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BillBrush 10-02-2008 11:32 PM

DIY Daysailer
 
I don't post here much since my boat is several orders of magnitude simpler than what seems to be the standard here and I find I learn more by reading than by writing, but I have a point of discussion that I think the community here can weigh in on and help educate a new (if not quite qualifying "young" anymore) sailor.

I have a semi-long term plan for my sailing which bears on this discussion. I was the recipient of a Sea Snark hull in late summer and got my first taste of sailing in about 2 weeks later after fabricating all the parts it was missing (everything but the hull and the mast step). I have enjoyed my little boat immensely, and dubbed her the "Duckling" because she's not pretty, nor especially fast, but she's kind of cute. (FYI I have all of about $65 invested in her and that includes the PFD's) I have promised my wife that she will get a new house before I get a new boat, and knowing how things work I've decided to buy another Snark (Sunchaser II) after the house to get something we can all go out in quickly, cheaply, and easy to move and sail. That will also get me a rig slightly more complicated than the lateen.

After getting the Sunchaser II I want to build my own boat in the mid-sized daysailer category. I've been looking at a lot of plans and most of the ones I'm seeing are gaff rig, which I can only assume is due to it being an easier rig to fabricate since the booms, spars, and masts are shorter. Most of the boats I see here are Bermuda sloop rigs. I am looking to build something in the 16' range with a small cabin. One plan that is close to what I want is the Stevenson Weekender. BYYC Pocket Yachts

I live in Nebraska so this is strictly for fresh water and small lake use. I figure it will take me at least 3-5 years to complete the project. :eek:

Question 1: How does a gaff rig compare to a sloop in ease of sail and performance?

Question 2: Is there something close to what I am looking for that is a sloop rig?

Question 3: For puttering around a lake does the rig type really matter? I don't see myself really getting into racing, but after reading about travellers, boom vangs, topping lifts, spinakers, and such I may have an inflated sense of their necessity.

Question 4: What am I not taking into account?

Thank you for your help.

Bill

baboon 10-03-2008 07:19 PM

I have sailed both but do not know which is more efficient. I suspect a sloop rig is because you do not see high preformance racing boats with gaffs. For day sailing on a home built boat on the lake it probably does not make a meaningfull difference. One advantage of a gaff on a small boat is the length of the spars. Instead of one long pole that can make trailering and storing a problem, you have 2 shorter spars. If set up properly, raising the shorter gaff mast might be easyer too.

There are sloop options. West wright potters are one example.

I have been looking at CLC boats pocket ship kit recently (this site will not let me post the link). I have no experience with the boat itself, but have built 2 of CLC's kayaks and found the kits to be well done and the product support to be great. It looks very similar to what you have in mind.

You can add more lines and a spinacker to almost anything, not that it always make it a better boat.

sailingdog 10-03-2008 07:57 PM

Baboon-

The reason you can't post a link is that you don't have the minimum 10 posts necessary. I'd recommend you read the POST in my signature to learn how to get the most out of sailnet. :)

sailingdog 10-03-2008 08:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BillBrush (Post 378953)
I don't post here much since my boat is several orders of magnitude simpler than what seems to be the standard here and I find I learn more by reading than by writing, but I have a point of discussion that I think the community here can weigh in on and help educate a new (if not quite qualifying "young" anymore) sailor.

All sailors are welcome... :)

Quote:

I have a semi-long term plan for my sailing which bears on this discussion. I was the recipient of a Sea Snark hull in late summer and got my first taste of sailing in about 2 weeks later after fabricating all the parts it was missing (everything but the hull and the mast step). I have enjoyed my little boat immensely, and dubbed her the "Duckling" because she's not pretty, nor especially fast, but she's kind of cute. (FYI I have all of about $65 invested in her and that includes the PFD's) I have promised my wife that she will get a new house before I get a new boat, and knowing how things work I've decided to buy another Snark (Sunchaser II) after the house to get something we can all go out in quickly, cheaply, and easy to move and sail. That will also get me a rig slightly more complicated than the lateen.
Snarks and SuperSnarks are great little boats to learn on, but not the most durable.

Quote:

After getting the Sunchaser II I want to build my own boat in the mid-sized daysailer category. I've been looking at a lot of plans and most of the ones I'm seeing are gaff rig, which I can only assume is due to it being an easier rig to fabricate since the booms, spars, and masts are shorter. Most of the boats I see here are Bermuda sloop rigs. I am looking to build something in the 16' range with a small cabin. One plan that is close to what I want is the Stevenson Weekender. BYYC Pocket Yachts

I live in Nebraska so this is strictly for fresh water and small lake use. I figure it will take me at least 3-5 years to complete the project. :eek:

Question 1: How does a gaff rig compare to a sloop in ease of sail and performance?
The gaff rig is pretty simple to use. Has some controls, like the gaff halyard, that the sloop won't have... but not any more difficult to use once you get the hang of it.

