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Thread: Schooner question

  1. #1
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    Default Schooner question

    Hi,

    Am I correct in thinking that both a topsail and fisherman staysail should be cut flat? These are for Atkins "Florence Oakland" so are pretty small, seems like I should be able to control the shape with sheets etc. Thanks.

    Jamie

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Schooner question

    The fisherman in shape should match the draft of the main staysail so that both can work in tandem. This is a general rule of thumb before switching to a gollywobbler for cracking off the wind. Here, the fisherman, which is easily handled due to its manageable size and control of all four corners, is a handy tool to use when short handed or for the sake of simplicity. Skip Elliott of Elliott Pattison Sails is one of the most informed sail makers for traditional schooner rigs in the business.
    Jay
    Last edited by Jay Greer; 01-07-2016 at 01:40 PM.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Schooner question

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Greer View Post
    The fisherman in shape should match the draft of the staysail so that both can work in tandem. This is a general rule of thumb before switching to a gollywobbler for cracking off the wind. Here, the fisherman, which is easily handled due to its manageable size and control of all four corners, is a handy tool to use when short handed or for the sake of simplicity. Skip Elliott of Elliott Pattison Sails is one of the most informed sail makers for traditional schooner rigs in the business.
    Jay
    Thanks Jay.

    Jamie

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Schooner question

    A topsail will fall off due to the weight of the gaff. But remember that wind is always fairer aloft due to the release of surface friction from the water surface. This is where a good sailmaker will match the correct draft of the topsail to the needs of either the fore or main sails if both are gaff headed. Often topsails require re-cutting until good balance with the sails they are above is achieved. Remember that schooners don't perform all that well to weather when compared to a sloop or a cutter. This is why a ketch rig is a happy compromise between the two. A ketch can work to weather nearly as well as a sloop and can, usually, better a sloop off the wind due to being able to set more reaching and downwind kites. But a schooner boat can be a off and downwind tiger if the hull form, beam and rig are balanced for speed.
    Jay
    Last edited by Jay Greer; 01-07-2016 at 02:21 PM.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Schooner question

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Greer View Post
    A topsail will fall off due to the weight of the gaff. But remember that wind is always fairer aloft due to the release of surface friction from the water surface. This is where a good sailmaker will match the correct draft of the topsail to the needs of either the fore or main sails if both are gaff headed. Often topsails require re-cutting until good balance with the sails they are above is achieved. Remember that schooners don't perform all that well to weather when compared to a sloop or a cutter. This is why a ketch rig is a happy compromise between the two. A ketch can work to weather nearly as well as a sloop and can, usually, better a sloop off the wind due to being able to set more reaching and downwind kites. But a schooner boat can be a off and downwind tiger if the hull form, beam and rig are balanced for speed.
    Jay
    Well, I planned to build a cutter about the same size, but bought this on an impulse so I'll just have to work with it. As far as recutting the topsail,it would be simpler to have it made by an expert, but it's so much more fun doing it myself. At least it's a small topsail so I can afford to mess with it. I figured it would be near flat because I had to make my Chebacco gaff mainsail flatter as it went higher, also after my first post on this I found a passage in John Leather's "Gaff Rig" stating that topsails were cut to set flat, so that'll be my starting point.

    I'll be using a yard for most of the luff to get a bit more height, that might simplify getting it to set. I have no experience of any of this so it will be interesting.

    I appreciate your comments and suggestions and I've emailed Skip Elliott on the fisherman. Perhaps next September I'll be able to show you some results! I don't plan to enter the show, but will be there.

    Jamie

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Schooner question

    Jamie If your topsail and lowers luff at the same time your topsl cut is pretty good. I am sure that Skip will be able to comment further. He is a long time friend and racing buddy. Light gaffs are a plus.
    Jay

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Schooner question

    Jay has you very well covered with his advice, especially his recommendation of Skip Elliot. Skip was our sailmaker when I worked on Kelpie and he kept her running like a top. Back in the '70s I worked for a Newport Beach yacht broker and did a lot of racing in Newport. Skip was our go-to sailmaker.
    Schooner captains love to get blown offshore!

