View Full Version : Penobscot 14 Sail Plan
04-26-2007, 12:06 PM
I am currently working on the interior of my Penobscot 14 and have reached the point that I need to decide upon the sail plan.
Arch Davis supplies drawings for a Gunter Rig, Lugsail Rig and Spritsail Rig. I am hoping to hear opinions on which type of rig I should go with.
My sailing will be done here in Miami and in the Florida Keys. I will sail once in a while by myself but most often there will be two adults (I'm 6'-1" 225 lbs).
I admit that I'm somewhat intimidated by the complexity of the Gunter Rig.
On a side note, the boat is still quite a ways from being ready for sails but I've reached the point where my next step will be the mast step and mast partner. How long do sails usually take to have made? I'm beginning to wonder when I should order them.
Thanks in advance,
04-26-2007, 01:20 PM
I have just started building the Penobscot 17.
I am setting up the jig and cutting out the frames.
It will be the gunter rig.
Why? Well I think it looks the best.
In addition, there are more 'strings' to play with, which is one of the reasons for my building it in the first place.
How far have you reached?
How long did it take to build so far?
04-26-2007, 04:01 PM
Do any of the rigs fit inside the boat, so that you can drop/raise them under way? This is a huge advantage when rowing into the wind. There is a big difference between fitting inside the boat for trailering, and fitting inside so that you can row -- I suspect the spritsail might be best for that purpose.
Do the Lug and Sprit rigs have the option for booms at the foot of the mainsails, or just the top spars?
04-26-2007, 05:19 PM
I put the gunter rig on my Penob 17 and am very happy with it. It sails great, looks good, and is not complicated. Rowing with the sails in the boat, however, is not easy. The 14 might be better, and the yawl rig would definitely be better for that.
My sails took about 2 weeks, but I ordered them months prior to finishing the boat. Stuart Hopkins at dabbler sails made them.
He is at dabblersails.com.
04-26-2007, 08:21 PM
She is a beauty Tom. What did you call her?
From what type of material did you have the sails made and what weight was the material.
04-26-2007, 10:01 PM
Her name is Osprey, the sail is 5 oz dacron. She has sailed on Lake Champlain, and Eggemoggin Reach, as well as other waters. This year she will be out more, and I look forward to the season to come.
I have to say, Arch's designs are great to build, and great to sail.
04-27-2007, 01:12 AM
I am also making a Penobscot 14 and are about to turn her over so it sounds like you are just ahead of me.
I am going for the gunter rig as I like the look of it and I understand it points a bit higher.
I am going to try and make it a sliding gunter though as I don't like the ideal of trying to re-tie the top mast when I am putting a reef in.
I figure that the reason I am putting the reef in is the weather has turned bad and the last thing I want to do is have everything on the deck as I try to re-do a rolling hitch.
04-27-2007, 11:27 AM
We have faced a similar challenge reefing our gunter rig while underway. With more time on the water we have begun to progress beyond the "keystone cops" level. Several things have helped: 1- using a Davis "Tiller Tamer" allows you to stay on course while futzing with the halyards; 2- keeping the jib flying and trimmed to maintain headway; 3- making sure your halyard sheaves are configured to prevent the lines from binding; 4- using a short length of 1" webbing with D-rings on each end. This strap wraps around the yard at the location you choose and both D-rings are captured by a hook at the end of the halyard. No knots are required.
04-28-2007, 11:36 AM
Thanks for all the responses,
Rum Pirate, I totally agree that the Gunter rig is the best as far as looks are concerned. I've been working on this boat longer than one can believe but it's been an enjoyable experience throughout. Right now I am installing the thwarts and have to decide if I make the hole on the forward seat for the stayed rig or on the stem for the unstayed rig.
Thorne, Once again coming to my aid! You've replied on previous posts that have been a help to me. The Lugsail rig has a boom; the Spritsail does not.
Tom, Wow great picture, it must be gratifying to look at the picture knowing you built the subject. Also thanks for the sail info, that seems to be a pretty quick turnaround time which would let me hold off a bit longer before ordering them.
Lozell and bheys, your responses lead me to think I may be better off with a Lug or Sprit. I don't plan on sailing on days that I would need to reef but I guess you never know. Did you find the rigging to be complicated when you were first erecting it? Did you have experience building boats and doing the rigging? This is my first try at boat building. I can honestly say that I don't know what a "sliding Gunter" is nor how I would rig one.
