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Thread: Bowsprits and Headsails

  1. #1
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    Default Bowsprits and Headsails

    Let's talk about handling a jib that is set at the end of a bowsprit. In reviewing dozens of old plans from Atkin, Crocker, Alden, and others, it is commonplace to draw a bare naked bowsprit (no plank deck/pulpit) with a jib set from the end. Roller furling would be the modern solution, but is never shown on these sailplans. I know for some of the older Atkin plans a ring traveler was intended.

    Take Ingrid for example. A ring traveler seems a bit outdated for the rig, but a furler is also not right (at the time). I know they had furlers during this time, but I haven't seen one from this period installed on a boat this big. Especially not a boat intended for blue water. What did the designers intend? Were they all set flying? Surely nobody was expected to go out on that spar as the weather was building to tie down or remove a hanked on jib. The situation seems so common in boats designed up to the mid fifties that there must have been a widely accepted solution.



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    Default Re: Bowsprits and Headsails

    You go out and you get it down and gasket it, change it if necessary. Some people had retrieval lines / downhauls, you still have to gasket it or take it off and get it back.
    or you had a flying jib either on a ring traveller or not , or on a wykham martin furler , which is set flying but has a wire luff in the sail.

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    Default Re: Bowsprits and Headsails

    ^ +1 Also, there are (usually) whisker shrouds with some form of netting.
    Last edited by jackster; 03-09-2017 at 02:34 PM. Reason: just correcting being dumb!

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    Default Re: Bowsprits and Headsails

    I've never had netting on my boat or any other I've sailed or raced on, I put non skid on the varnish along the top of my bowsprit, bad weather you'd get low with a foot on the bobstay. Cruisers and bigger boats do have nets no doubt.
    Whiskey shrouds eh , a tot of rum for me.

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    Default Re: Bowsprits and Headsails

    Most folks are going to put modern furlers on that bermudian Ingrid. Without one, she will need a third jib ,tall and light,to the truck.
    Woodwind is only a bit smaller than Ingrid. We carried a second bowsprit/third sail, until I got a big engine.
    Downhaul on the job.
    Stay to stay not further than one can reach.
    Once the jib is pulled down, most of the gasketing can be done leaning out over the staysl.

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    Default Re: Bowsprits and Headsails

    My third jib was set flying from behind the shrouds. Once up, the tackling went to the windlass. When set, it is the tightest line on the boat. Also taken down behind the shrouds. Needs a bit of sea room and planning, as it is best to go off the wind setting and lowering.

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    Default Re: Bowsprits and Headsails

    Prefer it set out on a ring, much safer to work from the deck than from a pole or net, having tried it all ways on a Colin Archer type. A wire furler on a ring would be an ideal set up for me, i do not trust the alloy spar reefers on the end of a bowsprit.

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    Default Re: Bowsprits and Headsails

    I do hank on, but I also have a downhaul line, which I use as a furling line when the jib is down and I'm not going to unhank. Albert Strange did draw furlers on some of his larger designs, with a wooden spar and spindle.

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    Default Re: Bowsprits and Headsails

    Yes you just clamber out there. Back when men were men. And PFD s were life jackets and they stayed down below where they belong.

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    Default Re: Bowsprits and Headsails

    I've been reading a little about the furlers that set flying. Like a modern code zero furler. Has anyone made something like that work for a jib, maybe with a spectra line instead of a wire for the flying headstay? I'm not sure I have pieced out how it would work, but seems like people have done similar things. The benefit would be able to switch between headsails without going out on the bowsprit. If the furling part fails, it can still come down like a flying jib.

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    Default Re: Bowsprits and Headsails

    Quote Originally Posted by John B View Post
    I've never had netting on my boat or any other I've sailed or raced on, I put non skid on the varnish along the top of my bowsprit, bad weather you'd get low with a foot on the bobstay. Cruisers and bigger boats do have nets no doubt.
    Whiskey shrouds eh , a tot of rum for me.
    Rum shrouds.. Yea sounds good to me!
    Thanks for the correction, John.
    Should be WhiskeR Shrouds !!

