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Thread: Gaff rig mast design

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2020
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    Rotterdam, Netherlands
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    15

    Default Gaff rig mast design



    I am curious how the upper mast connects to the lower mast in these gaff rigs considering the jib forestay requires suitable tension for the jib that can run to to top of both masts (not shown in this pic)

    For bigger boats, the mast can be solid Pine up to the crows nest but how does that upper spar connect?
    anyone know of a good source for old world mast designing and rigging info?

    https://frankhagan.com/weekender/gaffmain.htm

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 1999
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    Hyannis, MA, USA
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    50,158

    Default Re: Gaff rig mast design

    The topmast is a separate spar. On the mast are two capbands wood or metal that project forward one above the other, into which the topmast can be set and clamped down.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Location
    Pleasant Valley NS Canada
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    23,222

    Default Re: Gaff rig mast design

    Quote Originally Posted by Magenta View Post
    I am curious how the upper mast connects to the lower mast in these gaff rigs considering the jib forestay requires suitable tension for the jib that can run to to top of both masts (not shown in this pic)

    For bigger boats, the mast can be solid Pine up to the crows nest but how does that upper spar connect?

    Anyone know of a good source for old world mast designing and rigging info?


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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Southern Maine
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    21,680

    Default Re: Gaff rig mast design

    Sometimes they are "pole masts" meaning they are one piece. Sometimes they are "fiddled''which is what you are asking about. Basically there are brackets on the main mast with holes to accept the topmast, the topmast is pulled up through the holes, the topmast shrouds are put on, then the topmast is hauled all the way up. On the boat I'm familiar with, there is a step in the face if the topmast which is pushed aft to meet a mathing step on the main. A wedge at the front of the topmast holds it in place. I forgot to mention that mast hoops should go on before the shrouds.
    If you set an outer jib like you describe, you'll never get it tight.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    N62 5352" E27 4110"
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    318

    Default Re: Gaff rig mast design

    Isn't the right term "fidded" topmast? Personally I would hate someone fiddling with the topmast of my schooner.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    St. Helens, Oregon
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    2,995

    Default Re: Gaff rig mast design

    Fiddles are OK if you keep the strings tensioned right.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Falmouth England.
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    433

    Default Re: Gaff rig mast design

    There are usually two bands or hoops that hold the topmast to the main. The lower one is often a wood construction, trestle trees, attached to the main mast. The fid is a pin going through the topmast that prevents it moving downwards through the bottom ring or other arrangement.Another method uses a tackle to hold the topmast up meaning that it can be struck down in a blow.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Shubenacadie NS
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    5,285

    Default Re: Gaff rig mast design

    Fiddles are ok below decks on the table as well, but the term here is a "fidded" topmast. The explanation of the ledge on the lower and a mating one on the topmast are one way to do it. Usually, topmasts are fidded in such a way that there's a hole through the mast athwartships and the mast is hoisted ever so much higher than the fid hole. The fid is inserted and the mast lowered until the ends of the fid sticking out either side of the mast rest on the trestle trees. Striking topmasts is simply the reverse. Hoist the topmast, pull the fid and lower to the deck down through the space between the trestle trees.
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  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    N62 5352" E27 4110"
    Posts
    318

    Default Re: Gaff rig mast design

    WhatsApp Image 2020-07-30 at 14.02.07.jpg

    Here is my (tiny) topmast going up for the first time.

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