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Thread: Standing Lug Luff Tension

  1. #1
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    Default Standing Lug Luff Tension

    Hello. I recently bought a sailboat with a standing lug rig. I've read a good amount about lug rigs and see a lot of mention about luff tensioning adjusted by a downhaul. Being a standing lug rig with a fixed pivot point for the boom-to-mast, a down haul is not present. How do I tension the luff? Just tension/ease the halyard instead? I'm aware I could (maybe should), just use the boom as if it were a balanced lug and install a down haul.

    Brendan

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    Default Re: Standing Lug Luff Tension

    I'm more familiar with balance lugs and now boomless standing lugs, but the standing lug especially needs some pretty substantial luff tension to work well. I don't think you'd get that with the halyard alone.

    I would think you'd want the downhaul well forward, right at the tack. I use a 3:1 downhaul with my 85 sq ft boomless rig, and pull about 205 lbs of force (counting the 3:1 multiplier) on the luff in full reefing conditions (I just measured that recently)--it does take some force to get the tension you need.

    Photos would help if you have any--there are some real experts on this forum, so I expect you'll get good suggestions.

    Tom
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    Default Re: Standing Lug Luff Tension

    What are you down hauling if not the tack?

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    Default Re: Standing Lug Luff Tension

    Quote Originally Posted by Thad View Post
    What are you down hauling if not the tack?
    On a balance lug, the boom--a little aft of the tack.

    Tom
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    Default Re: Standing Lug Luff Tension

    Quote Originally Posted by BrendanR View Post
    Hello. I recently bought a sailboat with a standing lug rig. I've read a good amount about lug rigs and see a lot of mention about luff tensioning adjusted by a downhaul. Being a standing lug rig with a fixed pivot point for the boom-to-mast, a down haul is not present. How do I tension the luff? Just tension/ease the halyard instead? I'm aware I could (maybe should), just use the boom as if it were a balanced lug and install a down haul.

    Brendan
    Just use the halyard. Tension it until you jet a crease or wrinkle from tack to peak. You can get considerable power by hooking the halyard around its cleat and swigging on the fall, then grabbing what you have gained as you ease the fall back towards the mast.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: Standing Lug Luff Tension

    As above, photos will help -- a lot! What do you mean by "a fixed pivot point" ?
    "The enemies of reason have a certain blind look."
    Doctor Jacquin to Lieutenant D'Hubert, in Ridley Scott's first major film _The Duellists_.

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    Default Re: Standing Lug Luff Tension

    Quote Originally Posted by Thorne View Post
    As above, photos will help -- a lot! What do you mean by "a fixed pivot point" ?
    A gooseneck?
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: Standing Lug Luff Tension

    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    A gooseneck?
    Quite possibly, but who knows? Looking through Leather's book I can only find a few examples of standing lugs without a way to tension the tack, i.e. some sort of gooseneck. With luff tension being SO critical to lugsails (and I have both standing and balanced on two boats), it means you've gotta have some serious strength to set that halyard tight -- which might call for dyneema line in that application.
    "The enemies of reason have a certain blind look."
    Doctor Jacquin to Lieutenant D'Hubert, in Ridley Scott's first major film _The Duellists_.

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    Default Re: Standing Lug Luff Tension

    Quote Originally Posted by Thorne View Post
    Quite possibly, but who knows? Looking through Leather's book I can only find a few examples of standing lugs without a way to tension the tack, i.e. some sort of gooseneck. With luff tension being SO critical to lugsails (and I have both standing and balanced on two boats), it means you've gotta have some serious strength to set that halyard tight -- which might call for dyneema line in that application.
    I tend to rig my boats with a single part halyard and a multi part downhaul at the tack, or on a balanced lug, on the boom where it passes the mast.
    A three part with a two part whip on the tail does it nicely for a 120 sq ft lug. Pull the yard up with the halyard then cleat it, then tension it with the downhaul.

    John Welsford
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    Default Re: Standing Lug Luff Tension

    Quote Originally Posted by Thorne View Post
    Quite possibly, but who knows? Looking through Leather's book I can only find a few examples of standing lugs without a way to tension the tack, i.e. some sort of gooseneck. With luff tension being SO critical to lugsails (and I have both standing and balanced on two boats), it means you've gotta have some serious strength to set that halyard tight -- which might call for dyneema line in that application.
    It is only the modern Yellow Welly Brigade that obsesses about tack downhauls on standing lugs.
    Working boats simply hooked the tack to a hook on an eyebolt and used the halyard.
    Swigging on the halyard can really crank up the tension.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: Standing Lug Luff Tension

    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    It is only the modern Yellow Welly Brigade that obsesses about tack downhauls on standing lugs.
    Working boats simply hooked the tack to a hook on an eyebolt and used the halyard.
    Swigging on the halyard can really crank up the tension.
    I always thought that was called "swaying" and swigging is for beer. That is what I sometimes do with my halyard. I have only a 2-part downhaul and never had a problem getting enough luff tension. Maybe these folks using tackles are building masts that are too light and they need to counter the bend of the mast?

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    Default Re: Standing Lug Luff Tension

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Palmer View Post
    I always thought that was called "swaying" and swigging is for beer. That is what I sometimes do with my halyard. I have only a 2-part downhaul and never had a problem getting enough luff tension. Maybe these folks using tackles are building masts that are too light and they need to counter the bend of the mast?
    Dunno what it is. But if you look in Dixon Kemp you will see that Victorian yachties loved over-complicated solutions in search of nonexistent problems. I sometimes think that the modern yellow welly brigade suffers the same mindset.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  13. #13
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    Default Re: Standing Lug Luff Tension

    Yes, a gooseneck, screwed into the mast. Fixed in place. So a downhaul is useless. I'm going with your suggestion and do my best to tension the halyard as much as possible , call it good for now. Someday I'll try it in a balanced lug set up with a downhaul and see if I can tell a difference.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Standing Lug Luff Tension

    In my experience the halyard works just fine.
    How many square feet is this sail?

    edit to add: avoid traditional "rope", it stretches. Use something modern with a low coefficient of stretch or " creep" Stay-set or some variation of vectran
    Today I use wire rope...
    Last edited by Canoeyawl; 08-06-2020 at 10:45 PM.

