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  1. #1
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    Default Traditional Working Sail Rigs - Modern Recreational Craft

    Hey, gang. Long time since I've been around. Life ya know. A growing young family with a son on the Spectrum and career demands have kept me away for a few years. But, I'm back and motivated to get a build started.

    Before I went into the fog, we were here: http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...nker-or-Carvel

    I'm still greatly interested in a traditional build with minimal epoxy, but life requirements have somewhat changed. So I may step back and consider a minimum-pox build eventually.

    Anyway... I'm now solidly in Pennsylvania and we've been spending quite a few weeks each year along the coast... Maine several times, New Hampshire, Connecticut. Samantha's family is in CT and we 'vacationed' this year in New London. 20 people. In one house. 10 of whom were 6 years old or younger. This appears as if it's going to be an annual event. 7-10 days with my extended family somewhere along the New England coast. 15 growing kids counting the handful that didn't make New London this year. Time to have a boat.

    Rather than discuss particular boat options, I'd like to gather some thoughts and opinions on traditional working small boat rigs from New England or the Maritimes that would work well for modern recreational use. Trailered centerboard boat. Figure 2 adults and two or three kids aboard for day sailing. 4 along for an overnight. Preferably an un-stayed rig. Oars as auxiliary. And we should consider the need to single hand. 19th century working tech for 21st century play.

    Sort of pick a sail rig, then match a hull sort of exercise.

    I have been thinking on this for a LONG time and have some ideas, but wanted to see what the collected knowledge of the forum can contribute. Thanks in advance.

    R

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    Default Re: Traditional Working Sail Rigs - Modern Recreational Craft

    12DC6596-F2C9-4660-A828-A658237FDD3E.jpg
    12DC6596-F2C9-4660-A828-A658237FDD3E.jpg
    Balanced Lugs are popular amongst my friends and myself here on the Texas Coast. Traditional for sure, easy to hoist and manage, powerful, and you can buy a good one easily. Is it New England traditional or more England traditional I wont get into that. 4 people and a rowing boat, I would think you would want two rowing stations.
    "Yeah, well, that's just, like your opinion man"
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    Default Re: Traditional Working Sail Rigs - Modern Recreational Craft

    Lugsails! Yep, that's the first traditional rig I'd look at for ease of handling and simplicity. But, as Matt suggested, the equivalent traditional rigs on the east coast would be spritsails, not lugsails.

    Also, overnighting 4 people? That'll take a big boat.

    Tom
    Last edited by WI-Tom; 09-10-2021 at 08:15 PM.
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    Default Re: Traditional Working Sail Rigs - Modern Recreational Craft

    Quote Originally Posted by RyanGillnet View Post
    Rather than discuss particular boat options, I'd like to gather some thoughts and opinions on traditional working small boat rigs from New England or the Maritimes that would work well for modern recreational use. Trailered centerboard boat. Figure 2 adults and two or three kids aboard for day sailing. 4 along for an overnight. Preferably an un-stayed rig. Oars as auxiliary. And we should consider the need to single hand. 19th century working tech for 21st century play.

    Sort of pick a sail rig, then match a hull sort of exercise.

    I have been thinking on this for a LONG time and have some ideas, but wanted to see what the collected knowledge of the forum can contribute. Thanks in advance.

    R

    traditional gaff rigged catboat, 16' with an 8' beam
    small cuddy two sleep in the cuddy
    two sleep in the cockpit
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

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    Default Re: Traditional Working Sail Rigs - Modern Recreational Craft

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Pless View Post
    traditional gaff rigged catboat, 16' with an 8' beam
    small cuddy two sleep in the cuddy
    two sleep in the cockpit
    Chebacco, Bolger’s gaff-rigged cat yawl, seems like a good choice for both rig and use if 19’8” LOA isn’t a problem.

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    Default Re: Traditional Working Sail Rigs - Modern Recreational Craft

    Thanks fellas. Good start for discussion.

    Tom and Matt - I like lug sails well enough and I really like yawls. But as you say, lugs weren’t prevalent on working boats along the eastern seaboard of North America.

    Neither were yawls, at least that I can find evidence for. Which is a bit baffling for me. As a former gillnetter, I appreciate a clear deck for working gear. A cat-yawl can give you all the space in the world to work without unstepping a mast. More so than the endemic ketch that seems to have been the two-mast rig for small craft. For modern recreational daysailing or costal cruising in an open boat, yawls seem to have a lot going for them. The oar-and-sail guys make intelligent and impassioned arguments for the rig. And I’m sort of obsessed with the French jib-headed lug yawls that were traditional fishing rigs and are now popular recreational rigs on boats like the Vivier Ebihen 16.

    But, you know… European rather than North American. Unless there was a jibbed spritsail yawl rig on an undiscovered Noman’s Land boat out there…

    Why no yawls?!

