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Thread: Why is a lug rig called a lug rig?

  1. #1
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    Default Why is a lug rig called a lug rig?

    I stupidly tried to help someone selling a wooden dinghy with a lug rig. They advertised it as a gaff rig and I said, just so you know this is a lug rig. I thought it might help their sale if their ad looked accurate.
    I get it most people probably look and think 'nice boat' and I probably came across as a know it all. But the guy tried to tell me it's a gaff sail so that makes it a gaff rig and that lug is just a slang for the spar the sail is pulled up with.
    He quoted his 16 years of professional sailing experience and got very mad at me. It was pretty baffling. My gartside 130 was also advertised as a gaff rig. I can understand the mix up.

    Personally I know the differences between a gaff and lug rig, and that the upper spar for the gaff rig is called a gaff, on a lug it's a yard. never mind the different halyard arrangements, jaws on the spars, running backs etc.

    I also know the sails are similar shapes

    But what is a lug?

    Is it this? lug-sail (n.)[COLOR=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.65)]
    1670s, probably from lug (n.) in some obscure sense; perhaps so called from the "ear" of sail formed by the oblique hang of the yard from the mast.
    [/COLOR]

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    Default Re: Why is a lug rig called a lug rig?

    Which came first Lugger-Loggen or Lug?

    lugger (n.)

    "small two- or three-masted fishing or coasting boat" (also favored by smugglers), always with lug-sails, 1757, from lug-sail. Or else [OED] from Dutch logger, which is perhaps from Middle Dutch loggen "to fish with a dragnet."

    And for fun…..

    lugger (pluralluggers)
    A person hired by a gambling establishment to locate potential customers and bring them in.quotations

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    Default Re: Why is a lug rig called a lug rig?

    We need "the guy" here, for this to be any fun.

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    Default Re: Why is a lug rig called a lug rig?

    Pretty damn funny

    Quote Originally Posted by wizbang 13 View Post
    We need "the guy" here, for this to be any fun.

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    Default Re: Why is a lug rig called a lug rig?

    I've had magazine editors (never at WoodenBoat!) "correct" my writing by changing references from "lugsail" or "lugger" to "gaff rig" or "gaffer."

    Not many people know these things, really. It's just that most people here do, which skews perception.

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    Default Re: Why is a lug rig called a lug rig?

    I had a similar conversation recently, where a person got mad because I used the term, " garboard drain plug."
    He was miffed and went off on a definition of garboard plank, yadda yadda and how the fiberglass boat in question used the drain at the transom, not the garboard and, in fact, did not even have a garboard.

    He got red in the face over this.

    My response was that the there is a difference between the name of part and where it is used. "Garboard Drain Plug," is the common name for the fitting, wherever the purchaser may install it. I went on to state how I used roofing nails to affix dock bumper, painted my skiff with porch paint, and used a garden fork to catch clams. He was not having any of it.

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    Default Re: Why is a lug rig called a lug rig?

    A gaff sail is attached to the mast along the luff. A lugsail is not.

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    Default Re: Why is a lug rig called a lug rig?

    I do sometimes wonder why some people get so wound up about the use of terms - we all know what the correct terms are and as long as our labradors and golden retrievers can understand them who cares?
    D'Arcy lives in a world that is completely oblivious to worry about garboards, but then the last boat he built didn't work so well!!!!!!!!!!!
    IMG_2771.jpg

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    p.s. I do think accuracy in language is important - after 35 years in IT I now what happens when person A doesn't understand person B but it unwilling to admit it

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    Default Re: Why is a lug rig called a lug rig?

    Quote Originally Posted by Toxophilite View Post
    But what is a lug?

    Is it this? lug-sail (n.)
    1670s, probably from lug (n.) in some obscure sense; perhaps so called from the "ear" of sail formed by the oblique hang of the yard from the mast.
    I think that is probably correct.
    Lug is still used colloquially for ear. The cuts made in a sleeps ear for identification are lug marks.
    A lug does resemble an ear.
    So in a way does a gaff and sprit sail, but the name of the spar is unique to those sails, whereas many sails are set from a yard, so you need to identify the sail to avoid confusion.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: Why is a lug rig called a lug rig?

    I used to think words meant something.

    Last few years I've had to adjust my thinking on that as it seems current trend has most folks believing words mean pretty much anything they want them to mean, regardless of what had been a commonly accepted meaning for 'em.

