Reefing a lanteen sail

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by science abuse, Aug 23, 2011.

  1. peterchech
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    peterchech Senior Member

    the negativity is not appreciated hussong let's not go where this forum was a year ago please...
     
  2. troy2000
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    troy2000 Senior Member

    Totally pointless response. But if working yourself into a lather over the difference between 'approximates' and 'looks like' is how you get your jollies, go for it.

    I'll just stand over here, and look the other way....
    I've never called a talk show, and I was never able to take more than about five minutes of Dr. Laura at a time. But I once heard a comment that if someone's so screwed up they're asking her to decide their life for them, it probably beats flipping a coin.;)
     
  3. science abuse
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    science abuse Junior Member

    Wow, I step away for a bit and find BS? This must be an internet forum.

    Thanks for the info, Sharpii2. I hadn't calculated the movement of sail area. The boat already has a substantial weatherhelm condition, it certainly doesn't need to be getting worse in rough conditions.

    The rig is a boomed Lanteen, almost a photocopy of a Sunfish layout.
     
  4. BATAAN
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    BATAAN Senior Member

    For boomed lateen, try a tapered reef so the boom goes up at the aft end when you reef and the yard does not lower. Since this reduces sail mostly in the after part of the thing, should reduce weather helm slightly.
    With modern fabrics, the two ends of the reef are what count and the points are just to gather up the untidy bits. This is 'slab reefing' and the usual thing these days. With a small sail, a lazy jack set up can take the place of points.
    A Tyvek(r) or equivalent sail made with duct tape in a couple of hours is an excellent way to test ideas before investing in the real thing. These last surprisingly long time and really show what works and what does not.
     
  5. BATAAN
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    BATAAN Senior Member

    Also, with a tapered rig, you need only slack the boom downhaul, pull the reef line to lift the boom to the reef outhaul eyelet and re-adjust the boom down haul, and you are reefed. Any points, and you only need a few, can be tied in after.
     
  6. science abuse
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    science abuse Junior Member

    Hey now, I dont half-*** things.... I spend the extra cash on the special Tyvek tape to go with it all.
    To be honest, I do have a roll of it with the boat, it's not a bad substitute for sail tape and I've even had success with emergency hull patching.

    The reefs bring the boom up toward the yard, the aft section moving up a third of the leach whilst the tack essential doesn't change at all. My concern with not lowering the yard as I do this is having all that sail way up the in the air at the end of a big lever (mast):
    If I'm reefing, it's because a gales'a'blowing, in which case I'll want my sail area as close to the deck as I can safely get it to help ease pitching and heeling. Thats the theory anyhow. :)
     
  7. BATAAN
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    BATAAN Senior Member

    There is a pile of reasons the lateen is not widely used as a small boat rig, and you are discovering them. No amount of cleverness will compensate for the inherent weaknesses.
    Much better would be the simple standing lug, preferably without a boom. Yard comes down as you reef.
    Or the sprit, which does the same. Both of these were standard small boat propulsion for many hundred years because they worked well. They have been recognized carved on Roman tombs from 100 BC.
    Lateen rig is great if you have a barge on the Nile.
     

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  8. sharpii2
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    sharpii2 Senior Member

    I have to disagree.

    I've been spending some time figuring the geometry and the mechanics of the traditional lateen rig.

    I have Bjorn Landstrom's book "Sailing Ships" and the chapter about the lateen rig is one of my favorites. I don't agree with his 'reconstructions'.

    He shows the long yard paralleled to the mast within the shrouds with the halyard above the shrouds. He shows a set of tackles at the lower end of the yard, at its tip, and another set of tackles on the upper end, some distance in from the tip. Clearly, he expects the lower end to stay the lower end.

    As I look at this, I try to figure out how they changed tacks. No scenario I can think of will work. If you wear ship and let the sail fly past and around the bow, the yard is on the wrong side. If it is paralleled to the mast between the shrouds, there is no way to move it. In order for this to work at all, the yard must be paralleled to the mast above the shrouds. Then, as the sail is let fly past and around the bow, the yard can be stood up on end, then shifted to the other side of the mast. Cumbersome, but workable.

    My guess is that, in the beginning, the lateen sail worked much the way a square rig worked, with a few differences. As the ship sailed down wind to change tacks, the yard was swung, much as with the square rig, so the windward end of the yard would become the leeward end. Then the new windward end would be pulled down to the bow and the ship steered onto its new tack. Intricate, but not all that difficult, especially when your talking about a spar that weighed hundreds of pounds, if not tons.