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Schooner question

    Skip is selling his loft and moving on to Minden Nev.
    If you want to deal with him, now is the time while he is still in Newport Beach.
    Jay
    Last edited by Jay Greer; 01-08-2016 at 06:01 PM.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Schooner question

    What about his partner, Harry Pattison? I went to college with Harry.
    Schooner captains love to get blown offshore!

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Schooner question

    Thanks again, Jay. Skip replied already and not only answered my questions, but drew me a picture! I'm all fired up to get started now.

    Jamie

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Schooner question

    It is my understanding that Skip's son Ian is taking over along with Harry Pattison. I don't know if his son RJ will be involved.

    Here is a anticdote for those of you who have young kids on board. When Skip and his wife Stephany first bought the old loft from Omar The Tent Maker just behind the Sea Spray yard on the Rhine in Newport Beach CA, in order to not have to deal with a baby sitter, other than their Labrador retriever, the boys had the run of the loft, a place that, notoriously had a lot of sharp things on the floor and benches. Skip made up a holster for each of his sons that held a marlin spike, knife and a pair of scissors.
    These were their first toys and, just like an Eskimo child, they learned from an early age not to cut them selves! And, they both grew up to be top notch sailmakers. I am not saying that any of you should follow that example but, it worked for the Elliots.
    Jay

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Schooner question

    I understand that Sea Spray has now been leased to neighboring Southcoast. When I worked for the Newport Beach Cal Yachts dealer we did most of our work at long gone Pacific Tides. I actually find it amazing that there are any boat related businesses remaining on the pricey peninsula real estate.

    I'm glad to hear that there will still be an Elliot in Elliot Pattison Sails. Skip was a great guy to do business with.
    Schooner captains love to get blown offshore!

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Schooner question

    The hull is quite narrow and shallow. Also, the hull has quite a bit of flare (or is it flam?) between the chine and deck edge. All these things suggest that she's not terribly stiff. This leads me to think you won't be flying these kites in much wind. It might work to make the sails of light enough cloth of old-fashioned materials that can stretch, using stretchy bolt ropes and/or stretchy tabling, allowing the sail to be shaped by adjusting luff tension and the sheet.
    As a second thing, I'd suggest that you sail the boat as rigged before making a lot of changes. My experience has been that tender gaff rigs do better bald-headed (without topsails).

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Schooner question

    Quote Originally Posted by seo View Post
    The hull is quite narrow and shallow. Also, the hull has quite a bit of flare (or is it flam?) between the chine and deck edge. All these things suggest that she's not terribly stiff. This leads me to think you won't be flying these kites in much wind. It might work to make the sails of light enough cloth of old-fashioned materials that can stretch, using stretchy bolt ropes and/or stretchy tabling, allowing the sail to be shaped by adjusting luff tension and the sheet.
    As a second thing, I'd suggest that you sail the boat as rigged before making a lot of changes. My experience has been that tender gaff rigs do better bald-headed (without topsails).
    Not a problem, around here we do a lot of light air sailing in summer. And I'll have all those the extra strings to pull!

    Jamie

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Schooner question

    Jamie:
    Keep an eye open for the Atkin schooner, CERIDWEN out of Hadlock. Stephanie and her husband, Matt McCleary have been sailing her well for many years and enjoy setting all of her kites during the annual Captain Reynaud International Schooner Races held each year during the summer - as well as whenever they are bound somewhere and the PNW winds do their light-weather thing. They are delightful folks and always willing to share. CERIDWEN has benefited from their lovely attention and looks smart. If you do match up with them, please tell them, "Hello" from the MAGICians.
    Last edited by MAGIC's Craig; 01-09-2016 at 08:26 PM. Reason: spelling

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Schooner question

    Quote Originally Posted by MAGIC's Craig View Post
    Jamie:
    Keep an eye open for the Atkin schooner, CERIDWEN out of Hadlock. Stephanie and her husband, Matt McCleary have been sailing her well for many years and enjoy setting all of her kites during the annual Captain Reynaud International Schooner Races held each year during the summer - as well as whenever they are bound somewhere and the PNW winds do their light-weather thing. They are delightful folks and always willing to share. CERIDWEN has benefited from their lovely attention and looks smart. If you do match up with them, please tell them, "Hello" from the MAGICians.
    I'll do that, it's likely I'll see her at the show or at Hadlock if not in the islands.

    Jamie

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