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Thread: Tacking difficulties w. sprit sail

  1. #71
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    Default Re: Tacking difficulties w. sprit sail

    Quote Originally Posted by johnw View Post
    He's explained a couple times why he doesn't want to do that.
    Yep. He also posted this:

    Quote Originally Posted by 176inches View Post
    I cannot remove all of the keel forward of the CB for structural and other reasons. The remaining question is, is it worth reducing the forefoot depth by say half to improve tacking, or use some of the other remedies.
    Which is the comment I was responding to. I do tend to read threads pretty carefully when posting.

    Tom
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  2. #72
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    Default Re: Tacking difficulties w. sprit sail

    [QUOTE=earling2;6282884]
    Quote Originally Posted by 176inches View Post
    Thanks earling2. My problem with a longer sprit is that it's very hard (so far impossible in fact) to find stock lumber longer than 4 metres here on the island. In any case for many reasons listed earlier I don't like the way the spritsail handles in general. If I'm going to put on a boom I may as well change the rig to something that worked well for me in the past (sliding gunter).



    Have you tried, or thought of, a freestanding mast with a sprit boom marconi? My personal favorite. Bolger used it on a lot of designs, two of which I've built and sailed (Micro and Black Skimmer, 25'). I find them to be the easiest rig to live with, aside from balanced lug. You can make a pretty low aspect ratio sail and you can play with the shape of the sail a fair bit with the sprit.
    I like sprit booms. I had a cat ketch with two standing lug sails with sprit booms (John Welsford likes them). I liked the rig (after realizing the tack downhaul needs to be very tight for tacking to work) but my laminated masts were undersized and the foremast cracked.

    My current mast is robust but fairly short (just under 13 ft). For a triangular sail that does not lose too much square footage I would need a sliding gunter extension, which I am planning and I had good experience with. I was thinking of a regular boom but a sprit boom would indeed be easier to make (no jaws, easy to rig a tack downhaul, gentler gybes etc.) and less complex to handle, plus the clew can be lower since the boom would sit higher amidships with less chance to crack one on the head.

    Thanks for reminding me.

  3. #73
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    Default Re: Tacking difficulties w. sprit sail

    My $0.02 is that the rudder is too small. Does the tiller have much resistance when underway?
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  4. #74
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    Default Re: Tacking difficulties w. sprit sail

    On second thoughts, I started considering a standing lug sail with a sprit boom, like I had before. Once again the inspiration is John Welford's Houdini, and this time my mast is 75 mm (3") thick of solid wood, which should be robust enough. Keeps the spar carpentry to a minimum (just shorten the existing sprit to make the sprit boom, plus a new plain jane yard), only 2 control lines other than the sheet, easily reefable, not much extra sewing, even lower COE, no change in square footage or COE fore and aft. I think I've talked myself into it.

    As for the rudder, it's responsive but the boat loses way as it's brought close to the wind, which is partly due to sail shape. I am hopeful a sprit boom will reduce the problem, and that backing the sail by pushing on the boom will take care of the rest.

  5. #75
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    Default Re: Tacking difficulties w. sprit sail

    So, I haven’t read this thread at all. But here’s my response to the original question.

    Use a nice long Norwegian push pull tiller. Fall off the wind to gain power, then make your tack across the wind, as you cross the wind move forward (the long stick will let you get wherever you need to be). You could also add a light boom to help back wind the main. It’s a lot like sailing a Beetle Cat.

    I sailed a similar rig and boat for many seasons. Been there.

    Also, there’s no shame in having an oar or paddle ready to help you get across the wind. Whatever it takes.

    It’s worth noting that after five or six seasons I replaced the sprit with a balance lug. And then I replaced the boat with a different, bigger boat.
    Quote Originally Posted by James McMullen View Post
    Yeadon is right, of course.

  6. #76
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    Default Re: Tacking difficulties w. sprit sail

    As a small reminder to the dogmatics out there, plenty of old timey traditional boats out there that needed an oar to tack. Whitehalls for one, with little rocker, plumb ends and very small shallow rudders. My Åfjordsfaering with six inches of plank keel, only fairing up at the ends needs an oar; sailing with the square you drop it, reset the yard and hoist. Wanting to short tack in these boats is stupid; get out the oars and row.

