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post #1 of 6 Old 09-14-2008 Thread Starter
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Converting a gaff rigged sail

I built a 17 foot wooden boat from plans and followed the design which called for a gaff rigged sail. Now that I have been sailing it, I find the gaff rigging takes a bit of effort to setup and I am not too thrilled with the yoke design over the mast.
I want to convert this to a standard rigged mainsail, but realize I might have to increase the mast size from 16 ft to something higher to get the same sail square footage.
Any advice on this?
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post #2 of 6 Old 09-14-2008
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its so cute you would have to rig it like one of those wishbone rigs though
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post #3 of 6 Old 09-14-2008
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Doing so might cause some problems with the boat's helm balance, since a marconi/bermudan type triangular mainsail would probably shift the center of effort forward—leading to lee helm issues.

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post #4 of 6 Old 09-14-2008
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I have worked on designs that offered both gaff and marconi rigs. In a general sense we calculated the geometric center (CE) of the two rigs and kept the two in the same longitudinal position. The bermuda rig requirs more mast rake and a longer boom (which might hang further over the stern. Another helpful trick is to build the sail with a lot of roach and a full head batten. Roach is not included in your calculation of sail area or center of effort, but it helps with reaching ability.

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post #5 of 6 Old 09-23-2008
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nice boat! good job. what design is it?

btw, i wouldn't change a thing, except fixing the gaff issue you're mentioning

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post #6 of 6 Old 09-27-2008
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I'd be more inclined to sort out the rigging issues with the current rig. A well designed gaff rigged sail of that size should be a piece of cake to handle. See if you can find a Doughdish or 12-1/2 to look at, I had one and the gaff sail was very easy to handle.

Hard to tell from the pic but are there two halyards or just one? I know there are some gaff rigged boats with single halyards but with two (peak and throat) it is very simple to get the sail shape right. The yoke on the gaff looks very short, extending the horns out in front of the mast should help keep it in place. Also, the sail doesn't look like it fits very well, the throat cringle isn't anywhere near the gaff as it should be, and the head and foot of the sail look to be almost as long as the gaff and boom, limiting your ability to get any proper tension. Not sure who made the sail but most sailmakers these days do not know how to properly make a gaff sail.
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