Truthfully, I may be more intimidated by the rigging process than is necessary. I remember getting the plans to the boat in the mail, opening them and thinking....there's no way I'm capable of this. Some how I've managed to get this far so maybe I should take the rigging portion in stride. Is the rigging substantially more complicated than the boat building process? It looks like it.
Would a Spritsail or Lugsail be under powering the boat, so to speak, if there was 400 lbs+/- of adults in the boat?
04-28-2007, 06:25 PM
A stayed rig is much more of a hassle to put up and take down while you are out on the water--something you may need to do if you ever do end up sailing on one of those days that needs a reef or two. And to paraphrase the late, great Robb White, if you ain't out sailing in weather where you need reefing then you ain't gettin' all the goody out of life.
I have tried a bunch of different rigs in small open boats and my personal favorite by far is the lugsail. It is extremely quick to set up and take down compared to any form of sloop rig. I can go from all spars lying flat in the boat to underway and sailing in less time then it takes just to untangle and lead the jibsheets correctly in my sloop. For a small, open boat go for the lug or the sprit!
Rowan with one reef in the fores'l, 15-18 kts wind:
04-28-2007, 08:46 PM
The sliding gunter allows you to lower the yard without having to re-tie the halyard on the yard. Effectively you have a rope that runs parrallel to the yard that extends from the upper and lower points that you would tie the yard halyard. The yard halyard then has a small block or some sort of slider that this rope threads through. When the throat halyard is lowered to reef the sail the yard slides down held in place by the rope and the tension from the yard halyard.
So to put a reef in one would realease the throat halyard until the reefing tack can be attached to the boom, re tension the halyard and pull in the reef at the end of the boom with what is now the new outhaul. You will probably have to retension the luff lacing as well. All done at deck level which sounds good to me.
As far as my experience go's I have sailed a bit but never built a boat. If you have managed to get this far I would not let the rigging put you off. It is not difficult, however it is an area of the plans that is not detailed on its finer points. To compensate you will find a lot of helpful advice on the board.
04-28-2007, 11:53 PM
I've got the lug rig on my P14 and I'm very happy with it. I wanted decent performance but ease of set-up. The spritsail rig looked the easiest and quickest to set up, but being unboomed, I was worried about downwind sailing. The gunter sloop should give the best performance, with combined effect of having a jib and having greater sail area than the other rigs, but I didn't like having to set up a stayed mast. The lug rig seemed a good compromise between the two. It sails well reefed or full sail, although admittedly I've only tucked in or shook out a reef while at the dock, not while underway. The only complaint I've got is that it doesn't sail very well in very light air - but I attribute that to needing more canvas, not the type of rig itself. And the lug doesn't look bad, either.
Edited to add: I deviated a little from Arch's instructions and didn't bore a hole in the stem from the mast step. I used a softwood for the stem, and was afraid that eventually the mortise would wallow out, and I thought that there was no way I was going to be able to drill the drain hole exactly right. Instead, a fashioned a separate mast step and screwed it on to the stem. A dado is milled down the center of the step on the underside to allow drainage.
04-29-2007, 09:17 AM
Nice solution to the mast step Al.
Good looking boats y'all.
04-29-2007, 09:45 AM
The lug rig sounds very interesting. My rig has a forestay and sidestays, which is a hassle for setup. It takes me ten minutes to get going.
I am building a John Welsford Pathfinder now, which will probably be set up as a yawl. Getting the Penob ready for the sailing season now, which I enjoy as much as the sailing.
Here is a pic during setup when we were initially rigging the boat, with daughter Amy's help. The stays are shown here, it really isn't a hassle, and I like the way the boat sails into the wind with this rig. Next boat will be different, as it's all a learning esperience.
04-29-2007, 09:48 AM
Actually, I did a similar thing to Al's mast step solution, by putting a block with a square mortise in it on top of the stem for the step. It seemed much more sensible than boring into the stem, plus easier to allow for drainage.
Lots of pics here:
04-29-2007, 10:18 AM
Nice image album Tom.
Great job documenting the building.
What did you deck her with?
04-29-2007, 10:21 AM
The deck is camberra, a south american jaboti used around here for outside decks and patio railings. Very nice to work with and finished up nice, and lots cheaper than mahogany or teak.
