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Thread: Why mizzen sails?

  1. #36
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    Default Re: Why mizzen sails?

    Same with setting and dropping the mizzen staysail, the horsepower in a bag. Ours is 400 ft but it punches like it's twice the size. Something about it being right in the middle of the boat makes it really effective.

  2. #37
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    Default Re: Why mizzen sails?

    We sailed our 40' yawl on San Francisco bay yesterday in 25+ kts with jib and mizzen. Two non-sailors aboard, no drama. Blasted past a couple of J-24's who were trying to keep on their feet.

    And yes, the mizzen stays'l is a wonderful thing in light air.

  3. #38
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    Default Re: Why mizzen sails?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Fuller View Post
    For small sail and oar boats which use a lug rig the mizzen is very handy setting and dousing sail. Unlike other types of mains, when you set and douse the lug there are times when the boat wants to charge off down wind when the sail is half way up or down, and the lug yard needs control to keep it out of your hair. Sheeting the mizzen hard keep the boat pointed into the wind, and keeps untoward things from happening.
    My little KDI suffered from this, especially when I had her rigged as a standing lug sloop. I would get everything laid out ready to go, give a few good pulls on the oars to keep her pointed in the right direction , spin around and hope everything paid out while hoisting the sail. Even as a balanced lug the bare mast had enough windage to spin the boat around pretty quickly. I started talking to Clint about a yawl rig, but she is another man's baby now.
    Steve

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  4. #39
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    Default Re: Why mizzen sails?

    With a greater number of masts you can design a rig with a lower center of pressure which in turn makes the boat more stable. You also get smaller sails which means that for instance a gybe is less violent.
    When our local fishing boats went from the ancient single square sail to a more modern spritsail rig in the 19th centyry two masts were prefered for most boats over 20 feet in lenght. The 30 feet long herring drifters from southern Österbotten got 3 masts. By all acconts the new rigs reduced drowning fatalities significantly as capsizes became less frequent.
    Amateur living on the western coast of Finland

  5. #40
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    Default Re: Why mizzen sails?

    I sailed 18 miles this morning, dead downwind making 4-1/2 knots with the full mizzen and a reefed jib, no mainsail.
    It was blowing about 20 knots.

  6. #41
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    Default Re: Why mizzen sails?

    It is easier to swing a hammock with two masts.

  7. #42
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    Default Re: Why mizzen sails?

    Quote Originally Posted by SchoonerRat View Post
    People who say and imply that are wrong. There are MANY well designed split rigs around. On these boats the mizzen is not an afterthought to cure a boat that has balance problems. It's an integral part of the design. Such a boat will "sail better" with a properly set and trimmed jigger than it will without. Close quarters boat handling can also benefit from a mizzen.
    I didn't say that a mizzen is an afterthought to cure a balance problem, or that a split rig will sail better with one than it will without it.

    The point is that in my experience, a good sloop doesn't have balance problems that need a mizzen to cure. That does NOT imply that a split rig has balance problems; it means a good sloop doesn't. So when some people say "a mizzen helps with balance" it seems that they are saying that the mizzen is a cure for a problem that should not exist.
    Last edited by Chris249; 06-05-2019 at 05:24 AM.

  8. #43
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    Default Re: Why mizzen sails?

    Quote Originally Posted by stromborg View Post
    My little KDI suffered from this, especially when I had her rigged as a standing lug sloop. I would get everything laid out ready to go, give a few good pulls on the oars to keep her pointed in the right direction , spin around and hope everything paid out while hoisting the sail. Even as a balanced lug the bare mast had enough windage to spin the boat around pretty quickly. I started talking to Clint about a yawl rig, but she is another man's baby now.


    She is indeed, and I have experienced this myself. I chalked it up to inexperience, and while this is likely still a contributing factor, I feel a bit better knowing its not just me.

    Fortunately I've sailed in almost entirely benign conditions, so it's mostly just cumbersome and a bit embarrassing.

  9. #44
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    Default Re: Why mizzen sails?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris249 View Post
    I didn't say that a mizzen is an afterthought to cure a balance problem, or that a split rig will sail better with one than it will without it.

