what is wrong with a gaff rigged small boat?

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by bean surchwell, Dec 6, 2010.

  1. Perm Stress
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    Perm Stress Senior Member

    The way of reefing as shown in attachments is OK, but not the only possibility and not the one I mention in my post.

    The system I had mentioned work like this:
    *the sprit remain attached to the same point at mast,
    *the peak of sail is fixed to sprit by sliding ring (sliding ring could be not present) and outhaul,
    *when the sail is reefed, peak slides down the sprit, the sprit itself is increasingly raked aft to match new position of peak.

    Boats I see this system in the flesh near me are not so small -~10-12m long, heavily built on oak and pine at several tons of displacement.

    I do not have a reefed picture at hand to post it now. I will search for it.
     

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  2. BATAAN
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    BATAAN Senior Member

    The lug rig is incredibly simple, easy to handle and cheap and very weatherly when you understand it.
     
  3. BATAAN
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    BATAAN Senior Member

    Usual Thames barge deal with this sort of rig, but much larger, is to hoist the tack of the sail. By doing this the area is reduced and shape is changed, greatly reducing net effective pressure.
    Your idea sounds interesting and must work if you see it on pretty big boats. It's also the very height of fourteenth century nautical technology if that's what you're after. If the heel of the sprit were carried higher, you could take a reef, and lower the sprit to match and still keep nice sail shape.
    Usual sprit-reef is remove the sprit and lash the peak of the sail down making a triangular sail, sort of.
    Try a Chinese sail like the photos. Easy to make a trial sail out of tarps and bamboos, but works best with aluminum 6063t6 pipe battens.
    Instant reefing or dowsing in all conditions and wonderful control of a large sail when rigged right.
     

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  4. BATAAN
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    BATAAN Senior Member

    Looking closely at your picture I see two halyards, so the sail must be lowered to reef but I don't see reef points. Looks 18th century Dutch. I find a picture in Chapman from 1768 which shows plainly a spritsail on a 50 foot boat with two lines of reefs and a low sprit-heel so must be the same set-up. Still around after 240 years so it must work.
     
  5. Perm Stress
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    Perm Stress Senior Member

    Yes the sail is lowered to reef.
    As I already mentioned I do not have a reefed photo at hand to post it. Yes, this particular sail do not have reef points. I have seen these boats reefed more than once with my eyes (still trying to download a picture to my computer :) ). When I will find a photo, I will post it.

    No, this boat is not Dutch. It is strictly locally Curronian. SE Baltic, closed lagoon with natural fairway depths ~2.5 m, many places not accessible with draft more as 0,3 meters. Conditions very similar to Dutch coastal waters, except for absence of tides. My guess is similar environment lead to similar solutions...
     
  6. BATAAN
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    BATAAN Senior Member

    Very very interesting old type. Looking through some historical images I found several old vessels closely resembling your Curronian boat. Are these still used in a commercial manner, or are they a survival kept alive by enthusiasts? Thanks for sharing this and please post any more photos you have.
     
  7. Perm Stress
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    Perm Stress Senior Member

    They are not used for fishing since ~1950 or so...

    Now only a handful of replicas exist, built in every bit to the original technology for tourist service and for museum afloat.
     
  8. Perm Stress
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    Perm Stress Senior Member

    Google "kurenas" and you will find many photos. I was not successful at finding the reefed one; It could be hidden somewhere in my personal archive.
     
  9. michael pierzga
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    michael pierzga Senior Member

    Would be interesting is you posted more pictures of local small sailing craft ...particulaly Baltic Sea and Russian designs.
     
  10. gilberj
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    gilberj Junior Member

    gaff rig

    Lots of variations in the gaff rig....
    Long gaffs / short gaffs
    High peaked / low peaked
    bald / topsail
    L F Herreshoff did a lot of designs with short gaffs on tracks, that could be rigged with a single haliyard. These sails work well. They will tack comfortable through 90 degrees, pretty much matching a Bermudan rigged comparable cruising boat. With a little more attention to better sheeting, vangs and outhaul arrangements, than is customary in older cruising rigs, I think They could be similarly improved. The go-fast strings and bits cost more money than they are worth in a boat strictly used for cruising. The go-fast stuff will improve windward ability more than reaching and running, and when cruising......."if you are going to windward, you are living wrong"
    JG
     
  11. BobBill
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    BobBill Senior Member

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  12. troy2000
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    troy2000 Senior Member

  13. bryngwylan
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    bryngwylan New Member

    The spritsail on a Thames barge is seldom actually reefed, sail is first reduced by dropping the topsail. The only way of reefing is by 'brailing up' which is the method by which the mainsail is stowed. This is a series of brails, the main brail (wire rope) leads from the leach to the throat and down to a winch. There are two upper brails, (rope) which lead from the leach to the head and eventually down to the cleats on the shrouds There is also a lower brail, again, rope, leading from the leach to the luff, then to a cleat on the mast. In a strong wind, some weight is taken on the brails, thus reducing sail area. In the days when we were carrying cargo there were reef points on the mainsail and the foresail but the purpose of these was to raise the foot of the sail when there was a 'stack' of cargo such as timber on deck built up above the hatches, never for reefing.
     
  14. BATAAN
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    BATAAN Senior Member

    Many photos show them in a breeze with topsail set and main half brailed, charging along the river like an express train.
     

  15. bryngwylan
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    bryngwylan New Member

    Yes, there are many photos of barges sailing with topsails set over a partly brailed mainsail, a lot of them are of barges racing. I've sailed like that many times, but it does depend on conditions and how much strain you are prepared to put on your topmast. Dropping the head of the topsail and keeping the lower part sheeted out is the quickest way of reducing sail when it is required and puts far less strain on the gear.
     
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