04-30-2007, 09:06 AM
The lug rig sounds very interesting. My rig has a forestay and sidestays, which is a hassle for setup. It takes me ten minutes to get going. Good God, Tom. A whacking great ten minutes to set up, a hassle? :eek:
04-30-2007, 09:13 AM
Give him a break I can understand it.
I have my boat tied to the dock and sometimes I am too lazy to go down and hank on the jib and go sailing. Of course I also have to remove the mainsail cover and lift the 2hp Honda from the boat locker and mount it on the transom. 10 minutes tops, but no I just keep plugging away in the shop and look wistfully at the whitecaps tossed up on the lake by the 15 mph easterlies.
04-30-2007, 09:36 AM
Yeah, you're right maybe it's not too bad, Rum. It does look cool, though. Thing is you want to be on the water, not rigging wire. Best thing would be to have it moored and just go down and jump in.
04-30-2007, 10:32 PM
"A whacking great ten minutes to set up, a hassle? :eek:"
That's right, a hassle--if you're used to something better! 10 minutes to set up means that it is enough of a hassle that you will end up trying to row with the spars sticking up and creating windage rather than lay them down in the boat. . . . . .that you might put off going for a sail if you only have half an hour before dinnertime when two thirds of your available time is spent setting up and taking down the rig. . . . . .that you automatically cross off your list all those little creeks and side sloughs that require you to shoot under a bridge or low hanging branches as being just too much trouble.
I'm telling you from experience that a stayed rig in a sail & oar boat is just not the best fit, no matter how much you may like one for a dedicated racing dinghy. While you are taking 10 minutes to set up your rig I will already have been sailing for seven minutes with my balance lug yawl--and it has twice as many masts! I don't mind taking ten minutes or more to lead all the sheets and hank on the genoa and winch up the halliards and stuff on my big cruising sloop, but the rig of a small open boat should be simple and elegant, not complex and finicky.
05-01-2007, 05:52 AM
You make excellent and lucid points. Looks like the Lug!
(AlMeyer once again thanks for the help you've given me, I will be copying your mast step arrangement).
Thanks for all the responses. I went into this thread thinking that even though it seemed complicated I would probably try and tackle the Gunter rig. The information here helped me tailor the decision to my own needs. Once again this forum has proved to be an invaluable tool to me.
05-01-2007, 09:22 AM
Another advantage to an unstayed rig is you have the option for the emergency mast-overboard trick -- just untie any halyards from the boat and chuck it over the side.
Haven't ever used it, but when totally overpowered by sudden winds, and possibly with halyards or spars jammed threatening a capsize, it is something to remember.
A month ago I rowed into downtown Petaluma with my 16' mast up -- forgetting the bridge there only has about a 14' clearance at slack tide. It certainly was nice to be able to drop the mast and row up to the docks, then later turn around and row back under the bridge and raise the rig while under way.
05-01-2007, 06:41 PM
Great discussion, as usual! I've always leaned toward the gunter for my P14, but still have a long way to go before needing to decide. I like the idea of playing with all the strings, but I don't want to take forever in setting up. However, I have to trailer the boat, so I'll be making a pretty serious commitment to sail if that's what the day holds. If I'm making that commitment, one argument says what the heck, what's 10 minutes?
I've thought of using some type of pelican hook on the stays to reduce set-up time for the gunter. Think that would make a difference?
It'll be fun to think through this whole issue as I progress. What about increasing the size of the lug — just a little. Would that help in light airs, or cause other problems?
Any other recommendations on a sailmaker? I've talked to Dabbler, but am curious who others have used.
05-01-2007, 07:18 PM
Best way to have flexible sail area is to use a larger jib / genny for light airs. Reefing in a small open boat is not a whole lot of fun -- much easier to drop the genny, then raise a smaller jib or no jib at all.
05-01-2007, 09:38 PM
As I kind of hinted at in my previous post, I would expect the gunter sloop rig to sail better in light air, and point a little higher in almost any air. But I was disappointed with the rigging time required in my first boat, which was a fiberglass conventional sloop. Step the mast, secure the forestay (shrouds were already attached to the chainplates), attach the boom, bend both sails, and run the sheets. Seemed like a lot of fuss. The gunter sloop rig shown for the Penobscot 14 looked like the same deal all over again, so I chose the lug and haven't regretted it. That being said, a lot of Penobscot 14's have been built with the sloop rig, so it's definately got something going for it. And if I were building a 17-footer, I'd probably go with the sloop rig. For whatever reason (probably very irrational), the schooner and ketch rigs shown on the P17 just don't appeal to me as much on this size and style a boat.