    The point is that in my experience, a good sloop doesn't have balance problems that need a mizzen to cure. That does NOT imply that a split rig has balance problems; it means a good sloop doesn't. So when some people say "a mizzen helps with balance" it seems that they are saying that the mizzen is a cure for a problem that should not exist.
    "What we have here is a failure to communicate"

    The term "balance problems" was introduced here someplace and is probably not really the correct description. Let's say that the jigger helps adjust balance. You can use it like the fine tune knob on your auto-pilot, or the trim adjustment of a windvane. A well designed split rig can self-steer for days on end with only occasional adjustment of the mizzen sheet to suit conditions. It's another tool in the belt. Skippers who know how to sail these boats love them. Many love them so much that they won't even consider buying a schooner. I find that unimaginable!

    And you can love ketches and yawls just for the simple fact that they give you more strings to pull!
    Schooner captains love to get blown offshore!

  10. #45
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    Default Re: Why mizzen sails?

    I owned a Sea Pearl 21 (21' production cat ketch) for a couple of years. The mizzen was pretty close in size to the main. It definitely added sail power and would sail better under mizzen alone over main alone, balance-wise. It also allowed pretty easy reefing underway and heaving to in order to get a snack as you sailed a zigzag backwards across the lake.

    I really like the aesthetic balance a mizzen sail gives traditionally rigged boat. They're just pretty.

  11. #46
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    Default Re: Why mizzen sails?

    Quote Originally Posted by trefor View Post
    I really like the aesthetic balance a mizzen sail gives traditionally rigged boat. They're just pretty.
    Another good reason for mizzens.
    Schooner captains love to get blown offshore!

  12. #47
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    Default Re: Why mizzen sails?

    Plus, you can set more down wind power kites when you have a mizzen mast. That is how Big Ti set her record in the transpacific.
    Jay

  13. #48
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    Default Re: Why mizzen sails?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Greer View Post
    Plus, you can set more down wind power kites when you have a mizzen mast. That is how Big Ti set her record in the transpacific.
    Jay
    Another good reason! I knew there would be some replies from skippers who actually like ketches and yawls. Me, I just gotta wonder why they have their masts on bassackwards.
    Schooner captains love to get blown offshore!

  14. #49
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    Default Re: Why mizzen sails?

    Quote Originally Posted by SchoonerRat View Post
    Another good reason! I knew there would be some replies from skippers who actually like ketches and yawls. Me, I just gotta wonder why they have their masts on bassackwards.
    That's right! Every reason given here, including the kites, is even more true if the big pole is aft

  15. #50
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    Default Re: Why mizzen sails?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Greer View Post
    Plus, you can set more down wind power kites when you have a mizzen mast. That is how Big Ti set her record in the transpacific.
    Jay
    Also better on a schooner. I do seem to remember one Transpac where Goodwill started the race as a schooner and finished the race as a ketch, actually answering her last radio call as "The Ketch Goodwill" rather than her usual "The Schooner Goodwill". IIRC it was only the last few miles to Diamond Head that she had to endure as a ketch, and she still won the race!

    Sorry...

    I gotta make up for all that time I spent defending the mast bassackwards crowd. I've said it on these pages before, and I'll probably say it again. There is simply nothing like a big golly reach on a big schooner with big wind and big waves! It's...well...to say one word...it's BIG. Consider how much power needs to be generated to take some 60 tons of wood and metal and move it forward hard enough to push some 60 tons of water out of its way in order to make something like 17 kts. over the bottom.

    And that's why you add another stick to your rig and spend the bucks on a bunch of new inventory for your sail locker cuz that's what life is all about!!!! And if you're gonna add another stick, don't pussy foot around with a toothpick that'll support a sail the size of your wife's hankie...take your main, move it forward a few feet and call it a fore. Then add a real main. Now you've got a rig. A BIG rig, to coin a term.

    Okay, I've gotten my licks in. Have I made up for all the good things I said about ketches and yawls? I could go on if I have to!

    This has been one man's opinion and is not necessarily shared with or endorsed by the management.
    Schooner captains love to get blown offshore!

  16. #51
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    Default Re: Why mizzen sails?

