View Full Version : squaresails
03-18-2007, 07:17 PM
Hi All, I am in the process of finishing the sail plan for a 56 ft. schooner, Magnolia, which someday I plan to do a bit of trade wind sailing.. I am thinking of installing fittings on the mast for a light weight carbon fiber yard only for the downwind legs and stow the yard on deck when not in use.. I am wondering if the square sail and raffee are a good idea.. thanks... Sid
Yes, I'd say. I just finished reading Conor O'Brian's book ACROSS THREE OCEANS, he had such a rig and used it a lot going around, great advocate (for example).
03-18-2007, 10:40 PM
I have been wondering myself about about using windsurfer masts to build a yard for a square sail. They are strong and light and are mostly two piece so they would store when not in use or not desired to store aloft.
03-19-2007, 12:36 AM
I am considering squares on the Herreshoff Bounty Ketch I am planning to build.
The main yard would be attached to the mast by a fitting resembling a trailer hitch ball & socket for quick release. This would allow raising and lowering of the yard on a guide wire through the ball and to the center of the socket by a single halyard. Using a carbon fiber yard, the sails would roller furl from the ends of the yard vertically to both sides of the mast. This rig would also include a raffee above the lower course. The "bifurcated" and easily reefed sail panels would tend to dampen rolling moments while controlling down wind area effectively and eliminate the need to go aloft for reefing or furling.
03-19-2007, 02:04 AM
Bend the square sail to the yard on rings and devise a system of lines to spread the sail outwards from the mast along the yard like house curtains.. I have a nagging suspicion that Joshua Slocum came up with this idea for a topsail schooner.:confused:
03-19-2007, 07:26 AM
topsail_furling_1: From Article in American Schooner Society Newsletter, April 1974 (website archive).
Title: The saucy tightly balled up gaff topsail. ...
Author: Bill Wertenbaker ..
Summary: Schooner Tyehee, rig built by Frederick Tuxworth (owner) on advice from Pete Culler. Furling for topsail and fisherman staysail. Only the topsail furling is described in the article.
Article mentions that one of the few places that this type of rigging can be seen is in the book: American Fishermen by Albert Cook Church and text by James Connolly
W.W. Norton & Co, 1940 192pp, 261 b/w photos by author, lines for five vessels, 4to, lightly worn blue cloth boards w/ gilt letters, DJ w/ few chips. Photo collection of American fishing vessels and those who worked them from the early pinkeys down through the famous Gloucester fishing schooner.
I have a copy on the way:
Several avail under $10 from Amazon and Abebooks.
03-19-2007, 07:40 AM
My schooner used to have a square sail in the 50's !
And I still have the bronze fitting for it !!!:D
It's a double swivel fitting where you can have your yard vertical when not using the sail !
But God it's heavy !! At least 80 Lbs !!
Imagine that + the yard 30' above deck :mad:
I understand more when I found about 2 tons (maybe less !) of extra lead ballast inside :D
To do a fitting like that will cost a bloody fortune nowadays !
Anyway it's for grab to a good home :D
For cash or trade !! Trade is more fun :D
I already told Jay about it !!
So if anybody is interested, the piece is in Napa on board !!
Do not deliver :p
Incidently it suppose to be very efficient ,specially on a schooner running in trade winds !
Maybe I should think of reinstalling it ??:confused:
03-19-2007, 12:54 PM
If rolling down the Trades is your desire, how about a kite>
Take a look at the videos here. http://www.kiteship.com/photos.php
I believe that some motor yacht delivery crews use them.
03-19-2007, 01:40 PM
Maybe so, maybe no. Many have praised square sails for tradewind work, and their usefulness can't be disputed. However, there are other considerations. You have to take into account the hull shape and so on. Square rig puts a lot of weight aloft, which increases the tendency to roll. It also takes a bit of watching and has to be tailored to fit the crew available to handle it. Self-steering options also must be factored in if sailing short-handed. In some instances, twin headsails perform the same function with less weight aloft and much easier sail handling.
Thad Van Gilder
03-19-2007, 02:03 PM
I always liked L Francis Herreshoff's design for Marco Polo...
simple, basic, and relatively cheap.
03-19-2007, 04:56 PM
Sidsail: We installed a 42' yard on the foremast of our family's schooner and carried a course and raffee on a voyage from San Diego to the Marquesas and back in 1976. (Here she is under her current owners during a recent "Tall Ships" passage in the San Juans)
For our voyages, the course brailed together vertically (the head was on slides and the yard had a track). This was changed by a subsequent owner to the more traditional brail-up-and-stow method atop the yard. The Raffee could be sent up from the deck or stopped to the handrail atop the yard beforehand. Setting the raffee did require handing the forestays'l - (but then, it wasn't doing any good on that heading, anyway). The rig worked well, though it was a heavy set-up and did add the benefit of slowing the boat's roll down ('course it also deepened it as well :rolleyes: ). It was a good rig to use when offshore, but could keep you pretty busy when bay sailing under changing conditions.
Given that Murphy rarely gets to far away from a yacht at sea, I would recommend a way to easily get aloft in order to deal with whatever he decides to mess with. It does involve a lot of rigging to run up the mast. So, another consideration is whether having that windage aloft bothers you or your schooner's performance significantly.
03-19-2007, 11:26 PM
Hi All-Great thread subject. L. F. Herreshoff's Marco Polo design includes drawings for spar and fittings and his thoughts on squaresail additions to fore and aft rigs. In his drawings for Marco Polo (Design #85) LFH includes one for "Square Sail Gear" and elsewhere goes into details of the fittings and the process of setting and striking this squaresail. I have the rig and all the hardware as designed on my MP. I am making a new yard this year for it. Could set a raffee above it.
As for rolling: if you're lucky and the roll rate and sea are out of phase then rolling will be reduced. Personal accounts from another Marco Polo family include a report that setting the "square" reduced the rolling, actually seeming to stabilize their boat for much of a boisterous trip across the Indian Ocean while other fore and aft rigged vessels on the same passage at that time reported wild rolling and rough days and nights.
LFH referred to Conor O'Brian in his discussions of square sail/rig and ocean voyagers. LFH was also chosen by W.A. Robinson to design the square rig for his fabulous Varua. That vessel and rig were designed to be handled shorthanded. Certainly worth looking into.......Cheers/JC
03-20-2007, 12:04 PM
Thanks All for the input. I remember reading sailing books on schooners and the south pacific written in the 40,s or so and how the crew were all happiest when they had the square sails pulling.. i crossed the atlantic, pacific and Indian oceans mostly with a poled out genoa or poled twin headsails and the ride was very comfortable and easy on the self steering. Some folks say a schooner doesnt like to go dead downwind. Another note. the I measuremnet is 51' 4" on the foremast...
03-20-2007, 02:10 PM
Read Irving Johnson's accounts of sailing "Yankee" in the south seas.
He makes some interesting notes on the virtues of square sail.
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