View Full Version : schooner questions

08-30-2004, 12:21 AM
Seeing as how George started up a thread on schooners got me to thinking about all the learning we are doing aboard DECATUR. Now David is away in Indonesia diving I am left with the boat and the running of things and I dont intend to stay on the mooring forever waiting for hinm to come home. I fully intend to take the yacht out by myself in light airs but would naturally think it much more prudent and easier to have crew! I used to regularly take PEQUOT our 32' gaff cutter out by myself.
Anyhow I have some comments on our rig and if anyone has some input here feel free...
our running backstays (lowers) are wire and we intend to change to rope. the backstys are close to the midship line and the boom does not have to travel far/so this means we have to be real quick when going about etc. we will be putting in an extra 3 to 4 vertical runs on our lazyjack setup on the main. the two on the sail plan just dont help at all. we dont have a gallows as yet. waiting to see how we would go with everything first. what do we do when hoisting the fore as the gaff is longer than the space between the fore and main masts when the whole lot is dropped. we currently sit the sail cocked up when at rest.
any comments on the baove. got a few more questions etc but will wade through this lot first.

08-30-2004, 05:45 AM
For the lazy jacks, it's normal to double each lazy jack, so it looks like you have a letter "M" or possibly an upside down "W" on the boom. You can have the lines coming down from the topping lift ending in rings if you'd like, then just thread the lower lines through.

On the running backs, the way you have them set up is normal on race boats and they usually use large crews, and are maneverable enough to "pause" in a dead downwind position with the boom centered, allowing the crew to change the "RB's". This will be a lot more difficut with a gaff main. I'm not sure if you have a gaff main or even if your boat is a standard design. If she is a standard design, try to find out from similar designs, how the rig will stand with the RB's. Usually on schooners the RB's are supplementary and you can take your time putting them on, in wind speeds up to, say,15 kts and mild sea conditions. Which makes life a lot easier.

Ian McColgin
08-30-2004, 06:56 AM
This is a gaff rigged Malabar II ?

I take it the runners pull against the lower triadic or spring stay that comes back from the foremast?

If so, this runner really helps keep the jib luff a bit straighter, not that anything gives a wooden schooner a straight jib luff, and you needn't be in too big a flumozzle to get it tight right on the tack. The masts won't fall over.

On Goblin I had wire runners to fiber tackle. The wire was long enough that the block would land about at the top of the turnbuckle of the mainmast's aftmost shroud. Had two blocks on deck to spread the load and a becket on the block on the stay so the fiber ran from the becket to deck block to hanging block to deck and to a lever operated cam cleat. This particular unit was very nice as it gripped the line with nearly parallel jaws and the lever was easily lifted to release even under maximum strain.

I had it aimed such that I could use the weather jib winch to tighten things if needed but that prooved not needed.

If you don't want a modern cleat and find 3:1 does not set you up tightly enough, try a secondary line that has a thimble around the part of your tackle that's leading to the last deck block - the real fall on this tackle. A block up near or at the chainplate will do as a location for the turn so through that and back to near the cleat you use for the running back. Once the runner is set as best you can, use the secondary to sweat it a little tighter. When tacking in a hurry, that secondary can be cast off after the tack is completed. It can also be used to hold the runner against the shroud nicely out of the way.

But these complexities are not so needed if your crew is at all sharp. At the moment the bow passes the eye of the wind is the time to snub in the new runner.

I've written elsewhere about Lazy Lifts (locally knowns as Lazy Ians to distinguish from Lazy Jacks) which rather elegantly serve as both topping lift and Lazy Jacks. If you can't find it easily, I'll be happy to write again here for all or in a private e-mail. Could even fax a drawing.

Set up rightly this is an easy rig to single hand. Jim Lobdell or his wife could easily run theirs tacking in the tight mass of boats behind the Vinyardhaven breakwater like it was a small sloop. They were gaff schooner with a clubbed jib so three self-tending sails does simplify.


John B
08-30-2004, 04:15 PM
Hi Bernadette.

isn't the problem that they are on the centre line a la modern racing boat with big crew.
As an end solution,won't you be running them off to the quarters ( or forward a bit),basically just inside the bulwarks? If they go far enough forward( a compromise, I know) you may even be able to leave them both on ,on the wind.

Phil Young
08-30-2004, 11:19 PM
If I can wangle a trip to Cairns for work in the near future I'd be more than happy to help with crewing, just try to keep me away!!!! More falls on the lazy jacks, and runners led to the quarters certainly sounds more usual, and useful. I can't see any other way of dealing with the long gaff than you have described, sounds fine. How does she sail? Pictures, we want pictures!

09-01-2004, 05:44 AM
When singlehanding a schooner keep in mind that they donít behave with only main or only headsails. Dalia will not bear off with only mainsail, and will not head up with only headsails, even under engine! You have to plan ahead, raise and drop sails in sequence, and make sure you have sea room. Once everything is up she handles sweetly.

About runners, if your mast is raked aft and your aftermost shrouds are well back from the mast axis, I think you may not need to bother with them in normal winds. Gloucestermen didnít even have any. We installed some for our maintopmast, but havenít felt the need to use them yet Ė they just sit just aft of the aftermost shrouds and cushion the boom when runningÖ