    Our small boat sailing culture has been heavily influenced by the plethora of little boats designed for fun that came on the scene starting before WWII. Most were optimized for sailing and lost the ability to row. The melonseed noted above does not tack fast in modern dinghy style with the shallow rudder; the sneakbox above has wicked rocker.

    Way on, sail the boat around, grab the sail and back it a touch and off on the new tack. I'll even do that with my Good Little Skiff. "Old ways work."
    Ben Fuller
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  7. #77
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    Default Re: Tacking difficulties w. sprit sail

    Well, the boat has been flipped upside down for the winter and we are leaving Greece in a week. Having considered everything I have decided to leave the keel alone and repurpose the rig. The sail is folded into my suitcase and will be taken back to the US to be transformed into a standing lug of about the same size. It will have no roach and a sprit boom (I will cut the sprit down to size). I also decided on a Norwegian tiller (thank you Yeadon), which will solve tangling problems around the outboard and mainsheet and allow me to sit anywhere. The mainsheet will be on a 2:1 tackle attached to the middle of the transom. My thread seems to have generated a lot of interest and debate and I thank you all for your suggestions, but I and y'all will have to wait until the late spring (barring coronavirus upsets) to see how it all pans out.

    Cheers,
    Yorgos (Mr. Inches)
    Last edited by 176inches; 10-05-2020 at 04:12 AM.

  8. #78
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    Default Re: Tacking difficulties w. sprit sail

    Quote Originally Posted by 176inches View Post
    Well, the boat has been flipped upside down for the winter and we are leaving Greece in a week. Having considered everything I have decided to leave the keel alone and repurpose the rig. The sail is folded into my suitcase and will be taken back to the US to be transformed into a standing lug of about the same size. It will have no roach and a sprit boom (I will cut the sprit down to size). I also decided on a Norwegian tiller (thank you Yeadon), which will solve tangling problems around the outboard and mainsheet and allow me to sit anywhere. The mainsheet will be on a 2:1 tackle attached to the middle of the transom. My thread seems to have generated a lot of interest and debate and I thank you all for your suggestions, but I and y'all will have to wait until the late spring (barring coronavirus upsets) to see how it all pans out.

    Cheers,
    Yorgos (Mr. Inches)
    Sounds like a clear plan--if you think you might want to sail sometimes without the sprit boom, though, sheeting to the centerline as you describe will result in terrible performance. Boomless rigs typically need to be sheeted as far aft and outboard as possible to work well.

    Tom
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  9. #79
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    Default Re: Tacking difficulties w. sprit sail

    Thanks Tom. I experienced sheeting issues first hand with the boomless spritsail (in fact it was the impetus for this thread) and wouldn't use the new sail and sheeting arrangement without its boom. Fortunately a sprit boom has many advantages (won't whack you on the head, needs no boom vang or gooseneck/jaws, etc.) Had it before and liked it a lot.

    Cheers,
    Yorgos (Mr. Inches)

  10. #80
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    Default Re: Tacking difficulties w. sprit sail

    Yep, I agree that sprit booms are great, and the centerline sheeting won't be an issue that way. Good luck!

    Tom
    You don't have to be prepared as long as you're willing to suffer the consequences.

    www.tompamperin.com

  11. #81
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    Default Re: Tacking difficulties w. sprit sail

    Hi everybody. After spending 6+ months in Sacramento, I made it back to Greece (armed with COVID tests and vaccines). Some of you had said that I should replace my spritsail with a lugsail. After a while I concurred and took back the spritsail to the US and resewed it. I flew back to Greece with a reconfigured sail folded into my suitcase. In the last couple of days I have fashioned a Norwegian tiller and a yard for the new standing lugsail. After varnishing both and putting the chandlery and lines on, it will be time to try things out. Thanks for the advice and I’ll keep the group posted, with photos.

