View Full Version : Sprit in fresh winds.

08-10-2008, 12:19 PM
I've had a good deal of trouble setting the sprit in my dory when the breeze is about 20 knots. Any suggestions? I'm don't recall having trouble with my melonseed sprit. Both sails have about the same area, but the dory has a taller sail, and a longer sprit, about 14' versus 10'. Any ideas or experiences?

Todd Bradshaw
08-10-2008, 12:29 PM
Does it have a brail?

08-10-2008, 12:46 PM
No Todd, neither of them do. I just roll the sail around the mast after pulling it. A fresh breeze flogs me, and casts the sprit loose before I can tension it. Both sails have booms, which I prefer for ease of sheeting, and sail shape downwind.

08-10-2008, 02:50 PM
Perhaps the becket at the peak is not snug enough on the sprit. The peak becket should slide onto the tapered sprit end and jam there pretty darn tightly. If the becket is sliding down to the shoulder of the sprit and fitting loosely, then that is your problem. I've found that having a really snug peak becket lets you have full control of the peak even when the sail is flailing.

08-10-2008, 03:04 PM

Bill Perkins
08-10-2008, 04:35 PM
John on my boomed spritsail a piece of parachute cord leads from the becket at the peak (actually a bronze ring in my case ) down to a small cleat about a foot up from the bottom of the sprit. This positively prevents the sail from pulling loose . If you need to scandalize the sail in a blow just cast off the snotter , undo the line from the small cleat and the sprit shakes out and can be set aside . Then the line is led forward of the mast , around and back down to the foot of the sail ; forming an efficient triangular sail of reduced area . You never loose control of the peak of the sail .

08-11-2008, 06:55 AM
I think the becket is ok, it doesn't pull out too easily.
Bill, thanks, that's a good idea.
I may add brailing lines too.

Bill Perkins
08-12-2008, 06:49 AM
John ; for a boomed spritsail I like the setup on my Ducker ( where the scandalizing line detail came from ).This is a rig perfected in the 1800's . It's rigged with a topping lift that also functions as a brail . I use a soft 1/4 in. line for this , one end of which is attached to a small bullet block .The line is rove through the cringle at the throat of the sail , which the block stops against ,and then down to the boom where the line passes through a bee block on the boom's underside . Then up and through the bullet block at the throat and down to a cleat at the base of the mast .

Ideally the cleat has a hole in it and the line terminates with a stopper knot there . The bee block mentioned is the same distance from the boom jaws as is the throat cringle . If you need to douse the sail a long pull on that one line brings boom ,sprit and sail tight up against the mast . This clears the boat for rowing , and when it's time to sail again releasing the topping lift drops the rig back down ready to go . The snotter is not touched . With this setup you can instantly douse your rig on any point of sail .

08-12-2008, 08:20 AM
Thanks again Bill. How heavy is the whole package? Is it easy to step and remove? How much sail does she carry?
My dory has about 64 sqft, the mast and sprit are over 13 feet long. My boom is a sprit boom, curved to aid sail shape. I usually unship the boom and sprit, unstep the mast, and roll the sail around it. Setting is the reverse. The problem I've had is after stepping the mast in fresh breezes, it's hard to set the sprit. The sail flogs me, and even after poking the sprit into it's becket, before I get it aloft and tensioned, it flogs free.

Bill Perkins
08-13-2008, 07:53 AM
The sprit boom seems an unnecessary complication to me ,although I do like haveing a regular boom .Leaving that aside ,you can still secure the sail to the sprit as I mentioned . I think this would pretty much solve your problem . In windy weather you might also take a moment on shore to unroll the sail; set the sprit up on the tentioned snotter , then roll the bundle up tight again .Then you'd have only the setup of the sprit boom to deal with on board . I leave my sprit set up like this all the time ,although it does make a longer bundle for storing and transport .

08-13-2008, 02:51 PM
Thanks. Yesterday I pulled the sail, mast and sprit out, then replaced them. It went well, from the advantage of a floating dock in a moderate breeze. Both times I had trouble with it were in the boat at anchor. I'll let you know how it works out. I thought I might use a short length of shock cord with a hook to hold the becket onto the sprit, or a bit of twine through a hole in the sprit. Anyway, you've given me some helpful advice.
I added the sprit-boom because it was easy to make and rig. This boat was boomless. The sprit-boom attaches with a couple of cleats and a bit of light line.
Yesterday I sailed the boat out to Old Field Beach for a bag lunch, a walk and a swim. Great fun. Still experimenting getting underway from anchor, I set all sails, put the board halfway down, and waded over to move the anchor a little deeper. But the boat sailed up to me, and I just hopped aboard, anchor in hand.