    Let’s ignore overnights for now. It would be two adults and two littles among the islands, but still a big ask unless going ashore in a tent. Two aboard under a boom tent maybe…

    Anyway… Paul, a couple of open cat-rigged boats are being thought about. A small cuddy would certainly be nice, but not necessary. Catboats have a lot of advantages for sure. Especially for having a couple kiddos aboard. I don’t have any experience with gaffers so I’m not sure about rigging when trailer sailing. Maybe the smaller ones are handier than they look. I’ve looked long at the Woods Hole boats, dismissed them for any number of reasons, and then come back to them. Boomless sprit? Add a boom, sprit boom or whisker pole?

    hmmm…

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    Default Re: Traditional Working Sail Rigs - Modern Recreational Craft

    Quote Originally Posted by RyanGillnet View Post
    Thanks fellas. Good start for discussion.

    Tom and Matt - I like lug sails well enough and I really like yawls. But as you say, lugs weren’t prevalent on working boats along the eastern seaboard of North America.

    Neither were yawls, at least that I can find evidence for. Which is a bit baffling for me. As a former gillnetter, I appreciate a clear deck for working gear. A cat-yawl can give you all the space in the world to work without unstepping a mast. More so than the endemic ketch that seems to have been the two-mast rig for small craft. For modern recreational daysailing or costal cruising in an open boat, yawls seem to have a lot going for them. The oar-and-sail guys make intelligent and impassioned arguments for the rig. And I’m sort of obsessed with the French jib-headed lug yawls that were traditional fishing rigs and are now popular recreational rigs on boats like the Vivier Ebihen 16.

    But, you know… European rather than North American. Unless there was a jibbed spritsail yawl rig on an undiscovered Noman’s Land boat out there…

    Why no yawls?!

    Let’s ignore overnights for now. It would be two adults and two littles among the islands, but still a big ask unless going ashore in a tent. Two aboard under a boom tent maybe…

    Anyway… Paul, a couple of open cat-rigged boats are being thought about. A small cuddy would certainly be nice, but not necessary. Catboats have a lot of advantages for sure. Especially for having a couple kiddos aboard. I don’t have any experience with gaffers so I’m not sure about rigging when trailer sailing. Maybe the smaller ones are handier than they look. I’ve looked long at the Woods Hole boats, dismissed them for any number of reasons, and then come back to them. Boomless sprit? Add a boom, sprit boom or whisker pole?

    hmmm…
    Perhaps a Mackinaw boat, or a Collingwood skiff? Ketch rig (gaff or spritsails), large enough for a family maybe. Traditional for the Great Lakes.

    Tom
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    Default Re: Traditional Working Sail Rigs - Modern Recreational Craft

    Quote Originally Posted by RyanGillnet View Post
    Thanks fellas. Good start for discussion.

    Tom and Matt - I like lug sails well enough and I really like yawls. But as you say, lugs weren’t prevalent on working boats along the eastern seaboard of North America.

    Neither were yawls, at least that I can find evidence for. Which is a bit baffling for me. As a former gillnetter, I appreciate a clear deck for working gear. A cat-yawl can give you all the space in the world to work without unstepping a mast. More so than the endemic ketch that seems to have been the two-mast rig for small craft. For modern recreational daysailing or costal cruising in an open boat, yawls seem to have a lot going for them. The oar-and-sail guys make intelligent and impassioned arguments for the rig. And I’m sort of obsessed with the French jib-headed lug yawls that were traditional fishing rigs and are now popular recreational rigs on boats like the Vivier Ebihen 16.

    But, you know… European rather than North American. Unless there was a jibbed spritsail yawl rig on an undiscovered Noman’s Land boat out there…

    Why no yawls?!

    Let’s ignore overnights for now. It would be two adults and two littles among the islands, but still a big ask unless going ashore in a tent. Two aboard under a boom tent maybe…

    Anyway… Paul, a couple of open cat-rigged boats are being thought about. A small cuddy would certainly be nice, but not necessary. Catboats have a lot of advantages for sure. Especially for having a couple kiddos aboard. I don’t have any experience with gaffers so I’m not sure about rigging when trailer sailing. Maybe the smaller ones are handier than they look. I’ve looked long at the Woods Hole boats, dismissed them for any number of reasons, and then come back to them. Boomless sprit? Add a boom, sprit boom or whisker pole?

    hmmm…
    As one of those who design "Oar and sail" boats with balanced lugsail mains and triangular, usually sprit boomed mizzens, I'd mention that one of the major advantages of this rig in a boat that will be rowed at least part time, is that it frees up the midships area of the boat for rowing station (s) .
    Having tried just about every possible way of hanging a rag up there, sprits, lugs, gaffs, bermudian, even square rig, I find the balanced lugsail particularly effective on ALL points of sail, something that is not the case for boomless sails.
    Having a sail at each end of the boat as with a yawl makes it very easy to trim the boat to suit the point of sail, and if the boat is well proportioned in hull and rig its often possible to have the boat self steering, and in my own designs the rig is proportioned to allow the boat to lie head to wind when the mizzen is sheeted in and the main let fly.
    All of which are very helpful when sailing shorthanded or with unskilled crew.

    John Welsford
    An expert is but a beginner with experience.