    Most of the posts seem centered around newer small yawls, which is implied but not stated in the OP which just said mizzen. I might note that almost all of the shallops in "American Small Sailing Craft" are two masted, most Ketch. The old dudes were never stupid so they must have done it for a reason, so perhaps more research is in order. The items I would reinforce are: - Lower center of effort for the same sail area, - cotton sails not as strong as Dacron and less strain on stitching and gear, multiple sail combinations, and there is the balance question. In the more recent past, the big surge in yawls in the 50-60's happened when the rating rule made mizzen sail area free, and also, few things are more demoralizing to a sloop skipper on a broad reach than to have the yawl break out a mizzen staysail.

    Ken

  17. #52
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    Default Re: Why mizzen sails?

    Mizzen Staysail is a wonderful thing. Ours is about 250 sq ft. Its light and easy to handle, sets from forward of the beam to almost flat off.
    In our case we tack it to the main goose neck, hoist up to the mizzen masthead and sheets to the end of the mizzen boom. Adds lot of extra power without the work and time taken plus crew requirements to set the >800 sqft main mast asymmetric reach-er in a sock.

    Once we get to where we want to be we will leave the main down and just use a combination's of the Mizzen, Genoa, Main Stay-sail & Mizzen Stay-sail for pottering along from bay to bay or small island to island. The main stays down to keep the middle of the boat free for lounging and drying towels and togs over the boom.
    Z

  18. #53
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    Default Re: Why mizzen sails?

    When the mizzen is used for self steering is it better to have a larger mizzen, or smaller, or does this not affect self steering ability?

  19. #54
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    Default Re: Why mizzen sails?

    Mizzen is not used for "self steering" per se, but for balance, or re balancing.
    A smaller one further aft (yawl) or a bigger one further forward (ketch) .

    Fine adjustments in the sheet (or peak in my case),a few inches,can point her up a bit, easy to comprehend, but the real magic is when the sheet goes OUT a wee bit, and the vessel cracks off and picks up half a knot.
    Of course for my tub, I have a saying, If we want to speed up, take the mizzen down.https://www.flickr.com/photos/wizban...posted-public/

  20. #55
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    Default Re: Why mizzen sails?

    Having had both yawls and a ketch, I don't find a difference between the two for self steering.

  21. #56
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    Default Re: Why mizzen sails?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris249 View Post
    I didn't say that a mizzen is an afterthought to cure a balance problem, or that a split rig will sail better with one than it will without it.

    The point is that in my experience, a good sloop doesn't have balance problems that need a mizzen to cure. That does NOT imply that a split rig has balance problems; it means a good sloop doesn't. So when some people say "a mizzen helps with balance" it seems that they are saying that the mizzen is a cure for a problem that should not exist.
    Agreed, when all is set and running. I have a sloop with a modern fractional rig, and it is very balance and well behaved. But if I need to put in a reef, or switch head sails, I pretty much need a person at the tiller. I can put in the first reef while being hove to. But the second reef, when the wind is really picking up, that's more problematic. Changing head sails, very difficult by myself. So I think the issue is that the split rig gives one more options of having the boat balanced, especially when it is really needed.

    My next boat is a yawl, and the main reason is that I find myself single-handed more and more these days as all of my kids move out of the house.

  22. #57
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    Default Re: Why mizzen sails?

    And for those of us with engines who might motor into the wind...mizzen will save you from steering as well.

  23. #58
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    Default Re: Why mizzen sails?

    And for those that do not have an engine, a mizzen will save you from having to have a deckhand.

  24. #59
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    Default Re: Why mizzen sails?

    Quote Originally Posted by Canoeyawl View Post
    And for those that do not have an engine, a mizzen will save you from having to have a deckhand.
    Which is the entire reason my boat will have a mizzen.

  25. #60
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    Default Re: Why mizzen sails?

    Remember when "Novia Del Mar" broached and lost her main when finishing a transpacific race? The crew quickly turned her around and finished by sailing backwards flying the mizzen staysl in reverse!
    Jay

  26. #61
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    Default Re: Why mizzen sails?

