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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all:
Just signed up for Sailnet and wanted to introduce myself.
Present boat: Saoirse, a 23' catboat - Bill Garden design called Family Cat. I recently had a pilot house built added to make her more useful in the Pacific Northwest. The next step is to have a new sail built for her. I'm planning to have it made it made in England from tan Clipper Canvas 7.2 ounce. I'm new to sailing a gaff rig so would love to hear from anyone with gaff/catboat experience.
I converted previous boats I owned to junk rig under guidance from the legendary Allen Farrell, about whom my wife Maria Coffey and I wrote the book 'Sailing back in Time'.
 

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That's a beautiful boat.
I own 2 copies of 'Sailing back in Time' and my wife and I have made a point of stopping at many of the locations mentioned.

Welcome to Sailnet.
 

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Welcome to Sailnet ,Daggo. Often cruised with Sandy Davidson and his Family Cat . He and his wife lived aboard and cruised for years (without that good looking pilot house.) Allen and I go back a long time trading yarns and materials while he built his August Moon and China Cloud. I was aboard Thane .Don't remember if we'd met but Dan mentioned me in his book.
 

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Great to hear that you have not only one, but two copies! All the time we spent with Allen and Sharie was truly wonderful. We learned so much from them and I still think about them almost every day. Maybe we'll see you on the water next summer!
 

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Great to hear your comments, Cap Len. What was the name of Sandy's Family Cat? Is it still around?
 

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Welcome.

I sail a 21 ft gaff cat rigged sharpie. A bit different from your boat, but I am sure we can share ideas.

I have an aquaintance with a junk schooner Siren 17, so I am curious to hear more about your junk refits. Just dont do it to a gaff cat ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the welcome, Arcb. I'd love to exchange ideas/experiences. The junk has a lot going for it but I feel I really want to learn about other rigs in order to be able to compare them properly. If I find the gaff too much work and not worth the hassle, I can always revert to a junk rig. (I know, some people would cringe at the sight of a junk rig on a Family Cat, but then again, many would object to the pilot house I put on her. You can't please everyone.)
 

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You won't find it difficult to sail. Its a fantastic rig. At a basic level its just one extra halyard, no big deal. It just gives you some extra options to play with if you chose. My rig has two halyards, two topping lifts, an outhaul, a vang, a sheet and two reefing lines that I can play with if I chose. However, if I am busy or don't feel like playing with sail shape its a self tending rig. The only thing I need to do to tack or gybe is push the tiller thats it. But, if I want to play with sail shape, I can.

I can short tack mine up a 300 ft wide river for hours with 2 small children and a dog for crew, so they can't be that hard to sail ;)
 

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Kynntana (Freedom 38)
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Welcome! That's an interesting looking boat. Who doesn't love a free-standing rig?! What year is it?
 

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Discussion Starter #11
That sounds encouraging. I just read Hand, Reef and Steer by Tom Cunliffe. Excellent book, focussing on the gaff cutter but still a lot of valuable stuff and simply an enjoyable read.
 
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