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Thread: Gaff Rig, head to wind

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
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    Default Gaff Rig, head to wind

    Is it possible to put a gaff sloop or cutter head to wind by just up raising the peak end of yard? I'm imagining a lower-aspect gaff with a yard long enough to put this little triangle of mainsail well behind the CLR.
    16'5" Welsford Walkabout

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Woodbridge, Suffolk, UK
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    Default Re: Gaff Rig, head to wind

    I cannot talk much about gaff sloops because I have only owned one. I owned two gaff cutters over forty years.

    The short answer is “no”. Over peaking the mainsail has an effect somewhat like pulling down the Cunningham in a Bermuda mainsail. It brings the draft further forward in the sail.
    IMAGINES VEL NON FUERINT

  3. #3
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    Austevoll, Norway
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    Default Re: Gaff Rig, head to wind

    Do you mean raising the boom end to the mast? Or lowering the peak?
    You can't bring the peak up higher than normal.

    We drop the peak when we need a 'quick and dirty' dousing of sail. It reduces the sail press, but it doesn't bring the bow into the wind.

  4. #4
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    Walney, near Cumbria UK
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    Default Re: Gaff Rig, head to wind

    If you could raise the peak without straining the sail it would move the CoE forward, which would make her pay off rather than round up.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 1999
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    Hyannis, MA, USA
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    Default Re: Gaff Rig, head to wind

    Always depends on the boat and how rigged.

    Marmalade (gaff rigged 7 ton cat boat) had "lazy lifts", which are combined quarter lifts and lazy jacks. In the pic below, I'm docking under sail. I came near under third reef for little power. The dropped to this configuration to hold the head up.

    The boom is about centered. The lazylifts have kept the gaff about centered. The full length battens eliminate the need for an fourth clew outhaul. The boat is happy.


  6. #6
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    Default Re: Gaff Rig, head to wind

    It should be noted that the sail configuration above will also allow one to be hove-to - about two or three points off the wind and making a square drift, not advancing nor backing but rather going sideways. To keep into the wind takes active steering whether you still have forward way on or are backing.

    You do not want to spend a lot of time in reverse as the strains on the rudder are considerable. A handy trick for getting out of irons but not much else.

    In general, hove-to is better than straight into the wind.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Gaff Rig, head to wind

    Huh, very interesting; thanks Ian and everyone for the answers. Helped me get my armchair sailing fix for the day ��
    16'5" Welsford Walkabout

  8. #8
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    South Puget Sound/summer Eastern carib./winter
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    Default Re: Gaff Rig, head to wind

    yea Ian makes a great point, even if the technique DID work, the vessel would proceed to accelerate in reverse !
    Best way to slow my clunker down is to grind the mainsheet too tight and pinch up

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