Bottom line, there's pluses and minuses to each of the rigs. Weigh them out, and make your own decision. What's right for you may be different than what's right for me, and that's alright.
If you're really short on time, just row the boat. It takes nothing to drop the boat in the water when under oars. The Penobscot 14 rows pretty well, even with straight (non-spoon bladed) oars. A lot of times I'll take the boat out to the local bayou after work and row for an hour or two before dark. Great way to take the edge off after work. The P14 won't row as fast as a dedicated pulling boat, but still does well enough, and it's stable enough to take the wake of any powerboat or jet ski that passes by too fast. I built mine intending to sail mostly, but rowed it first, thinking that the round bottom hull would be more tippy than I was used to. The idea was to get used to the hull before I hung canvas on it. Turns out the boat is a lot less tender than I suspected, and I enjoy rowing a lot more than I would have thought. As a result, the boat has seen as much time under oars as it has under sail.
05-01-2007, 10:07 PM
Al, I must admit I have not rowed my 17 a lot, mostly sailed. The rowing position available when the boat is rigged is the aft position which I think is the less desirable one but the forward postiion is the chain plate for the mast. I may take the 17 out and just row her, without the complication if the rig.
I do like the gunter rig but my next boat will be a yawl. It is a very different boat from the Penob 17. But, rowing appeals to me and I may just take her out and set her up for rowing, not sailing, just to try her out.
05-02-2007, 12:37 PM
Al, I too plan on rowing a lot — the Ohio River is less than 10 minutes from my house, and as I've watched the winds for my 2 years here, they are virtually non-existent in the mornings. The river seems especially well-suited for a nice early morning row. Glad to hear how pleased you are with your boat on both fronts.
Do you have to bend the sails everytime? You're not able to store them rigged and step the mast while the sail is attached?
Can you tell me how long does it take for you to get on the water when you're gonna sail? If you trailer the boat, from when you pull up to the ramp, and then are sailing away, about how long is that?
In a conversation with Dabbler, he suggested a loose-footed main for the gunter — in contrast to what the plans call for — and that should cut the time, at least by a little, in getting the main ready.
05-02-2007, 08:47 PM
Best way to have flexible sail area is to use a larger jib / genny for light airs. Reefing in a small open boat is not a whole lot of fun -- much easier to drop the genny, then raise a smaller jib or no jib at all.
Mr Thorne, I'm sorry but I completely disagree with you about reefing by changing jibs around in a small open boat--unnecessary, undesirable and just not at all suited to this type and style of boat! Please don't take this personally---it's just that I very much have an opposite opinion.
In my Ericson 23, my medium size cabin cruising sloop, I carry a full complement of 4 headsails ranging from the 130% and 110% genoas to a 95% working jib and a small, high-clewed, heavy canvas storm jib. Going out on the foredeck to hank and unhank the sail, clip on the tack and the halliard, and refasten and re-reeve the jibsheets for the correct lead before hoisting 'em up is hard enough on a boat with a nice comfy foredeck which has a pulpit and lifelines and a big foredeck hatch to feed your sails out of. On a tiny little boat that doesn't really even have a foredeck--one that is so small that the weight of a person climbing out to the bow to un-hook the tack is very unbalancing--that is just a real pain in the a__ to have to fiddle with this stuff while afloat. And you've got to be able to do this stuff at any time, anywhere or you do not have a valid reefing scheme at all! Reefing strategies that work at the dock or on a trailer are simply not safe until you have also tested them when it's not convenient.
Just dropping the jib altogether is certainly not the best option either, because that means your sloop is now unbalanced with regards to weather helm, the CE of the sail area now having moved back considerably. This can affect the steering and handling qualities most adversely on a very light boat that doesn't have any momentum to carry her through stays. In some cases this may prevent you from being able to tack your boat at all in the extreme winds that caused you to put a reef in in the first place.