    As I thought about this theory, I calculated the number of lines needed. The minimum number of lines is six. Two braces, two bowlines, (the four of them at the tips of the yard) and two sheet lines ( one for controlling the clew on each side of the ship). I think this system would work quite well even if scaled up to a very large size.

    Eventually, the rig probably (assuming my hypothesis is correct) evolved to a true fore and aft rig. With smaller boats, the 'standing the the yard on end' trick would work. Now the yard could be considerably longer than twice the length of the mast, as it would be with the system I proposed. Even later, it was probably discovered that with so little of the sail area in front of the mast (with maybe only a third of the yard being before the mast) that it wasn't necessary to shift either the sail or the yard when changing tacks.

    The last development was to add a boom to the foot of the sail, something even the Egyptians do. With the boom added, the clew could be moved further aft and the yard could be canted up at a much steeper angle. The more of each you do, the less sail area ends up being before the mast. With less area before the mast, there is less penalty for the 'bad tack'.

    There is also a considerable economy of lines as the evolution progresses.

    With my original system, six are needed.

    With the 'standing the yard up on end' system, you may be able to eliminate one bow line, leaving you with five lines.

    With the leaving the yard and sail on one side, you can get away with two. With one of his designs, Phil Bolger made the bow line just a fixed check line, which led from the tip of the lower yard, to a ring around the mast.

    With the Boom, only one line is needed (the boom needs to be paralleled to the mast, though)

    The interesting thing about the lateen sail is that it is the only triangular sail that can be reefed without moving the Center of Area (CA) forward.

    There are two possible ways to reef a loose footed lateen sail and only one way to reefed one with a boom.

    With the classical lateen (if my hypothesis is correct) the sail is reefed just like a square sail, to the yard, in a parallel fashion. This way, the CA does move forward and it move higher as well. This, I call 'parallel' reefing

    Once you move to the 'stand the yard on end' system, what I call 'pie slice' reefing becomes possible. Here the sail is reefed in triangular slabs, either at the yard or at the foot. If it is reefed at the yard, the yard can be lowered some, so the foot of the sail is parallel to the deck. In this case the CA does not move forward at all. And it moves lower.

    The same can be done with boomed lateen, but this time more of the sail ends up in front of the mast and the boom parallel needs to be shifted aft (see my earlier posts on this thread).

    This can and has been done. Certain West Wight Potter(r) owners have discarded their fractional sloop rigs in favor of a single boomed lateen sail to reduce set up time at the launch ramp. They have ended up reefing to both the boom and the yard to get the rig to balance in various wind strengths.

    Just as clever, is an arrangement by Jason Neighbors on his 'puddle duck racers'. He uses a boomed lateen sail with the yard set almost vertical at first. In front, from the top of the short mast, he flies a jib. When it's time to reef, the jib comes down first, then pie shaped slabs are taken out of the lateen main. This is done so the CA moves forward, to make up for the missing jib.

    The one big objection to the lateen sail is the large moving spar, the yard.

    With a very traditional 45-90 deg. shape, 20 ft of yard only nets 100 sf of sail. And that's as good as it gets. To get more sail area, either a boom has to be added, or the length of the yard has to be increased, or both.

    It's not the spar length that's the issue. A jib headed main has pretty much the same math, unless lots of expensive, inconvenient battens are added, but the length there is in the mast, which doesn't move (at least it's not supposed to).

    As for hardest rig to reef, my vote goes to the square sprit sail. The triangular one should get second place.
     
