gybing a big gaffer - SailNet Community

   Search Sailnet:

 forums  store  


Quick Menu
Forums           
Articles          
Galleries        
Boat Reviews  
Classifieds     
Search SailNet 
Boat Search (new)

Shop the
SailNet Store
Anchor Locker
Boatbuilding & Repair
Charts
Clothing
Electrical
Electronics
Engine
Hatches and Portlights
Interior And Galley
Maintenance
Marine Electronics
Navigation
Other Items
Plumbing and Pumps
Rigging
Safety
Sailing Hardware
Trailer & Watersports
Clearance Items

Advertise Here






Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest > General Discussion (sailing related)
 Not a Member? 


Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
  #1  
Old 06-03-2004
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 8
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 0
sgunns is on a distinguished road
gybing a big gaffer

I have a 60 ft + 10 ft bowsprit, 1924 Nicholson cutter under restoration in Australia. She was originally a tripled headsail gaffer and I am planning to restore the rig to triple headsail gaffer main with topsail. I have never sailed a classic as she was too bad to sail properly when purchased.

I plan to sail short-handed with my wife, but even though I have 20 years offshore racing experience, I fear a shorthanded gybe with a 40 ft boom and gaff, especially in a strong winds. (I realise we could go the long way around, but). I am aware that the rig depends 100% on the runners. I plan to use an autopilot with tack function to be an extra set of hands. How do we gybe short-handed? Can it be done with 2 crew?

Any comments upon the use of highfield levers vs a block runner system would be appreciated. It appears that both runner systems require the runner to be unhooked when the boom is out. If running square, how do you rehook the runner as the boom is flying through, even if you had a crew of 10?

Any comments would be appreciated. I noted a similar topic 9521 on gaff rig with interest.

Steve
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message Share with Facebook
  #2  
Old 06-03-2004
Jeff_H's Avatar
Moderator
 
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Annapolis, Md
Posts: 6,632
Thanks: 5
Thanked 101 Times in 77 Posts
Rep Power: 10
Jeff_H has a spectacular aura about Jeff_H has a spectacular aura about Jeff_H has a spectacular aura about
gybing a big gaffer

To begin with a gaff rigged sloop or cutter that big was never intended to be sailed by a crew that small. These boats took very large crews to manhandle them, especially in a breeze. Modern boats this size get by with small crews due to smaller more efficient sail plans and a whole lot of moderately high tech mechanical equipment (motorized winches, roller furling, hydraulic vangs and backstays, etc)

While I have never sailed a gaffer that big, in thinking about it, it may be possible to jibe one with a crew of two, but it would take a while to do, especially in any kind of breeze. If I had to jibe one with a crew of two, I would have one person on the helm (I would not count on the autopilot as autopilots are notoriously useless dead down wind)

The second person would start with trimming the headsails, and starting forward and working their way aft, hobble each one. (This is an old term so you may not be familiar with the term, but to ''Hobble'' is to set both sheets so that they are roughly of equal length and the clew of the sail is centered in the boat.)

Once the headsails are hobbled, I would bring the mainsail in until the boom is inboard of the leeward runner. I would not center the boom yet as that would invite a premature jibe. I would tie off the sheet in that position. I would then set up the then leeward runner for the new tack and make sure that the windward runner is ready to run. At this point the boat is moving quite slowly and should be still pointed pretty much dead downwind.

I would then bring in the mainsheet tightly so that the mainsail was as close to the centerline as the horse or traveller would permit. It is only at that point that I would jibe. I would try to jibe without altering course by simply pushing the boom over onto the other tack, but you may need to head up onto the new tack by a couple degrees because of the twist induced by the gaff. Once the sail has jibed I would ease the new leeward runner, and then working from aft to fore ease the mainsail and each of the jibs onto the new tack. You can come to course once the new leeward runner and mainsail have been eased.

I really dislike Highfield levers, especially on a boat this big. They can really kill someone rather quickly. In the day before winches, typically on boats this size, there would have been a multi-part double-tailed tackle on the runners with one end of the tail led to a cleat and the other end led to a highfield lever. You would make up the runner by pulling in gobs of line (40-50 feet on a boat that size) on the tackle until the tail was as tight as you could get it. Then the highfield lever was thrown to achieve the final tension on the runner.

I have not sailed on big gaff rigged boats on which the runner was disconnected from the tackle or highfield. There was often a retractor line run to the base of the shrouds so that the lee runner could be pulled forward with out beating up the boom when it was released. I don''t know if you are doing an accurate restoration but if it were my boat, I would probably run the runner tails to a winch and use a stopper to lock off the tail.

By the way, which Nicholson are you restoring. I was very familiar with mid-1920''s era Moonbeam and Blue Moon, both of which ended up with Bermuda rigs by the 1970''s. Nicholson was a pioneer in using the Bermuda rig on bigger boats. Blue Moon, like Halloween (nee Cotton Blossom), actually started life with a Bermuda rig, but was converted to a gaff and then converted back to a Bermuda rig.