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    Default Re: Traditional Working Sail Rigs - Modern Recreational Craft

    Quote Originally Posted by john welsford View Post
    As one of those who design "Oar and sail" boats with balanced lugsail mains and triangular, usually sprit boomed mizzens, I'd mention that one of the major advantages of this rig in a boat that will be rowed at least part time, is that it frees up the midships area of the boat for rowing station (s) .
    Having tried just about every possible way of hanging a rag up there, sprits, lugs, gaffs, bermudian, even square rig, I find the balanced lugsail particularly effective on ALL points of sail, something that is not the case for boomless sails.
    Having a sail at each end of the boat as with a yawl makes it very easy to trim the boat to suit the point of sail, and if the boat is well proportioned in hull and rig its often possible to have the boat self steering, and in my own designs the rig is proportioned to allow the boat to lie head to wind when the mizzen is sheeted in and the main let fly.
    All of which are very helpful when sailing shorthanded or with unskilled crew.

    John Welsford
    This why I am now building a yawl, I have recently realised I am no longer 23 and leaping around the inside of a dinghy results in 2 days of pain afterwards - especially when trying to bring a fast dinghy (gunter rig) into a concrete ramp with no pontoons and very sharp open oyster shells attached to the underwater stones....... I am looking forward to a lugsail and a mizzen :-)

    Regards Neil

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    Default Re: Traditional Working Sail Rigs - Modern Recreational Craft

    Quote Originally Posted by neil.henderson View Post
    This why I am now building a yawl, I have recently realised I am no longer 23 and leaping around the inside of a dinghy results in 2 days of pain afterwards - especially when trying to bring a fast dinghy (gunter rig) into a concrete ramp with no pontoons and very sharp open oyster shells attached to the underwater stones....... I am looking forward to a lugsail and a mizzen :-)

    Regards Neil
    I inherited a classic 18 ft gaffer, somewhat similar to the small working craft from the south coast of England. She's long keeled, heavy, has a large gaff sloop rig, and when setting up the rig after towing her to the boatramp it takes a long time to get it all sorted and in order.
    Four halyards, three sets of reefing lines, topping lift, lazyjacks, five part mainsheet, two jibs, jib sheets, plus various other bits of tack. She's a real treat to sail, but not the sort of ship you'd launch for a sail in the evening after you get home from work.
    I've also got my little 15ft double ender, she's got a balanced lugsail. One halyard to pull the sail up, one to pull the boom down, and a mainsheet to pull it in. The reef lines are left rigged, thats it, perhaps 10 or 12 minutes to set up or break down.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hp6wjKHymCg
    The link shows Blair in the proof of concept Saturday Night Special, (red boat) and myself in my SEI, the boat I mentioned above) coming home from a weekend cruise to Kawau Island about 7 miles out. You can clearly see the benefits of the boomed balanced lugsails off the wind, the projected area, and the control over twist and shape is much better than with a boomless sail.
    That was a great day by the way, we're hoping to be back there again in December.

    John Welsford
    An expert is but a beginner with experience.

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    Default Re: Traditional Working Sail Rigs - Modern Recreational Craft

    Quote Originally Posted by john welsford View Post
    I inherited a classic 18 ft gaffer, somewhat similar to the small working craft from the south coast of England. She's long keeled, heavy, has a large gaff sloop rig, and when setting up the rig after towing her to the boatramp it takes a long time to get it all sorted and in order.
    Four halyards, three sets of reefing lines, topping lift, lazyjacks, five part mainsheet, two jibs, jib sheets, plus various other bits of tack. She's a real treat to sail, but not the sort of ship you'd launch for a sail in the evening after you get home from work.
    I've also got my little 15ft double ender, she's got a balanced lugsail. One halyard to pull the sail up, one to pull the boom down, and a mainsheet to pull it in. The reef lines are left rigged, thats it, perhaps 10 or 12 minutes to set up or break down.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hp6wjKHymCg
    The link shows Blair in the proof of concept Saturday Night Special, (red boat) and myself in my SEI, the boat I mentioned above) coming home from a weekend cruise to Kawau Island about 7 miles out. You can clearly see the benefits of the boomed balanced lugsails off the wind, the projected area, and the control over twist and shape is much better than with a boomless sail.
    That was a great day by the way, we're hoping to be back there again in December.

    John Welsford

    Thanks John, yes I am building for a balanced lug sail with boom.

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    Default Re: Traditional Working Sail Rigs - Modern Recreational Craft

    I wonder if you'd consider a design by an Australian or Frenchman? I would suggest having a look at the Caledonia Yawl designed by Iain Oughtred (Australian born, lives on Isle of Skye) and the Jewell designed by Francois Vivier. I have started to build a Caledonia Yawl but took a long hard look at the Jewell. I think people daysail and/or cruise in both Jewells and CYs. Jewell has the advantage of a small cabin. Both can carry an outboard - both can be yawl rigged which is a rig I really want to try.
    Good luck with your choice.

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    Default Re: Traditional Working Sail Rigs - Modern Recreational Craft

    Hi, Tom. Thanks for that great article. I enjoyed it tremendously. Especially the references to the gillnet fishery on the lakes.

