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  #1  
Old 03-04-2005
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Mast Question

Generally, what height would be considered appropriate for the mast of a small sailboat? (10-12 ft)

I suppose I should ask a similar question about the length of the boom (right word?) in relation to the mast.

The weather is finally turning and in about a month, I should be able to resume construction on a small sailboat I started last fall.
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  #2  
Old 03-04-2005
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Mast Question

Depends on what sort of rig you want to carry (gaff sail like on a catboat, lateen, marconi), how many sails, what sort of sail area you want to carry (how "powerful" do you want this boat to be?). A small 12 footer with, say the same sail area as a laser will be a handful when the wind picks up. Then again, it will depend on your hull design; a beamier hull will not heel as readily in a blow.

Why not look at similar hull designs, with similar sail plan, and see how much sail area they use, then work from there.

Allen Flanigan
Alexandria, VA
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Old 03-05-2005
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Mast Question

Might as well call it a glorified rowboat. The hull''s not to be quite as flat and it''s certainly not for racing. Hull depth, about w ft in the center, 1.5 ft at bow and stern. Hull width, 4 ft at center, I might narrow the stern a bit, I''ve not decided yet.

This is just a little wooden sailboat for puddling around small lakes. I expect to start in on a larger one later in the year.
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Old 03-05-2005
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Mast Question

"Glorified rowboat", eh? That gives me a really neat idea.

Here''s what you should do: Buy a couple of oars and rig the boat so that you can use them as the mast and boom.

I''ve got the details already worked out for you. Buy 10 foot oars, drill a hole in the end of the handle of one oar. Use this handle as the base of your mast, you can step it on the floor of the boat on a strong pin (like a pintle for a transom hung rudder)sticking up to receive the hole you drilled in the end of your "mast". Install a stout board passing athwart the gunnels to slide the mast through. Drill a small hole for a cotter pin in the oar shaft just below the bottom surface of the crossboard to keep the mast from lifting off the pin. This arrangement will allow the mast to rotate with the wind, wrap some leather around the oar where it passes through the crossboard (or put a teflon sleeve in the hole in the crossboard). Install one of those "landlubber" oarlocks, the kind that encircles the oar and clamps to it and has a swivel pin that goes in the oarlock plate mounted on the gunwale. This oarlock should be above the crossboard, it will be your gooseneck fitting. Drill another hole in the end of your other oar, this will receive the swivel pin ("gooseneck") on the oarlock on your mast. If the crossboard is installed at the right height relative to the mast base pin (say half the boat''s beam minus 6 inches), the oarlock "gooseneck" will be in the right position for rowing without having to reposition it.

Now make yourself a custom sail that will slide over the end of the oar, just a sewn-in pocket like a laser sail. You should be able to make it at least 8 feet high, or higher if you''re willing to try longer (12 foot) oars. The foot of the sail can be shorter than 8 feet, or just as long or longer (depending on how far forward you step the mast), you can even give the sail "roach" by adding battens (though you''ll need to do more sewing to beef up the batten pocket ends so that you can tension them a little). This could yield you sail area of from 35-50 square feet, which is about half to two thirds a Sunfish''s sail area. Then rig a simple outhaul on the clew, maybe by attaching a metal ring to the clew with webbing, attach a small strong line to a bullseye or some other fitting on the oar, back through the clew ring again, then tie to a cleat for a 2:1 purchase. You can also rig a simple downhaul for the sail. You''ll also need a rudimentary sheet, probably a simple rope traveler at the stern of the boat and a simple block and tackle sheet attached below the outhaul fitting on the "boom" oar. You can also attach a boom vang to the second oarlock swivel attached to the boom to keep the boom down on a reach if you want to get really fancy.

You will then be the toast of the lake, having a dual propulsion system at your disposal, ready for conversion on the fly. Set the sail when the breeze is up. When the wind dies, you will be able to paddle home in style. If the wind blows so strongly that your unstayed "oar" mast snaps, you will know that you should have stayed home. Hopefully you were smart enough to bring an extra oar. Maybe the third oar could be used as a tiller, too. In that case, you will have to name the boat -

Oaracle

Allen F.
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Old 03-05-2005
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Mast Question


ps I forgot to tell you where you can get longer oars:

http://www.paddlesandoars.com/frame_oars.html
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Old 03-06-2005
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Mast Question

I did a thing a while back that worked out real good. I went to yard sales until I found a rig for $10. Sometimes it''s an old Sunfish rig that someone has had up in the rafters of their garage for ten years, other times its a sailboard rig, complete with mast, sail and wishbone.

Fix up a good posthole type mast step, be sure to hang a rudder and tiller, then go get into trouble. When you make it back to shore, come up with a list of fixes. You''ll probably have to make leeboards, a good mainsheet, maybe rig shrouds and a tiller extension, but all this can be cheap and you''ll be sailing.

By the time you get the whole thing sorted out and working good, you''ll know for yourself exactly how big or wide or forward or aft a perfect rig for that boat should be, and you can sell it and get a 16 footer like all boaters do.

Have fun
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Old 03-07-2005
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Mast Question

Actually, I already have a pair of oars for the thing. In my younger days, I did the "wind ran out and I''m stuck in the middle of the lake" thing. No fun at all. A set of oars for backup was an absolute must!

Actually, the only thing I was after was a general feel for the proper size of mast/sail-rig and if experience indicated that an adjustment was needed, I could work from there.

Soon now, so soon! Melt snow! Melt already!!
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Old 03-12-2005
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Mast Question

I would opt for a gaff catboat rig for easy handling, dousing, and stowing. You want a short mast, long boom, and rather short gaff. Use aluminum tubing stuffed in sleeves sewed in the front, bottom, and top of the sail. Step the mast on the bottom of the boat, passing thru a thwart near the stem. No standing rigging. Dropping the peak halyard (that supports the aft end of the gaff) reduces sail area quickly and substantially, but leaves you with enough to maintain a heading and move the boat, albeit not too close to windward. Make test sails out of any old thing until you feel you have it right. You will have a ball, I guarantee.
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Old 03-15-2005
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Mast Question

Yeah... I might have to do some redesign on the bits I do have done... ''course, I don''t have to.

I haven''t sailed in like 30 years or something, but I remember... the pull of the wind in the sail... feeling the speed when you pushed limits just a bit... gliding quietly over the waves with no real effort. It was great fun!
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