Results 1 to 16 of 16

Thread: Small Sprit Rig Questions

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    5,636

    Default Small Sprit Rig Questions

    As I posted on the Skookum Maru thread, we recently bought a Nutshell Pram to serve as a more capable tender than the fiberglass lapstrake dink that we have been using. The Nutshell came with spars, sail and assorted other bits and pieces to make a sprit rig but since I've never set up or sailed that rig before - or any traditional small boat rig - I'm left with a bit of a puzzle.

    Here's what came with the boat:



    Mast, sprit, gaff-jawed boom and a generic Neil Pryde sail plus a grab bag of hardware that I haven't gone through yet. The spars have not been drilled for any hardware. I understand how to put all those bits together in principle but I am still a bit fuzzy on some of the details even after reading many, many threads here and elsewhere. So, some questions...


    1. Where is the tack secured? To the boom or the mast? In the diagrams I've seen the tack appears to be secured to the mast but they are all for a boomless rig. I assume the tack should be secured to the boom if one is present? The boom jaws don't have any holes that I can use for lashing the tack and downhaul. Should I make some?

    2. Does the boom need a parrel to secure it to the mast? I assume the tension on the foot of the sail will keep the boom in place to some extent, I'm just not sure what the correct practice is here. And same question on making holes in the jaws if needed.

    3. The boat is rigged with a simple rope traveler which I'm familiar with from sailing El Toros. Left to my own devices I'd rig the sheet El Toro-style, which I think is pretty a typical dinghy setup. Sheet runs from the end of the boom to a traveler block, back to a block at the end of the boom, forward to another block in the middle of the boom and then down to the boat. Unless there is a simpler option?

    4. Is it feasible to secure the snotter, downhaul, outhaul and sheet control blocks using a few turns and a clove hitch around the appropriate spar? Eventually I expect we will want cleats and eye straps but I'm thinking it would be nice to keep things simple and avoid drilling too many holes until we figure out where everything needs to go. I'm not too concerned about getting a perfectly taut sail.

    Any other advice or suggestions? I'm looking for the simplest possible rig without any expectations for performance. We just want to be able to sail around an anchorage if the wind suits.

    Thanks!
    - Chris

    Any single boat project will always expand to encompass the set of all possible boat projects.

    Life is short. Go boating now!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2000
    Location
    Cushing, Maine
    Posts
    4,301

    Default Re: Small Sprit Rig Questions

    Someplace in the Wooden Boat archive I have a long article on sprit rigs that may be helpful. And I did a piece for Small Boat Monthly. Simple might be to just have a look at your local sailing center to see how Optimist's are rigged.
    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."

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    5,636

    Default Re: Small Sprit Rig Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Fuller View Post
    Someplace in the Wooden Boat archive I have a long article on sprit rigs that may be helpful. And I did a piece for Small Boat Monthly. Simple might be to just have a look at your local sailing center to see how Optimist's are rigged.
    Thanks Ben. I did read a couple of articles by you and I've looked at the Optimist rig as well. And I agree that the Optimist is closest to what I have in mind. I will probably copy it as closely as I can but there are just enough little differences given the specific hardware for that boat that I still have some questions. But I expect I'll figure it out.
    - Chris

    Any single boat project will always expand to encompass the set of all possible boat projects.

    Life is short. Go boating now!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    in Orygun
    Posts
    3,558

    Default Re: Small Sprit Rig Questions

    I thought the Nutshell used a lug rig.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    5,636

    Default Re: Small Sprit Rig Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Gray View Post
    I thought the Nutshell used a lug rig.
    True, that's what Joel White intended, but the seller bought a generic 50 sq ft sprit sail from Duckworks and made spars for that rather than making the rig as designed. At some point I might get the lug sail and remake the spars to the design but I think the sprit rig will be fine for now.
    - Chris

    Any single boat project will always expand to encompass the set of all possible boat projects.

    Life is short. Go boating now!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Chesapeake Bay
    Posts
    369

    Default Re: Small Sprit Rig Questions

    1. Where is the tack secured? To the boom or the mast? In the diagrams I've seen the tack appears to be secured to the mast but they are all for a boomless rig. I assume the tack should be secured to the boom if one is present? The boom jaws don't have any holes that I can use for lashing the tack and downhaul. Should I make some?

