwfoust
    Joined: Apr 2009
    Posts: 2
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: Nashville, TN

    nwfoust New Member

    I'm currently building a lumberyard skiff but would like to add a sailing rig. The question is which rig would be best? Its a 14.5' Skiff. Any ideas? I'm new to sailing.
     
  2. ivor Bittle
    Joined: Feb 2008
    Posts: 51
    Likes: 7, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 135
    Location: England

    ivor Bittle Junior Member

    I presume that you will sail inland. If so, do not dismiss the gaffe rig too quickly. It found favour on the inland waterways of Great Britain because of the ability to control the twist in the sails and so cope with wind disturbed by upwind obstructions.

    You might find my website of interest at www.ivorbittle.co.uk

    Ivor Bittle
     
  3. LP
    Joined: Jul 2005
    Posts: 1,411
    Likes: 57, Points: 58, Legacy Rep: 584
    Location: 26 36.9 N, 82 07.3 W

    LP Flying Boatman

    Explore other rigs.

    Don't limit yourself to a Bermudian or Gaff rig. Do a little research into sprit, lug and Gunter rigs. For a small rig, some of these are easily shipped and unshipped and you can have spars that are easily stored within the length of the vessel.
     
  4. Chris Ostlind

    Chris Ostlind Previous Member

    I know of a couple of efforts to transform the trad gaff rig to a modern form. The gaff, itself, is hoisted on a cleanly designed car on a mast track and can pivot freely as needed. The gaff spar is carbon fiber and the sails are made from modern sailcloth with high modulus fibers aligned with the load paths.

    From this setup you get a trad appearing rig with all the benefits of a modern sail and its shaping potential.

    When all the testing is complete, it should provide for a really powerful alternative for those looking for a sail rig that can comfortably stradle both styles of thinking.

    Don't be put-off by the mention of a carbon spar for the purposes of keeping weight aloft to a minimum. Unless your boat is fairly big, the cost of an off the shelf carbon tube is well within the reach of the average boat builder and the benefits are potentially powerful. If you were considering man made fibers for your standing rigging on a gaff rigged boat, you will save much more in the way of functional weight by adopting this strategy.
     
  5. diwebb
    Joined: Jun 2008
    Posts: 122
    Likes: 5, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 65
    Location: New Zealand

    diwebb Senior Member

    A rig that I have found to be very practical, easy to set up and easy to sail on this size and type of boat is a balanced lugsail cat ketch. The lusails are self vanging and if the yard and boom are correctly sized and made from the correct timber they can also allow for flattening of the sail for differing wind strengths. The masts are freestanding and the rig can be set up or derigged in less than five minutes. On a 14 foot lapstrake plywood skiff I designed and built in California about 30 years ago I used this rig. The boat could sail itself for extended periods, went over 15 knots reaching in a reasonable blow and was reasonably close winded for its type. The low center of effort meant that she was easy to sail single handed and did not need much hiking out to balance the boat. The mast, yards and booms were made from lumberyard douglas fir and the sails made by a local sailmaker of standard dacron. The whole rig cost less than $500.00 at the time, sails included.
     
  6. TeddyDiver
    Joined: Dec 2007
    Posts: 2,565
    Likes: 113, Points: 73, Legacy Rep: 1650
    Location: Finland/Norway

    TeddyDiver Gollywobbler

    Any pictures diwebb?
     
  7. Landlubber
    Joined: Jun 2007
    Posts: 2,640
    Likes: 124, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 1802
    Location: Brisbane

    Landlubber Senior Member

    "The question is which rig would be best?"

    ....best for what....Red head or brunette, or maybe blonde, which one is best?
     
  8. Landlubber
    Joined: Jun 2007
    Posts: 2,640
    Likes: 124, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 1802
    Location: Brisbane

    Landlubber Senior Member

    Just do what pleases you mate, we all have our preferrances, none of them are ever best, there is no such thing. Just enjoy what you like to do, some will say great, some will say ****...as long as you are happy, what does it matter.
     