    If they're smiling while we haggle over what we're discussing I'll stick with it. When they grow short of breath, maybe turn beet red I tend to walk away.

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    Default Re: Why is a lug rig called a lug rig?

    Well, Wittgenstein theorized that language is not a way of describing a fixed reality, but rather a tool used to achieve some objective within a social context. In which case, if we accept that definition, multiple meanings of a word can be "true" without conflict. So the guy getting red in the face over the use of "garboard" on a fiberglass boat and Kevin's use of "garboard" as a description for a specific type of drain fitting are both correct as long as they achieve the speaker's objective. But don't try to tell that to my late grandfather, who once treated me to a tirade on the misuse of the word "dock" as a noun. Ships, he insisted, are "docked" at "piers".

    We have "trawler" yachts that don't trawl, multiple definitions of a "yawl" that trip up pedantic types who insist that the mizzen on a yawl must invariably be stepped abaft the rudder post. We have Bristol Channel Cutters that ain't any of those things, and sloops that are really knockabouts. If someone wants to describe all fore-and-aft rigged boats with a spar at the top of the sail as "gaff rigged" it will irritate me, but everyone will still know that the boat isn't Bermuda rigged. Or is that Marconi? Either way, it will be "salty".
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    Default Re: Why is a lug rig called a lug rig?

    Chris, can the boat be "salty" if it's only used in fresh water? Just askin.

    Jeff

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    Default Re: Why is a lug rig called a lug rig?

    If we don't know what words mean, we literally don't know what we're talking about, which is unfortunate, because the meaning of words is constantly being renegotiated. Yachting magazine used to have a columnist who insisted that a boater is a hat, not a person. I am personally not comfortable with someone calling a lug rig a gaff, because this fails to describe what the rig actually is in any widely agreed-upon sense.

    And unfortunately, I know exactly where the guy who insisted on his definition was coming from. Smart people are not smart because they know things, they are smart because they learn things. People who are not smart are resistant to learning, and will respond to new information emotionally with some version of 'oh, you think you're better than I am?'

    This is because they don't know what makes people smart.

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    Default Re: Why is a lug rig called a lug rig?

    Quote Originally Posted by jpatrick View Post
    Chris, can the boat be "salty" if it's only used in fresh water? Just askin.

    Jeff
    Or Bristol, and, just how Bristol?

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    Default Re: Why is a lug rig called a lug rig?

    Quote Originally Posted by Autonomous
    Or Bristol, and, just how Bristol?

    Bristol stool scale - Wikipedia
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    Default Re: Why is a lug rig called a lug rig?

    Quote Originally Posted by johnw View Post
    If we don't know what words mean, we literally don't know what we're talking about, which is unfortunate, because the meaning of words is constantly being renegotiated. Yachting magazine used to have a columnist who insisted that a boater is a hat, not a person. I am personally not comfortable with someone calling a lug rig a gaff, because this fails to describe what the rig actually is in any widely agreed-upon sense.

    And unfortunately, I know exactly where the guy who insisted on his definition was coming from. Smart people are not smart because they know things, they are smart because they learn things. People who are not smart are resistant to learning, and will respond to new information emotionally with some version of 'oh, you think you're better than I am?'

    This is because they don't know what makes people smart.
    ^^^^
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    Default Re: Why is a lug rig called a lug rig?

    I was initially inspired by the strange conflict to think.."what the heck does lug actually mean? Where does the word lug come from? Could both me and this fellow be right about the definition of lug? Which is why I posed this question.

    It's a strange blunt word.

    i was pretty sure he was understandably mistaken, and I was just letting him know because in my experience accuracy in your ad gives you more credibility in selling. I tried to do it in a straightforward, humble non smart aleck way.

    He actually said in his second response..after I sent him a wikapedia link to lug rigs (thinking if he didn't believe me....)

    " A Lug is a Boom used to raise the top part of a Sail. Lesson over, have a good evening. "

    This seemed to shut things down adequately, and he blocked me.

    Interestingly my spouse's friend who is an ex-Olympic sailor and teaches sailing for two sailing clubs thought Lyre (Gartside 130) had a gaff rig. Probably a common mistake if it's not something you are familiar with. I probably would've said the same thing myself a few years ago.

    Personally I love words, I think the variety of expression is amazing and the stranger the better. Sailing terminology is great for that and it has such a lengthy, rich and functional history.