Regards
Jeff

Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message Share with Facebook
  #3  
Old 06-03-2004
Junior Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 27
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 0
Tom3 is on a distinguished road
gybing a big gaffer

Steve,

What a gorgeous boat you are going to have.

I have to agree with Jeff she was not built with short handed sailing in mind but so it goes. Most of the gaff rig sailing authors I have read say that a mainsail should be no more than 500 or 600 square feet, some say one some the other. I have a 548 Sq. foot main on a 29 foot boom on a boat much smaller than yours.

Personally I gybe all standing in light winds bringing the sheet in as the boom comes over and letting the friction of the sheet in the blocks slow the boom after it crosses over.

In high winds I sheet in before I gybe pretty much as Jeff describes but I try to sheet in and gybe quickly without losing speed, why increase the apparent wind by slowing before the gybe?

At Mystic seaport a few years ago the captain of the Breck Marshall (a fair sized catboat) advocated gybing all standing. The breeze that day was light, I am not sure what he would do in a strong breeze.

When I have sailed on schooners in the 120'' range we have sheeted in the main and the fore prior to putting the helm over but we did not hobble the jib or staysails.

I am not sure what the right proceedure is for your boat but those are all the datapoints I have, I hope they help you figure it out.



Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message Share with Facebook
  #4  
Old 06-03-2004
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 85
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 13
mdougan is on a distinguished road
gybing a big gaffer

Jeff''s description pretty accurately describes how I gybe my cutter rigged (ok Jeff, it''s probably not technically a cutter rig - grin) gaff Westsail 32. Normally, I don''t feel the need to hobble any of the foresails, unless there are high winds... then, simply sheeting the staysail to the centerline (it''s self tacking with a single block attached to the centerline) renders it pretty useless. If there is that much wind I may not be flying the yankee jib anyway... but normally, I just leave the jib cleated and allow it to backwind as I slooooowly ease the stern through the wind and push the boom to the other side, then cast it off... After easing the new leeward runner and mainsheet to their approximate position, I tie them off and tack/set the jib (to keep it from flogging too much) then go back and properly set the other sails.

Jeff is right that a gaff cutter that big will be a handfull... I have sailed on a gaff schooner about 70 feet in lenght, and that''s not so bad as the masts are generally not as high on a schooner, so the sails are smaller and easier to manage... but on that boat, there are no runners to manage, the foresails are left to tack themselves... the main is just sheeted in and left to slowly tack as the wheel is turned over... she turns pretty slowly so it''s not too dramatic...

I''d also agree about the Highfield levers... heard they are pretty dangerous... for a while, I was using the new windward jib winch to tighten the new windward runner, but then timing the switch from jib sheet to runner tail was a big PITA...

I''d read on this board somewhere that it shouldn''t be necessary to winch down a runner at all... that they only need to be snug which my 4 part block can give me, and then I cleat it off on a standard cleat. They said the main purpose of the runner was to keep the mast from pumping, not to really put any tension on it. I''m trying this with some success so far this year... however, having a dedicated winch and cleat/locking cam would be ideal.

Cheers!
Mike
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message Share with Facebook
  #5  
Old 06-03-2004
Jeff_H's Avatar
Moderator
 
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Annapolis, Md
Posts: 6,632
Thanks: 5
Thanked 101 Times in 77 Posts
Rep Power: 10
Jeff_H has a spectacular aura about Jeff_H has a spectacular aura about Jeff_H has a spectacular aura about
gybing a big gaffer

Hi Mike,

The comment that runners are only there to prevent the mast from pumping is true of most Bermuda rigs where there is a permanent backstay holding up the mast. In the case of a gaff rig, especially one as large as the one in question, the loads on the runners are enormous. On a 45 or so foot gaff cutter that I sailed on, there was a 12:1 cascading tackle on the runners and it was all that we could do to get it properly tensioned so as to not damage the mast at the partners.

The reason to hobble the jibs on a boat this large is to prevent them from getting terminally wrapped on their stays during the jibe and to prevent them from wildly filling and jibing causing the boat to unexpectedly veer.

I must say that as much as I enjoy sailing gaff rigs, I cannot even begin to imagine what it would be like to try to handle one that large with just two people.

Regards,
Jeff
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message Share with Facebook
  #6  
Old 06-04-2004
Junior Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 27
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 0
Tom3 is on a distinguished road
gybing a big gaffer

Steve,

Post or link to photos?

Over on the woodenboat forum they call this trolling for boat porn...

Speaking of which you might get useful answers from posting your questions on:

http://media5.hypernet.com/cgi-bin/UBB/ultimatebb.cgi

Or checking out: http://www.briontoss.com/
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message Share with Facebook
  #7  
Old 06-10-2004
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 8
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 0
sgunns is on a distinguished road
gybing a big gaffer

Gentlemen,
Thanks for your input. It appears the long way around gybe may be best with sea room.