And of course there are the other problems with jibs in general on small boats--that they need shrouds and stays and lots of forestay tension in order to stand properly, that they don't stay down well of their own accord when lowered, trying to kite and climb up the forestay unless lashed down, that they require a good bit of rope that needs to be lead in a way just so for the jib sheets, with the lazy sheet always lying around in heaps waiting to tangle you or some other part of your boat up. . . . .
When you say "reefing in a small open boat is not a lot of fun. . ." I suspect it is because you have never seen how simple and effective it is with a small lugsail. The procedure is this:
1. Uncleat the halliard and let the whole thing come down into the boat, yard, sail, boom and all. This lowers your center of gravity, reduces your windage considerably, and makes sure that that wicked gust that springs up at exactly the wrong moment won't be able to pull anything out of your hands.
2. Hook on the tack of the new reef (I use a little snap-shackle lashed to the boom so that it's literally "click" and go) and likewise the new clew--haul in as much outhaul tension and cleat off.
3. (sorta optional in a pinch) Tie in the reef points if it's a big bundle and if you have time, or you can leave it for later--untidy but no big deal.
4. Hoist the sail, adjust downhaul tension if necessary. Sheet in and hang on. . . . .!
It took substantially longer to type this out than it takes to do it--(though to be fair, I'm not a very fast typer.)
A picture of Rowan and the Calkins Wherry, both double reefed and about three miles from the nearest shore--no problem!
(Heading north up Bellingham Bay after a weekend camp-cruising out in the San Juan Islands.)
05-02-2007, 09:42 PM
River Sailor, in answer to your question about set-up time, I don't think I can beat Tom W's 10-minute time - he must have his act a lot better organized than I. Or maybe it's all the preparations I make to get the boat "road ready." My sail is bent to the yard and boom, and stays that way during the sailing season, so I don't have to worry about that. Lacing a sail on a hot pavement at the boat ramp is not my idea of fun. But when taking down at the end of the day, I roll my sail into a semi-neat bundle, and lash it, the yard and the boom together with two small pieces of line. The sail assembly and the mast then get stuffed into a long canvas bag. The reason for the bag is that my sail cost too much to be flapping around as I'm zipping down the freeway at 70 miles per hour. Each oar and the rudder/tiller assembly also fit into it's own "sock" made of terry cloth, as I don't want them bouncing around when on the road. On my plastic boat, I just dumped everything in the bottom of the boat. What the heck, it was a plastic boat, and a butt ugly one at that. But my Penob is much nicer, so I take better care of it. But even if I chose a gunter rig for the Penob, I'd probably still use the socks and covers. I haven't timed it, but I'm probably looking at 10 to 15 minutes from pulling up to the dock to splashing the boat. Set up the rudder, step the mast, wrap the boom's parrel around the mast, attach the bridle, and run the sheet. Also add the "uh-oh" gear - paddle, boat hook, bailer and a throw bag. And don't forget the PFD! Don't raise the sail until you get off the trailer and into the water. A gust of wind from the wrong direction can make launching interesting (trust me on this). Once the boat is at the dock and off the trailer, point the boat into the wind as much as possible. Attach the yard's parrel (I use a toggle arrangement), raise the sail, and set the downhaul. Drop the centerboard and rudder blade and sail away. On a gunter or a gaff sloop, you can leave the sail bent to the yard and boom as I do, but you've still got to lace the main to the mast. And you've got to bend the jib to the forestay. (Tom, please correct me if I'm wrong.)
In my plastic boat I also used a trolling motor. The practice then was to motor away from the dock about 50 yards, then raise canvas out on the water. Coming to dock was just the reverse. The idea was that I had better control under motor power than sail power. I've since gotten a little more skilled and sail directly to and from the dock. Also, the trolling motor doesn't work too well on the Penobscot. Between the weight of the motor, battery, and my not-too-light personage, all sitting near the transom, the bow rode very high, too high in any sort of wind. The same wineglass transom that helps the Penobscot row well means that it can't support too much weight in the rear without raising up the bow. It's just as well, as I can row as fast as the trolling motor will push me.
05-03-2007, 07:08 AM
Hi, Al. You are right, my setup is like this, I have the gaff and boom already laced on, and must step the mast, attach the sidestays and forestay, bend on the jib, which has hanks and goes on quickly, then lace the main to the mast, wrap the parrels around the mast, attach the peak halyard and the throat halyard, and am ready to hoist sail. It goes a bit quicker in operation than description, especialy if I have one of my kids there to help. They all know what to do.