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    Default Re: Standing Lug Luff Tension

    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    Dunno what it is. But if you look in Dixon Kemp you will see that Victorian yachties loved over-complicated solutions in search of nonexistent problems. I sometimes think that the modern yellow welly brigade suffers the same mindset.
    C'mon, it's also just possible that both the Victorians and the YWB are not morons or fools, and that they may know more than you about what they want from their own rigs and craft.

    Even in something as rigid as Lasers there are different ways to rig the downhaul tackle depending on individual preferences, and the best Laser sailors accept that different people like different setups.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Standing Lug Luff Tension

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris249 View Post
    C'mon, it's also just possible that both the Victorians and the YWB are not morons or fools, and that they may know more than you about what they want from their own rigs and craft.

    Even in something as rigid as Lasers there are different ways to rig the downhaul tackle depending on individual preferences, and the best Laser sailors accept that different people like different setups.
    Alway know to whom you are talking.
    I am a retired professional engineer, whose other interest is the history and working of inshore fishing craft, luggers, standing luggers one and two-man trawling smacks, sailing barges. Craft that were simple to work and worked well.
    Spend money on making your hobby complex to try to screw an additional 1/4 knot out of it by all means, but find out how to make it work well first. Never lose sight of the KISS principle.
    Have you actually looked at Dixon Kemp, at some of the gizzmos that the Victorians though up?
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  17. #17
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    Default Re: Standing Lug Luff Tension


    This is a fairly early version of what I used on my Deer Isle Koster (aka KDI). She was designed to run as either a standing lug sloop (as pictured) or a balanced lugger. I found it easier to haul the yard up with the halyard to about where I wanted it and finish setting the luff tension using the multi-part tackle under the deck. This allowed me to use some 1/8" very low stretch dyneema line for the halyard. The downhaul worked for either rig.

    ETA: That picture stirs up some memories, she was great little boat
    Steve

    If you would have a good boat, be a good guy when you build her - honest, careful, patient, strong.
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  18. #18
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    Default Re: Standing Lug Luff Tension

    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    Alway know to whom you are talking.
    I am a retired professional engineer, whose other interest is the history and working of inshore fishing craft, luggers, standing luggers one and two-man trawling smacks, sailing barges. Craft that were simple to work and worked well.
    Spend money on making your hobby complex to try to screw an additional 1/4 knot out of it by all means, but find out how to make it work well first. Never lose sight of the KISS principle.
    Have you actually looked at Dixon Kemp, at some of the gizzmos that the Victorians though up?
    Always know to whom you are talking.

    I'm a former PhD student in the social construction of technology as demonstrated by the history of small racing craft development, whose research has been used by other sailing journalists, class associations, and been approved of by professional historians of maritime history. I respect your knowledge and it would be nice if you respected mine.

    I'm very well aware of the KISS principle, having spent many years sailing what is possibly the simplest racing craft afloat, and certainly the simplest among the major classes. Many of my own craft are very simple and I'm currently, for example, in the process of making my 36'er's rig much simpler. However, the KISS principle comes with drawbacks in many situations and therefore people who opted for complex rigs in those situations were not always making them overly complex.

    For example, the US canoe racers sailed in steadier conditions than the British RCC racers and therefore they developed simplified rigs - but as those rigs grew ever larger they had to revert to UK style complex reefing rigs for some time (reference, WP Stephens, Motorboating Oct 1941 p 84). Further development and deck seats allowed them to revert to simpler rigs but as Kemp says (p519 of my edition, IIRC) the conditions at the RCC course in Henley were so much flukier that the US rigs could not succeed there - something that the defeats that WW Howard met may confirm. As Kemp indicates, the KISS principle was not going to work as well for its purpose in UK canoes of the time in UK conditions.

    As the above quotes from Kemp etc confirm, I have definitely looked him up; as well as looking up Stephens, Baden Powell, MacGregor, quotes from Tredwen, Vaux etc. There's 76 references in just one of my blog posts about the early Canoes, for example, which is also informed by my own knowledge of sailing canoes. I've also sailed other craft from four-rig (ie four masts, four booms, three spinnaker poles, etc) 18 Foot Skiffs, to lug rigged Int 12s. Even in craft as simple as windsurfers, the more complex approach definitely has certain distinct benefits although my own taste is the other way.

    That sort of research indicates that there were few idiots involved in small craft development. Most boats were developed to suit their use. Sure, many Victorian era racers, canoe sailors and early singlehanded canoe sailors may have had complex rigs but from what I can see, that's because those rigs suited their purposes, pockets and interests in an efficient fashion considering the technology of the time. They may not have suited fishermen or barges but that's irrelevant, just as it's irrelevant that my touring bicycle may not be ideal for someone else's ride to work, and just as it's irrelevant that my lawnmower may be very different from your lawnmower.

    Similarly, down here in Oz we tend to have much simpler rigs that on equivalent British dinghies and that is not because you are idiots or because we are idiots, but because our conditions are different from yours and therefore our rigs are different. What may be overly complicated to us does not appear to be overly complicated in your less steady winds.

    FInally, as a matter of principle I'd rather respect those from other sailing cultures and learn from what they did rather than assume that I am right and they are wrong.
    Last edited by Chris249; 08-07-2020 at 10:11 PM.

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