The yacht is Hurrica V, designed by Nicholson in 1922 and built in Sydney (Australia) and launched 1924 as a cruising yacht for the 72 year old owner. She has spent all of her life on the east coast of Australia.

Research at the NMMuseum in London has everything except deck and sail/rig plans. Early photos show her as a gaff ketch rig, but she was bermudan ketch when purchased.

Our restoration costs have gone mad to insanity, to the point where we have sought drastic cost cutting. She was recently advertised for sail in Classic Boat, but I did not really anticipate a sale, and the work continues at the yard. The mizzen mast was the first to go and Gerard Dijkstra in Holland is designing the new gaff rig.

We looked at a bermdan sail plan but she had lost all her character, and the bowsprit had to be cropped to suit the balance. She would look a bit like Halloween. So we decided to go the whole hog and do the gaffer with topsail. But after the comments, I wonder if I am doing the right thing.

I will try and post a photo, but am not sure how at this moment.

Thanks for the input.

Steve
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message Share with Facebook
  #8  
Old 06-11-2004
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 85
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 13
mdougan is on a distinguished road
gybing a big gaffer

Well, there is no question that this boat was born to be a gaff-rigg... and, it would be outstanding of you to restore it as such... or for you to sell it to someone who would...

Whether this is the right boat for you, and the type of sailing you want to do is another matter entirely. If your question is, "will I be able to sail this boat with a gaff-rigg alone or with just one other crew," I''d say yes, but it will be more challenging than a Bermudian rig... if you will be sailing in an area where you have to tack alot, and/or do a lot of close-hauled sailing, then it will be a lot of work. Maybe more than you''d prefer.

My friend, Reid Stowe (www.1000Days.net) has sailed his 70'' gaff schooner all around the South Atlantic with just he and his wife aboard (she, a 100 lb. ex model), with only two non-tailing winches and no autopilot... he''s also sailed his boat down to Antartica with a small crew... so, it can be done.

Having sailed on both, there is a difference in the type of sailing you do... if I just want to get out on the water, tack around the bay for the day, not do too much work, then a bermudian rig suits me fine (better yet, my friend''s catamaran is great)... but when I''m on a gaff-rigged boat, the sails are set and we''re off cruising, I really feel like I''m on a sailboat!

Good luck with whatever you choose.
Mike
(and thanks for the clarification Jeff... I hadn''t thought about the problem of wrapping the jib around the stay...)
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message Share with Facebook
  #9  
Old 06-13-2004
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 8
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 0
sgunns is on a distinguished road
gybing a big gaffer

Tom3,
I can''t access the media5 site, and can''t see how to send a photo.
Steve
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message Share with Facebook
  #10  
Old 06-19-2004
pirateofcapeann's Avatar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Gloucester, Mass. USA
Posts: 373
Thanks: 0
Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
Rep Power: 13
pirateofcapeann is on a distinguished road
gybing a big gaffer

Wow! I suppose I''d agree with Jeff but I''ll tell you, there''s going to be one heck of a lot of strain on the helm with the boat running off and the main sheeted home! Also with the main in, she''s going to loose her drive and the apparent wind will come up. Then, at the point of the actual jibe, those loads are going to shift and if you can''t get that main out fast enough, she''s liable to carry something away and let it out herself, if she doesnít end up on her beam ends first!

Nope, even in my 30 footer, with a big main, if I''m not racing I''ll wear about before I jibe. It takes a hell of a lot less stress and saves on the yard bills to spend the extra few seconds it takes.

As far as running backs go, I got a set of hi-field levers but never installed them. I replaced the whole running backs idea with a boomkin and the staysail brace chain plates were installed further forward and made permanent. Granted, I can''t square away my main boom on a run but with a main that size, 75 deg. or so is fine.

The more you plan to sail short handed, the more you need to keep the KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) principle in mind. There are several traditional rigs that may work for you without having all of that weight and rigging aloft.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message Share with Facebook
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

By choosing to post the reply above you agree to the rules you agreed to when joining Sailnet.
Click Here to view those rules.

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the SailNet Community forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
Please note: After entering 3 characters a list of Usernames already in use will appear and the list will disappear once a valid Username is entered.
User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.




Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools

 
Posting Rules
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may post attachments
You may edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
dip pole gybing rmerry Racing 1 10-28-2002 07:08 PM


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 04:34 PM.

Add to My Yahoo!         
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
SEO by vBSEO 3.6.1
(c) Marine.com LLC 2000-2012

The SailNet.com store is owned and operated by a company independent of the SailNet.com forum. You are now leaving the SailNet forum. Click OK to continue or Cancel to return to the SailNet forum.