Sailmaker for unusual sails, SF bay area - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 9 Old 11-05-2016 Thread Starter
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Sailmaker for unusual sails, SF bay area

I'm interested in adding a "mule" or "fisherman" to my ketch:

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Since it's not a common sail I'd prefer to get some consultation with a local sailmaker in the San Francisco Bay area (the boat's in Alameda). I'd like somebody who's got experience with this sort of unusual sail. Does anybody have any recommendations?

s/v Laelia - 1978 Pearson 365 ketch
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post #2 of 9 Old 11-05-2016
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Re: Sailmaker for unusual sails, SF bay area

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Originally Posted by AdamLein View Post
I'm interested in adding a "mule" or "fisherman" to my ketch:

Sailmakers - Dabbler Sails - Sail Lofts - Sails for small boats - Sail Makers

Since it's not a common sail I'd prefer to get some consultation with a local sailmaker in the San Francisco Bay area (the boat's in Alameda). I'd like somebody who's got experience with this sort of unusual sail. Does anybody have any recommendations?
I've never seen a ketch with either a fisherman or a mule. These are schooner sails.
The sail of choice for a ketch is a mizzen staysail. It is generally a light air sail that goes from the windward main shrouds or the base of the main mast to the top of the mizzen and the end of the mizzen boom, used in beam winds or aft. I don't think any flying sail between the masts will work well on a ketch with the wind forward of the beam.
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Last edited by capta; 11-05-2016 at 08:10 PM.
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post #3 of 9 Old 11-06-2016
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Re: Sailmaker for unusual sails, SF bay area

Try Pineapple sails - great loft.
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post #4 of 9 Old 11-06-2016
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The article is certainly very compelling and the author seems to have extensive personal experience with the mule.
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post #5 of 9 Old 11-07-2016 Thread Starter
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Re: Sailmaker for unusual sails, SF bay area

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... I don't think any flying sail between the masts will work well on a ketch with the wind forward of the beam.
Thanks. If the sailmakers I talk to think it's a bad idea, I'm happy to reconsider.

s/v Laelia - 1978 Pearson 365 ketch
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post #6 of 9 Old 11-07-2016
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Re: Sailmaker for unusual sails, SF bay area

We sailed an H-28 ketch that had a mule sail. Rather small, unwieldy and difficult to set with a curved sprit that (I think) was supposed to rest or ride on the backstay. I believe the sheet led to the top of the mizzen and then down to the cockpit. It would only be effective going downwind. We did not use it much. The mizzen staysail was much easier to use and bigger, and produced better "bang for the buck".
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post #7 of 9 Old 11-08-2016 Thread Starter
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Re: Sailmaker for unusual sails, SF bay area

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We sailed an H-28 ketch that had a mule sail. Rather small, unwieldy and difficult to set with a curved sprit that (I think) was supposed to rest or ride on the backstay ... The mizzen staysail was much easier to use and bigger, and produced better "bang for the buck".
That's a very interesting comment and not at all what I expected. I use my mizzen staysail pretty regularly. It blocks my view, adds obstacles and tripping hazards to the deck, interferes with the main, suffers several chafe points and friction during hoist and douse, and cannot be jibed. If the wind picks up suddenly, it can be a bear to wrestle into the hatch. Once it's down I have to pack it like a spinnaker. It can't be furled.

A mule on the other hand is out of the way, self-tending, doesn't interact with any other part of the rigging, and can be furled. Was it the sprit that made the mule hard to handle on your boat? I was considering making my own and haven't had much luck finding designs or photos. (Just looked up the H-28 btw... very pretty boat)

The triangle the mule would fill is double the size of my mizzen and 3/4 the size of my main, and while I obviously can't get every last square foot of that into a sail, it seems a shame to let it go to waste.

s/v Laelia - 1978 Pearson 365 ketch
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post #8 of 9 Old 11-08-2016
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Re: Sailmaker for unusual sails, SF bay area

Mule can't be too big or it will end up breaking the tops off the spars, I would think. Hard to recall (40+ years ago) but think our mule was about half the size of the staysail. Setting involves halyard to top of main mast and sheet to top of mizzen. Don't set it unless you plan on holding a heading for a good while. Tacking down a staysail and hoisting is a lot simpler.

Last edited by paulk; 11-08-2016 at 08:16 PM.
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post #9 of 9 Old 11-15-2016
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Re: Sailmaker for unusual sails, SF bay area

I chartered a Fuji 35 about 20 years ago that had a mule on a roller furler. I remember two things about using the sail: 1. The lead angle of the furling line was not the best. 2. I could not get the sail to work well, but my father, a sailor for over 60 years could tweak it and make it perform.

It was exciting to see the boat move with 5 sails set.
-CH
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