    I’ve always admired the smaller Mackinaw boats around 18’. They’re handsome craft and I ponder them often. If you have sailed the rig, I’d love to hear your experiences with it. I wonder specifically about how it could be single-handed, if the ketch arrangement works for daysailing with family in an open boat, and how a loose-footed mainsail works with a boomed mizzen. I think a gaff-rigged Mackinaw is probably a lot of boat to trailer (not to mention build!) but I’m interested nonetheless. I believe some were rigged with spritsails on unstayed masts as well…

    Neil, I have no prejudices against designers from any nation. In fact, at one point I was certain I would build a traditional lapstrake Ebihen 16 with a bourcet-malet rig. I even corresponded with M. Vivier and have study plans for the traditional construction of the boat. And Oughtred… there have been several of his designs in consideration. I think a traditional clinker Penny Fee would be great! Chances are good that I’ll end up building and enjoying a boat drawn by a living designer with a less esoteric sail plan to actually go sailing in… rather than building a museum boat. I’m just curious about 19th century North American sail rigs as ‘practical’ modern setups right now.

    To give you an idea of how impractical I can be… my daily driver is a 1963 Oldsmobile Cutlass. My ‘new’ truck is 43 years old. And when I decided I wanted to fish with bamboo fly rods, I started building my own from scratch… AND designing and making the machines to make the rods. Ha.

    So… how does a boomed spritsail catboat sail? How about a Matinicus double-ender yawl with a loose-footed sprit main, whisker pole, jib, and leg-of-mutton mizzen?

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    Default Re: Traditional Working Sail Rigs - Modern Recreational Craft

    Quote Originally Posted by RyanGillnet View Post
    Hi, Tom. Thanks for that great article. I enjoyed it tremendously. Especially the references to the gillnet fishery on the lakes.

    I’ve always admired the smaller Mackinaw boats around 18’. They’re handsome craft and I ponder them often. If you have sailed the rig, I’d love to hear your experiences with it. I wonder specifically about how it could be single-handed, if the ketch arrangement works for daysailing with family in an open boat, and how a loose-footed mainsail works with a boomed mizzen. I think a gaff-rigged Mackinaw is probably a lot of boat to trailer (not to mention build!) but I’m interested nonetheless. I believe some were rigged with spritsails on unstayed masts as well…
    I also think I've read about spritsails on Mackinaw boats. I've never sailed with a Mackinaw boat. I do remember (I think) that WoodenBoat or Small Boats reviewed the Nelson Zimmer 18' Mackinaw boat (gaff ketch) a few years back. I think the gist of the review of the rig was, if you want a LOT of strings to pull to keep people busy, it's a great rig. I think there may have even been the conclusion that the rig was a contender for the "most strings to pull per sq ft of sail area" award.

    As for the ketch rig's tendency to take up cockpit space, I sail a smaller design (Don Kurylko's Alaska) which features a boomless standing lugsail ketch rig:

    Alaska Plans.jpg

    Even before I finished the build, I opted to leave out the mizzen entirely (there's a third mast step in the center for sailing with mainsail alone, still balanced). Mostly that was for simplicity (single sail, single sheet; no need to mess with double mainsheets; no need to build a second mast; etc), but I have to say that it sure opens up a lot of cockpit lounging space which I appreciate:

    44.JPG

    The open cockpit improves fore-and-aft trim because you can slide farther forward, as in the photo above.

    Tom
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    Default Re: Traditional Working Sail Rigs - Modern Recreational Craft

    Quote Originally Posted by RyanGillnet View Post
    How about a Matinicus double-ender yawl with a loose-footed sprit main, whisker pole, jib, and leg-of-mutton mizzen?
    Now you're describing Tim Yeadon's boat, Big Food, kind of. He started with a boomless spritsail, then moved to a yawl rig with an 85 sq ft (I think) balance lug mainsail, and a 20-ish sq ft leg-of-mutton mizzen. No jib, no whisker pole. But it's a Matinicus double-ender.

    Yeadon and a few other sail-and-oar cruisers used to post here a lot, but they've been on virtual radio silence for a while. If you do a Google search for "woodenboat forum big food" you'll find lots of threads about his boat, and the conversion from spritsail to lug yawl. I think his conclusion is that the lug rig is far superior for his purposes.

    But, that's a very small boat! No way you'd get a family of 4 sailing in a Matinicus double-ender, I think. Tim himself built a bigger boat, the very first Hvalsoe 18 (also a lug yawl--see the pattern? Guys who really get out there cruising small boats and know what they're doing choose lug yawls, it seems).

    Tom
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    Default Re: Traditional Working Sail Rigs - Modern Recreational Craft

    Without resorting to a boom tent, that's a testing brief. However, I'd point you towards a Whisstock #123 4 berth gaff yawl as one which seems to fit the bill. You might also look at his #165. The designer, George Whisstock, posts here regularly as Debenriver, and you can see how much input he is prepared to give by having a look at my current thread about a potential #146 build.

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    Default Re: Traditional Working Sail Rigs - Modern Recreational Craft

    "But, you know… European rather than North American. Unless there was a jibbed spritsail yawl rig on an undiscovered Noman’s Land boat out there…

    Why no yawls?! RyanGilnet

    Maybe the working boat were fishing off the stern sometimes, running lines, pulling nests and dredging.

