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Old 01-26-2007, 05:32 AM   #15
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There is interesting article. Comparison between different sail types.

http://cruisenews.net/images/FastestRig1.jpg

http://cruisenews.net/images/FastestRig2.jpg

http://cruisenews.net/images/FastestRig3.jpg

Gaff is doing pretty good.
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Old 01-26-2007, 01:12 PM   #16
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Piotrek,

Great article. Thank you for posting it.

I had never seen that one. Frankly I am not surprised by the results. One item I don't have on my Tahiti is a boom vang. Given the results they had while using one, I think it will give it a try.

That combined with the few other rigging changes I am looking at making for this coming season (none of which are to the gaff) I will be curious to see how much better she points to windward.

Thanks again for the post.
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Old 01-28-2007, 12:14 AM   #17
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I have a 31' ten ton gaff rigged sloop. Main is 548 sqr feet, jib is 171. I also have crew experience on J-30s, J-22s an Advance 36 and years ago on the schooner Spirit of Massachusetts and the Adventure

By way of (hopefully useful) comparison I am looking at Spike_dawg since he was good enough to describe is boat.

I have two main halyards, my jib is on a club, everything leads back to the cockpit. No winches, just blocks, lots and lots of blocks. They run about $100 each but last for decades, replacing them all would run $2-3k, this year I am thinking about buying 1. Sails have to be custom made. I can single hand her and I am taking a cue from Spike and adding lazy jacks which will make putting her away a lot easier. That said 548 sqr feet is a lot of sail and you have to be pretty fit to solo this boat.

The boat is an Eastport Pinky, which is a workboat from way down East. Seats 10 in the cockpit, sleeps 4 if two are freindly, 6'6" standing headroom in the cabin. She will hit 7 knots if the breeze is hitting 18 or so. Over all she is neither a very fast or very slow boat.

What do a like about the rig:

Its easy to handle, it drives the boat really well and I don't have to think about reefing for a long time. Low aspect means she does not stand on her ear the way the race boats I crew on do. This makes sailing with less experienced freinds more relaxed.

I am really certain that marconi rig is more popular because of round the bouys racing. Boats and rigs tend to be designed for a certain purpose. For example mine was built to move tons of herring from a fishwier to the canning plant. It happens that is does a great job of moving tons of people on a really nice sail too. The big Gloucester fishing schooners were built to take advantage of the prevailing winds in the area they fished. French and English fisherman favored Ketch rig for the same job in different wind conditions. I'll make a guess that if you built a modern fishing boat to be powered by sail in New England waters you might still go for a gaff schooner because of the huge power the rig generates for the run home, which you are making with a hold full of fish.

A marconi boat will go round the bouys better, I know because I have raced them. Because it is higher aspect its likely to heel more and be a bit less comfortable, but that depends a lot on other design factors.

I don't find gaff any more difficult to handle than Marconi. All the racing boats I have been on were marconi and every one of them had more sheets, vangs, outhauls ect to handle than my boat does. That is because they were designed for crews of more than one, and my boat was designed to be handled solo. Likewise you want one guy driving your U-haul truck but you want a suppport team for your NASCAR racer.

Personally I am inclined to race marconi for all the reasons mentioned and cruise gaff because I don't HAVE to beat to windward if I am out for fun.

The gaff rig is more efficient off the wind and provides a more comfortable sail.

As an aside there are a lot of people who want the world to believe their opinion is the only correct one, and argue that way. Karsten is taking a strong pro-gaff position partly to respond to similar pro-marconi positions. For your own boat I suggest you learn (and learn by sailing) as much as you can and then choose the rig that you think suites you best. And don't forget Lug, Junk, and other rigs, there is a lot to choose from.
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Old 01-28-2007, 07:01 AM   #18
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Good post Tom, welcome aboard.

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Old 02-17-2009, 11:42 PM   #19
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IT'S ALIVE!!!!

BREATH D***IT.... BREATH!!!

I'm waking up a very old threat I started over two years ago... a lot has changed in my world since then... I actually took the leap and went to sea... strapped on about 15K miles and got my RYA/MCA YachtMaster Ocean....

But I still have a LOT to learn...

for one thing while I am still enamored of gaffers I have still yet to sail on one.... this however won't stop me.... I'm about to buy a boat, an old ketch... and I intend to re-rig her for a gaff main... so now... instead of debating which is better I'm simply going to ask.... What do I need to know... a few knowledgable folks say tacking a gaffer isn't any harder than a bermuda.... how so? I would think dealing with running backstays would add at least a bit more complexity..... if not tacking how about a controlled jibe?? ...

All advice, tips, hints, and heckles greatly appreciated.

J
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Old 02-18-2009, 02:03 AM   #20
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We have a schooner with gaff fore and bermuda main. I love gaff rigged boats. But, I have to ask "why?" are you doing this??? If you really love gaff rigged boats--and are in the USA or UK--you should easily be able to find an older gaffer suitable for cruising. Getting the rig right is very important.

Some questions:

What is the sail layout of your ketch? e.g. square footage of main vs mizzen and head sails? Aspect of the main?

