traditional rigged Vs gaff rigged - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 03-30-2008
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traditional rigged Vs gaff rigged

Could someone give me a short discourse on the pros and cons of a boat that is gaff rigged as opposed to a traditional sloop rigged. I am considering buying a gaff rigged Flicka. This would be my first sailboat. I have no interest in racing, this would merely be for limited weekending, coastal cruising,occasionally short period live-aboard,I would be sailing mostly on Puget Sound. Thank you
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Old 03-30-2008
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Heavier gear, more complicated rigging, extra spars go with a gaff rigged setup. On a plus side the center of effort is probably lower, reducing heeling a bit perhaps, and lower bridge clearance.

I think the biggest reason for gaff rigged boats these days is "the look".
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Old 03-30-2008
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And they do look good!
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Old 03-30-2008
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One of the boats I'm seriously thinking about buying is Gaff Rigged. She is a bit of a tub though. LOA to Beam is 3:1.
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Old 03-30-2008
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sailaway21 is just really nice sailaway21 is just really nice sailaway21 is just really nice sailaway21 is just really nice
The gaff rig get's more sail area aloft where the wind is stronger.
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Old 03-30-2008
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Gaff rigs are not capable of sailing as close to the wind as the more common Marconi or Bermudan sloop rigs. Hence, when you are going upwind you end up sailing further to get to the same destination.

Generally speaking, the Gaff rig gets the center of effort a bit lower, which makes the boat heel less. So, you can put a litle more sail area on a Gaff Rig than you can on the same hull with a Marconi rig which offers the opportunity of better downwind performance. The center of effort also moves back a bit however, so you're going to have increased weather helm developing.

You can't tweak your sails on a standard Gaff rig to the same degree that you can on a Marconi rig. But you usually have more sail options on a Gaff rig than a Marconi.

The Gaff rig has an old world charm that (from my perspective) evades the modern Marconi setup, but it is a bit more work to raise and trim a Gaff rig than it is to raise and trim the Marconi.

I have had both, like both. For aesthetics and versatility the Gaff rig wins. From a performance and ease perspective the Marconi comes out ahead.

In the case of a boat like the Flicka, I don't think that you're going to notice a really appreciable difference in performance between the two options. If it was me - I would probably go for the Gaff as I find them easier to repair and/or jury rig in case of mishap.

Good Luck !
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Old 03-31-2008
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thanks

Sailorman,
Thanks, that was an absolutely perfect explanation.Now I understand.Thanks again
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Old 03-31-2008
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Nice one, Sailormann. There's very few gaff rigs on the Great Lakes, but I remember talking to a fellow at the bar one night who owned a gaff-rigged ketch and who explained it almost exactly in the "good points/bad points" way you've mentioned.

Now I'd like to meet someone who can eloquently advocate junk-rigged sails!
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Old 04-02-2008
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I knew a guy whose boat (an old owner-finished Cascade 36), sails, and equipment was so old and worn, he used to say his boat was "junk rigged..."

But I'd like to hear more about junk-rigged boats. I recall a writer for either CW or Sail (or maybe it was here) that built a boat to cruise the world and ended up choosing the junk rig. I think it was for simplicity, ease of use, easy to reef, trade wind sailing. Doubt there's much upwind performance in that rig, though.
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Old 04-02-2008
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My Dad had a FLICKA years ago...... what a fun boat.......

Had more compliments about that boat than any other!
GOOD LUCK!
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