I am currently working out the workings of my (yet unfinished) headgear on a 32’ gaff cutter. I have a pretty good idea that this is all correct, but I wanted to make sure by running it by the vetted and sharp minds here at the WBF. The boat is a true gaff cutter, in the sense that the jib and jib stay is run out the bowsprit on a traveler ring, set in a Dyarchy halyard/stay-tensioning system (which I like). The sprit extends about 10’ out of the gammon iron, and is reefable by sliding down the side deck.
The problem/question arises with the bobstay. Currently (as I purchased the boat) it is all chain with a turnbuckle at the cranes iron. When at the dock/hook with the sails in there is nothing supporting the downward pull of the bobstay, so either it is too loose under sail or too tight and stressful on the sprit when the ring is run in. Ideally I want to have the sprit “floating” in the gammon iron when under sail so all the forces on it are pure compression, especially in the vertical.
To fix this problem, I see two solutions. Both of which I think would work, but I think one of them is better. I’d like to throw this to the committee for discussion in case I am missing something…
1) Put a decent tackle on the bobstay, so when setting the jib the halyard can be dynamically opposed and balanced by the bobstay tackle. I like this one better, but it may be a bigger pain in the butt than I imagine to constantly tweak and maintain this relationship.
2) Put a permanent stay at the end of the sprit to constantly work against the fixed bobstay with its turnbuckle. Then let the job set on the Dyarchy system, or flying. I don’t like the idea of adding another element to the rig, but maybe with something like ¼” amsteel it could be done quite easily… But then you are stuck retuning the rig (at the end of the sprit) every time you reef and re-set the bobstay. Also, right now the mast is pretty much unstayed above the hounds (pole masted with a Cornish topsail), so I am little leery about constant static loads levering from up there.
Are there other options I am forgetting? Are there addition reasons one of those two are superior?