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Thread: Gil Smith catboat "Lorelei"

  1. #281
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    Default Re: Gil Smith catboat "Lorelei"

    I sure hope you can find a good home for the boat.
    She is a beauty!
    I was born on a wooden boat that I built myself.
    Skiing is the next best thing to having wings.

  2. #282
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    Default Re: Gil Smith catboat "Lorelei"

    Topping Lift.

    Not being much of a sailor I can't quite see how these work in practice. It seems pretty obvious from a photo of the original 'Lorelei' (see earlier posts supplied by Tom} that she was fitted with such a device. Just before the mast there are three blocks set into the deck. Two of them are obviously for the the Throat & Peak halyards and the third one is set slightly forward of these. The Peak and Throat halyard cleats are set on the centreboard and there is one other which is set on the king plank just forward of the cockpit. I guess this is for use with a topping lift.

    So, I figure that the Topping Lift would be fixed to the rear of the boom, go straight up to the masthead through a block, down to that third block on the deck and then back to that cleat in front of the cockpit to be tied off. That all sounds logical but I am only guessing! Please fire away with any advice or comments.

    As far as I can gather, a topping lift supports the boom when lowering the sail to prevent the whole lot from clattering down onto the deck (a problem I used to have with the Melonseed Skiff I built a few years ago)

    However, the question I would like to ask is this. "If the topping lift is carried straight to the masthead from the rear boom, will it not restrict the movement of the Gaff Spar during sailing?" The line has to come down on one side or the other of the Gaff Spar and across the surface of the sail.

    I would like someone to explain the practical side of this operation in plain words please... so that this simple sailor can understand

  3. #283
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    Default Re: Gil Smith catboat "Lorelei"

    On our catboat the topping lift was to one side of the mast (port) and the halyards to starboard. The topping lift just keeps the boom from dropping to deck/cockpit when lowering the sail. Once the sail is up, you slack off the T lift so it doesn't crease sail etc. Simply tighten it up a lil before dropping sail.

  4. #284
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    Default Re: Gil Smith catboat "Lorelei"

    I agree with Gray Duck. On my current ketch, the topping lifts are fixed. Hoisting the sails lifts the boom enough to slack them.
    I believe that a boat as beautiful and interesting a yours, you'll be able to find help launching. If it were here on Long Island we could get a crew together.

  5. #285
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    Default Re: Gil Smith catboat "Lorelei"

    On my gaff rigged boat, I had the topping lift support the end of the boom at a lower level then the end of boom was at when the sail was set. This allowed for the topping lift to be slack when under sail and it didn't interfere with the gaff at all.
    Another solution is that once the sail is raised to unclip the topping lift from the end of the boom and attach it to the base of the mast while under sail.
    I was born on a wooden boat that I built myself.
    Skiing is the next best thing to having wings.

  6. #286
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    Default Re: Gil Smith catboat "Lorelei"

    Thank you all for the quick reply and explanation…now I get it…basically, the topping lift is slackened off whilst sailing so as not to interfere with the settings of the gaff spar and sail, then tightened just before the sails are lowered.

    Now why didn’t I think of that? Thank you again for your help.

  7. #287
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    Default Re: Gil Smith catboat "Lorelei"

    A lot of catboats have topping lifts on both sides, so you can scandalize the rig if there isn't time to reef as the wind comes up. For the gaff to sag off properly to depower the rig, you tighten the weather topping lift and slack the lee one.

  8. #288
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    Default Re: Gil Smith catboat "Lorelei"

    You can scandalize the rig with only one topping lift. One or two topping lifts makes no difference. If you want lazy jacks you'll need a double topping lift.

  9. #289
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    Default Re: Gil Smith catboat "Lorelei"

    Quote Originally Posted by holzbt View Post
    You can scandalize the rig with only one topping lift. One or two topping lifts makes no difference. If you want lazy jacks you'll need a double topping lift.
    The gaff won't sag off to leeward if it hits the topping lift.

  10. #290
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    Default Re: Gil Smith catboat "Lorelei"

    Greeting Don- I was very happy to see you update your thread on Lorelei. You've certainly done a fine job on her and really hope you get out on her before you find her new owner. I really enjoyed my very small role in your project and wish you all the best.

