Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Callao, VA
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Re: Crew for Chesapeake Bay Skipjack
Well, it's no different in theory. Skipjacks are fractional rigged so most of the power is in the main. They were really built to reach across oyster beds pulling the dredges and don't really point that well. There is no weighted keel for adding righting moment so they are more like a big, flat bottomed, dinghy with a centerboard, and yes, they can capsize. There is a lot of windage up forward so getting them to turn into the wind, either under sail or power, can be difficult unless you have significant way on. Response is pretty slow. The main is HUGE. The boom on this vessel is 45 feet long. The last one I sailed the boom was 56 feet long and weighed in at about 900 lbs. Jibing is really dangerous in all but really light conditions. Traditional skipjacks, such as this one, do not have any engine but use a yawl boat for mechanical propulsion, which has its advantages and disadvantages. So, my original comment was meant to convey that you'll learn to sail on one of these, but it's going to be a little different than sailing a modern fin keel, spade rudder, cruising sloop. It's even different than sailing a more traditional hull with a full keel because there is no weighted keel, but response times might be more similar.