    It is mostly, I think a matter of taste.
    A lot of folks like Chris and others like the apparent simplicity of a sloop or cutter. A single stick, well supported by stays and shrouds. These boats can balance very well. They are generally better when going to windward than any of the alternatives. If you want to club-race as part of your sailing/sport you will want a sloop, or perhaps a cutter. Modern rigs have evolved to make handling large sails pretty easy and safe, with assorted winches, furlers, up-hauls, down-hauls, Cunningham's, vangs etc. The only downside is that as you get more of all this stuff for pulling strings and controlling scraps of fabric it gets more expensive. With the kind of boats (reasonably small say <40') most of us are sailing, the sails are small enough that a single reasonably skilled person can handle it all nearly all the time, with ease. Modern sloops/cutters frequently have some sort of bimini shelter over the helm, which can be nice during some parts of the weather cycle. Wind vane for steering is easily fitted as there is no sail gear overhanging the stern. Really single stick boats are the default or baseline for sailors.

    The complexity and expense of the rigging is also an issue, and possibly even a little worse if you have a ketch, yawl, or schooner with modern arrangements.

    Boats with more than one stick are visually more interesting, if only because they are immediately recognized as being a little different.... different is good ...sometimes.

    I prefer boats with two sticks......ketches, yawls, or even schooners. I mainly cruise and some day-sailing. I like the more divided rig because it offers more possibilities for carrying/reducing sail. I have 3 sails and potentially have 32 different combinations. I don't use them all, but I use enough of them to see the value of more options. My rig is by modern standards somewhat low tech. It would have been considered pretty normal in the 1950's or even the '60's. All the sails are pretty small and very easy to handle. Whimbrel can be trimmed to sail hands free on pretty much any course , in nearly all conditions. Even changes in wind force don't throw her off. There are a few issues with two mast boats. The mizzen is nearly always a little bit in the way in the cockpit. It may be difficult to fit a steering vane, if the mizzen boom extends over the stern. The mizzen may make it a little more difficult to have an effective shelter over the helm, a disadvantage in some weather.

    It should be noted that Yawls are often very different from ketches. The mizzen is usually somewhat smaller, and often really there to fiddle with the balance, but more importantly to allow the boat to set a mizzen staysail. Many of the really famous racing boats from the 40's through to 60's were yawls....Finisterre being a prime example.

    My sailing experience spreading over about 60 years now has been about evenly split between single stick boats and two masted boats.

    I note that surprisingly often we see newer CRUISING designs sporting ketch or surprisingly often, cat ketch rigs, often with fat-head fully battened sails of nearly the same size ....reference the Presto 30, and two designs published in our esteemed host magazine by Laurie McGowan, the Chimaera and the Kamchatka.

  27. #62
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    Default Re: Why mizzen sails?

    The complexity of the two-sticker shouldn't be underestimated. It has taken me years to figure out how to play the interactions of my three sails off one another and I have a ways to go yet before getting things really dialed in. Get the sheet leads for the jib wrong and now it's backwinding the main so you bring the main in and now the mizzen needs trimming...why are we moving so slowly? Whoops, we're pinching! Okay, let's try this again. Just working out the best way to get the two gaffs to set well (main and mizzen) on a consistent basis took a number of iterations. As Wiz mentioned above, just fiddling with the peak a little bit changes how the boat behaves.
    Steve

    Boats, like whiskey, are all good.
    R.D Culler

  28. #63
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    Default Re: Why mizzen sails?

    Many of those complexities are present on sloops and cutters. Most production boats have the angles worked out, making it all a little easier, but sheeting angles, and back-winding are issues with the interaction of most sails.
    I have also had to pay close attention to the set for the same reason.

  29. #64
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    Default Re: Why mizzen sails?

    One aspect I don't think I saw mentioned yet, is that getting the masts out to the ends of the boat really opens up the limited space in a small boat.
    -Jim

    Sucker for a pretty face.
    1934 27' Blanchard Cuiser ~ Amazon, Ex. Emalu
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    Getting into trouble one board at a time.

  30. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by gilberj View Post
    It is mostly, I think a matter of taste.
    A lot of folks like Chris and others like the apparent simplicity of a sloop or cutter. A single stick, well supported by stays and shrouds. These boats can balance very well. They are generally better when going to windward than any of the alternatives. If you want to club-race as part of your sailing/sport you will want a sloop, or perhaps a cutter. Modern rigs have evolved to make handling large sails pretty easy and safe, with assorted winches, furlers, up-hauls, down-hauls, Cunningham's, vangs etc. The only downside is that as you get more of all this stuff for pulling strings and controlling scraps of fabric it gets more expensive. With the kind of boats (reasonably small say <40') most of us are sailing, the sails are small enough that a single reasonably skilled person can handle it all nearly all the time, with ease. Modern sloops/cutters frequently have some sort of bimini shelter over the helm, which can be nice during some parts of the weather cycle. Wind vane for steering is easily fitted as there is no sail gear overhanging the stern. Really single stick boats are the default or baseline for sailors.