    Some neat objective insights on the interaction here, though that wasn't my intent.
    Last edited by Toxophilite; 11-05-2022 at 01:52 AM.

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    Default Re: Why is a lug rig called a lug rig?

    Quote Originally Posted by jpatrick View Post
    Chris, can the boat be "salty" if it's only used in fresh water? Just askin.

    Jeff
    It's like crocodiles. There are salties and freshies. Even so, the distinction gets blurred in brackish water.
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    Default Re: Why is a lug rig called a lug rig?

    Quote Originally Posted by cstevens View Post
    Well, Wittgenstein theorized that language is not a way of describing a fixed reality, but rather a tool used to achieve some objective within a social context. In which case, if we accept that definition, multiple meanings of a word can be "true" without conflict. So the guy getting red in the face over the use of "garboard" on a fiberglass boat and Kevin's use of "garboard" as a description for a specific type of drain fitting are both correct as long as they achieve the speaker's objective. But don't try to tell that to my late grandfather, who once treated me to a tirade on the misuse of the word "dock" as a noun. Ships, he insisted, are "docked" at "piers".
    Just to be pedantic, Grndpappy was wrong, unless he grew up in a nation that did not have docks, e.g. bodies of water enclosed by quays, or floating docks or dry docks. But then we do have US forum members who spell caulking with "or"

    We have "trawler" yachts that don't trawl, multiple definitions of a "yawl" that trip up pedantic types who insist that the mizzen on a yawl must invariably be stepped abaft the rudder post. We have Bristol Channel Cutters that ain't any of those things, and sloops that are really knockabouts. If someone wants to describe all fore-and-aft rigged boats with a spar at the top of the sail as "gaff rigged" it will irritate me, but everyone will still know that the boat isn't Bermuda rigged. Or is that Marconi? Either way, it will be "salty".
    This winds me up as well, it annoys the historian in me.
    Bristol Channel Pilot Cutters were called skiffs by their owners and operators. BCPC will have been a tern coined by ill-informed authors. They are big powerful fast cutters capable of launching a boarding punt over the side, and then, for all their size and power, being sailed home to their mooring by one man. Anything else is not a pilot skiff.
    But the members of the PCPC group on Facebook are adamant that Carlotta, a boat that was built for policing fishing grounds off the Cumbrian coast before being sold for a yacht, and was never intended to nor ever did board any pilot, is a pilot skiff simply because she was built by a yard that built two or three pilot skiffs, and looks like one. You may as well claim that the yacht America was a pilot schooner, just because she looked like one.
    I have a similar issue with my area of expertise, the Lancashire Nobby. Yachtsmen of the 1920s cased them to be named Morecambe Bay Prawners, even though you don't catch prawns in the shallow waters of Morecambe bay, they were built and fished all the way from south Scotland, down to Conwy in north Wales, and only about half of the nobbys were of a size that could have trawled for prawns, the smaller ones were shrimping in shallower water.

    Rant over.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: Why is a lug rig called a lug rig?

    Side note….I have wondered if halyard comes from hauling the yard up?
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    Default Re: Why is a lug rig called a lug rig?

    One of my peeves......putting a bowsprit on a sloop does NOT make a it cutter.
    ay least on this side of the pond....gaak...calling the Atlantic Ocean "the pond" is another.

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    Default Re: Why is a lug rig called a lug rig?

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt young View Post
    Side note….I have wondered if halyard comes from hauling the yard up?
    I've always assumed that was the etymology of it.

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    Default Re: Why is a lug rig called a lug rig?

    Quote Originally Posted by wizbang 13 View Post
    One of my peeves......putting a bowsprit on a sloop does NOT make a it cutter.
    Interesting bit of history, and how the Yellow Welly Brigade cased language drift.

    This was a typical sloop.

    Fixed bowsprit, often with a jib boom.
    OTOH, cutters had reeving bowsprits

    The mast position is about the same.
    Then the rigs started to evolve apart on either side of the pond. .
    One important question would seem to be: Did the US ever use reeving bowsprits, or just misapply "cutter" to craft with fixed bowsprits, but the mast stepped further aft as the sloop mast moved forward?
    Then the Yellow Welly Brigade started causing more confusion with bald headed sloops and cutters that came with the Marconi mat and jib headed mainsails.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: Why is a lug rig called a lug rig?