    Warmest Regards-Tom

    P.S. After the Wooden Boatshow at Mystic Seaport a number of folks on here popped down to visit our Long Island
    Martitime Museum here in West Sayville NY. They were able to stop in the boat shop and also see a number of Gilbert Monroe Smith boats the we have on display.

  11. #291
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    Default Re: Gil Smith catboat "Lorelei"

    Tom,

    Your museum and the boats there are just WONDERFUL! Thanks for treating us all so well.

    Much as I loved the catboats, Iím still dreaming of that Seaford Skiff.

    Peace,
    Robert

  12. #292
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    Default Re: Gil Smith catboat "Lorelei"

    Hello Tom...it is great to hear from you and all the other members again. I had to smile when I read that part of your post where you say "I really enjoyed my very small role in your project". Well, I have to say that if you had not supplied the photographs, measurements, detailed descriptions, etc. then this project would never have got off the ground. You and I both know that there were no plans available other than the table of offsets shown on page one of this thread and I never developed a plan on paper. The information you gave me was never recorded and immediately transferred to the build... So, I could never provide anyone with a plan. Besides that, at 2/3 scale of the original 'Lorelei' it is very much an experimental project and may yet prove to be a failure due to the fact that I don't have any sailor friends who are 2/3 scale humans. That fact may well be the undoing of this whole affair. We will just have to see what happens on launch day which I hope to be sooner rather than later... perhaps August/September.

    Kindest regards to all,

    Don

  13. #293
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    Default Re: Gil Smith catboat "Lorelei"

    On my old catboat Sea Rover I had double topping lifts, which, as mentioned, allowed the lee topping lift to be slacked off so as not to impinge on the sail. The function of a topping lift in a catboat, apart from supporting the boom when lowering the sail, is to support the long boom when running downwind, particularly in a chop.

    Here's a photo to illustrate, where you can see both lifts. The weather lift is taut and the lee slack. When the sail is reefed, which is often, the sail gives the end of the boom much less support. If it happens to be choppy the end of the boom can easily hit the water when running, and the lift can bring it up. Also, the lift can put some belly into the sail when running.

    The lifts were useful in containing the gaff when lowering, however, when the gaff was almost all the way down it's aft end swung clear of the lifts, which is the reason for the loop of line dropped from the lifts and going under the boom. Although this line worked to contain the boom it was problematic in several other ways, it sagged when the lifts were slacked and it could catch the end of the gaff when raising sail.


  14. #294
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    Default Re: Gil Smith catboat "Lorelei"

    Quote Originally Posted by Tokamecotom View Post

    P.S. After the Wooden Boatshow at Mystic Seaport a number of folks on here popped down to visit our Long Island
    Martitime Museum here in West Sayville NY. They were able to stop in the boat shop and also see a number of Gilbert Monroe Smith boats the we have on display.
    Tom, let me take this opportunity to thank you for all the interest that you took in our group. You made an interesting trip much more so for us, explaining things, answering questions and showing us parts of the museum that we might not have otherwise seen.

    I'm looking forward to you visiting my catboat in the near future.

    Jim

  15. #295
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    Default Re: Gil Smith catboat "Lorelei"

    Robert- It was a pleasure meeting you all and having you tour our exhibits. We're really trying to get the place back in shape, the bulk heading and decking are almost completed. If you decide to build a Seaford skiff I would recommend the Ketchum design as it's better to sail.
    Regards-Tom

  16. #296
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    Default Re: Gil Smith catboat "Lorelei"

    Well Don I hope to see photos of your boat sailing shortly. Your threads do a great job in documenting the build and it's here where many can see it. When it's launched remember some ballast would be very helpful.

    Regards, Tom

  17. #297
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    Default Re: Gil Smith catboat "Lorelei"

    Jim- it was great to see you again, it's always a pleasure to tour the museum with people with a real interest in history and wooden boats. I spoke to John and we'll hopefully be up for a visit soon.

    Tom

  18. #298
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    Default Re: Gil Smith catboat "Lorelei"

    Quote Originally Posted by johnw View Post
    The gaff won't sag off to leeward if it hits the topping lift.
    I've never found it to be a problem in the last 45 years.