Do you have a picture or description of your downhaul? I am using a mast collar to hold the boom down, but I think a downhaul might be better, and would like to see how you rigged yours.
I like your idea of covers for the booms, sails and oars, I have had problems with the yards and oars abrading the deck during towing.
05-03-2007, 09:03 PM
I originally had a collar on the mast for the boom jaws to ride against, but was having problems with sail shape. Some folks on the Wooden Boat Forum said that I needed more tension on the luff, and recommended a tack downhaul. It was good advice. It's not clear in the picture, but the end of the line has a stopper knot and runs thru an eyebolt mounted on the mast step.
Since that photo was taken, I've also leather'd the hole in the mast partner to reduce rubbing on the mast, and added some belaying pins for the anchor line and dock line. I didn't like them just laying around in the bottom of the boat.
05-04-2007, 07:36 AM
Very nice, Al. Did you turn the belaying pins yourself? I have never done any lathe work, might be time to get one. Your work is top notch. The pins make it look like an fine old schooner.
It's been mentioned that the layout of the 17 limits the use of space, due to the cockpit arrangement. The 14 is more traditional with thwarts and seats. Oar storage in the 17 is a problem, I lay the oars in the boat near the bow, they are not in the way but are not exactly stowed. Next boat will be different.
05-06-2007, 06:03 PM
I don't have a lathe, so put in a phone call to the Wooden Boat Store. Nice folks on the other end, they even understood my Texas accent. And turnaround was quick too.
I like carrying my oars when I'm sailing, they've come in handy a couple of times when the wind absolutely died. I also carry a paddle for short maneuevers around the dock, but for any distance at all, oars work a lot better than a paddle. I have two sets of oarlocks, and it's easiest for me to have the oars ride in the locks. The leathers provide a friction fit in the oarlock, and I've never had an oar jump out. The oars are patterned after Culler, weren't difficult to make, and are lighter, better looking and a lot cheaper than store-bought oars. The narrow blades mean that I won't be setting any speed records, but I can row for quite a while without getting tired.
This setup works fine with the lug rig, but it wouldn't work at all with the sloop. When rowing solo and I want to take a break, I leave the oar in the oarlock near the center thwart, and lean the blade against a cleat mounted near the transom, with the end of the blade hanging out past the transom. Something similar might be adopted for the sloop rig, but I haven't thought it all the way through yet. I'm not sure if such an arrangement would interfere with the bridle, or if the front of the oar would interfere with the jib sheets.
05-06-2007, 07:04 PM
"Mr Thorne, I'm sorry but I completely disagree with you about reefing by changing jibs around in a small open boat--unnecessary, undesirable and just not at all suited to this type and style of boat! Please don't take this personally---it's just that I very much have an opposite opinion."
well I dissagree with Jame's dissagreement! (:
and as stated previous "please dont take it personally."
If you are talking modern cutter rig (darn cutters) your right there hard to reef, btu if your talking a traditional American sloop (eg. type used in Essex County Ma. USA) rig well they cant' be beat. These rigs were proved the best in all aspects by a hundred years of feverish boat experimentation during the past centurys. only the best rigs survived and that was, almost universally for small boats, the sloop.
I'm willing to spend an extra five munites at the ramp for a rig that is lighter stiffer and stronger.
your thinking modern rig, modern jibs need lots of tension traditional ones dont' need alot of tension. look at the jib on the Alpha Dory these boats were incredible speed machines and simply set their jib flying, no tensioned forestay needed when the rig is of traditional sloop design.
ballance wheen reefing:
the coments about bad ballance apply to modern rigs where the jib is often larger than the main sail, but on a historic sloop the main is always large and the jib relatively small.
Thorne was right on target in suggesting that you can reef the main (decreasing it's area while also shifting the center of remaining are foreward) and drop the jib. a dory or other traditional sloop rigged craft will sail wonderfully well (especially up wind) with this shortened sail plan, far better than any other rig! to sail down wind in absoloutely harrowing wind and sea try dropping the main and running under jib alone. Better stick to bare poles in any other type rig.
consider a leg-o-mutton rig for the P14!
