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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest Forums > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 10-07-2007
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Changing rig type

Okay...I'm not sure if this is a really stupid question but I'm going to ask it anyway...

Is it possible to change a boat from a bermudian rig to a gaff rig? Does a given boats design characteristics limit its use only to the type of rig the designer had in mind? If this is possible...what issues would I face. Would my mast be too tall? Is it difficult and/or expensive to find a gaff? Would I need to completely redo all of my running rigging? I need to replace my sails and just had this crazy thought.

I don't want to start a discussion about the pros and cons of gaff vs. bermudian rigs!!! I just want to know about the feasibility of changing from one to the other!

Thanks...and if it is a stupid question don't be afraid to let me know. Also, if it matters I have a 19' daysailer.

Bob
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Old 10-07-2007
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Gaff rigs are generally lower aspect ratio and generally have a longer boom... so your mast would probably be too tall for the boat rigged as a gaff-rig. You would probably need to modify your running rigging, since you'd need a halyard for the gaff. This would also add weight aloft... which may make the boat more tender. Another problem I see is the backstay, if your boat has one, would probably interfere with the gaff on tacks and gybes.
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A rig and hull are part of a package. The shape of the hull is a little different then you would find in a gaff rigged boat compared to a jib headed one. That doesn’t mean you can’t make the change if by some chance the hull is suitable but the change will require a new mast and standing rigging not to mention the changes to the chainplates because the standing rigging is different. All in all it would be a big change and usually not worth the money.
All the best,
Robert Gainer
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Old 10-07-2007
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Quote:
Is it possible to change a boat from a bermudian rig to a gaff rig?
Yes
Quote:
Does a given boats design characteristics limit its use only to the type of rig the designer had in mind?
Not necessarily limit, but the center of effort on a gaff is generally a bit further aft than on a bermudan rig, so the boat will tend to have more weather helm, which you can compensate for by adding a bowsprit.
Quote:
If this is possible...what issues would I face. Would my mast be too tall?
Probably
Quote:
Is it difficult and/or expensive to find a gaff?
I think you would probably need to get one made.
Quote:
Would I need to completely redo all of my running rigging?
You'll need to add a topping lift, halyard, and reposition/remove your vang at the very least. You'll also need to determine how to attach the gaff to the mast - track or rings. Your sails will need to be cut and finished to accomodate the necessary fittings.
Quote:
I need to replace my sails and just had this crazy thought.
It would be better to sell the boat and buy a gaff-rigged one. You will find it very difficult to resell the boat if you alter it this way.

Last edited by Sailormann; 10-07-2007 at 08:57 PM.
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Unless the boat is a "classic" and was once in fact gaff-rigged and you are restoring it to original, this is a waste of time and money.
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Old 10-08-2007
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Okay...so...like many things it is technically possible but completely impractical! Well it was just a crazy thought and I figured that it wasn't feasible anyway so I'm not too disappointed. Thanks for your answers.

Bob
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Old 10-08-2007
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Go for it!
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PSC Flicka are found with both rigs, but the gaff is fairly rare. I don't know the specs for both rigs on that particular boat, but I can imagine there are differences in mast height and boom length. I've seen WW Potters change to a lateen rig, so I guess anything is possible. Also, it would be much less expensive to change the rig of your 19', than a large boat. If you're going to do it, take time to really work out the job or you'll end up looking like a floating gypsy wagon.
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