  12. #82
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    Default Re: Tacking difficulties w. sprit sail

    Standing by...
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    ♦ The further a society drifts from truth the more it will hate those who speak it
    ♦ If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear
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  13. #83
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    Default Re: Tacking difficulties w. sprit sail

    DF6E9EF4-88D4-4C07-9CEA-1F829C471EFC.jpgCDFB8220-41A9-4857-8CAA-0641CFB97F85.jpg
    I attach photos from a dry run (in my olive grove). You can see the Norwegian tiller with its pole (attached with line) and wedge. Next is the new standing lug rig. It has a sprit boom and a 2:1 centerline main sheet. You can see where I added fabric in the foot and leech (I also took some off the head). I also added a line of reef points that the spritsail did not have. A few adjustments in the lines are still needed. I will also add a new inspection port in the foredeck for the anchor and be ready to launch in a few days. Wish me luck!

    Cheers,
    Mr. Inches
    Last edited by 176inches; 05-25-2021 at 04:46 AM.

  14. #84
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    Default Re: Tacking difficulties w. sprit sail

    Well that looks alot better.
    The way the sail sets may be a bit wonky,as bits added to a sail like that are sketchy, but the overall size and outline are better .
    The "wrinkles" are going the wrong way for a sail set in a calm. The peak will need to go up in any breeze.Get the hlyd up tight...THEN snub the snotter.
    I tend to make reefs a bit higher in the back than the front, as reefing never works out perfectly, and the boom gets lower and lower.
    Mast itself looks un tapered...so...it may bend too severely a foot above the partner.
    Is there an accomodation to tweak the bottom of the mast fore n aft in the step a bit ?
    bruce

  15. #85
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    Default Re: Tacking difficulties w. sprit sail

    Thanks wizbang. I adjusted the halyard tie loop and mast parrel loop and the yard can lie higher. I re-read the Jim Michalak lugsail article and yes, the girts don’t look right, but I’m having difficulties setting the sail in a stiff breeze from dead aft on a stationary boat on land (I live in a windy valley with the wind coming from the NE most of the time). We’ll see what happens when I launch.
    Meanwhile the sprit boom tends to rise with a following wind (again in the artificial conditions of the boat on land), which I hadn’t experienced before. Should I hang the snotter higher on the mast?
    Unfortunately I have no way to tweak the mast fore and aft. And regarding the lack of taper, what you say makes sense. My previous lugsail mast was untapered, and it cracked in the place you mention in a sudden bad gust of wind (Lake Erie is notorious for that). I attributed the cracking to the mast being laminated and seriously undersized, but lack of taper can’t have helped.
    My current mast is 75 mm (3 inches) thick. Any advice or references about how much taper and where to begin it? I will definitely consider it, even if it would take a lot of planing and sanding, not to mention refinishing.
    Anyone please feel free to advise.

  16. #86
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    Default Re: Tacking difficulties w. sprit sail

    I'm not one for calculations and numbers.
    I tend to clamp it in a mock up step /partner and bend the spar...watch it and feel it. I do that for (bermudian)dingy masts ,bend the spar right on the loft floor, use the mast as the luff curve batten.
    yes, if the snotter goes up...that is one of the advantages of wishbones/sprit booms, they are self vanging

  17. #87
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    Default Re: Tacking difficulties w. sprit sail

    If you want the sail to last, the next time you are near your sewing machine reinforce the luff (double luff tape, or webbing, roping, etc.) The typical spritsail luff is neither stable enough or strong enough to function well or for long as a standing lug's luff.

  18. #88
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    Default Re: Tacking difficulties w. sprit sail

    Quote Originally Posted by Todd Bradshaw View Post
    If you want the sail to last, the next time you are near your sewing machine reinforce the luff (double luff tape, or webbing, roping, etc.) The typical spritsail luff is neither stable enough or strong enough to function well or for long as a standing lug's luff.
    Thanks Todd, it makes sense. My sewing machine and supplies are in the US and it’s a pain to transport the sail back and forth. I’m going to stick to what I have for now, which is one layer of luff tape (folded in half) over the cloth, with a bunch of .leftover lacing grommets. After I sail through October I’ll reconsider your advice. Maybe I can bring back supplies and borrow a sewing machine next year!