05-06-2007, 08:05 PM
your thinking modern rig, modern jibs need lots of tension traditional ones dont' need alot of tension."
Sorry, but from a sail design/sailmaking perspective, this just isn't true. Any jib, be it modern or traditional, has to have a certain amount of luff tension/luff sag designed into it. The formula for sag allowance is the same today as it's always been and the goal is to keep the sag and the excess draft it will create within reason and the sail working at it's designed draft. You can certainly operate a boat with more headstay/jib luff sag than some modern boats have, but the sail needs to be designed for it if you want it to work efficiently. A good jib shape is a good jib shape and a bad one is a bad one. The wind has no clue whether it's being diverted by a traditional jib or a modern one and it acts the same.
As to the comments about balance, they're way to broad to be accurate. Applying such generalizations to types of boats, rather than taking a serious look at the specific boat, rig, sail areas, etc. is a good way to wind-up with a boat that has terrible balance.
05-06-2007, 09:18 PM
No ire here, but I think that you are misunderstanding the reasons why I don't endorse a sloop rig for a small open boat. . . . .
It's not that sloop rigs don't sail to windward well--clearly they do! But they have many other disadvantages for a small open boat. The Penobscot 14 is an unballasted little sail & oar boat. It is nothing whatsoever like the traditional american sloop boats. (I assume you are talking about boats like the Noank sloop in Chappelle's American Small Sailing Craft). Those boats are heavy, ballasted, stay-in-the-water, carvel planked boats. A sloop rig works fine on a boat that stays in the water and doesn't bother to have its rig set up or struck down for rowing because it's not really a rowboat. C'mon, I've got nothing against sloops per se--I own one myself, fer goshsakes!
But the Penobscot 14 is pretty much a Whitehall type, a sail & oar boat, and the traditional and preferred rig for these boats has always been unstayed--a spritsail or a lug for example. Getting the rig up and down while out on the water is a prime requirement for this kind of boat if you ever want to use this boat in more open waters or at times that are other than fair weather. I own one of these sail & oar type boats myself too, you see, so I know what I'm talking about from scary experience, when not reefing all the way down was not an option. The Alpha Dory is a specialized racing machine, not a valid comparison to a P14--the actual working dories which moved mostly under oars had, if they had a sailing rig at all, a simple unstayed sprit or lug to set when the wind was favorable. That huge boomed sail on the A Dory would be completely unmanageable to stow. By the way, pretty as it is, an Alpha Dory can't even come close to the windward performance of a Laser dinghy, which is cat-rigged! Taking in that sagging jib was the first reef on these Alpha Dories because the jib stopped doing any good once there was enough wind to start bending the mast.
Only the sloop rig was universally adopted for small boats? I thought the classic Massachusetts sailboat was the Cape Cod Catboat. Down a little further south the sharpies in Connecticut and Chesapeake bay use mostly a cat-ketch rig--another un-stayed rig. There's lots and lots of other small boat rigs that were and are used other than sloops. Sloop rigs do very well under the artificial constraints of racing rating rules, one of the reasons why the rig has become very prevalent--but like all other rigs, sloops have both pros and cons. The stays are a very definite con for a tiny boat.
Your statement that unlike modern jibs, traditional type jibs "don't need alot of tension" is simply untrue. A jib with a sagging luff creates leeway instead of drive whether it is a modern carbon fiber/spectra/mylar blade jib or an Egyptian cotton canvas traditional jib. This, and your statement that a sloop that has dropped its jib can sail to windward in a blow "far better than any other rig!" leads me to surmise that you haven't actually had any experience with any of the other traditional rigs. . . . . . . . . .
05-07-2007, 05:50 PM
Good points all.
James, your right on about the sail and oar boat, not a place for stays, and on a 14 footer I would never want to deal with anything more than a cat rig (too many lines, too little room, no real benifit to extra rigging). I must also strenously agree that a cat rig is much closer winded than any jib and mainsl' boat, (I would like to see a laser and an alpha, side by side, clawing their way up wind! I would be tempted to bet on the Alpha.)
I would still continue to assert that a traditional jib takes less tension. this has nothing to do with materials it's made of and everything to do with size. The modern sloop has a huge jib (often larger in area than the main sail) set from the mast head and requires a backstay to tension it. A traditional (old fashion) sloop rig has a relatively small jib hence far less wind pressure in the sail, therefore it will set with very little sag and far less forestay tension.
