converting marconi to gaff rig - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 11-27-2010
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converting marconi to gaff rig

How difficult would it be to re-rig a boat like this:

to a rig like this:


And how would one go about it?
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Last edited by BenMP; 11-28-2010 at 02:37 AM.
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Old 11-27-2010
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First (broken) link is a Columbia 34.....

Sorry, but a better question is "why?"

A gaff rig on a 'plastic' boat like the Columbia 34 would be an anachronism, and simply wouldn't look 'right'. The rigging would be more complicated, and converting to a double headsail rig at the same time would be crazy expensive and could well end up with something that might well fail if the proper precautions are not taken..

Add to that issues of maintaining a decent center of effort, any kind of resale value, and it just doesn't make much sense as a project. If you like the gaff rigged look/character, buy the second boat or one like it.
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Old 11-28-2010
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The C34 was just the first Marconi Sloop that I found a picture of.

As for why, because boats like the first one are relatively common and inexpensive. I was more interested in the practical (how to balance a rig when adding a headsail/gaff rig). I am well aware of the reasons not to change a boats rig but was wondering how one would go about it if one wanted to.
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I would calculate the centers of the existing rig and try to duplicate them in the new rig. I would try to alter the structure of the boat as little as possible, not moving the mast step for example. I would also be concerned about weight aloft. Many older designs had their rigs changed to Marconi, some classics have switched back. My own boat was designed as a gaff schooner, but built as a Marconi ketch.
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A bowsprit and spin halyard should get the flying jib done, or did you want two hanked on headsails. The gaff will be tougher, since you'll need a track for the gaff to rise on, as you can't get a loop up the mast and past the spreaders.

That's my answer. Now frankly, this would all be very silly. I'm afraid you would be undoing 'common and inexpensive' and creating a spectacle.
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Old 11-28-2010
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One real problem is that most gaff rigged boats have a much longer boom and shorter mast than a bermudan/marconi rigged sloop, and a much lower aspect ratio to the sail plan. However, that will tend to move the center of effort aft, and really screw up the boat's balance.

Just curious, why would you want to do something this stupid? Aside from the balance problems it would introduce, you'd have to add at least one halyard for the gaff to work properly. This would also kill the boat's re-sale value.
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A bow sprit would move the balance forward again.

-jim lee
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LeftCoast View Post
A bow sprit would move the balance forward again.

-jim lee
Yup, sure would, but that's going to increase the cost of hauling the boat, storing the boat, etc., as well as require some fairly heavy modifications to the boat to make it strong enough to handle the upward loads imposed by the bowsprit.

Most marinas I know charge dock space and winter storage space by the LOA including any protruding sprits or swim platforms.
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Thanks for the information.

I am more trying to figure out how different rigs are designed and built rather than trying to figure out if re-rigging a boat is a good idea.

As I said in the original post, I am well aware of the reasons not to re-rig a boat.

I don't currently own a boat but have looked at several in the course of our search that are under canvased and have been looking at ways to increase sail area. Re-rigging to a yawl being the most common but that introduces many of the same balance problems. One reason for changing rig would be if one wanted a FRP hull but really liked the "salty' look of gaff rigged craft.

Quote:
why would you want to do something this stupid?
I'm not sure that it is possible to tell whether a certain rig is "stupid" every rig has advantages and disadvantages. Many mono sailors might well question the intelligence of a multi sailor and vise versa. Why where two wooden brigantines built in Los Angeles in 2003 when they could have easily been built in FRP or steel and been sloop rigged? When it comes to sailing everyone has their own opinion about what makes a good boat and (save instances of unseaworthiness) one really can't judge another's likes or dislikes.
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Old 11-28-2010
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Yes, but those brigantines were designed as such, not converted from something else. There is nothing wrong with a traditional design in hull or rig, but to try and convert a modern design to gaff would be stupid - and a step backwards in performance as well as affecting resale.

If you want to find out how rigs are designed and built get a copy of Skenes.
Elements of Yacht Design - Google Books
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