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    Default Re: Bowsprits and Headsails

    Quote Originally Posted by J.Madison View Post
    I've been reading a little about the furlers that set flying. Like a modern code zero furler. Has anyone made something like that work for a jib, maybe with a spectra line instead of a wire for the flying headstay? I'm not sure I have pieced out how it would work, but seems like people have done similar things. The benefit would be able to switch between headsails without going out on the bowsprit. If the furling part fails, it can still come down like a flying jib.
    Id be worried about the headsail wrapping the forestay as you furl it. Could get messy.

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    Default Re: Bowsprits and Headsails

    Quote Originally Posted by skaraborgcraft View Post
    Prefer it set out on a ring, much safer to work from the deck than from a pole or net, having tried it all ways on a Colin Archer type. A wire furler on a ring would be an ideal set up for me, i do not trust the alloy spar reefers on the end of a bowsprit.
    I like rings, a really sane idea.
    '' You ain't gonna learn what you don't want to know. ''
    Grateful Dead

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    Default Re: Bowsprits and Headsails

    On Truth, 30', gaff cutter, I had a 1" bronze track running on the top of the bowsprit.
    A car ran on the track with a block.
    Flexible wire ran down from mast, through the block and ended in the tack shackle.
    Shackle on the staysail, hank it on to the standing part of the stay, pull on outhaul to run the car out to end of bowsprit, hoist sail.
    The halyard pulls on the sail, which pulls on the tack shackle, which tensions the standing part of the stay.
    Worked great.
    Track screwed down except for last two which were through bolted to take halyard strain.
    Outhaul ran inside hollow bowsprit which also had tack fitting/pendant for spinnaker.
    Good luck

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    Default Re: Bowsprits and Headsails

    I like that idea David. Scaraborgcraft, can you elaborate on the wire furler? Do you mean the old style furler? Do you need one for each different headsail or is it transferable between sails?

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    Default Re: Bowsprits and Headsails

    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Y View Post
    Id be worried about the headsail wrapping the forestay as you furl it. Could get messy.
    It does,so you just set up with some seperation. I ran wykham Martin and then tried a modern code zero type furler,which worked well but didn't look so good. They're perfectly suited for a flying jib though.
    If I could make photobucket work I'd dump 20 photos on yawl.
    Sounds like a sweet setup David has on Truth.

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    Default Re: Bowsprits and Headsails

    Quote Originally Posted by jackster View Post
    Rum shrouds.. Yea sounds good to me!
    Thanks for the correction, John.
    Should be WhiskeR Shrouds !!
    One could argue a rum is necessary before going out there......Heh heh.

    Oh... that isn't very good these days is it.

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    Default Re: Bowsprits and Headsails

    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Y View Post
    Yes you just clamber out there. Back when men were men. And PFD s were life jackets and they stayed down below where they belong.
    I hope you are being factious. The last Gloucester schooners had no bowsprits. Their families had enough of meeting their schooners and being told a sad story.

    Also I believe that there is a yacht racing rule that states that the boat must cross the finish line with the same crew it had when crossing the starting line, or be disqualified.

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    Default Re: Bowsprits and Headsails


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    Default Re: Bowsprits and Headsails



    On Waione , in this video for meerkat 10 years ago, we had our big headsail hanked on the forestay but that mess on the foredeck is our working jib on a wykham martin setup. So we could hoist that jib and set it inside the genoa. Which still meant a trip out there to get that big sail down and gasketed. I'd do that a bit differently now.

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    Default Re: Bowsprits and Headsails

    That video from the bowsprit did nothing to ease my concerns about that system! Beautiful boats though. Also, I've been reading your words in the wrong accent this whole time.

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    Default Re: Bowsprits and Headsails

    Quote Originally Posted by J.Madison View Post
    I like that idea David. Scaraborgcraft, can you elaborate on the wire furler? Do you mean the old style furler? Do you need one for each different headsail or is it transferable between sails?
    That particular boat had home made fittings rather like a wykham martin, with rollers top and bottom and flexible wire stays. No dout the same could be done with a spectra line, but twist can be an issue as i understand it, if there is no stiff luff tape; not really an issue on an endless line furling drum, just keep pulling till the entire sail is wrapped then lower it to deck. All of that could be done while safely on deck in front of the mainmast, where the sail could be lowered and then retrived from the bowsprit on its ring outhaul, and either replaced with another sail, coiled and dumped below (if dry), or lashed along the bulwark.
    A downhaul line combined with a stay on a ring might be a simpler option over making up furling bearings, i could live with just unsnapping sail hanks.
    For a single hander, or anyone who does not sail with disposable crew, having a headsail change system that can be done from the saftey of the foredeck, to me at least, is a no brainer.....YMMV.

