View Full Version : we finished our sail, wow!

David Winnett
02-02-2010, 09:44 PM
i can't believe it , we started yesterday afternoon and by noon today i was installing the grommets, everything went as instructed by sail rite and it really looks good, i recommend their kits to anyone that wants to build their own small sail, best part is i got to make the sail with my best friend, my wife, she really took an interest in the project, but now i have no idea how to attach it to my mast or for that matter how to even sail, i have been rowing my flapjack skiff around for the last couple of months waiting for the sail to arrive and now i have to learn how it works. it is a sprit rig with no boom and i guess you hold the foot of the sail tight with a rope, any thoughts will really be appreciated

02-02-2010, 10:33 PM
The sprit sail is a great sail to learn with. Easily adjusted and very user friendly.

There are threads with diagrams around here if you search. But lash it to the mast getting decent tension along the luff. Spiral turns around the mast and through the grommets are often used and work, but the purists will tell you to zig-zag, so the line change direction around the mast every time it goes through a grommet.

When you set it up, harden up on the snotter until you get a bit of a crease running from the tack to the clew. When you trim the sail as it fills with wind, this crease should disappear completely. If not, too much tension in the snotter.

The sheeting angle is important. You'll want to experiment with this if the designer hasn't figured it out for you. But wihtout a boom, the sheet needs to run to the right spot. The sheet should come pretty close to bisecting the angle of the sail at the clew as a starting point.

Now just push off and see what happens. You'll find that the sail has lots of drive for its size, and jibes are a piece of cake. Just don't let out so much sheet that the sprit gets ahead of the mast as you come around. It can and will do that if you let it.

But the main thing is to play with it and try all sorts of stuff. And take pictures and post them here, or else! :D

Ian McColgin
02-02-2010, 10:40 PM

Todd Bradshaw
02-02-2010, 11:18 PM
Tack to clew? How about tack to peak instead? Gotcha:)

Congrats David, If you guys can make 'em that fast, do you want a job?

David Winnett
02-03-2010, 01:08 AM
thanks for the insight, ian what means finastkind? neat word i've never seen used before, i did ask my wife if she wanted to go into the sail making business and she gave me this stare that i have seldom seen but know well what it means

02-03-2010, 08:04 AM
Getting it all ready for Big Lagoon? :D


02-03-2010, 08:39 AM
Tack to clew? How about tack to peak instead? Gotcha

Ouch. And to think I used to make a living as a copy editor.

02-03-2010, 09:46 AM
I'm quite impressed with the speed. Any pictures?
It took me nearly three months working nights to sew my 3 sails for the Elver. Admittedly there was a bit more sail to build and sometimes the sewing gave me fits. I can't praise Sailrite's quality materials and instructions enough though.

02-03-2010, 10:53 AM
My only gripe with Sailrite is that they make sewing sails so easy, enjoyable, and successful using regular home sewing machines that you end up buying their sail-making sewing machine and table. Just kidding! I can't wait to use my new machine this weekend!


Dale Genther
02-03-2010, 11:07 AM
Kenjamin - I have the same machine from Sailrite. It has been a great machine that is up to almost any task. For the really tough jobs I have a big Consew table mounted machine with a belt driven motor mounted under the table. Picked that up at an auction for $150.

02-03-2010, 11:38 AM
I have a 7 1/2 ft sprit rigged pram. It has a boom. The boom wil give you a better sail shape off the wind. Close hauled there may not be much difference. The boom does make tacking easier, less to do, and you will need at least a 2:1 main sheet, boom or no boom, perhaps more with no boom to flatten the sail when close hauled.

David Winnett
02-03-2010, 02:07 PM
i am not yet familiar with sailing terms, plan to get a book and start learning, but off the wind and the such i will have to learn about, also my sail only has three grommets along the luff i assume i need to add more as redmonds picture of the flapjack rigged for sail does show several wraps of rope around the mast and luff edge also the brail line must give extra form and structure to the sail as it fills with wind?

wizbang 13
02-03-2010, 02:24 PM
When I die they may name a yoga position after me ,"toevangboom".It's the contorsion I dobecause of no boom .

Todd Bradshaw
02-03-2010, 03:36 PM
A brail line on a conventional spritsail is a light line which runs from one side of the masthead back and through a reinforced grommet on the sail's leech (aft) edge (the brail eyelet) then back up to a small block (pully) on the opposite side of the masthead. Then it heads down the mast to a cleat near deck level. While actually sailing, the brail line is kept slack and has no function. It's used when you want to furl or unfurl the sail quickly. When snugged up, the brail quickly gathers much the sail and the sprit into a not-terribly-neat, but effective bundle along the back side of the mast. This can be done in situations when you are landing, approaching a dock, launching the boat and making your way clear of other boats under oar power, etc. - basically any time the mast and sail are up, but you don't want them working. Once you're clear of obstacles, you release the brail line from its cleat, the sprit leans back outward at the top and into its normal sailing position, the sail fills with wind, you sheet in on the mainsheet and you're sailing.

Here is a spritsail with a brail eyelet installed (left side, mid leech, half-circle reinforcing patches) but the brail line itself hasn't been installed yet (it's not really needed in the back yard when I'm just hanging up the sail on dummied-up spars to get a look at its shape).


Luff grommets - No real rule of thumb on number needed, spacing, etc. I usually space them maybe 12" apart and adjust a bit, depending on how long the sail's luff is to get an even spread. It's certainly possible to spread them more and use fewer, though I doubt there is much reason to install them any closer than that. The in-use tension on the sail's edge should be provided by the corner grommets at the top and bottom of the luff edge, pulling against the masthead up top and the downhaul at the bottom. The lacing grommets between them don't really get much strain and simply keep the sail's luff edge up close to the mast.

Depending on how big the sail is, you generally have the option of raising/lowering it up and down the mast with a halyard (in which case, some methods of lacing generate more slack and slide up and down easier than others) or leaving it in the laced-on-and-tied-off-to-the-mast, top-and-bottom mode and then just dropping the whole works into position when assembling the boat for sailing and using the brail to furl or unfurl it when you get out on the water. The sail can then be stored rolled around the mast (in a long bag if you plan to cartop-or trailer it without the risk of 60mph winds destroying it).

02-03-2010, 04:12 PM
Here's some pics from Big Lagoon showing spritsails and brailing lines -


Dusty's boat is next to my dory skiff with the sail brailed up -

02-03-2010, 06:22 PM
oh man...... you guys are making it unbearable:(........ i dont even know how to sail and i want to build a sail boat.... been looking at Barnegat Bay sneak boats and Nelson Zimmers 18ft Mackinac (nac because im north of the bridge naw for the trolls (under da bridge)):p