  19. #89
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    Default Re: Tacking difficulties w. sprit sail

    Quote Originally Posted by 176inches View Post
    Thanks Todd, it makes sense. My sewing machine and supplies are in the US and it’s a pain to transport the sail back and forth. I’m going to stick to what I have for now, which is one layer of luff tape (folded in half) over the cloth, with a bunch of .leftover lacing grommets. After I sail through October I’ll reconsider your advice. Maybe I can bring back supplies and borrow a sewing machine next year!
    If you have access to needles, a palm, and thread, that's all you need for roping. Very portable. Available by post from the UK but probably in a chandlery in Piraeus.
    Ben Fuller
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  20. #90
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    Default Re: Tacking difficulties w. sprit sail

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Fuller View Post
    If you have access to needles, a palm, and thread, that's all you need for roping. Very portable. Available by post from the UK but probably in a chandlery in Piraeus.
    I do have all that. How do I sew on the rope? Like I said there’s luff tape with grommets. If you explained or provided a reference I would appreciate it. Thanks.

  21. #91
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    Default Re: Tacking difficulties w. sprit sail

    sewing on a luff rope is difficult to get right. too loose it does nothing, most are a bit too tight, which hurts the shape. rope and sail stretch differently.

  22. #92
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    Default Re: Tacking difficulties w. sprit sail

    Proper luff roping is not a beginner's project. The "trick" that has to be learned is which direction and how much you should bend the rope as you sew it, as the amount of bend determines the tension and the amount of gathering (or lack of it) that the rope will place on the edge. Too much and the edge won't pull properly flat, too little and the stretch in the rope will fail to support and reinforce the edge, which eventually ruins the cloth. Learning to do it well usually takes years of practice, along with learning the characteristics of the specific sailcloth and rope you are using. A luff rope should also wrap around the corners at either end and be rat-tailed - another skill to learn.

    The ideal scenario for converting a dinghy spritsail's luff to a lugsail luff would be something more like the following:

    Remove the luff grommets - This is done by using a small screwdriver to carefully pry up a spot on one edge, enough that you can get hold of its rim with a pair of vice grips or pliers. Then you take another pair and get a grip on the rim of the grommet's other side. Working the two pairs against each other you then can easily peel the two sections apart and remove them without tearing up the fabric.

    grommet-removal.jpg

    Why do this? - Because the luff is most likely cut with luff round on just about any spritsail. This is a bad choice for a small lugsail, which will set much better and have a much firmer luff edge if the luff is cut dead straight from tack to throat and then properly reinforced. Once the grommets are out, you can quickly remove the old luff tape, draw that straight line on the sail and cut off the round. On a long lugsail luff, it sometimes pays to even cut the luff slightly hollow to generate luff firmness by planning for a bit of luff sag, the same way we do on jib luffs. In this case, your luff is fairly short and would do fine just cut straight.

    Since a lugsail luff is all alone, out in space and forming our sail's leading edge without the direct help of spars, it is critical that it be solid. Trying to make a good luff where luff round is present is difficult. It tends to either not get tight enough and wobble back and forth, or requires so much downhaul tension that the fabric is being strained and prematurely damaged and worn out. The reinforced straight luff is the best way to combat these issues and maintain good performance.

    So far, you would be up to maybe 1/2 hour or a bit more worth of work, so it sounds worse than it is. On a sail that size, the easiest way to then finish the new luff is just to wrap it with two layers of luff tape, instead of the usual single layer folded and sewn over the edge. On dinghy sails, I usually cut a 3" wide piece, fold it in half over the sail's edge and then top it with a 4" wide piece folded in half and then tape-baste and sew them down. Tack, reef tack and throat grommets can then be replaced, On a sail that size they should really be #2 spur grommets or hand-sewn rings.

    So that's the way that it should be done for best performance and sail lifespan. How much of that actually gets done is up to you.
    Last edited by Todd Bradshaw; 05-28-2021 at 02:47 AM.

  23. #93
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    Default Re: Tacking difficulties w. sprit sail

    Todd is absolutely right, to do a professional job is not trivial. Given that the sail was made by the OP I suspect that it doesn't have round, and the immediate issue is that the OP doesn't have access to his sewing machine this season. So I was kind of figuring a less than optimum kluge if needed. I'm trying to remember, I think it is in Hervey Garrett Smith's Arts of the Sailor where roping canvas is discussed. I'd try it if no other tools were available. but like Smith notes, I'd practice on some other canvas projects first.
    Ben Fuller
    Ran Tan, Liten Kuhling, Tipsy, Tippy, Josef W., Merry Mouth, Imp, Macavity, Look Far, Flash and a quiver of other 'yaks.
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  24. #94
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    Default Re: Tacking difficulties w. sprit sail

    Fine, but the chances that it will actually work and/or add anything whatsoever to the picture in terms of luff durability or support are horrible at best. You can read all the books on roping sails that have ever been written, but until you have put in a lot of time doing it with the weights of cloth and rope you intend to use for a particular project don't expect it to actually do the intended job. It is probably the most difficult bit of hand work to get right in all of sailmaking.