  19. #299
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    Default Re: Gil Smith catboat "Lorelei"

    Well, I have finally found some decent weather over the past week or so and have been tying a few loose ends...but don't look too closely at my choice of knots! As I have said before, I am no great sailor and would fail my Knots and Whipping Scout badge, even after all these years. Never mind, I feel that I have got there at last and Merecat (aka "Lorelei" in its original form) is just about ready for the water. For a number of reasons though, that can't happen until the back end of of August. My good friend and Honorary President of the Firbeck Sailing Club is going to put the catboat through its paces. Meanwhile, here are a few photos I took today which leaves me with very little left to do. Please fire away with any comments you wish to make or advice you would like to give.

    I have had a problem with setting the sail where the throat halyard doesn't seem to want to go the full haul up, about the last 6 inches, without some hard pulling. I have a feeling that it might be fighting with the position of the gaff spar. You will see that I have dispensed with a Gaff Span and used a single fixed position for the Peak Halyard. This is because, when I used a span with two positions on the Gaff Spar, the Gaff Yoke was too light and unbalanced causing it to race up the mast ahead of being man hauled...I hope I am explaining myself properly here.

    Anyway, here are the 'garden sailing' photos which will be followed by a launch next month.

    IMG_0163 up.jpgIMG_0168_Moment(2).jpgIMG_0166.jpgIMG_0169.jpg
    Attached Images Attached Images

  20. #300
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    Default Re: Gil Smith catboat "Lorelei"

    You might want to try setting the throat halyard first, Don, with the gaff in a more level position. Once that's done tighten the peak. The peak halyard can fight the throat as it pulls the gaff downwards.

    Jim

  21. #301
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    Default Re: Gil Smith catboat "Lorelei"

    OK Jim, I will try that when I go for another sail in the front garden. I am still not sure if my single fixed position halyard block on the gaff spar is the right way to go or if it needs to be moved nearer to, or further away from the yoke. I gave up trying to operate a two fixture Span. I suppose I will just have to experiment with it. The whole rig is near identical to the Barto Melonseed I built in 2007- 2009 as I don't have the sail plan for "Lorelei" which I suspect carried a lot of sail area.

    You may have noticed that I added a Topping Lift but it is just a simple single line affair. However, it seems to work fine...on dry land!

  22. #302
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    Default Re: Gil Smith catboat "Lorelei"

    Try it, Don, it's a simple thing but it makes a lot of difference. Once the throat is set you can peak up until you get a wrinkle in the sail and then back off a bit.

    A lot of topping lifts are single, you'll be in good company.

    Good luck!

    Jim

  23. #303
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    Default Re: Gil Smith catboat "Lorelei"

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Scott View Post
    OK Jim, I will try that when I go for another sail in the front garden. I am still not sure if my single fixed position halyard block on the gaff spar is the right way to go or if it needs to be moved nearer to, or further away from the yoke. I gave up trying to operate a two fixture Span. I suppose I will just have to experiment with it. The whole rig is near identical to the Barto Melonseed I built in 2007- 2009 as I don't have the sail plan for "Lorelei" which I suspect carried a lot of sail area. 6F34E355-4200-44F4-AB2E-D1AD768F6B3E.jpg
    They did carry some sail, note the three reef points.
    You may have noticed that I added a Topping Lift but it is just a simple single line affair. However, it seems to work fine...on dry land!
    Sailing off LIMM.

  24. #304
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    Default Re: Gil Smith catboat "Lorelei"

    No topping lift on that boat, Tom? She sure is purty!

    Jim

  25. #305
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    Default Re: Gil Smith catboat "Lorelei"

    Jim,

    I have been tinkering around with the sail hoisting problem and combined your advice about hauling the Throat Halyard first along with fitting a block to the gaff spar yoke with extended line back up the mast and tied off just above the top block. What a difference! Thank you again for your advice.

    Tom,

    That’s a great photograph with LIMM for a backdrop…what a fabulous place to sail.

    Just looking at the spar projections beyond the sails on both boom and gaff of that boat. It makes me think that I could reduce those projections on my boat by at least half. i.e. saw a few inches off the ends of each spar. What do you think?

    Don

  26. #306
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    Default Re: Gil Smith catboat "Lorelei"

    That's great, Tom, I'm glad it helped.

    Here's another tip along the same lines. When you drop the sail don't let the gaff go level, keep it peaked and let out both halyards together. The theory is that the weight of the gaff pushes the throat down. This might not be such a big deal on a light rig but it makes a big difference with a heavy gaff. And the gaff is reined in, without so much slack in the peak halyard that it can whip around. When the throat is down then you slack off the peak.

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