  9. BATAAN
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    BATAAN Senior Member

    You can guess at it all you want but I have personally sailed this ship long distances (as Captain) with two lateens and am quite familiar with how the bloody thing works, what you can and can't do with the yards, and that is not it and your supposed development flow makes no sense to one who has actually handled the sails in question under various conditions at sea. In all my time as a Mystic Seaport museum researcher I never came across such a hypothesis, and we as a type are known to dig pretty deep.
    Here is my old command the NINA with her "Caravela Redonda" mixed square-lateen rig, all-manila running gear, wood blocks, all the real thing. "Most authentic Columbus replica ever" (Natl Geographic).
    The same masts usually had 4 lateen sails for coastal work but used square for ocean voyaging in the 15th century. This rig goes back to Roman grain ships of 1000 tons in 200 BC, fine engineers who made it work well.
    Normally the lateen yard stays on the same side all the time and has poor flow on one tack. If on a long tack, it's possible to haul the heel of the yard aft and get it on the other side of the mast, called "dipping" the yard.
    Small boat rig and ship rig are as different as a bicycle and a semi-truck. Both have wheels. Both have sails.
    I watched a plastic dinghy with a Sunfish rig sailing in the marina today and was amazed how someone could do such a crappy job of clueless sailing.
    Was not the rig's fault, but still, it's a poor excuse for a small boat rig and there are much better, which is why you do not see it much.
    My favorite is dipping lug which I had on an 18' workboat. Very powerful, easy to reef, hard to tack. Standing lug comes next. Sprit was the most common in the days when it had to work and was not a toy.
     

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  10. BATAAN
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    BATAAN Senior Member

    The sprit sail is the easiest to reef, you pull out the sprit and tie down the peak.
     
  11. peterchech
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    peterchech Senior Member

    how far did you sail that thing Bataan? Did you actually cross the atlantic with it?
     
  12. science abuse
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    science abuse Junior Member

    This is true, these days. However, the Snark sold half a million lanteen dinghys in the 70's. The focus, however, wasn't on sailing performance as much as it was ease of setup and use. i liek it because its easy to car-top and set up.... and also because it's easy to fix. I had mine out in stiff winds yesterday, playing in 4-6ft breaking waves and had a blast. She got tossed onto the beach, however, and bent the boom into a lazy S shape. I simply straightened it by hand and went back to sailing. All the spars are simple aluminum tubes, so they're practically disposable. It allows me to take chances that I wouldn't take with a Laser or other small boat.

    The limitations on this tiny rig have made themselves pretty apparent. I've taken a couple of 20~ mile trips in the boat and have noted that she runs great, but can't beat to save her life.... or mine. On a beam reach she will move, though she wont be breaking any records. I added a clamcleat near the step, and use a line tied to the gooseneck to help draw the sail tight. It helps, but it looks as though my sail was made by a well-meaning seamstress and not a Luff.

    Being that she can't beat, having a lanteen rig is handy; I haul the boom up to the yard so I have plenty of room to paddle the damn thing against the wind.
     
  13. BATAAN
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    BATAAN Senior Member

    Sailed her a lot out of Mazatlan in 95, then in 03, San Francisco to Columbia River, then Portland to Steveston BC for a tall ships event, then back to Seattle.
    West coast US, Mexico and BC, some of it very rough and always a long trip to windward with the Merecedes topsail.
     
  14. BATAAN
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    BATAAN Senior Member

    Sounds like you are doing fine. Keep having fun because that is what it is all about. Best of luck.
     

  15. sharpii2
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    sharpii2 Senior Member

    I do like your rig choices. I actually drew a version of Lola with a dipping lug main. I'll see if I can post it here. It is a pity we see so few square headed sprit sails and standing lug sails. I think that has more to do with fashions and prejudices of our times (mostly influenced by the racing community) than the relative virtues of these rigs.

    I will now list three things that the boomed lateen rig can do well.

    1.) carry a very short mast in proportion to the size of the rig,
    2.) have its Center of Area (CA) quite far aft of the mast (not on the typical ones you see today), but possible, and
    3.) come down quickly, once the halyard is relieved.

    It also does not need a vang and has little or no twist, due to the yard being connected to the boom. It is an excellent beginner rig. I suppose if you watch this hapless sailor long enough, you will see her/him get the hang of it. Nobody taught me how to sail.


    As to theories on how earlier lateens worked, could it be possible for us both to be right? Nautical history is, from my experience, not a straight line, but a very crooked path. For instance, both the Mediterranean and the North Atlantic peoples had square sails, but they were originally two different animals. The Mediterranean version had brailes for shortening the sail. These shortened it from the bottom. The North Atlantic version had reef points, which shortened it from the top. Once these peoples integrated more, through wars and commerce, standardization almost certainly started to set in. My guess is this was well afoot by the 15th century, Especially after Prince Henry the navigator came on the scene and started applying some scientific method to ship design.

    BTW- How close could the Pinta sail to the wind? Did you guys every try it?
     

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