Gaff Rig - Safety - Ease of Use - For a Cruiser

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by Standpipe, Jan 2, 2015.

  1. Pericles
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    Pericles Senior Member

    "Trouble is I didn't read very far before I got to the old nonsense about rating rules."

    I absolutely agree with you; the rating rules are nonsense & OLD nonsense at that. The rating rules demand a working forestay & backstay, which are surplus to requirements with a free standing mast. They force the use of triangular sails to prevent fouling the sails on the stays. Stays require shrouds & these also prevent improved downwind performance. There's a pattern here. Say NO to change. Too risky!!!!

    I have had some experience with sail board rigs, starting with the old luffing board the original Windsurfer. The CoE was all over the place, because the sail was so baggy & it was backbreaking effort up-hauling the extremely long teak wishbone. It took forever. That could not last. Rig development thereafter was so rapid that there were advances almost every month in the 1980s. I never had enough money to keep up. :(

    Now look at the designs that are available. No triangles anywhere. Fully battened, constant camber, stable, powerful & predictable performance. I'd love to try them, but they are for the young & carefree. Think on where board sailers would be, had there been no progress. They'd be doing something else. Oh right! They are kite boarding. :D

    https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=s...gH&ved=0CAYQ_AUoAQ#tbm=isch&q=surfboard sails

    Form follows function & the sails set on ES's rotating masts deliver lift without the tip vortex drag exhibited with triangular sails. "A prophet is not without honour except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home." Which means that amongst those who value inventiveness & have the courage of their convictions, ES is respected, but there are those who have set limitations on their minds due to the "Not invented here" syndrome. Yet surfboard sails show what is possible with a little creative thinking. If sails were a brand new concept & constructed with our modern materials, they would probably all be cat-ketch designs.

    My advice would be, read all you can, even the stuff you find objectionable. To take on board a new idea, first you have to let go of an old idea. That's progress for you. The one constant is change.

    Endeavour to persevere.

    Perry
     
  2. Pericles
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    Pericles Senior Member

    CT249,

    Yep, I've sailed Lasers as well. The round mast is too slim & causes the airflow to separate from the back of the sail destroying the lift from an aerofoil shape. That's the explanation; the cure you will not like.

    Enlarge & reshape the mast as an elliptical wing & add a fully battened sail, so that the airflow across the back of the sail does not separate. A full explanation is available below. Of course, that would remove the raison d'etre of Lasers, so no chance of that happening!

    http://www.sponbergyachtdesign.com/StateoftheArt.htm

    Sailing boards downwind is very tricky. Many are sinkers that gain buoyancy by planing, thus broad reaching at speed is necessary, with carve gybes the activity of the day. I was crap at that. :rolleyes: If the board does not sink, then the skills of a acrobat are required to stay aboard. "I wasn't pumping, guv. Honest, I was just trying to stop myself falling off".

    Like most things, there are no quantum leaps. I sailed a bit. It didn't bother me that I had to use triangular sails. But when someone points out something could be improved, I am by nature, inclined to listen & learn. I might not like it but that's the nature of the beast. In my very early twenties I studied at night school for two years & gained a qualification that was only relevant in the industry I was in. I changed careers a year later, because what I had learned revealed that there was very little future in that industry. Nineteen years later, in 1984, coal production in the UK collapsed & it would have taken me with it. I am still nostalgic about a way of life that is gone forever, but I have no regrets that I got out when I did. I let go of an old idea & embraced a new one & benefited from what seemed blue sky thinking at the time. What's the time? It's Sponberg o'clock. Nothing is forever.

    Perry
     
  3. gggGuest
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    gggGuest ...

    Which rating rules?
     
  4. Pericles
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    Pericles Senior Member

    4G,

    You have a question, but did you seek the answer for yourself? The International Measurement System, Rule 203, Paragraph 7 states:".... a yacht must be fitted with a bona-fide forestay." This is a carry over from the International Offshore Rule from the 1960s & 1970s, which stated exactly the same thing in Rule 802.6A. The forces on the rig, if you have a forestay, will demand a backstay. If you have stays, you need shrouds.