    The complexity and expense of the rigging is also an issue, and possibly even a little worse if you have a ketch, yawl, or schooner with modern arrangements.

    Boats with more than one stick are visually more interesting, if only because they are immediately recognized as being a little different.... different is good ...sometimes.

    I prefer boats with two sticks......ketches, yawls, or even schooners. I mainly cruise and some day-sailing. I like the more divided rig because it offers more possibilities for carrying/reducing sail. I have 3 sails and potentially have 32 different combinations. I don't use them all, but I use enough of them to see the value of more options. My rig is by modern standards somewhat low tech. It would have been considered pretty normal in the 1950's or even the '60's. All the sails are pretty small and very easy to handle. Whimbrel can be trimmed to sail hands free on pretty much any course , in nearly all conditions. Even changes in wind force don't throw her off. There are a few issues with two mast boats. The mizzen is nearly always a little bit in the way in the cockpit. It may be difficult to fit a steering vane, if the mizzen boom extends over the stern. The mizzen may make it a little more difficult to have an effective shelter over the helm, a disadvantage in some weather.

    It should be noted that Yawls are often very different from ketches. The mizzen is usually somewhat smaller, and often really there to fiddle with the balance, but more importantly to allow the boat to set a mizzen staysail. Many of the really famous racing boats from the 40's through to 60's were yawls....Finisterre being a prime example.

    My sailing experience spreading over about 60 years now has been about evenly split between single stick boats and two masted boats.

    I note that surprisingly often we see newer CRUISING designs sporting ketch or surprisingly often, cat ketch rigs, often with fat-head fully battened sails of nearly the same size ....reference the Presto 30, and two designs published in our esteemed host magazine by Laurie McGowan, the Chimaera and the Kamchatka.
    Club racing usually involves more than one or two people on board. A split rig is actually easier to manage when short handed.

    Sent from my CPH1851 using Tapatalk

  31. #66
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    Default Re: Why mizzen sails?

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post
    One complication a mizzen can bring to a small boat is the potential for interference with a conventional tiller unless the mizzen is off-center.
    If its abaft the tiller then its probably a yawl - no?
    A mizzen would usually be forward of the helm.........

    (Bracing for impact)
    It's all fun and games until Darth Vader comes.

  32. #67
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    Default Re: Why mizzen sails?

    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Y View Post
    Club racing usually involves more than one or two people on board. A split rig is actually easier to manage when short handed.

    Sent from my CPH1851 using Tapatalk
    Sloops and cutters of the size I am referring to are not that difficult to sail.
    A boat in a race needs a bigger crew, but the same boat daysail or cruising would be fine with a small crew.

  33. #68
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    Default Re: Why mizzen sails?

    Quote Originally Posted by gypsie View Post
    If its abaft the tiller then its probably a yawl - no?
    A mizzen would usually be forward of the helm.........

    (Bracing for impact)
    I get this frequently as somewhere it is written: "If the mizzen mast is forward of the rudderhead then the craft is a ketch, aft of the rudderhead it is a yawl." In Marianita's case she would then be a ketch, but as Mr. Oughtred calls her a yawl, so do I.
    Steve

    Boats, like whiskey, are all good.
    R.D Culler

  34. #69
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    Default Re: Why mizzen sails?

    There are several mast placement/sail area rules:

    A yawl has the mizzen abaft the rudder post, and/or
    abaft the aft most point of the waterline, and/or
    the mizzen sail area is less than one fifth the main.

    But a yawl boat was originally a ship's utility mostly passenger boat rowed or sailed between vessels or moving officers to or from shore. Even though she has a keel, a cabin, and a biggish mizzen stepped well in the boat, the Rosinante has enough of that feel for LFH to call her a "yawl boat".

  35. #70
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    Default Re: Why mizzen sails?

    I always thought LFH called Rosinante a "Canoe-yawl"

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