Bow Sprits - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 17 Old 05-25-2008 Thread Starter
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Question Bow Sprits

I am planning on purchasing either a Hans Christian 33 or a Crealock 34. Aside from some obvious differences, can anyone give me a positive or negative opinion on bowsprits. When it comes to moorage it seems as though I'll be paying for 6 more feet of "useless" space.
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post #2 of 17 Old 05-25-2008
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Bowsprit

We have a five foot bowsprit on our Caliber 47LRC. It makes for a great sail plan - providing a huge foretriangle that makes plenty of room for the staysail. On our boat, the sprit also serves as large anchor platform. Since the boat is in the Caribbean, we almost never go to marinas. But the few times we do, we are almost never charged for the extra length. It does make a boat that is 48'6" on deck a 53' boat in some folks eyes, though, and maybe US marinas are more touchy about things like that.
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post #3 of 17 Old 05-25-2008
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we have one

we have a bowsprit on our hardin seawolf. the marina charges us for it, as well as for the bit of mizzen boom abaft the transom. on deck we have 39.8' but according to the marina we are a flat 50'. it makes for expensive luxuries while sailing. aesthetics alone win me over however, and with the bowsprit (if you like that traditional salty look) its easy on the eyes. our sprit needs some attention and it is going to be expensive. another consideration is that anything that you "bump" will nail the bobstay, which will then transfer all the stress to your sprit and subsequently the rest of your rig. not ideal. so dont bump anything. they are expensive to keep, expensive to maintain, unforgiving of bad bumps, not to mention a slough of things I have forgotten to mention-but that said I wouldn't sail without one. besides the pragmatic sailing functionality, they are sexy as sin.
my $.02
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post #4 of 17 Old 05-25-2008
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I've got one on my cutter... a Union 36.
It's part of the ship... cutters tend to have them.
Very few marinas charge for the sticky-out bits... anyway, simply state you length over deck, LOD, and few will question it.
It's made from teak, and I did not find it expensive to maintain, now 15 years on.
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post #5 of 17 Old 05-25-2008
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I pay for mine (here in the states they like to get as much as they can).

I just replaced mine a year ago. The PO's didn't really maintain it all that well. The cost wasn't bad because I reused the teak platform, pulpit and anchor rollers. The work sucked though.

They make for an excellent anchor gear platform.

Dictated, but not read.
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post #6 of 17 Old 05-25-2008
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I'd rather have 6 more feet of boat.

There is a tide in the affairs of men,
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
Shakespeare, Julius Caesar IV, iii, 217
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post #7 of 17 Old 05-26-2008
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I'm not a big fan of bowsprits but I would not raise it to a buy or not buy kind of level except on a really long one. Aside from the financial hit you take at many marinas here, they just seem to be problematic to me over time given the extra structural support they need and the ease of damage. I also don't like having to go out on one to mess with a problem in heavy weather.
The only upside I can see is making the sail plan on a cutter work better....and of course...they tend to look traditional and pretty!

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post #8 of 17 Old 05-26-2008
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Positives
  • increased sail area
  • excellent anchor platform
  • traditional look
Negatives
  • increased cost in some marinas
  • harder to dock / more susceptible to damage
  • more maintenance

On my Roberts Classic 45 the bowsprit adds an extra 11% to the foretriangle area, which increases the total sailing area from 893sq ft to 1,011sq ft. This makes a big difference to sailing performance (sail area / displacement ratio increases from 15.2 to 17.2). My yacht is a cutter / ketch and like Cam said they work well with a cutter arrangement.

Marcvet, before I brought my yacht I use to think the same as you; a useless 6ft that you pay extra marina costs. However I have gotten use to the idea. Plus a yacht with a bowsprit it is often part of a traditional "package" ie bowsprit, cutter rig, heavy displacement, full keel, double enders, etc. You need to decide whether you like this "package" or whether a more modern yacht is your preference.

In the end I think it comes down to personal preference. Plus I think a Hans Christian would look odd without a bow sprit
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post #9 of 17 Old 05-26-2008 Thread Starter
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Smile Bowsprit

Thanks all for your input.
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post #10 of 17 Old 05-26-2008
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I thought they were for jousting...

But someone nailed it earlier, saying bowsprits were "sexy as sin".


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