    Please read Eric Sponberg's article on his website. It's page 46 in the extract from Professional Boatbuilder The answers are within the first column. Then read the other articles.

    http://www.sponbergyachtdesign.com/Project Amazon PBB.pdf

    There's more:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Rule_(sailing)#Evolution_of_the_Rule

    What could possibly go wrong?

    http://www.volvooceanrace.com/en/boat/31_The-Rigs.html

    http://www.volvooceanrace.com/stati...7_vo65-class-rules-inc-amendment-4-140714.pdf

    Carbon fibre masts are very expensive. So are Formula One Grand Prix cars. Those F1 designers work to develop improvements that are measured in tenths of a second per lap. One could say "So what", but it's big business & it pushes the performance envelope. Eric is one man who has a vision, but not the funds. We should encourage him, not criticise him.

    “Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.” Mark Twain
     
  5. michael pierzga
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    michael pierzga Senior Member

    Ive sailed a free standing mast many miles. They work , the boat was fast and easy to sail.

    It was a Nonsuch...nice boat...but I didnt like the rig.

    On a conventionally rigged boat, All that standing rigging attached to deck is a sailors friend. When you work on deck at sea you frog hop from rigging to rigging using them as handholds and clip on points . On a free stander the deck is naked. You end up crawling around on your hands an knees . When you live on your hands and knees your foul weather gear gets holes worn in the knees , waves are always washing up your jacket , you need a snorkel to breath and seagulls are flying overhead laughing at you

    Not much fun.
     
  6. bpw
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    bpw Senior Member

    I agree with a lot of what you are saying, but there is no way a Meadowlark can be considered fast an efficient to weather in a modern context. I think this is a good demonstration of the difficulty on conversations of this type since everyone has such wildly different ideas of what constitutes adequate performance upwind.

    I do find that there is much less disagreement about these things among racers, since they actually get to see boats compared upwind with good crews on a regular basis. The PHRF rankings are available for download and while not perfect are a good way to see performance differences between boats. A meadowlark 33 is listed and rates 216, very slow compared to anything modern. A J/105 rates 81, or over two minutes faster per mile and J/105 are not considered particularly fast..
     
  7. Pericles
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    Pericles Senior Member

    Rigging is a sailor's friend? Have you seen Captains Courageous? :?: In the climactic race back to the port of Gloucester, Massachusetts against a rival schooner, the Jennie Cushman, Manuel climbs to the top of the mast to furl the sail, but is mortally injured when the mast cracks and he is plunged into the water, caught irreversibly in the tangled rope and the topsail canvas, and drowns.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Captains_Courageous_(1937_film)

    To paraphrase Eric Sponberg. Fit tall stanchions, clip on, hook up & hang off.

    Bouncing across the trampoline on a catamaran in rough weather? Now that's a challenge. Boing. Boing. Splash! Gurgle!
     
  8. Pericles
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    Pericles Senior Member

    Another L. Francis Herreshoff design mentioned by Eric Sponberg.

    "A wingmast is a mast shaped like a wing that is allowed to rotate. Wing shape and rotation further increase the efficiency of a free-standing rig. Unfortunately, mast rotation also falls victim to traditional rating rules—it is not allowed. This prohibition can be traced back to L. Francis Herreshoff, who had a patent on a rotating mast design, one of which he installed on an R class boat (Lwl = 20’) called Live Yankee in 1925.

    But when the regatta committee of the New York Yacht Club heard about this rig, it promptly passed a rule prohibiting “revolving masts, double luffed sails and similar contrivances.” This prohibition remains in current rating rules, and no changes to eliminate it are in sight. It really smacks of spite against a progressive designer and the yacht club’s desire to protect the status quo of the fleet at the time. But that was almost 80+ years ago! It is truly amazing to me that such a prohibition has remained in place for so long."

    http://www.sponbergyachtdesign.com/StateoftheArt.htm
     
  9. gggGuest
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    gggGuest ...