  9. diwebb
    Joined: Jun 2008
    Posts: 122
    Likes: 5, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 65
    Location: New Zealand

    diwebb Senior Member

    Hi,
    the attached is the sail plan for the 14 footer I designed and built back in the early 80's
    David
     

    Attached Files:

  10. TeddyDiver
    Joined: Dec 2007
    Posts: 2,565
    Likes: 113, Points: 73, Legacy Rep: 1650
    Location: Finland/Norway

    TeddyDiver Gollywobbler

  11. MichaelC
    Joined: May 2009
    Posts: 5
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: Bellingham WA USA

    MichaelC Junior Member

    nwfoust -
    I have built and sailed a lot of small boats. For your skiff, look to the sprit rig. It is the oldest fore and aft rig, the cheapest to make, the easiest to use. Get a copy of R D Pete Culler's book Skiffs and Schooners and read the parts on small boats and sprit rigs. I am now sailing a 17' faering that I built a couple of years ago. Sprit rig, again. In fact, I make mine from white polytarp and they work just fine. Mast is laminated 1X4 lumberyard red cedar because it is light. Sprit is a 10' cedar 2X2. Lace the sail to the mast. One line - the main sheet. Entire rig fits inside the boat for trailering or for rowing with the rig down. I have owned marconi, gaff rigs [my choice for larger boats], lug rigs and sprit. The sprit tops MY list for small boats. [It topped Culler's, too.]
     
  12. Bill PKS
    Joined: Sep 2009
    Posts: 65
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: PKS

    Bill PKS Junior Member

    NW,

    Probably isn’t a "Best" rig.., but I’m thinking about building a 14’ Skiff to test a Hull Concept for a larger boat..
    and considering a rig somewhat similar to Spritsail rigs I used to sail 50 yrs. ago.
    I think it can be fabricated from the Spars of a used Sunfish, although I haven’t done any drawing or testing.
    The Idea is to have a squareish sail which will have a better airfoil than the Sunfish.
    Attached is a PFD that might be interesting.

    Bill PKS
     

    Attached Files:

  13. lewisboats
    Joined: Oct 2002
    Posts: 2,329
    Likes: 126, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 1603
    Location: Iowa

    lewisboats Obsessed Member

    How do you tension the sprit?
     
  14. MichaelC
    Joined: May 2009
    Posts: 5
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: Bellingham WA USA

    MichaelC Junior Member

    tensioning a sprit

    Above all, see Culler's book, mentioned above. My sprit has a notch at either end. One notch hooks into an eye spliced to a peak cringle or eye, the other is caught by a line attached to an eyelet on the mast. On mine, I make an eye in that line [the snotter]. The snotter captures the notch in the lower end of the sprit, then is passed back thru the eye and belayed. In practice my snotter is long enough to make two passes thru the eye, and is then captured by the tension of the snotter itself at the sprit end. Try it and you will see what I mean. It is utter simplicity. The sprit rig has no hardware, no fancy stuff, no extra yards. It can be made of the simplist materials. Go ahead and use spruce and ash if you enjoy throwing away money. Lumber yard cedar will do the trick, however, for mast and sprit. For small, open boats on long passages in narrow waters, I guarantee you will not sail to windward. Rowing is faster, easier and less frustrating. For my Good Little Skiff as well as for my 17' faering, the sprit rig is the very best. I can carry it on the floorboards until I need it, then set it up completely while on the water. If the wind gets too strong to sail I can take it down and put it back on the floorboards, all without going ashore. It is far and away, as Pete Culler says in his books, the handiest small boat rig there is. It is also the cheapest. I made my most recent spritsail out of polytarp. It took me one hour, and cost me fifteen dollars, including the grommets and sash cord to hold the sail to the mast.
     

  15. Petros
    Joined: Oct 2007
    Posts: 2,936
    Likes: 139, Points: 63, Legacy Rep: 1593
    Location: Arlington, WA-USA

    Petros Senior Member

    The best rig for a 14' boat is one that is fast and easy to set up and rig, simple to operate, and inexpensive to build. You will not win many races with a lumberyard skif, so I would keep it simple and fun to use. Once you get better with it you can make a larger more complicated sail if you like.

    I would consider a sleeve type sail on a short cantalvered mast (no halyard nor stays), loose footed simple light boom, or better yet, full battens with no boom at all. White poly tarp makes an excellent sail material, or even Tyvek house wrap for inexpensive experimenting (use duct tape for the seams, no sewing required). Use lumber yard wood for the mast (either cut down a larger plank, or glue up from smaller pieces).

    KISS, keep it simple, you will have more fun and want to sail it more if it is less trouble to set-up and use than a complicated sail rig with lots of parts and lots of lines to mess with.

    Good luck.
     
Loading...
Forum posts represent the experience, opinion, and view of individual users. Boat Design Net does not necessarily endorse nor share the view of each individual post.
When making potentially dangerous or financial decisions, always employ and consult appropriate professionals. Your circumstances or experience may be different.