  25. #95
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    Default Re: Tacking difficulties w. sprit sail

    Would it help at all if I hand sewed on a second piece of luff tape (4 inch over 3 inch) after removing the grommets (or not)? Much easier to bring back some tape than to schlepp the sail halfway across the world and back.

  26. #96
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    Default Re: Tacking difficulties w. sprit sail

    Just use it, try it.
    Adding more tape or whatever may be moot unless it sets half decently .
    Encasulating the "rope" is how I was taught, much safer for amateurs. The rope is stitched hard for only a few inches top and bottom, but it can be adjusted in 10 minutes with a seam ripper and a needle n palm.( or a needle and vice grips )((teeth ground off of course))
    Hand sewing on dacron is a really bad idea .

  27. #97
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    Default Re: Tacking difficulties w. sprit sail

    Would it help at all if I hand sewed on a second piece of luff tape (4 inch over 3 inch) after removing the grommets (or not)? Much easier to bring back some tape than to schlepp the sail halfway across the world and back.
    Any sail seam is drastically stronger when basted with double-sided seam basting tape. After it has had a few days of "dwell time" and set up, it is going to be a major part of the seam's strength. In many cases, more so than the stitching. On a lugsail luff you could tape each layer when double luff taping and get away with maybe a foot or so of hand stitching at either end of the luff (through the corner patches) and at the reef tack.

    https://www.sailrite.com/Seamstick-1...ng-Tape-60-Yds

  28. #98
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    Default Re: Tacking difficulties w. sprit sail

    Quote Originally Posted by Todd Bradshaw View Post
    Any sail seam is drastically stronger when basted with double-sided seam basting tape. After it has had a few days of "dwell time" and set up, it is going to be a major part of the seam's strength. In many cases, more so than the stitching. On a lugsail luff you could tape each layer when double luff taping and get away with maybe a foot or so of hand stitching at either end of the luff (through the corner patches) and at the reef tack.

    https://www.sailrite.com/Seamstick-1...ng-Tape-60-Yds
    Seam stick is great stuff. This sounds like a real good idea, minimum tools and stuff that can come by mail.

    I still think you are going to need an oar handy when you are tacking like I do with my long keel færing.
    Ben Fuller
    Ran Tan, Liten Kuhling, Tipsy, Tippy, Josef W., Merry Mouth, Imp, Macavity, Look Far, Flash and a quiver of other 'yaks.
    "Bound fast is boatless man."

  29. #99
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    Default Re: Tacking difficulties w. sprit sail

    Hey all. Took me a while to do some modifications: June was weirdly rainy, with rain falling or threatened basically every day, which delayed various kinds of work, since I had already moved the boat on its trailer out in the open. I installed four drain plugs (two on either side of the rowing thwart), which makes her safe to leave out in rainstorms and easy to bail after sailing.
    On the second outing (the first time sand got into the centerboard trunk and I couldn’t deploy it ) I gave her a spin and was very pleased. I am happy to report that she can tack with no trouble at all. So in the end the bight on the forward bottom, which I was told was the problem (I resisted because it is structurally and functionally useful and a nod to traditional boats of the Mediterranean), really was not, or at least not the main one. The new rig (a standing lug with a sprit boom) fixed the tacking issues, and can move the boat very smartly when the wind cooperates. In fact I sailed single-handed and I missed having my lovely bride around to help against heeling.

    3A226C72-AE16-4DD3-B9BE-42C42370433A.jpg
    AE0722DE-93A5-4BC1-91D7-5F1C8AF0D41C.jpeg

    The photos are distant and blurry but you can see I had fun.

    Thanks to all who followed these adventures and offered comments.
    Last edited by 176inches; 07-10-2021 at 10:16 AM.

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