Mast/sail. Worst idea ever?

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by Kirk, Mar 8, 2022.

  1. Kirk
    Joined: Feb 2022
    Posts: 52
    Likes: 4, Points: 8
    Location: Peoria Illinois

    Kirk Junior Member

    As i get my feet wet. :) I'll be able to improve the design. Probably buying used will be cheapest/best.

    Saw this small sail for $25. Was gonna buy but guy outta town.

    Have to get clearance for two bikes & sail. & like to potentially use as a dinghy if i get a bigger sailboat.

    In cozumel today. Walked 25 minutes off cruise ship. Been nice to have a bike.

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    Will Gilmore likes this.
  2. Ike
    Joined: Apr 2006
    Posts: 2,687
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    Location: Washington

    Ike Senior Member

    About 10 years ago I built a 7' 11" sailing dinghy. I too was looking at some inexpensive alternative to make a mast, boom, and sail. I recalled from my teenaged years an OK dinghy my dad, brother and I had made, that had a simple free standing mast, boom and sail. I took that idea and improved on it. I went to the local Home Depot (I can feel boat builders gasping and saying no, no, no) and bought two cedar 1 x 2. (if I recall right they were 12' long) I picked out the straightest ones they had. Glued them together to form a two by two. Initially drew a tapered mast on all four sides and then stared cutting it away with a saw. Then when I had close to a square tapered mast, I planed down the corners until I had pretty much a round mast. I left the bottom foot square to fit in a square mast step. The boat had a thwart (crosswise) piece near the bow, at the top of the sides, that I put a square hole in for the mast to run through. So the step and thwart would provide enough stability so I didn't need stays to hold the mast up. Now I needed a boom. I used a cedar 1 X 1. I rounded off the corners and put a quarter inch hole in the end of the boom to run a rope (the sheet) through. The boom is attached to the mast with a pintle and gudgeon, the same as used to hang the rudder on the back of the boat. The sail is rip stop nylon I bought at the local Jo-Anns Fabric store. (I considered using polytarp but it would be a lot heavier and stiffer, and harder to work with.) I folded the leading edge over for two inches and sewed it to the sail. It simply slides down over the mast like a sock. The sail is loose footed and attached only at the far end of the boom, and a short length of line at the forward end is used to pull the sail down. It is tied to a cleat attached to the forward part of the sail. Works very well for a cheap sail. Oh, yeah, I made a batten to put into a sleeve on the rear edge of the sail so it doesn't flop around and it gives the sail some shape. You can see it at Boat Building Projects | Building a Sailing Pram | Page 1 and Boat Building Projects | Building a Sailing Pram | Page 3 Not very elegant but works. Actually I could have made the mast at least 5 feet longer by scarfing, and a much bigger sail, but sail boats scare my wife and to keep it from heeling too much and scaring her half to death I shortened the rig. Anyway, it's a cheep alternative to buying a used sunfish rig or other sued dinghy rig, and far cheaper than buying a custom made rig and sail.
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  3. Tops
    Joined: Aug 2021
    Posts: 238
    Likes: 71, Points: 28
    Location: Minnesota

    Tops Senior Member

    Puddle Duck Racers (PDR's) often use polytarp sails, as well as rigs taken from other boats, windsurfers, etc.:

    There used to be plans and detailed instructions for a Bolger 59 sqft 'leg-o-mutton' spritsail online from Polysails. These Duckworks article seems to have the highlights:

    I made one, with a medium weight blue tarp, carpet tape, rope, grommets... and did a little extra work with stitching it and such. Weather and abrasion got to it over the course of 4 years with not much use on the water. It was stored under cover but still saw hot/cold/daylight. It was also trailered over a thousand miles with the sail rolled on the mast so that probably did not help either.

    I was thinking about doing a balanced lug rig to have shorter spars, the 16 foot wooden mast is trouble on a small vehicle or trailer. I would probably go right to sailcloth and have the sewing time be put towards a more durable material.
    Will Gilmore likes this.
  4. messabout
    Joined: Jan 2006
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    Location: Lakeland Fl USA

    messabout Senior Member

    Why do you figure to build a 10 or 12 foot pontoon boat that is hoped to sail ? You will be much more likely to have a useable dinghy like boat, at less cost, complexity, weight, storage simplicity, and aggravation than you will with some sort of multi hull.

    In either case the dinghy will sail, if poorly, but better than a pontoon boat, with any kind of rag sail, even and old beer sign.. The dinghy will sail better in any case. Now, if you are wishing for speed and exhilarating performance you will need to get into the big money with the likes of a Tornado or other hot rod missile. A 10 or 12 foot pontoon/psuedo cat ain't gonna get it.

    Aside from all the no saying, I wish you well, and happy sailing
    Kirk likes this.

  5. Kirk
    Joined: Feb 2022
    Posts: 52
    Likes: 4, Points: 8
    Location: Peoria Illinois

    Kirk Junior Member

    Thank you. I'm having fun with it.

    Here's kind of my original brainstorming thread:
    Boat camper topper to haul behind prius

    Trying to get captain license.

    Trying to use boat for roof for camper. I'd have to invert a monohull to get space to sleep in. A catamaran hoping will fit on top of camper i already have. & be able to use the boat as a roof. & use catamaran deck to transport bikes.

    Altho just got home from traveling & prius 12 volt battery dead. So adding to my to do list. Have to repack the bearings on trailer. & install light kit/turn signals. Boating season coming quickly!

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