Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: St. Augustine, Florida
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My last boat was a 47 ft gaff-topsail ketch. She carried 3 jibs, staysail, gaff main with fisherman topsail,main course on a yard and a marconi mizzen. When single-handing, I would tack by bringing the mizzen traveller to weather and sheet it in hard. After taking the helm to lee, I would run up the lee deck and backwind the staysail. Once through the eye of the wind, I would tack the flying jib,outer jib, and inner jib.After correcting the new course, I would bring the mizzen traveller up to the center. Topsails were left for sailing with crew. Raising sail ,I started with the mizzen and worked forward. The only sail that was an issue was the main, with it's gaff it weighed as much as my 250lb bulk.I rigged a bridle on the peak halyard which would raise the whole gaff once I got the gaff jaws higher than the peak. Once the gaff was at the crosstrees, I would two block the throat halyard and continue up with the peak to full hoist. Everything was done without winches. Balancing the rig in high winds was done by reefing the mizzen first, striking jibs [working aft from the f.j.],and lastly reefing the main and staysail.I always intended to add a horizontal windlass at the pinrail and turning blocks at the deck to more easily deal with the main, but opted for another boat instead.Having a system and reducing sail early in weather and at night made sailing manageable and enjoyable.