Pros & Cons of Bowsprit? - SailNet Community

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Old 10-25-2006
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Pros & Cons of Bowsprit?

In an earlier post by Jeff H, whose opinions I respect, he said the following:

"I also personally think that primary headsails tacked to the end of a bowsprit have no place offshore. That would be a deal killer for me."

Other than the obvious slip consideration, what do others feel are the pros and cons of bowprits. I've been told by the manufacturer that moving the primary headsail forward increases a boat's ability to go to weather. Is this not true?

Fritz
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Old 10-25-2006
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Well...I don't know that I'd go as far as Jeff but I agree with the general sentiment. The "hazards" on the end of a bowsprit can be mitigated with a roller furler and a wide, flat sprit you can stand on. The extra couple of feet can be used to get more sail area up front and leave more room for a staysail and can help a bit to weather. I don't have any real problem with them if done moderately. They WILL cost you extra money at the marina though!
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Old 10-25-2006
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Some boats have, over the years, been notorious for developing excessive weather helm. The Catalina 30 and Rawson 30 come to mind as a couple of examples. Excessive weather helm can lead to reduced speed due the the extra drag of the rudder, can fatigue a helmsman and in some cases pull the helms person off their perch, and can lead to unintended round-ups in puffy conditions.

Many people have added moderate bowsprits to move the headstay forward and move the overall centre of effort forward to try to ease this problem. In some cases these mods are quite successful if properly executed.

Some sort of anchor holder or small platform is often incorporated into the design to give some added practicality. I'm not sure if Jeff's objection would extend to this sort of arrangement.
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A properly designed modern boat shouldn't require a bowsprit for the primary head sail. For an asymetric, a retractable bowsprit is a good option, which will reduce your dock/marina fees, as it is not a permanent increase in the LOA of the boat.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FritzN
what do others feel are the pros and cons of bowprits.
I want a cutter rig on our final boat and the bowsprit will give us the ability to achieve that without adding the cost of the interior to go along with added LOA. And the other two reasons (totally wrong, of course) - 1) I like the way they look, and 2) My kids absolutely love to hang out on bowsprit's (I know - safety issues - I don't want to hear it - we've harnessed them on when we've been on boats with bowsprits)
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If you like bowsprits then have one. I've spent many hours harnessed in the netting beneath the 8' sprit on a 72'loa boat reading and there is no better place on earth! Watching your bow cut the water is more mesmerizing than a campfire. Probably your storm sail would be the staysail anyway.
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Old 10-30-2006
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The Caliber 40 incorporates a bowsprit. It was not something I wanted, but have found that its layout allows for more room to work on the bow with the head sail and anchors to be further away from anchor locker / windlass as well as more room for a staysail..

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Last edited by TAK; 10-30-2006 at 03:39 PM.
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