I would suggest a sprit rigged cat as the perfect sail for the P 14 in question, the ideal rig for a sail and oars boat.
05-07-2007, 11:49 PM
Dan, You're free to believe whatever you want about luff sag and it's effects, but unfortunately, that doesn't make your assumptions any more correct. The sag formulas and the effect of headstay/luff sag on traditional sails, small sails, big sails and modern sails are all dealt with in the same basic way and predicting and compensating for that sag and the reasons it's done are the same across the board. I use the same formulas today for building a small traditional dinghy headsail that I used 20 years ago when all I was building were high-tech, high-aspect multihull sails from Kevlar and Technora laminated fabrics.
Sag is a major factor in the design of any headsail and the corrections for it are made proportionally to the sail's luff length. Small sails with shortish luffs=small corrections, big sails with long luffs=big corrections, but the proportions of the corrections to luff length are basically the same. The only exceptions made to this would be situations where the boat either had exceptionally strong racing backstay systems where the percentage used might be slightly less - or on boats with unstayed masts, where more than the normal amount of sag is anticipated and a greater percentage of sag per foot of luff length might be used. Even America's Cup boats show substantial amounts of headstay sag, as can be seen when they show those overhead shots from helicoptors out on the race course. Sag is very carefully figured-in with all their sail-modeling software so that they can keep the sails at their designed draft, despite the headstay sag. Control luff sag and you can control your jib's shape. Lose control of luff sag and you also lose control of the jib's shape.
The sag allowance is nearly always substantially greater in some parts of the sail than the allowance being made in that same area in the form of luff round to create the sail's draft. This is why the luffs of most headsails actually turn out to be subtle S-curves with a hollowed luff in their top half and a convex round in their lower half. If we look at a typical jib for a daysailer or small cruising boat and add an extra inch of luff sag (which doesn't seem like much on a 15'-20' luff) we may actually be as much as doubling the sails draft from the designed amount of maybe 1' draft per 10' of chord to up to 2' of draft per 10' of chord.
Deep draft creates power. It can be good for pushing a fat or heavy sailboat along through a chop, but on a faster hull it may prevent you from ever getting up to the speed you're supposed to be achieving and simply create more heeling as it does. At the same time, headstay sag can have adverse effects on the main/jib interaction (like choking the slot) and alter the entry angle of the jib, which can actually make the boat annoying to steer or make it difficult to keep the sails stable and working smoothly. The "small traditional sloop rig" you mentioned will, as you stated, see less wind pressure on the jib, but it will also have proportionally less luff round built into that jib for draft, less sag allowance deducted and built-in due to it's shorter luff and take less luff sag to get bent out of shape. It's all proportional to sail size and any time your sag exceeds the designed amount you have a sailshape problem and the lack of efficiency that it creates.
There is certainly some truth to your statement that fractional rigs with big mains and small jibs may be less affected by headstay sag than the typical modern rigs with masthead genoas and smallish mains, but it's really a matter of how well your boat will still sail with part of it's sailplan malfunctioning. If you want your entire sailplan to work efficiently, the sag has to be accounted for and it needs to be kept at, or at least very close to, the designed amount. Traditional headsails and their rigging may seem a lot less technical than modern ones, but if you want them to work properly it still comes down to the same math and percentages.
05-08-2007, 11:05 AM
some great info on sail shape! thanks for taking the tim, You've given me some good questions for my sail maker. Im' in the bad habbit of making my own sails, just broke it!
I ordered a new suit of sails for the Ipswich Bay 18, a fractional rig, from Downs Sails of Peabody Ma. this is a dory but not a sail and oars boat! p.s. please note small jib :)
05-08-2007, 01:22 PM
Yep, that's a pretty sailplan. If you did it with Egyptian Dacron, narrow-paneled and with a mitre-cut jib you would instantly have that "classic boat" look before folks even got close enough to see the hull clearly. The jib leech will have at least two, and maybe even three leech battens, which can be a constant source of pocket-chafe since jibs tend to get fluttered a bit from time to time. It would be worth buying or building some relly good little tapered battens with soft tips to stop the problem before it even starts as well as yielding better shape along the leech.
05-09-2007, 07:01 AM
Wow, a treatise on sail shape! Great stuff.
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