    Paul Fisher's Highlander 18 looks like a good fit, sprit yawl. A good looking design as well, and probably a good size for your needs. Can be built with or without the cuddy.

    https://duckworks.com/highlander-18-plans/

    CC385A5B-C57E-4A22-980C-1B5923C7DA2B.gif
    Last edited by Matt young; 09-11-2021 at 07:20 AM.
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    Default Re: Traditional Working Sail Rigs - Modern Recreational Craft

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt young View Post
    "Why no yawls?!" ......


    I posted about one previously. Seems a good fit for the traditional sail-plan part of the OP's requirements.

    Paul Fisher's Highlander 18 looks like a good fit, sprit yawl
    He wants 4 berths, which is testing in a sailer trailer.

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    Default Re: Traditional Working Sail Rigs - Modern Recreational Craft

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike-in-Suffolk View Post
    [/COLOR][/I]I posted about one previously. Seems a good fit for the traditional sail-plan part of the OP's requirements.
    [/COLOR]
    [FONT=arial][COLOR=#333333]

    He wants 4 berths, which is testing in a sailer trailer.
    Mike, my "why no yawls" quote was from the Ryan's question about why no yawls in traditional East Coast boats. Yes you did make some good suggestions.
    I believe, maybe, he is looking for boom tent sleeping and/or small cuddy, the Highlander 18 can put 2 in the cuddy and two under a boom tent, although there is no boom in the arrangement image I posted.
    "Yeah, well, that's just, like your opinion man"
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    Default Re: Traditional Working Sail Rigs - Modern Recreational Craft

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike-in-Suffolk View Post
    He wants 4 berths, which is testing in a sailer trailer.
    Actually, I guess I wasn’t too clear. I’ll eventually build an open boat, possibly with a very small cuddy. No ‘berths’. Sleeping beneath a boom tent or going ashore to camp. Sorry about the unintended misdirection!!

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    Default Re: Traditional Working Sail Rigs - Modern Recreational Craft

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt young View Post
    "But, you know… European rather than North American. Unless there was a jibbed spritsail yawl rig on an undiscovered Noman’s Land boat out there…

    Why no yawls?! RyanGilnet

    Maybe the working boat were fishing off the stern sometimes, running lines, pulling nests and dredging.
    That’s something I’ve been looking into, Matt. The early fisheries seem to mostly have been worked over the side - hand lines, pots, longlines, gill nets, drift nets, tonging. Mostly single mast rigs or ketch-rigged for a two-master. Interesting research.

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    Default Re: Traditional Working Sail Rigs - Modern Recreational Craft

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt young View Post
    ......I believe, maybe, he is looking for boom tent sleeping and/or small cuddy, the Highlander 18 can put 2 in the cuddy and two under a boom tent, although there is no boom in the arrangement image I posted.
    Ah, well two under a boom tent opens all sorts of possibilities. With that as an option, the smaller boats in George's range (#119 and #146, which are both 3 berth), come into play. So do a number of Gartside boats. Also, Evening Swan, White Swan, and Ptarmigan 17 from Selway Fisher.

    Also Ian Oughtred's Eun na Mara and Wee Seal. Really really pretty double enders.
    Last edited by Mike-in-Suffolk; 09-11-2021 at 07:47 AM.

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    Default Re: Traditional Working Sail Rigs - Modern Recreational Craft

    Question about balanced lugsails as appearing in #2. I sailed a Dovekie for over a decade and loved her leg-o-mutton sprit sail (triangular instead of quadrilateral). However, various people were critical of the way a Dovekie's sprit would "spoil" the shape of the sail on a tack with the sprit pressing on the lee side of the sail. Really, this observation was heard often. However, when it comes to balanced lugsails as appearing in #2 above, the mast indeed "spoils" the sail's shape when on a tack with the mast on the lee side, yet nobody seems to care. In #12, with the sail's tack secured to the mast instead of projecting out forward, the mast hardly affects the shape of the sail. But either way, I've never heard the observation that the mast "spoils" the shape of a lugsail. What gives? Does a balanced lugsail perform so well that folks just overlook the so called "spoiled" shape?

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    Default Re: Traditional Working Sail Rigs - Modern Recreational Craft

    Quote Originally Posted by Nicholas Scheuer View Post
    Question about balanced lugsails as appearing in #2. I sailed a Dovekie for over a decade and loved her leg-o-mutton sprit sail (triangular instead of quadrilateral). However, various people were critical of the way a Dovekie's sprit would "spoil" the shape of the sail on a tack with the sprit pressing on the lee side of the sail. Really, this observation was heard often. However, when it comes to balanced lugsails as appearing in #2 above, the mast indeed "spoils" the sail's shape when on a tack with the mast on the lee side, yet nobody seems to care. In #12, with the sail's tack secured to the mast instead of projecting out forward, the mast hardly affects the shape of the sail. But either way, I've never heard the observation that the mast "spoils" the shape of a lugsail. What gives? Does a balanced lugsail perform so well that folks just overlook the so called "spoiled" shape?
    Michael Storer (designer of the Goat Island Skiff) has done a lot of work with lugsail performance. I think his conclusion, based on firsthand data from lots of racing, is that the "bad" tack of a balance lugsail actually performs better than the "good" tack. I believe him, but don't care much as I'm neither a racer nor a type A constant sail control fidgeter.