    EDIT; the furling swivels were fixed,( top one on halyard and bottom on the sliding ring) but each sail had its own wire luff, used Anderson shackles for quick removal/ fitting.
    Last edited by skaraborgcraft; 03-10-2017 at 03:13 AM.

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    Default Re: Bowsprits and Headsails

    Surely nobody was expected to go out on that spar as the weather was building to tie down or remove a hanked on jib.
    Yep; that was the procedure. Ideally with a downhaul, led back to the deck, to get the headsail down and wadded up, but then out you go, butt on the whiskeR shrouds and feet on the bobstay. It's what I do on Bucephalus, LOD 19' +3' of bowsprit, what I did on the Alden schooner Voyager, LOD 50' +8' of bowsprit, and it's what we did on Californian, LOD 95' + 40' of bowsprit and jibboom. Furling a jib topsail 40' forward of the foredeck in a big Pacific swell can be... invigorating.

    But really, having done it a lot, I can tell you it's not that bad or scary. Modern maintenance practices make it a lot less likely the rigging will break and dump you overboard (the most common failure on the Gloucester schooners), and in bad weather you're clipped in, of course.

    The last Gloucester schooners had no bowsprits.
    Not true as a general statement. Many of the later schooners, starting in 1902 with McManus's Helen B. Thomas, *were* knockabouts, with no bowsprits, for just the safety reasons cited, but most still had bowsprits, as it was a lot cheaper to rig a bowsprit than to stretch the hull to reach out to where the bowsprit would have been.

    As for modern treatments of the situation, I don't think I'd change anything on Ingrid. As I said, it's not that big of a deal. If I had to change it over, I'm more of a fan of the traveller than of the roller furling --less prone to jamming. And didn't Dyarchy have a good, innovative way of dealing with jibs at the ends of bowsprits? I can't bring it to mind, though.

    Alex

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    Default Re: Bowsprits and Headsails

    "Red Witch" has a martingale net under her nose pole. The spreaders on either side add to the support of the whisker stays and make more room to douse a jib into.
    Jay

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    Default Re: Bowsprits and Headsails

    On Woodwind, I will dump the inner staysl and carry the jib to avoid having to pull the jib off .
    Pulling it down and tying it up is no big deal, but hours , not to mention overnight or days of the furled jib smashing through seas will destroy a sail.
    I sit in the exact same position and use the same pin to pull it up and pull it down.
    I am loathe to carry a genoa on a cruising boat like mine. Maybe idling across the pacific of course, but not here in the Caribbean trades. Of course I am in a minority as most race their boats everywhere. Performance for me does not mean only speed.

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    Default Re: Bowsprits and Headsails

    This is an interesting topic to me. I'm building a bowsprit on my boat to move headstay out three feet, and it's interesting to hear how others hoist and douse sails with various systems. I may post about it in another thread. Don't wanna change the topic.

    David, I like the system Truth uses with sail track. I have track and cars. Maybe a possibility.

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    Default Re: Bowsprits and Headsails

    Quote Originally Posted by wizbang 13 View Post
    On Woodwind, I will dump the inner staysl and carry the jib to avoid having to pull the jib off .
    This is pretty much what I'm afraid of; that the jib is too difficult or scary to get off when the time is right, leading to waiting until the time is long past to get it down and then its even worse. Going out for a day sail wouldn't be the problem, I'm thinking about in the dark far from land on a shorthanded boat.

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    Default Re: Bowsprits and Headsails

    If bringing down the jib isn't the problem, but you'd rather not unhank and leave the jib tied up on the deck, why not get a jib bag that zips around the forestay, with the sail still hanked on? I have a bag for my jib (though it's a used bag and a little big for my sail), but it has kept my sail safe and secure, even when gales come through.