Quote:

Question 2: Is there something close to what I am looking for that is a sloop rig?
Yes, there probably is... I'd check with Dudley Dix designs... they have a nice sloop sail trainer that's 14' LOA called the Paper Jet.

http://www.dixdesign.com/paperjet2.jpg

They also have a Explorer 18 sloop rigged daysailer:

http://www.dixdesign.com/explorer4.jpg



Quote:

Question 3: For puttering around a lake does the rig type really matter? I don't see myself really getting into racing, but after reading about travellers, boom vangs, topping lifts, spinakers, and such I may have an inflated sense of their necessity.
One advantage of getting a sloop-rig, is that when you move up to a cruising boat, it will be more familiar.

Quote:

Question 4: What am I not taking into account?

Thank you for your help.

Bill
I hope that helps. :)

BillBrush 10-03-2008 09:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sailingdog (Post 379274)
All sailors are welcome... :)

Snarks and SuperSnarks are great little boats to learn on, but not the most durable.

Thanks. Honestly I frequently feel like a t-ball player in the Majors around here. My Snark has been a good introduction, but I clearly need something that doesn't require sitting cross-legged for hours at a time.

Quote:

Originally Posted by sailingdog (Post 379274)
One advantage of getting a sloop-rig, is that when you move up to a cruising boat, it will be more familiar.

I love your optimism. :-) A cruiser might not ever be in my future since my wife tends to get motion sick, but maybe sometime I can go out as crew, or on a charter.

Quote:

Originally Posted by sailingdog (Post 379274)
I hope that helps. :)

It does. After almost a full day with no replies I was starting to think I had BO or something. :-D

Bill

sailingdog 10-03-2008 09:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BillBrush (Post 379287)
Thanks. Honestly I frequently feel like a t-ball player in the Majors around here. My Snark has been a good introduction, but I clearly need something that doesn't require sitting cross-legged for hours at a time.

Yeah, I have a friend who is 6'4" and was much happier once he moved up to a 30' boat... anything below 20' was a bit tough on him. :)

Quote:

I love your optimism. :-) A cruiser might not ever be in my future since my wife tends to get motion sick, but maybe sometime I can go out as crew, or on a charter.
Larger boats are better than dinghies and small daysailers for most people.

Quote:

It does. After almost a full day with no replies I was starting to think I had BO or something. :-D

Bill
Yeah, I wasn't going to mention the BO problem... but take a shower and use a good deodorant... and you should be fine. :) ;) :D

CalebD 10-03-2008 11:21 PM

Bill, Your BO is no worse than mine, I think.
 
Small sailboats (and don't be unnerved that people call them 'racing dighies' or just dinghies) are a blast and I would guess that more than 50% of those with much bigger boats learned to sail on them. Some of us still own day sailors as well as bigger, more gear intensive sailboats.
First of all, congrats on getting your 'Ugly Duckling' Sea Snark rigged up and working for so little $'s. That is impressive. I would like to see a picture to see how you did it so please post one here or put it in your profile.

Next, I will have a go at your questions:
Question 1: How does a gaff rig compare to a sloop in ease of sail and performance?
The gaff rig is an older and saltier looking rig IMHO but will not crank out the speed that a taller mast sloop rigged vessel will. One reason is that the wind is generally stronger higher up. I have sailed on lateen rigged (Sunfish), gaff rigged (Catboat) and sloop rigged sailboats and the easiest to set up and just go sailing with is the lateen rig as it has the fewest controls. Next would be the gaff rigged, which, if it has a jib should perform better than lateen. The most performance you can get is from a sloop rigged racing dinghy but it is not as easy to do as it can have many more controls and may require hiking out and split second decision making which is more like work (but fun).

Question 2: Is there something close to what I am looking for that is a sloop rig?
Of course there is/are. Tons of small boat designs to choose from. The only question you need to answer for yourself is what you want and whether or not you want to make one of buy a used one.

Question 3: For puttering around a lake does the rig type really matter? I don't see myself really getting into racing, but after reading about travellers, boom vangs, topping lifts, spinakers, and such I may have an inflated sense of their necessity.
Do you have any of this equipment on the 'Ugly Duckling' and haven't you been out sailing on her? No, you don't need all that stuff, it is just fun to have once you get to know how to use it and when (why doesn't hurt either).
You say 'puttering around a lake' so I get the impression that the lake is fairly small (exact location might be interesting). Does your sailing dream include trailering your boat to a bigger body of water one day? If so, your 'inflated sense of their necessity' may be justified.

Question 4: What am I not taking into account?
Do you want to be able to do some overnights on this hypothetical boat?
The bigger the boat, the bigger the headaches and costs (under 20' is still not 'big' but once you throw in a trailer it adds more maintenance chores).

To finish I will mention that I own a 19' Lightning sloop that is rigged for racing. It is a one-class design and has: outhaul, spinnaker & pole, backstay tension rigging for raking the mast, jib 'cunningham', traveler and a vang (I know I am leaving something out). I still haven't rigged up the vang as I do not race with it yet but it sails rather quickly when the wind pipes up and can scare the crap out of my wife in a gust as it heels. This boat cost me $1K with a so-so trailer and 2 sets of sails (fire sale, right place at the right time) and costs me very little per year to sail it. I also am part owner in a 27' Tartan that does not have quite as much running rigging but costs waaay more per year to maintain as it has not trailer and is really not a trailer sailboat at 7200#. Cost per sail on the Lightning is waaay cheaper than the bigger boat but the bigger, heavier boat is safer for going out in 20kt + winds in as it will not capsize in most situations.
Good luck and post a picture of your 'Duckie'.

