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Thread: How do you fly a flag from a gaff/main sail?

  1. #1
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    Default How do you fly a flag from a gaff/main sail?

    This weekend I wanted to fly an American flag from the trailing edge of my main sail at the end of my gaff.

    Like this (this is not my boat; I have a small wooden catboat!):
    https://sos.maryland.gov/PublishingImages/ensign.jpg

    It's easy to attach to the end of the gaff, as I've got a hole on the gaff that we connect the sail to. My question is how you attach the flag to the sail at the bottom? Anyone have any tips?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: How do you fly a flag from a gaff/main sail?

    Lots of possibilities. Tie the halyard off to the upper reef cringle.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  3. #3
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    Default Re: How do you fly a flag from a gaff/main sail?

    You don’t. You belay the flag halyard round the boom. Simple.
    IMAGINES VEL NON FUERINT

  4. #4
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    Default Re: How do you fly a flag from a gaff/main sail?

    If no mizzen, then the main peak. The national flag goes at the peak of the aftermost sail whether main or mizzen. If a marconi rig, about 2/3 up the leach.

    Since the flag is supposed to be up when sailing, I keep it sewn in place. Under power, the flag goes on a staff at the stern.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: How do you fly a flag from a gaff/main sail?

    Anna-Sofia.jpg
    If you look carefully you can see my flag halyard coming to a cleat near the boom jaws.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: How do you fly a flag from a gaff/main sail?

    I sew mine on as well. Peak of the mizzen in my case. A mini halyard will get into trouble...guaranteed .
    Except I carried no flag while Trump was president.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: How do you fly a flag from a gaff/main sail?

    Let's nitpick: It's not a flag, it's an ensign.
    -Dave

  8. #8
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    Default Re: How do you fly a flag from a gaff/main sail?

    If the ensign halyard is reasonably strong, it doubles as a gaff vang when lowering the mainsail. It is the helmsman’s task to trap it round a cleat and keep tension on it as the sail is lowered at sea. Neglect of this precaution led to the death of Eric Tabarly.
    IMAGINES VEL NON FUERINT

  9. #9
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    Default Re: How do you fly a flag from a gaff/main sail?

    Quote Originally Posted by Timo_N62.9_E27.7 View Post
    Anna-Sofia.jpg
    If you look carefully you can see my flag halyard coming to a cleat near the boom jaws.
    So that is three different suggestions, four if you include needle and palm without a halyard.
    Can there be any more?
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

    The power of the web: Anyone can post anything on the web
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  10. #10
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    Default Re: How do you fly a flag from a gaff/main sail?

    Awesome! I think I'll be able to pull one of these off. Thank you!

  11. #11
    Join Date
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    Default Re: How do you fly a flag from a gaff/main sail?

    Since the ensign is flown from the leach when sailing and since I will only fly the US ensign, there's no reason for a halyard. I at first tried a halyard and found it just got involved with other lines, especially when setting or striking the sail.

    By the way, the nominal ensign size is one inch on the hoist to each foot of waterline length. Mostly this is taken as a minimum with many setting larger ensigns.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
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    Missoula, MT
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    Default Re: How do you fly a flag from a gaff/main sail?

    I put in two small grommets at the point of honor and use ball chain for the top and bottom. Works a charm.
    James D. Maxwell
    Missoula, MT
    Sailing Inland Seas
    Heron #1

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