    Nick, it's always possible that my grandfather, Capt. R. S. Stevens jr., USN (ret.) was incorrect, but it's more likely that any error is in my childhood interpretation of his comment. Hs was a career US naval officer, led a fleet of inshore craft on D Day, captained a destroyer in the Mediterranean after the war, and wrote with authority on naval history for various publications. He was also a noted expert on Maserati sports racing cars in later life, and wrote about those as well. I suspect you would have liked him. He would have absolutely despised any notion that words could be changed arbitrarily. There were no "flybridges" on his watch!

    But I do think there is something to the idea that language is never precise, never attached to an unmalleable truth. This entire thread, for example, is not really about assigning meaning to words, or the definition of a lug rig. It's about demonstrating social standing within a group. I can hear the knives being sharpened as I write this, so I will add that I mean nothing negative by that statement at all. Social standing is a fundamental drive and it would be antisocial if we did not pursue it. But the truth is that outside of a very small group of enthusiasts and historians (basically us), no one cares about the difference between a lug, gaff, sprit or gunter rig. Or the nuances of traditional, working, small craft designs. To everyone else there's modern boats with pointy sails and tall masts, and old boats with squared-off sails and short masts. If they even bother to note the difference. It's all just trainspotting.

    The exchange between the OP and the man selling the lug-rigged dinghy is a perfect example. Toxophilite offered to "help" the guy, but in doing so he questioned the seller's knowledge, social status, and ability to father children. Sending a Wikipedia article link was the crowning insult. There isn't a human on this planet who would accept that sort of help graciously. I'm sometimes tempted to do the same when I see an ad with an obvious error. Retired fishing trollers listed as "trawlers", or "lobster boats" that are merely sedan cruisers that have never been within a thousand miles of a lobster trap, for example. But there's no profit in it so I just file it away as one more step towards the fall of Rome and the end of civilization and move on.
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    Default Re: Why is a lug rig called a lug rig?

    doan get me started on "picnic " boats.

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    Default Re: Why is a lug rig called a lug rig?

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt young View Post
    Side note….I have wondered if halyard comes from hauling the yard up?
    And 'yard' comes from "Yar'd better be careful yar don't drop that thing on yar 'ed!"
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    Default Re: Why is a lug rig called a lug rig?

    Language is also a way to identify or fit into a social/cultural group. Not many people outside of wooden boat nerds are going to know or care about the name of a particular sail. Knowing the proper name is a way of showing you fit into the group. Like the old question of naming the masts on a seven masted schooner (something that it turns out is not fixed as I was led to believe...)

    Language changes and evolves, but shouldn't do so for marketing purposes. I don't like the term flybridge nor the term salon. Trawler has lost all meaning. But to those not in the know, they kind of know what a trawler is and use the word to describe my boat, which Ed Monk called a diesel cruiser.

    Our group is no different in terms of language than other groups. One of my cousins shoots and used to work at a range. He can expound for hours (and sometimes does) on the differences among rifles, carbines, muskets and the like. Something I will never know
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    Default Re: Why is a lug rig called a lug rig?

    Quote Originally Posted by cstevens View Post
    The exchange between the OP and the man selling the lug-rigged dinghy is a perfect example. Toxophilite offered to "help" the guy, but in doing so he questioned the seller's knowledge, social status, and ability to father children. Sending a Wikipedia article link was the crowning insult. There isn't a human on this planet who would accept that sort of help graciously.
    I have to disagree. I've met people whose egos are not so fragile as to force them to reject this kind of correction. Who would, in fact, be happy to be educated. At my better moments, I have been that person who can graciously accept corrections of this sort. And I've offered them to others, and had them accepted graciously.

    Now here, though? On this we can agree:

    Quote Originally Posted by cstevens View Post
    I just file it away as one more step towards the fall of Rome and the end of civilization and move on.
    Language evolves, for sure. But there's no need to step back and let the evolution be the result of sheer ignorance.

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    Default Re: Why is a lug rig called a lug rig?

    Quote Originally Posted by cstevens View Post
    Nick, it's always possible that my grandfather, Capt. R. S. Stevens jr., USN (ret.) was incorrect, but it's more likely that any error is in my childhood interpretation of his comment. Hs was a career US naval officer, led a fleet of inshore craft on D Day, captained a destroyer in the Mediterranean after the war, and wrote with authority on naval history for various publications. He was also a noted expert on Maserati sports racing cars in later life, and wrote about those as well. I suspect you would have liked him. He would have absolutely despised any notion that words could be changed arbitrarily. There were no "flybridges" on his watch!

