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Thread: Gaff rig questions

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2019
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    28

    Default Gaff rig questions

    Hi Iím building a 22í gaff rig sloop.
    I have the boom and gaff all glued up.
    Yet to start the mast.
    Designer provided rough drawings of rig, but not full info. I feel the questions i have are usually the sort of thing that builders decide.

    Q1. I donít yet have the sails but Iíd like to finish the spars some day soon, Should things like reef comb, gaff span shackles, cleats for reefing, halyards etc be held off until consultation with sailmaker?

    Q2. If its ok, about where should the above be placed?

    Q3. Iíd like to run a wire/s up the mast for VHF and steaming light. Should these be run separately and/or in a conduit?

    Q4. How do I make a tidy and water resistant exit of cables upon entry/exit of mast.

    Q5. Blocking internally in mast. Obviously at top, and bottom up to gooseneck, but is it necessary at normal full hoist for gaff?

    I think thats enough to be going on with!!

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    South Puget Sound/summer Eastern carib./winter
    Posts
    15,783

    Default Re: Gaff rig questions

    Whatís a gaff span shackle?
    Most of these things are up to you I recon. I like to keep things simple on my gaffers... really simple . Nothing like a reef comb. Electric wires on the shrouds. No metal fittings and minimum amount of holes.
    Gaff jaws and saddles float on the mast for the most part, so I donít think blocking at the full throat extension is nessesary, otherwise it would be needed also at each reef, but then I would not have a hollow mast on a gaffer either.
    Gaff masts do not break usually unless they go rotten, and down the road, these are the things that cause the rot.
    A mistake I sometimes see is little gaffers making believe they are big gaffers .
    bruce

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Ronneby, Blekinge, Sweden
    Posts
    714

    Default Re: Gaff rig questions

    I agree, keep it simple.
    For the exit of wires if run inside the mast, I'd make them exit downwards.

    /Mats
    Yes the avatar depicts me; yes I drew the comic boat pic, it's a joke on the pop song I'm Not a Robot by Marina and the Diamonds.
    Swedish Yourneyman of the Year 2019

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 1999
    Location
    Hyannis, MA, USA
    Posts
    46,787

    Default Re: Gaff rig questions

    1. Delay till you have the sails bent the first time.

    3. It appears that the mast is to be hollow. Put the wires inside. You don't need the weight of a channel. Make your internal blocking have a down towards center slope and a hole big enough for all wires easily. For the long run where there's no blocking, some crumpled aluminum foil will keep the wires from rattling about.

    Those answers leave you with the choice of round mast with jaws on the gaff and hoops or lacing for the luff. But the Wianno Senior handles a larger sail and the gaff on a robust track. So there are many choices that you may want to research before going much further.

    4. The wiring exit holes at bottom should exit at a down slant. You may be putting a VHF at the masthead and it's sometimes hard to bend the antenna cable sharply so consider letting the wires exit at the top of the mast and seal the hole(s) carefully.

    5. Blocking to the gooseneck is not at all obvious. Structurally this disturbs the nature of the mast's column. The butt of the mast should be solid up a little and then perhaps 2" or 3" high blocking at the partners, maybe at the gooseneck, and at the spreaders. The solid butt should have the top sloping aft and a drain hole. All blocking should have drain holes. A fully sealed mast is a rot trap as the cycles of sunlight and night will cause moisture in the mast's wood to evaporate into the hollow center and later condense on the inner walls and run down. If there's a place for that water to collect, it's there you'll find rot in a decade or so.

    I think it's time to get together with a sailmaker and do some more detailed planning before going much farther.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Bradford, VT
    Posts
    7,127

    Default Re: Gaff rig questions

    If the mast will be birds mouth, you can glue it up in two halves, run the wiring, then glue the two halves together. If you line it with carbon fiber, it should make a pretty good radar reflector. I would vote for a conduit for the wires, and now is the time to run an extra circuit for who knows in the future. I had fiberglass around the mast where the gaff landed when reefed; definitely consult with the sailmaker about where those will be. Standing rigging wire or Spectra?
    Good luck

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Location
    Toodyay, Western Australia
    Posts
    791

    Default Re: Gaff rig questions

    My mast is solid (laminated) except for a copper water pipe conduit which was installed down the centre during construction. The water pipe serves as both part of the lightning protection system and as a conduit for the vhf cable and wiring to anchor light. The pipe is angled out to exit a foot or so before the ends of the mast. The top of the pipe was sealed with goop, and the bottom which is below deck level was not sealed.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    South Puget Sound/summer Eastern carib./winter
    Posts
    15,783

    Default Re: Gaff rig questions

    That’s a good idea, copper pipe. Not condusive to rot, a ground for lightning ...

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Location
    Toodyay, Western Australia
    Posts
    791

    Default Re: Gaff rig questions

    You should have seen the build Bruce. When I installed it I routed a trench just wide enough to accommodate the pipe, put lots of thickened epoxy in the trench, and then squelched the pipe in on top. Very wizbangesque I thought.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    The Netherlands
    Posts
    848

    Default Re: Gaff rig questions

    You only need a white light for the few times you really need it, so I would use something with a battery. And a handheld vhf, no worries about a corroded antennacable. And spend your time sailing. And dont use gaff hoops, just a light line that keeps the sail in the boat when lowering. My first boat was a Cornish gaff cutter and I found a gaffspan shackle, that was sized for ss wire. later I saw in Douarnenez lovely cutters that were rigged much simpler with rope spliced to gaffs. Keep it simple. Frank
    Www.oarandsail.nl

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