Delirious 10-03-2008 11:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BillBrush (Post 378953)

Question 1: How does a gaff rig compare to a sloop in ease of sail and performance?

Question 2: Is there something close to what I am looking for that is a sloop rig?

Question 3: For puttering around a lake does the rig type really matter? I don't see myself really getting into racing, but after reading about travellers, boom vangs, topping lifts, spinakers, and such I may have an inflated sense of their necessity.

Question 4: What am I not taking into account?

Thank you for your help.

Bill

I have owned two gaff rigs. A Balsam Swamp Bateau homebulit (15-1/2ft open tack & tape design) that I had Robin Lincoln of Center Harbor Sails sew up a balanced lug (a gaff that extends past the mast) for and a Mud Hen 17. Still own the Mud Hen. You lose 5% to maybe 10% (depending on wind strength) of pointing to windward to a sloop. BUT, the Mud Hen surprises most sailboats I go up against for a gaff-rigged cat. It is light (650 lbs) and when heeled the hard chine and hull shape give lift and she does surprisingly well to windward. The local Siren 17's don't give me much trouble.

But the bottom line is the sloop beats all to windward - hands down.

Now, when I turn downwind and can wing out that (relatively) large main with no shrouds to interfere and pull the board up we scoot. No advantage to the sloop unless they're flying a big genoa with a whisker-pole.

But I'll tell you what. We can drive to a local reservoir and go from parking lot to sailing in 15 minutes with that Mud Hen. No shrouds, a tabernackle for the mast (I can step in by my self), boom gallows so the mast boom & gaff and sail can drop and be lashed down quickly.

I leave work and we go for a sail and have a picnic supper aboard. The simplicity of the rig gets us out there instead of watching TV baceuse there isn't time to set and tension a sloop.

BillBrush 10-04-2008 12:39 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CalebD (Post 379360)
Small sailboats (and don't be unnerved that people call them 'racing dighies' or just dinghies) are a blast and I would guess that more than 50% of those with much bigger boats learned to sail on them. Some of us still own day sailors as well as bigger, more gear intensive sailboats.
First of all, congrats on getting your 'Ugly Duckling' Sea Snark rigged up and working for so little $'s. That is impressive. I would like to see a picture to see how you did it so please post one here or put it in your profile.
<snip>
Good luck and post a picture of your 'Duckie'.

Ah geez, I'm not sure about showing them in this forum, but I guess I'll share.

This is a link to my Picassa album. It shows the whole saga.

Picasa Web Albums - Bill - Duckling

This is one of my favorite pictures. so far.

http://lh4.ggpht.com/bbrush/SObpyeUM...03-cropped.jpg

I have to admit that a factor in being able to do this so cheaply is I had a lot of the materials already on hand. No wood was purchased, and the sail was made from materials I already had. Hardware and rope ran me about $35, and the life jackets and such were on end-of-summer clearance so they ran me just a bit over $25. Incidentals probably added a few more dollars.

The biggest factor was getting the hull, in reasonable condition, for free.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Delirious (Post 379363)
But I'll tell you what. We can drive to a local reservoir and go from parking lot to sailing in 15 minutes with that Mud Hen. No shrouds, a tabernackle for the mast (I can step in by my self), boom gallows so the mast boom & gaff and sail can drop and be lashed down quickly.

I leave work and we go for a sail and have a picnic supper aboard. The simplicity of the rig gets us out there instead of watching TV baceuse there isn't time to set and tension a sloop.

Now this just pretty much sold me on the gaff rig. Nothing can point worse than my Snark so that's no problem, and I would love to be able to get underway quickly. Being able to get from the house to in the water in less than an hour is a big plus. That's one thing I love about my Duckling, I can be loaded and on my way to the lake in 15 minutes, and have it unloaded, rigged, and ready to launch in about 20. I store it in the garage, hanging from the rafters above where the car is parked, so it's really easy to just lower it down, throw on the cargo straps, and we're on our way.

Thanks for the input guys.

Bill

CalebD 10-04-2008 02:21 AM

Your Duckling isn't so ugly.
 
Nor is your lake too big from the photos.
My only comments are that since the fall is here there will be stronger winds and your mast, booms and sail may take a little beating from some of the stronger gusts that will come. What is the sail material by the way?
My last comment concerns the height of the lower boom. It seems a bit high and you could get a bit more sail area out of it if it was lower. That would also mean that you might have to duck as the sail goes over your head.
In the 'semi-long term' scheme of things use the Duckling that you have created and figure out what it is you want to do more of. The autumn winds may or may not wreak havoc on your standing rigging but you will certainly figure this out too.
Setting up a racing sloop to sail and raising the mast can be a real disincentive which is why I moor my Lightning with the mast up (it saves about 45 minutes of setup time, all I have to do is paddle out to it and raise the sails which is done in about 15 minutes or less).
Looking good little Duck! Nice pictures with that see through sail too!
My best.
CalebD


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