    But I do think there is something to the idea that language is never precise, never attached to an unmalleable truth. This entire thread, for example, is not really about assigning meaning to words, or the definition of a lug rig. It's about demonstrating social standing within a group. I can hear the knives being sharpened as I write this, so I will add that I mean nothing negative by that statement at all. Social standing is a fundamental drive and it would be antisocial if we did not pursue it. But the truth is that outside of a very small group of enthusiasts and historians (basically us), no one cares about the difference between a lug, gaff, sprit or gunter rig. Or the nuances of traditional, working, small craft designs. To everyone else there's modern boats with pointy sails and tall masts, and old boats with squared-off sails and short masts. If they even bother to note the difference. It's all just trainspotting.

    The exchange between the OP and the man selling the lug-rigged dinghy is a perfect example. Toxophilite offered to "help" the guy, but in doing so he questioned the seller's knowledge, social status, and ability to father children. Sending a Wikipedia article link was the crowning insult. There isn't a human on this planet who would accept that sort of help graciously. I'm sometimes tempted to do the same when I see an ad with an obvious error. Retired fishing trollers listed as "trawlers", or "lobster boats" that are merely sedan cruisers that have never been within a thousand miles of a lobster trap, for example. But there's no profit in it so I just file it away as one more step towards the fall of Rome and the end of civilization and move on.
    Yep, maybe it was your memory at fault. How long ago was the conversation with grandpappy?

    As to the precision of language. Yes, some of it evolves with time, and if done slowly enough to be understood, that is fine.
    But getting it wrong at sea can kill, or at the very least severely damage the wallet.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: Why is a lug rig called a lug rig?

    Originally Posted by cstevens
    The exchange between the OP and the man selling the lug-rigged dinghy is a perfect example. Toxophilite offered to "help" the guy, but in doing so he questioned the seller's knowledge, social status, and ability to father children. Sending a Wikipedia article link was the crowning insult. There isn't a human on this planet who would accept that sort of help graciously.
    This is because the seller was mistaken about what makes people smart. He thought to be smart is to have knowledge, and to be corrected is to have one's knowledge, therefor their smarts, questioned. Had he been smart, he would have known that being smart means learning things, not defending errors.

    In addition, accepting correction leads to less conflict, and to people forgetting that time you were wrong, while defending errors in the face of the facts leads people to think you're a fool.

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    Default Re: Why is a lug rig called a lug rig?

    I think in using language we have to read the room. Overly precise words or grammar to the wrong audience can sound snooty or even unintelligible. The use of gaff in a for-sale ad may actually reach a wider audience than lug, because gaff means 'cute old boat' where lug may not register at all.

    My kids say 'me and my friends' even though they are well read and college educated, and I wouldn't think of correcting them. My mother, 70 years older than my children, will say 'to whom are you speaking?' which sounds awkward and snooty to me.

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    Default Re: Why is a lug rig called a lug rig?

    Diction has social and cultural baggage. Look at the politicians who change their vocabulary and pronunciations to fit it. George HW Bush, a New England patrician and Yale graduate, droppin' his gees to appear one of the boys comes to mind
    What's not on a boat costs nothing, weighs nothing, and can't break

  33. #33
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    Default Re: Why is a lug rig called a lug rig?

    Oars and paddles

  34. #34
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    Default Re: Why is a lug rig called a lug rig?

    I would say your mother is a product of her education and she's sharing it as she's intended to, being a mother and now a grandmother. I think her response is actually pretty funny. My mother always points out the difference in usage between less and fewer. She used to teach English. It doesn't bother me at all.
    Personally I like to know when I'm being inaccurate, especially in a public situation.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Loudon View Post
    I think in using language we have to read the room. Overly precise words or grammar to the wrong audience can sound snooty or even unintelligible. The use of gaff in a for-sale ad may actually reach a wider audience than lug, because gaff means 'cute old boat' where lug may not register at all.

    My kids say 'me and my friends' even though they are well read and college educated, and I wouldn't think of correcting them. My mother, 70 years older than my children, will say 'to whom are you speaking?' which sounds awkward and snooty to me.

  35. #35
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    Default Re: Why is a lug rig called a lug rig?

    Quote Originally Posted by Toxophilite View Post
    Oars and paddles
    Thems my daughters.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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