    And how many IMS races were run last year? Compared to say IRC?

    But in the sailing I do there are no restrictions on this stuff at all, as in most.

    Free standing masts were dropped many years ago because they are just too heavy. The drag penalty of the wires is well worth taking. Weight is famously only of use to the designer of a steamroller, and weight aloft trebly so.

    Wing masts are tried at frequent intervals, I have one myself downstairs, but the end results were always inconclusive, and the latest FEA research has demonstrated that as soon as you put a sail behind a round mast all the drag effects are greatly diminished, and the huge benefits that people thought they saw in theory were just down to inadequate theory. Of course if you don't put a sail behind your spar then you do get all the drag, but that's another depressing thread.
     
  10. Pericles
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    Pericles Senior Member

    More questions 4G? I'll ask you one. Why are you asking me? Address your questions to ES, but before you do, please read all his articles, so you don't waste his time.

    For example, you blithely stated that "Free standing masts were dropped many years ago because they are just too heavy." You should already know that ES designs carbon fibre masts & you would lose all credibility were you to make that sweeping statement to him.

    Two threads you may have missed.

    http://www.boatdesign.net/forums/sailboats/soft-wing-sail-18422.html

    http://www.boatdesign.net/forums/boat-design/design-soft-wing-sails-cruising-49425.html

    http://www.omerwingsail.com/

    Enjoy.
     
  11. CT249
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    CT249 Senior Member

    Perry, when you claim things like the fact that I won't like the "cure" to the (claimed) issue with Laser rig aerodynamics, you're apparently assuming that I don't possess experience with fully-battened rigs and wingmasts. That is completely false - five of the classes I own and sail have fully-battened sails with wingmasts or similar leading-edge fairings.

    May I ask where the proof of the claim regarding the flow around the Laser sail AT THE RELEVANT ANGLE OF ATTACK? My current racing Laser standard sail has telltales that are placed too far forward to be useful in light winds upwind, but that means that they indicate that there IS significant attached flow at about the relevant angle of attack (ie where it would be if the sail was trimmed for running as in the articles you linked to).

    Secondly, there are many other designs that COULD use stayless fully-battened rigs with wide luff pockets, and WOULD use them if they were faster - for example Moths used unstayed rigs decades ago, and they also used fully-battened rigs with wide luff pockets decades ago. International Canoes can use fully-battened unstayed sails with wide luff pockets. Z classe and n class Renjollen can use fully-battened unstayed sails with wide luff pockets. Shorthanded monohull and multihull racers can use fully-battened wide luff sails on stayless masts. SInglehanded NS14s can use fully-battened wide luff sails on unstayed masts. All of these could trim their rigs as in the article but none of them do, because it's slower!

    Similar remarks apply to the windsurfers. The fact that some boards are sinkers does not mean that all boards are sinkers. Many thousands of longboards were built with unstayed masts, using wide luff pockets and fully battened sails. Any one of these sailors could have simply twisted the rig around a bit more to achieve the airflow that Erik claims to be so superior, and in fact this happend inadvertently at times - but it's SLOWER than sailing at 'normal' sheeting angles and angle of attack.

    This has been demonstrated over years of racing by thousands of windsurfer sailors*. Many other windsurfers found sailing boards downwind to be quite easy, and therefore they spent a lot of time doing two-boat trialling and racing to find the best downwind sheeting angles. This enormous amount of real-world experience did NOT find that the sheeting angles espoused by the article to be better.

    The simple fact is that there ARE classes that freely allow freestanding rigs with full battens and luff pockets, but NONE of them widely choose to do so because they have NOT been proven to be faster. The concept is NOT a "new idea" or "blue sky thinking" - it's an idea that is decades old and which has never been proven to work.


    Re "It didn't bother me that I had to use triangular sails. But when someone points out something could be improved, I am by nature, inclined to listen & learn."

    Well, some people grew up in a scene that DIDN'T force people to use triangular sails. Where I lived many people normally used fully-battened sails, and many of them used rotating masts and wing masts - at the club where I sailed my first boat, EVERY boat had a rotating mast and a roachy fully-battened sail. Frank Bethwaite used to do his experiments in front of our dining room windows. So to assume that those of us who respect stayed rigs do so because we have conservative backgrounds or tastes, as you appear to be doing, is simply factually incorrect.

    As far as the rest of your homily goes, I'm working towards my fourth career change and have sailed in just about every sailing discipline bar iceboating and kiting, so I don't really need any lectures about being conservative. That particularly
    applies about concepts that some of us tried decades ago.



    * particularly in the mid '80s to early '90s were when we had camber-induced sails but pumping was still banned in many events. Some windsurfing clubs and classes still ban pumping at times so some of us still experiment with sheeting angles similar to those in Erik's article - and we still find that they don't work!
     
  12. CT249
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    CT249 Senior Member

    The article is wrong in several ways. What IMS said is irrelevant to the claims in the article, which refers to the early rating rules and states "Well, naturally, the convenient measuring points for measuring the rig were where the standing rigging attached to the hull, deck, and mast."

    I have copies of the International, Universal and RORC rules. The Universal Rule did NOT measure standing rigging. The International Rule did NOT require the measurement of standing rigging, apart from the fact that headstays were measured UNLESS the jib was set flying, in which case they were ignored. I haven't got time to check the RORC rule again about the measurement of standing rigging, but the rule specifically ALLOWED rotating masts and if I recall correctly it did NOT measure standing rigging apart from the J measurement, which is surely a pretty reasonable way to measure headsail area.

    These old rules actually rated gaff mainsails lightly compared to bermudan sails, so they did NOT discriminate in favour of triangular mainsails. And despite this lack of restrictions, overwhelmingly people chose bermudan rigs - because they worked better! Writers of the time and current historians mention that the bermudan rigs were simpler, easier and cheaper.

    The IOR did not ban full battens and big roaches; it just rated them, and the rating wasn't worth it given the designs and technology of the day. The rule was also going to allocate a trial rating to the unstayed luff pocket Freedom 65 schooner for the Whitbread, but the boat suffered problems and didn't race. The boats were free to race in many other events but they simply were not popular as racing craft.

    But even if the IOR and IMS did restrict freestanding rigs, big roaches and full battens it's been irrelevant since rules like the IRC and PHRF took over since those rules DO allow such rigs - and yet still most boats (and all the fastest monos) use stays and non-rotating masts. There's no reason to believe that the people behind boats like Comanche, Rags 100 and Wild Oats XI are too conservative to adopt rotating masts, especially since design teams like VPLP are very familiar with wing masts. As has already been pointed, the Moth and skiff sailors also use stayed rigs, and they are not exactly stupid stick-in-the-muds.

    You do NOT need a backstay if you have a forestay - some sloops (i.e. ID35) don't have a backstay at all and on many others (i.e. Nx 30) it's only a tuning device that is often ignored. And many modern boats show that you can have a backstay AND have a non-triangular mainsail.

    The article is also wrong where it states "wires in the rig, and, therefore, triangularly shaped sails, are so inbred into our industry and our thinking that we blindly accept them without question." It is also pretty bizarre to claim "The idea of a mast without wires is so foreign to most people that they just cannot fathom how a sailboat mast can stand up all by itself without something to hold it up."

    These claims are effectively demolished by the simple fact that many thousands of people have been using stayless rigs and roachy mains for many decades - the two most popular racing classes in the world (Optimist and Laser, not to mention the Snark, Europe, Finn, OK and Topper) are stayless while many popular boats (skiffs, Merlins, RSs, N12s, Optis, etc) have non-triangular mains. It's bizarre to say that people can't fathom how a sailboat mast could stand up by itself when the most popular sailboat masts do just that, and stayless rigs are used in the Olympics.

    Many top designers and sailmakers have a background in stayless rigs. People like AMAC, the designer of the top Moths, and many of the AC sailors (Beasho, Slingsby, Ainslie, Gashby to some extent, etc) are very experienced in stayless rigs. When I was growing up many of the top skiff sailmakers were very experienced in stayless rigs. Elvstrom made his name in stayless rigs. And yet these sailors choose to use stays in most of their normal racing craft! Hell, even many of the heads of ISAF spent many years in stayless craft.

    OK, some people in some places may be constricted in their thinking by rules and therefore they may only think of stayed rigs and triangular mains, but that doesn't apply everywhere. For example, at the club I coached at yesterday there was just one single boat with a triangular main and stayed rig. Every other boat was stayless or fully battened, and the only one of them I'd actually sailed on has a carbon rotating stayless mast, full battens and wide luff pocket squaretop cat rig - a path that I think has been rejected as too slow in that development class.

    It's not conservatism that leads so many sailors towards stays. Even in places where non-triangular sails and stayless rigs were everywhere, all the fastest boats have been given stays, because they work!

    By the way, you seem to be assuming that Gggguest is a conservative sailor - in fact he's got a very strong long-term commitment to leading edge designs and he's proven that by designing, building and sailing them.
     
  13. CT249
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    CT249 Senior Member

    Umm, Perry, are you seriously proposing that (1) there is any comparison between working the topmast on a Banks schooner and using rigging as a handhold ON THE DECK as Michael specified; and

    (2) that a film version of a novel can be used as evidence of anything?

    If you are going to try to tell us that films of novels are evidence then you may as well tell us to stay out of our gardens because the triffids will get us, or that if we sail far enough we'll find a door to the outside world and realise that we have spent our lives as the subject of a TV reality show.

    Maybe we should look at reality instead of trying to use novels and films as evidence for our views.
     
  14. gggGuest
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    gggGuest ...

    Thanks Chris, I think all we can do though is challenge the nonsense every now and then. It's a shame in many ways people have to spout this stuff though, because by demonstrating that some of what they say is rubbish they detract from what they might have to say that isn't, because the reader is left with the task of trying to work out what is credible and what isn't.

    Take gaff rig as per the original topic. I'm not qualified to make much evaluation of its suitability for long distance cruising, but clearly in performance terms its antiquated. Does that mean you shouldn't use it on craft where the aim is *not* doing ever decreasing circles at ever increasing speed? Hell no, is what I'd say. In the right time and place I love sailing old style boats with gaff rigs. One of my long term ambitions is to do a certain long distance river race here in the UK in a topsail equipped vintage gaff rigged racer. One of the joys of handicap rules, as they get better, is that we don't necessarily have to race the fastest kit all the time because the handicapper may make up for the deficiencies of our hardware.

    And of course the same is true of unstayed masts. We both know that there are more dinghies being introduced with unstayed masts than ever before, because there are certain advantages and, ironically, their class rules are therefore written to prohibit the use of stayed masts. I'm sure they have advantages and disadvantages in big cruising craft too, but isn't it a shame that Mr Sponberg, who's clearly studied and developed them, can't simply enumerate the pros and cons?

    A stayed mast is going to be faster, especially upwind, but who the hell needs to hit the waves harder and faster in a cruising boat? Its uncomfortable, its sick making, its bloody inconvenient trying to make a cup of coffee, all the rest of it. As long as its fast enough, and weatherly enough for the places its going then I'm sure there are far more important factors than the last 10 or 15% of performance. But no, instead of a reasonable evaluation we have to get all the old nonsense about how this or that feature would be wonderful if only the evil racing rules didn't prohibit it...

    Still, someone is always wrong on the Internet, as the cartoon has it...
     

  15. Pericles
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    Pericles Senior Member

    As mentioned before, take your observations to Eric Sponberg. It's not hard to do. I am sure he'll be most interested in all your mutual knowledge & experiences. Who knows, you two might just be the very people he could be waiting to hear from. Send him the link to this thread, to bring him up to speed. Faites vos jeux. Ne va plus discussions.

    http://www.sponbergyachtdesign.com/Contact.htm
     
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