    I have a boom and secure mine with a lashing through holes right behind the boom jaws.

    2. Does the boom need a parrel to secure it to the mast? I assume the tension on the foot of the sail will keep the boom in place to some extent, I'm just not sure what the correct practice is here. And same question on making holes in the jaws if needed.

    I started out with a parrel around the mast, but eventually decided it wasn't really necessary. The boom downhaul seems to keep it close enough to the mast and I've never had it pop off.

    3. The boat is rigged with a simple rope traveler which I'm familiar with from sailing El Toros. Left to my own devices I'd rig the sheet El Toro-style, which I think is pretty a typical dinghy setup. Sheet runs from the end of the boom to a traveler block, back to a block at the end of the boom, forward to another block in the middle of the boom and then down to the boat. Unless there is a simpler option?

    That's pretty much how I run mine.



    4. Is it feasible to secure the snotter, downhaul, outhaul and sheet control blocks using a few turns and a clove hitch around the appropriate spar? Eventually I expect we will want cleats and eye straps but I'm thinking it would be nice to keep things simple and avoid drilling too many holes until we figure out where everything needs to go. I'm not too concerned about getting a perfectly taut sail.

    I started with tying things on to get an idea of where they should go. It'll work, but I found the snotter will tend to slip down the mast if it's varnished. There's a fair bit of tension. Lots of people recommend thumb cleats on the mast to hold up the snotter, but I had a ton of trouble getting the sail down without the robands fouling on the cleat. So now I hang my snotter from a long lanyard tied to the main halyard and a mast traveler keeps it close to the mast. This lets me reef without moving the snotter to another thumb cleat and I can get the sail down in about 3 seconds.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    5,636

    Default Re: Small Sprit Rig Questions

    Ah! That's exactly what I needed to know Jeff. Thanks. Re: snotter and thumb cleat, I'm planning to lace the sail to the mast and stow it wrapped around the mast so there isn't any halyard, but also a thumb cleat for the snotter won't get in the way. It sounds like that would be useful at least. Easy enough!
    - Chris

    Any single boat project will always expand to encompass the set of all possible boat projects.

    Life is short. Go boating now!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Chesapeake Bay
    Posts
    369

    Default Re: Small Sprit Rig Questions

    Yeah, I don't think historically sprit rigs came down much. They were either brailed up, wrapped around the sprit, or the mast and everything was taken out. My boat is just big enough where I want to lower the sail, but small enough that it's a bit awkward working up at the mast so that's why I like the lanyard idea. If you're going to keep the sail laced to the mast, I'd say the thumb cleat is definitely the way to go.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2000
    Location
    Cushing, Maine
    Posts
    4,301

    Default Re: Small Sprit Rig Questions

    The brail line and peak pennant make striking and stowing the sprit rig simple. It all goes into a big loose bag for the trailer. Back in the day it was rare to have a thumb cleat for the snotter. A long spliced loop prussiked to the mast ( although I doubt the working fishing boats called them prussik's) Masts were oiled, a little rough and the snotter could be slid down. I've used various forms of thumb cleat so that the sprit can shift down as needed. Mostly sprits on small boats were rarely reefed. In reefing conditions drop and stow the rig and row. We are asking these to be pleasure rigs not working.
    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."

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Dog Ranch, USA
    Posts
    9,321

    Default Re: Small Sprit Rig Questions

    To reef a sprit rig - grab the rig and throw it into boat. Row. It's also the best strategy to get your sprit-rigged vessel to drive to windward.
    Quote Originally Posted by James McMullen View Post
    Yeadon is right, of course.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    5,636

