SailNet Community banner
1 - 20 of 22 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
39 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Anybody have any input on the practicality of single handing a gaff rigged Ketch with two headsails? In theory, i think it would work; One would just have to haul the throat up almost all the way, then the peak, then tension it up. headsails are easy enough to raise, but tacking them may be tricky. It seems to me that reefing would be even easier on a ketch than a sloop because all you would have to do is drop the main and jib and run under just the mizzen and staysail as a quick and dirty reef. I think it would be do-able in normal conditions, but when heavy weather came through, it seems like it would be a handful. Any suggestions?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
39 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Actually, i dont think tacking would be the hard on second thought. One would just point up on a close reach, harden up all the sheets and the only sail you would have to worry about would be the jib; the staysail (on a boom), main, and mizzen would tack themselves...then trim for course.
 

·
blue collar cruiser
Joined
·
370 Posts
I think you could reef just about any boat by yourself as long as you thought it out ahead of time and had a way for the boat to steer itself while you are not in the cockpit or busy doing other things.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
337 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
39 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
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.
My god that sounds like a handful! wouldn't she bear hard to leeward once you tacked and had all those headsails aback? was it a race to pass them before she accidentally gybed? That is mostly what i worry about, but if you could pull it off with four headsails, then i should be able to do it with two.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,171 Posts
Catfish, your prospective boat is much smaller and lighter than ther 47 footer. Much easier to sail too. My recent boat is a 26' gaff yawl. The mains'l is about 255 sqft, 412 sqft total. I hauled both halyards together til near the top, then one at a time. Like yours, my stays'l is self-tending, only the jib has two sheets. I single-handed her all over the Sound, summer and winter, without an engine. Singlehanding just requires a little more forethought. But at least you never have to yell at the crew.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
337 Posts
You never have to yell at the crew because everything is always your fault. Thank God there is no one there to point that out though. As for jibs, the more there are, the smaller and higher cut they are. That makes them much quicker to pass and sheet in. I sheeted them to course just as they pass through the eye while there was no load on them. The staysail was backed only long enough to get the bow on it's way across. Lazy jacks are a plus for reefing. I also put whippings on the halyards as reference lines so I wouldn't lower the gaff too far and have to hoist it back up.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,171 Posts
"Everything is your (own) fault" Amen
Like the time I grounded her with wind and current setting her onto the beach? Thus the SAT question: How far can a 40 year old man swim in 50 degree water while carrying a 12 pound anchor?
Answer: far enough.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,070 Posts
"Everything is your (own) fault" Amen
Like the time I grounded her with wind and current setting her onto the beach? Thus the SAT question: How far can a 40 year old man swim in 50 degree water while carrying a 12 pound anchor?
Answer: far enough.
Not very far... But he can row a 35 lb anchor far enough out in his Dingy with ease.
 

·
Telstar 28
Joined
·
992 Posts
Last season, I spoke with the captain of a 50' gaff-rigged schooner... and he doesn't ever single hand the boat. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
165 Posts
I sailed a 37 ft gaff rigged ketch with topsails and three jibs, for 8 years (until it sank in the bay of Biscay1.December this year) single handed. But it helps a lot having an autopilot. The ship reached hull speed (7,5 knots) with around 25 knots wind-speed. Then it is time to reduce the sail area. If sailing against the wind, I took down the jibs first then topsails, if the sailing with the wind the topsails came down first, then the jibs, if the wind increased above 25 knots. The first jib went down anyway when the wind was more than 20 knots.

The topsails are the trickiest to get down, so lazy-jacks are a must. If the wind was weak, under 6 knots, and the current strong, then I would need help from the engine to bout the ship.

Bouting (is that the proper word for turning ship?) must be taken in steps, first steer the ship directly in the wind, tighten the sheets on both sides, the steer to the course and release the sheets on the wind side and tighten on the lee side. Single handed that may be difficult without an autopilot, depending of course on the size and weight of the ship.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,491 Posts
I
Bouting (is that the proper word for turning ship?) must be taken in steps, first steer the ship directly in the wind, tighten the sheets on both sides, the steer to the course and release the sheets on the wind side and tighten on the lee side. Single handed that may be difficult without an autopilot, depending of course on the size and weight of the ship.
Bout (from "about", as in "put the ship about") is an obsolete term in English, T., at least for pleasure-craft sailing.

The usual terms are "tacking" (putting the bow through the wind) and "gybing" (putting the stern through the wind). Gybing used to be called "wearing about" or "wearing ship", but these are terms more associated with square-riggers of previous centuries.

Some older directional terms are still used by the more informed sort of sailor, simply because they are more precise and less likely to cause confusion. Such terms include "abeam" (which I usually take as the midpoint of the ship), "abaft" (tending toward the stern or "behind" an object on deck), "athwartships" (across the beam, such as the way I want to set up the berths in my aft cabin!) and so on.

But it is quite possible to encounter sailors who do not even use "port" or "starboard". I find this curious, because the language of sailing tends to be very exact and free from ambiguity. It may sound to the landsperson like an affectation or a series of anachronisms, but I do not think so. Every trade (and sailing was a trade for many thousands of years) develops its own specialist language, and sailing terms in English reflect the lore of many nations...as a Scandinavian would know from the most common sailing words, many of which are Viking in origin.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
165 Posts
Thank you Valiente for upgrading my English. When I was young there really were only two courses of career, either one became a sailor or one continued schooling after primary school. (seven years at that time). Obviously if one went to school for the eighth year one was not a sailor and thus English terms for sailing was absent in the education.

So I more or less hope that a translation of the Norwegian terms will do the trick.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,940 Posts
Gybing used to be called "wearing about" or "wearing ship",
My understanding is that "wearing ship" refers specifically from turning from one upwind tack to the other by first bearing away (i.e. by gybing). This was preferred to tacking ship on a square-rigged due to the limited ability of such ships to sail upwind.

I have this strange feeling that I've seen the term used to refer to turning from one downwind tack to t'other by first heading up (i.e. by tacking), which I imagine is useful in a fore-and-aft rigged ship to reduce stresses on the rigging and other dangers of bringing the boom across in strong winds.

In other words, I feel like "wearing" means "coming about the long way".

When you gaff-rigged folks say "topsails", do you mean those triangular sails that whose foot is the gaff and whose head is the masthead? Or do you have square topsails hung from a yard?

p.s. can we see pictures of your gaff-rigged boats? :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
165 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,491 Posts
So I more or less hope that a translation of the Norwegian terms will do the trick.
Surprisingly, that is often the case.

Sailing, whether in navies or in merchant service, was the first United Nations. It brought together a wide variety of people who tended to use each others' sailing terms until they found a popular choice. The more I sail with people from other countries, the more terms I hear that I assumed were English, but obviously aren't. At least, not originally.
 

·
Telstar 28
Joined
·
992 Posts
Valiente—

Wearing ship is not gybing technically, it is as Adam said—a way of going from one upwind point of sail to another by turning the boat downwind and then back upwind so as not to risk getting caught in irons. Some of the less well designed multihulls, usually charter catamarans, I've seen have to do this since they don't have the mass or inertia to coast through the eye of the wind and have far too much windage for them to try making a tack normally.
 
1 - 20 of 22 Posts
Top