    Tom
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    Default Re: Traditional Working Sail Rigs - Modern Recreational Craft

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post
    is that the "bad" tack of a balance lugsail actually performs better than the "good" tack.
    man, this is gonna require a dedicated thread. . .
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

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    Default Re: Traditional Working Sail Rigs - Modern Recreational Craft

    Quote Originally Posted by Nicholas Scheuer View Post
    But either way, I've never heard the observation that the mast "spoils" the shape of a lugsail. What gives? Does a balanced lugsail perform so well that folks just overlook the so called "spoiled" shape?
    Yes.

    As measured many times using GPS to give velocity made good against a mark dead to windward. No measurable difference in pointing angle or speed on my balanced lug yawl sail and oar boat.
    Alex

    "The fishermen know that the sea is dangerous and the storm terrible, but they have never found these dangers sufficient reason for remaining ashore.”
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    Default Re: Traditional Working Sail Rigs - Modern Recreational Craft

    Tom… ah! You’re that Tom. I just subscribed to Small Boats partly to read up on your adventures with your Alaska. That boat and Myst really worth considering. You’re build decisions are really interesting to me - forgoing the ketch immediately and keeping the standing lug. What’s your experience been with the standing lug? Quite a few rigs I’ve been looking at are boomless, either standing lug or sprit. Reading, I note lots of concerns about reefing and running and sail shape and sheeting… how’s it been in actual practice? Does Alaska have enough initial stability to unstep and re-step masts on the water?

    Myst is… a yawl.

    And the Mackinaw Boat certainly looks like a contender for the “most strings award”. It would be fun with an able crew, but tough to singlehand… which is a safety concern for me.

    I had forgotten that Yeardon’s Big Food was a Matinicus double-ender. I’ll need to go back and look up those threads. Need to look up Tom Jackson’s Noman’s Land boat also. I think she’s rigged as a ketch with a balanced lug main…

  28. #28
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    Default Re: Traditional Working Sail Rigs - Modern Recreational Craft

    Quote Originally Posted by RyanGillnet View Post
    Does Alaska have enough initial stability to unstep and re-step masts on the water?
    Yes it does, but it's a pain in the butt, with the result in my case that I frequently didn't reduce sail as quickly or as often as I should have. My first sail and oar boat was an Alaska that I built to the original ketch rig design. I eventually ditched the ketch mizzen for a smaller yawl-type mizzen stepped further aft, which reduced overall sail area but was much easier to handle.
    Then I designed and built a somewhat larger sail and oar boat with a balanced lug yawl - my current boat, Fire-Drake.
    Alex

    "The fishermen know that the sea is dangerous and the storm terrible, but they have never found these dangers sufficient reason for remaining ashore.”
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    Default Re: Traditional Working Sail Rigs - Modern Recreational Craft

    Quote Originally Posted by AJZimm View Post
    Yes it does, but it's a pain in the butt, with the result in my case that I frequently didn't reduce sail as quickly or as often as I should have. My first sail and oar boat was an Alaska that I built to the original ketch rig design. I eventually ditched the ketch mizzen for a smaller yawl-type mizzen stepped further aft, which reduced overall sail area but was much easier to handle.
    Then I designed and built a somewhat larger sail and oar boat with a balanced lug yawl - my current boat, Fire-Drake.
    I have to admit, your feedback on the switching masts was probably a factor in why I left the ketch mizzen out entirely! That said, with a single mast/single sail rig the way I use my Alaska, I've not found dropping the mast on the water to be much of a problem. That's probably because I'm lazy enough to leave the mast up most times, unless I'm facing a prolonged row to windward in a good breeze.

    I also don't use a mast gate, but a simple "hole in the thwart" style partner. I can sit on the forward thwart to unstep/step the mast if it's wavy, and I do.

    Tom
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    Default Re: Traditional Working Sail Rigs - Modern Recreational Craft

    Quote Originally Posted by RyanGillnet View Post
    And the Mackinaw Boat certainly looks like a contender for the “most strings award”. It would be fun with an able crew, but tough to singlehand… which is a safety concern for me.
    cat ketch rigged with boomed foresail

    mackinaw_boat_two_rivers_lester_public_library.jpg
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

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    Default Re: Traditional Working Sail Rigs - Modern Recreational Craft

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Pless View Post
    cat ketch rigged with boomed foresail

    mackinaw_boat_two_rivers_lester_public_library.jpg
    ”Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.” - That is simpler, but still complicated enough to be cool. Single sheet lead running to near the mizzen mast step?

    I need to research the reefing schedule on a cat-ketch. The french Bourcet-Malet yawl will balance with jib and mizzen, so it’s possible to just drop the standing lug main if needed. And of course, being a yawl, will weathercock head up with mizzen alone. I wonder what the plan is for a gaff ketch…

  32. #32
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    Default Re: Traditional Working Sail Rigs - Modern Recreational Craft

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Pless View Post
    cat ketch rigged with boomed foresail

    mackinaw_boat_two_rivers_lester_public_library.jpg
    I am torn where to reply to these two related threads, but I guess I'll go with this one and hope it spills over. I built the Chapelle "Western Lakes Mackinaw" partially to have a boat, but also as a history experiment in why the old farts on the great lakes liked the design. Part of my quest has been hull shape and part the rig. I only have two summers in the boat so far, but this is what I might venture about ketch rig on a working boat:

    1) as is often mentioned, low center of effort for a lot of sail. My sail area to wetted surface ratio is 2.38, 394 sft of sail on a centerboard hull that is 26'7" between perpendiculars, just shy of 6000# with water ballast full.
    2) sail spread fore and aft, and long straight keel make the boat very forgiving and adjustable for helm balance through sail trim and reefing options. I can often simply let go of the tiller, and I can always lash it and go straight. Conversely, this boat doesn't turn quickly, and it's handy to be able to grab the mizzen boom and back it from the cockpit position when coming about.
    3) Lots of lines that need to be pulled: 5 halyards and 5 sheets, or if I put the jib on a self-tending spar, 4 sheets, which is pretty necessary when single handing. However a club jib can't be backed when coming about unless you have a crew member up there.
    4) I have tried to sail it cat-ketch and it doesn't work, even though the jib is only 70 sft its ability to keep the bow down is formidable. Perhaps this is something like the "slot" effect.
    5) Gaff ketch is often cited as a good way to rig a vang on the main gaff. I rigged one, but it is way more trouble than it's worth and I stopped using it. I think modern sailcloth makes it possible to haul the gaff into line, but this might not have been the case with older cloth.
    6) Most Mackinaw boats are cited as being unstayed, and I understand the appeal when hauling the two part mainsheet around my mizzen shrouds. However the mizzen shrouds are an awful comforting thing to lean on, especially when tying a reef in the clew of the main.
    7) The Western Lakes Mackinaw is a big open boat, the mizzen doesn't crowd the helmsman and I have had 9 adults on board comfortably, one was a guy who weighed over #300. It's actually great to have that much moveable ballast. Though it might make sense that brailing the main would be a good way to get working room for commercial fishing, historic accounts cite often fishing from the skinny stern, go figure. You would think that the "cod's head / mackerel tail" hull form would encourage pulling nets over the bow.
    8) Lately I start reefing the mizzen first and often get it all the way down before I touch the main. I haven't yet had success with the Jib and jigger (dowse main) approach. The jib has no power without the main to slot around. Though this could also be due to the crappy jib I have, $35 mail order used. Historic photos show Native Americans using Mackinaw shaped boats into the mid 1940's which were sloop rigged.
    9) The photo above shows some kind of halyard rigging that I can't quite analyze, and accounts say that Mackinaws were often rigged with a single halyard per sail. I couldn't imagine dealing with lines from 3 or 4 part tackles and I have single lines each to peak and throat with down hauls and handi-billies to tension.

    That's all I got at this hour of the evening, I'll stick a photo on this and talk to youse in the morning.

    DSC_0026-001.jpg

    Ken
    Last edited by kbowen; 10-06-2021 at 10:08 AM.

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    Default Re: Traditional Working Sail Rigs - Modern Recreational Craft

    Quote Originally Posted by RyanGillnet View Post
    Tom… ah! You’re that Tom.
    Yep, guilty!

    Quote Originally Posted by RyanGillnet View Post
    You’re build decisions are really interesting to me - forgoing the ketch immediately and keeping the standing lug. What’s your experience been with the standing lug? Quite a few rigs I’ve been looking at are boomless, either standing lug or sprit. Reading, I note lots of concerns about reefing and running and sail shape and sheeting… how’s it been in actual practice?
    Going from ketch to single-mast rig has worked very well for me. Having sailed mostly balance lugs before that, I fully expected to like the boomless standing lug less. In practice, it's been quite the opposite for me. I love my boomless standing lugsail. I call it the perfect rig for someone who wants a boat to disallow type A behavior, and I think that's a fair assessment.

    You do need to have the correct sheeting angle for good performance with a boomless rig--generally that means sheeting as far aft, and as far outboard, as possible. A rope traveler over the tiller doesn't always allow that, especially if your tiller is high. I use the French misainier technique of manually switching the sheet to the leeward gunwale at each tack. That works very well. But, in high winds, I usually rig a rope traveler in case I'm too busy sailing the boat to manage a manual switch to the new leeward rail.

    Why is this a boat that disallows type A behavior? First, there's very little sail shaping you can do. That might drive performance-oriented sailors crazy, but it suits me just fine.

    Second, there's LOTS of sail twist at the top of the sail. What that means is:

    A. That twist helps depower the sail in gusts--an automatic safety feature.

    B. You cannot let the sheet out very far at all for downwind sailing. Honestly, the total amount of travel in my sheet system is probably no more than 3' or so, from close-hauled to downwind. If you let the sheet out more than that, the sail gets a big belly (dangerous in high winds), and the top of the sail twists so far that the tip of the yard moves well forward of the mast, inviting the dreaded "death roll" and possible capsize.

    C. So what? I haven't noticed any frustrations related to not being able to let the sail out very far. It's faster, I think, to "tack" downwind anyway, where a more closely sheeted sail doesn't really diminish performance. This is a long narrow boat, with a 17'+ waterline, and it MOVES downwind. It moves just fine. When I'm feeling particularly ambitious, I can boom the sail out with an oar braced against the centerboard case, and then I can get much closer to what I'd have with a boom for downwind work. Which might give me half a knot of speed, or maybe less. Or maybe more. I just find that I can't be bothered to care much.

    Now, the guys who say that a mizzen is the bomb diggity, because they can just point into the wind, sheet the mizzen in, and lie head to wind to drop the sail? Yeah, that'd be real nice. I think, for reefing/hoisting, that's probably a big advantage, especially in any kind of sea state.

    But the yard on the Alaska mainsail is tiny--only 8' long or so, and small diameter. It's pretty easy to manage, not a big club like many lug yards. So that helps. But the ugly truth is, when I drop the sail, the Alaska sans mizzen tends to lie nearly broadside to the wind. In big winds, and big waves, that makes things a bit more interesting (i.e. scary) to manage. I find that I have adjusted my tactics accordingly--raising sail in the lee of land where possible when winds are strong, reefing more conservatively for longer crossings, etc. I'm OK with that for now, but I'm sure it slows me down compared to a yawl, which can drop the sail and lie head to wind anywhere at all. It also helps that, lacking a boom, it's much easier to hoist the Alaska's mainsail no matter what heading the boat is on relative to the wind. A good tiller tamer also really helps--I can step away from the tiller at any moment, and still count on the boat to keep steering up into the wind to some degree (moving forward to the mast helps maintain that heading, too).

    Try hoisting a boomed balance lug on the port tack (with yard to port) and it'll do its best to throw you overboard. I'll go so far as to say that, in strong winds, raising the sail on port tack with a balance lug can't (hardly) be done. A boomless sail? It's much more forgiving about hoisting it up any old which how, no matter what tack you're on. It also allows for very easy brailing up of the sail to clear the cockpit for rowing or beaching for a short while--a minor convenience, but I do use it pretty often.

    The bigger thing to watch for is:

    A boomless sail flogs like crazy if you slack the sheet. Within seconds, the sheet will wrap around the tiller and/or oarlocks and power up at the worst moment. And, if you have a stainless snaplink at the clew like I do, it'll do its best to pummel you senseless. This is probably the worst feature of a boomless rig I've found. A boomed balance lug lies absolutely quietly, with no flogging, when you ease the sheet. Here again, I've adjusted my tactics. I can't luff up and wait for someone--I find I have to sheet in to keep tension on the sheet, and ease the sheet to just barely fore-reach along at half a knot or so. That's the closest you can get to heaving to that I've found so far.

    OK, but a boomless standing lug will depower completely when you let the sheet fly on a downwind heading--very handy for a gentle downwind "coast up onto the beach" kind of landing. A balance lug has a disconcerting habit of keeping on sailing, at more speed than you might want, in that situation.

    OK, more than you might have wanted to know. What it all adds up to for me is that I much prefer the boomless rig. I can completely understand why many others would say the opposite, though.

    Tom
    Last edited by WI-Tom; 09-11-2021 at 10:22 PM.
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    Default Re: Traditional Working Sail Rigs - Modern Recreational Craft

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post
    But the ugly truth is, when I drop the sail, the Alaska sans mizzen tends to lie nearly broadside to the wind. In big winds, and big waves, that makes things a bit more interesting (i.e. scary) to manage.
    Tom
    That broadside-on tendency of Alaska when reefing the main also happened to me with the ketch mizzen - it was too far forward to have enough leverage to act as an efficient vane. It was also largely what convinced me to make that small yawl-type mizzen, stepped in the aft-most mast step (the one intended as a holding position for a cockpit tent).

    One thing that hasn't been talked about much in this whole discussion about appropriate rigs for these types of boats is the characteristics of the winds in the area you normally sail in. All my comments and experience are based on the kinds of weather we typically get in the Salish Sea and along the British Columbia coast in the summer. The winds are frequently absent, very light and sometimes too much, and always highly variable, with any of the above happening several times on any given outing. Having a rig that can can be easily doused altogether for rowing and easily reefed when needed, is a must.

    If the winds where you sail are more consistent and/or are consistently lighter or consistently stronger, then a different rig might be optimal.
    Alex

    "The fishermen know that the sea is dangerous and the storm terrible, but they have never found these dangers sufficient reason for remaining ashore.”
    - Vincent van Gogh

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  35. #35
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    Default Re: Traditional Working Sail Rigs - Modern Recreational Craft

    I'm no rigging expert. What I can offer comes from sailing with a large boating group, the Coots, for years.

    In fireside chats, and shoreline debates, the impression I get is that the rig that owners seem happiest with is the unstayed balanced lug rig. For a variety of reasons. That doesn't mean that those who sail gaffs or gunters or spritsails hate them. It also seems to depend on which rig you grew up with or were introduced to first. But I'd say there's more people that sail other Coots boats then switch to a balanced lug than with any of the others.
    David G
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