    Default Re: Small Sprit Rig Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by The Jeff View Post
    Yeah, I don't think historically sprit rigs came down much. They were either brailed up, wrapped around the sprit, or the mast and everything was taken out. My boat is just big enough where I want to lower the sail, but small enough that it's a bit awkward working up at the mast so that's why I like the lanyard idea. If you're going to keep the sail laced to the mast, I'd say the thumb cleat is definitely the way to go.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Fuller View Post
    The brail line and peak pennant make striking and stowing the sprit rig simple. It all goes into a big loose bag for the trailer. Back in the day it was rare to have a thumb cleat for the snotter. A long spliced loop prussiked to the mast ( although I doubt the working fishing boats called them prussik's) Masts were oiled, a little rough and the snotter could be slid down. I've used various forms of thumb cleat so that the sprit can shift down as needed. Mostly sprits on small boats were rarely reefed. In reefing conditions drop and stow the rig and row. We are asking these to be pleasure rigs not working.
    Quote Originally Posted by Yeadon View Post
    To reef a sprit rig - grab the rig and throw it into boat. Row. It's also the best strategy to get your sprit-rigged vessel to drive to windward.
    This boat is going to be used by me and our son Dash, who is now nine and just went through the El Toro sailing camp at the Center for Wooden Boats. If we think we need to reef then a) we shouldn't have left the dock in the first place and b) we will definitely be taking down the rig and rowing home.

    Once upon a time when I was twelve I had no problem taking my El Toro out in all sorts of wind, hiking all 90 lbs of me well over the side to keep things upright. I got into plenty of trouble that way but also had a lot of fun. We may work our way up to such adventures in time but for now we will just be gliding around placid anchorages. No drama allowed.
    - Chris

    Any single boat project will always expand to encompass the set of all possible boat projects.

    Life is short. Go boating now!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Dog Ranch, USA
    Posts
    9,321

    Default Re: Small Sprit Rig Questions

    He's a lucky kid.
    Quote Originally Posted by James McMullen View Post
    Yeadon is right, of course.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Bainbridge Island WA
    Posts
    5,042

    Default Re: Small Sprit Rig Questions

    The current Port of Seattle water temperature is 53F, this after a week long heatwave....While I did jump off the boat a few times last week it was for pretty brief intervals. The 10-12 degree difference between here and my care-free learn to sail in a Sabot off Goleta Beach (sandwiched between Santa Barbara and Isla Vista Ca) is huge.

    This thread pops up at an interesting time, I was just contemplating my boomless spritsailed Flapjack Skiff, how I never really liked the sheet leads on it and maybe I have enough scrap wood around here to put a boom on to fix that. My thought is to leave the sail laced to the mast with lashings at the tack and clew to attach the boom which will have jaws to keep it in line. The best spot for the mainsheet seems to be about 5' aft of the mast (foot is 8"-0"). I have a little swiveling camcleat that'll mount on the end of the CB trunk. Looking forward to seeing how the Nutshell comes out.
    Steve

    If you would have a good boat, be a good guy when you build her - honest, careful, patient, strong.
    H.A. Calahan

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2000
    Location
    Cushing, Maine
    Posts
    4,301

    Default Re: Small Sprit Rig Questions

    A brailed up sprit rig can be tossed over the side in really nasty conditions using the mainsheet to stay attached to the boat. Instant sea anchor.
    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."

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    5,636

    Default Re: Small Sprit Rig Questions

    As documented in the Skookum Maru thread, I did get the boat rigged. Unfortunately I had no internet service at the time so I ended up doing it from memory. I think it came out ok but would welcome comments and criticism.

    First I laced the sail to the mast with a bit of light cord that we dug out of the rope locker.





    I'll make excuses for my lashing technique, which I doubt is found anywhere in The Ashley Book of Knots. Let's just say it serves the purpose. (Pun not intended!). I drilled the boom jaws for the tack and downhaul and bent the sail to the boom, then I rigged a loop with a stopper knot for the peak, and another makeshift lashing for the snotter.





    I rigged the sheet with a single block at the end of the boom and a block on the traveler. The end result looked like a sprit rig to me.



    So Dash and I went sailing. There wasn't much wind, but just enough for us to ghost around the bay and make it back in time for dinner.



    A couple of thumb cleats and some fairleads would make rigging the boat easier, and I could do a better job of lacing the sail to the mast, but I don't know that it needs to be much fancier than this. But I'd welcome suggestions.
    - Chris

    Any single boat project will always expand to encompass the set of all possible boat projects.

    Life is short. Go boating now!

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Sound Beach, NY
    Posts
    5,041

    Default Re: Small Sprit Rig Questions

    It looks good. I'm tinkering with a sprit rig in my Shellback. The spars are a mix of parts from other boats. Each time I use it I learn something, or get a new idea. You'll figure ways to improve yours too.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •