Sail rig for Ellen

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by flydog, Apr 9, 2007.

  1. flydog
    Joined: Oct 2006
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    flydog Junior Member

    I am a first time builder and am constructing a 12' sailing dinghy. I am trying to decide what type of sail to rig her with. I am unfamiliar with sailing and the plans for the boat came with two sail designs: Sliding Gunter and Sprit. What are the advantages/disadvantages of Sprit vs Sliding Gunter? Any input from the sailors out there would be invaluable.



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  2. messabout
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    messabout Senior Member

    The sketches show two sails both of which are sprit sails. The one on the left is a sprit boom rig and the one on the right is a peak sprit rig. Either of those will work well enough. The peak sprit sail shown is boomless. That boomless rig will not give you the as good a performance as the sprit boomed one. In addition, the peak sprit type is famous for a self induced and decidedly worrisome phenomena called "death rolling". When on a downwind run the boat will start to oscillate from side to side. In the worst cases the oscillations will increase in magnitude until it dumps you. Experienced sailors have no real difficulty with that problem as they take corrective action before it is too late. The boomless sail is certainly convenient and simple. It is not the best way to go however.

    The sprit boom rig can be made to perform quite well when you learn how to deal with it. This rig has only one line to adjust while sailing. It is called a snotter. It is a line that connects to the front of the boom and adjusts the camber of the sail. The only other adjustment you might make is the height of the snotter tackle which allows you to control the leach tension of the sail. The disadvantage of the rig is that it has a good tack and a bad tack. As shown the boom is on the starboard side of the sail and the starboard tack will be the good one. (thats when the wind is coming over the right side of the boat) On port tack the sail leans against the boom and the shape of the sail is affected thereby. Not as bad as it seems but it does make a difference. You can solve the problem by making a wishbone or half wishbone boom rather than a straight stick boom. Then both tacks are good ones because the boom will not foul the sail.

    My preference is the Sprit boom type. It is unrivalled for simplicity along with decent performance. That is not to demean the peak sprit type because they work reasonably well and the spars are usually short enough to stow inside the boat. If you choose the peak rig consider adding a boom. If you add a boom you will need something to hold it down so you will need to rig some sort of boom vang (sometimes called a kicking strap). The more do-dads you add the more the cost and complication. Go with the sprit boom sail.
  3. LP
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    LP Flying Boatman


    Both rigs are classic in their design. I don't have sailing experience with either one. Points on the sliding gunter the Messabout didn't mention is that it too has short spars making them stowable and when reefing, it's my understanding that the gunter slides down the mast, reducing windage aloft. A nice little benefit.
  4. ukebert
    Joined: Feb 2007
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    ukebert blank

    I would go for the gunter myself.

  5. DanishBagger
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    DanishBagger Never Again

    How about a balanced lug? Those are beautiful. If not, then I think the one in the top right looks the best.

    Or what about this (without the foresail, of course):
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