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    Default Re: Bowsprits and Headsails

    Quote Originally Posted by Train View Post
    If bringing down the jib isn't the problem, but you'd rather not unhank and leave the jib tied up on the deck, why not get a jib bag that zips around the forestay, with the sail still hanked on? I have a bag for my jib (though it's a used bag and a little big for my sail), but it has kept my sail safe and secure, even when gales come through.

    SEAS is the reason. I have a Bermudian buddy, the sailmaker there.The stories he has of folks who pulled down a jib, lashed it to the pulpit or bulwark or whatever, and had a disintegrated pile of junk in the morning!
    Off the wind no big deal, but one assumes a yankee jib pulled down at sea is because of fresh to frightening conditions .

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    Default Re: Bowsprits and Headsails

    J. Mad, dark and short handed yes, but you forgot fatigued and scared! That little 125 sq footer of mine becomes a monster at times. And I am actually a mouse of a sailor.

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    Default Re: Bowsprits and Headsails

    Quote Originally Posted by wizbang 13 View Post
    SEAS is the reason. I have a Bermudian buddy, the sailmaker there.The stories he has of folks who pulled down a jib, lashed it to the pulpit or bulwark or whatever, and had a disintegrated pile of junk in the morning!
    Off the wind no big deal, but one assumes a yankee jib pulled down at sea is because of fresh to frightening conditions .
    I suppose that makes a lot of sense. I'm glad I'm putting a platform and pulpit on my new sprit.

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    Default Re: Bowsprits and Headsails

    A platform will heel over with the boat. Fine if the vessel is stiff. In my case, although my vessel is a heavy Colin archer type, she is slack bilge and heels a lot. Thus, I am better off with non skid on all but the bottom of the round bowsprit.I have non skid up the inside of my 5 inch toe rail forward of the mast! I have wire for my two bobstays,but chain on the whiskers.Chain is not nearly as strong as wife, but is much nicer for standing on, sitting on and praying on.I have never been tempted to install a pulpit.
    i also have half inch Dacron line running from the pinrais to the bowsprit fittong( forget what it is called,gammon?)

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    Default Re: Bowsprits and Headsails

    Quote Originally Posted by ahp View Post
    I hope you are being factious. The last Gloucester schooners had no bowsprits. Their families had enough of meeting their schooners and being told a sad story.

    Also I believe that there is a yacht racing rule that states that the boat must cross the finish line with the same crew it had when crossing the starting line, or be disqualified.
    My tone was deliberately facetious, but really I'm serious. Mostly with a bowsprit you do climb out on it and clip or unclip the headsail. As discussed, the whisker and bob stays are useful. Not sure about whiskey. It can be a wet ride, but if you follow the old maxim, one hand for you and one for the boat, it gets done reasonably safely. Good incentive to reef early.

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    Default Re: Bowsprits and Headsails

    Seems to me that designing a boat that requires someone to go out on a bowsprit to deal with a hanked on jib is irresponsibly unsafe.
    The set-flying furlers, from Wickham-Martin to today did/do not get enough tension in the sail luff for acceptable windward performance. They're OK for downwind sails.
    For an upwind sail, I think that a modern on-stay furler is the only option that's even close to good.

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    Default Re: Bowsprits and Headsails

    Quote Originally Posted by JimConlin View Post
    Seems to me that designing a boat that requires someone to go out on a bowsprit to deal with a hanked on jib is irresponsibly unsafe.
    The set-flying furlers, from Wickham-Martin to today did/do not get enough tension in the sail luff for acceptable windward performance. They're OK for downwind sails.
    For an upwind sail, I think that a modern on-stay furler is the only option that's even close to good.
    And for that modern furler to have the required tension to perform well means that the sprit and all of its associated supports need to be extremely well mounted......hence i see little reason why not just extend the boats bow, you gain extra waterline and a stronger set up. I have found even "reefing " bowsprits than can be hauled in to save on mooring fees, sometimes struggle to maintain luff tension, and you do not see many reefing/folding bowsprits fitted with roller furlers. If you do not pay mooring charges, then i guess your bowsprit can be as long as you like. The Looe Lugger Guide me at 40ft, is 70ft once she has her bowsprit and boomkin set. Nice to look at, but worth the issues?

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