Gaff rig vs ??? - SailNet Community

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Old 10-01-2007
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Gaff rig vs ???

Hi, Fellow Sailors

I am not sure if this is the correct area for this topic, but here's my question.

Any thoughts or comments regarding a gaff rig vs cutter , sloop or ketch??

Thanks for any imput.

GH
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Old 10-01-2007
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A cutter, sloop and ketch can be gaff rigged or jib headed. What are you asking?
All the best,
Robert Gainer
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Old 10-01-2007
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I see your point. The question, I think, should be.."Any advantages or disadv between a gaff rig or a jib headed rig??"

Hope thats better, thanks
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Old 10-01-2007
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Gaff rigs are more traditional looking, but less efficient.
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Old 10-01-2007
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A jib headed rig is slightly easier to rig and more efficient to windward. The gaff rig has lower COG and COE, so less heeling moment for the same sail area. The gaff rig may be easier to reef (scandalize). The gaff rig will get you noticed more, not sure if that's a + or -.
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Old 10-01-2007
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The conventional wisdom is that jib-headed rigs offer better upwind performance, whereas gaff-rigs are often felt to have an advantage deep downwind. There is extra complexity to the gaff rigs, including at least one extra spar, and some different sail handling techniques (you must remember to scandalize the mainsail when jibing in very heavy air, for instance).

Jib-headed rigs have won-out (in the mainstream anyway) because of their relative simplicity. But gaff-rigs still have plenty of adherants. In addition to the off-the-wind advantage, folks like them for their traditional looks, and they are also favored (primarily by trailer sailors) because the mast is smaller and more manageable for stepping. There are some production boats still using gaff-rigs, like the Catboat builders up in New England (but even they offer jib-headed rigs as an option on some models).

Do you have a specific boat you are looking at that has a gaff rig? Or are you just asking theoretically?
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There is a 48' Thomas Day Sea Bird yawl for sale on ebay that caught my eye. Which caused me to wondering about the differences in sail plans, designs.
Thanks,
GH
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