What is the material and shape of your main mast? Does it happen to be round and does it have a straight section between the boom and a point high enough on the mast to have a reasonable? What is the aspect of the overall rig (is it tall?) and do you have single spreaders or multiple spreaders on the main mast? Are you considering new spars to enable you to make this change to a gaff rig?

Pick up a copy of these books if you haven't already:

The Gaff Rig Handbook by John Leather

Hand Reef and Steer by Tom Cunliffe

Both are great for learning about gaff rigged boats and using them.

Looking forward to learning more about your project.
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Old 02-18-2009, 02:25 AM   #21
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Thanks for the references will definitely look them up...

Sadly as it happens I have searched high and low and have not beeen able to find anything even remotely close to what I want in a gaffer. I am in the US and the vast majority that I have found are either too modern sporty, with no liveable interior, or too rudimentarily traditional, once again with no liveable interior... this is definitely the boat I want... 1.43 capsize ratio, mahogony throughout, solid as a rock and beautiful as is... but could be improved with a few mods....

Unfortunately I don't yet know all the answers to your questions since I don't yet have possession of the boat... ... i do know... she's not exceptionally tall. She has keel stepped spruce main, with single spreaders... and if at all avoidable I'd prefer to not have to get new spars. $$$!!

I do realize this type of rig alteration is complex... To my own credit I am attempting to contact her desiger (Ted Brewer) to get his input on my pipe dreaming... if he says I'm retarted I'll drop it and accept her the way she is.... if on the other hand he is willing to entertain me.... ....
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Old 02-18-2009, 03:17 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by atavist View Post
.
Hey, which Ted Brewer design is it? Or, in particular which boat is it? I looked at a lovely Ted Brewer ketch in perfect condition to live aboard and cruise. It was for sale in San Diego in early 2006. It was still on the market late last year as the seller was in no mood to drop price. I don't know if its still around but I suspect it is.

What size of boat are you looking for (waterline, beam, draft, tonnage...)? Further, price range? Give us the particulars maybe we can help you find something even better . I've seen a lot of ketches and schooners on the market on both the east and west coasts. Both while we were looking and just keeping an eye out afterwards...

Good luck!
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Old 02-18-2009, 11:56 AM   #23
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unfortunately I haven't made an offer on her yet (waiting for work to allow me the time to travel to get a survey/take possession, etc). So I don't want to say too much about this boat in particular.... what I will say is that she's supposedly structurally sound but in need of lots of TLC. She's 27 LWL, 41 LOA, 10 Beam, and 22000lbs dry...

If I had a boat built this is pretty much the boat I would want (but as a gaffer of course )... the interior has great potential, big galley, lots of storage...

Now that you ask about price, that is probably the thing that is keeping me from seeing all he gaffers that you mentioned before... my price range is pretty limited... I refuse to have debt so I'm paying for the boat cash out of pocket. Fortunately I work from home consulting so I will be able to take my time and invest in her overtime to get her up to where I think she should be... but that still limits my purchase price to around 20K (I'm not expecting the world for this just a good sound hull and hopefully decks.. . and spars if I'm lucky and I'll build on her from there)
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Old 02-18-2009, 05:57 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by atavist View Post
unfortunately I haven't made an offer on her yet (waiting for work to allow me the time to travel to get a survey/take possession, etc). So I don't want to say too much about this boat in particular.... what I will say is that she's supposedly structurally sound but in need of lots of TLC. She's 27 LWL, 41 LOA, 10 Beam, and 22000lbs dry...

If I had a boat built this is pretty much the boat I would want (but as a gaffer of course )... the interior has great potential, big galley, lots of storage...

Now that you ask about price, that is probably the thing that is keeping me from seeing all he gaffers that you mentioned before... my price range is pretty limited... I refuse to have debt so I'm paying for the boat cash out of pocket. Fortunately I work from home consulting so I will be able to take my time and invest in her overtime to get her up to where I think she should be... but that still limits my purchase price to around 20K (I'm not expecting the world for this just a good sound hull and hopefully decks.. . and spars if I'm lucky and I'll build on her from there)
Oh, the brewer we looked at was around $100K but cruise ready.

You might check out the Schooner Shearwater. She's for sale and a really good boat:

craigslist shearwater ad

Our surveyor (for our re-build) surveyed Shearwater 2 years ago when she moved from the east coast to the west coast and I recall what he said. She's known on the east coast as a good boat and though I don't know her owner here, I suspect he's selling because of the economy. She was for sale back east for $40K 3 years ago, he bought her (don't know at what final price, of course) and trucked her to San Diego, so I know he's got much more in her than just the 24K asking price.

There are several other good gaff-rigged boats out there. If they're wood, and in your price range, you do have to be careful of condition though.

Are you on the east coast or west coast?

fair winds
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Old 02-18-2009, 06:10 PM   #25
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Cost of gaff conversion...if you can find a gaffer already rigged, you really should. The cost of a good gaff saddle, hoops, gaff boom (the upper boom at the top of the sail), etc really do add up. Not to mention a good sail! All the "goodies" will be in place on a gaffer that you find. You can always work with the interior and do what you wish to make it more as you want it. That is something you can put your own work/elbow grease into doing--or go to an inexpensive boatyard in Thailand, etc, and have a lovely job done for you! But, that gaff hardware is dear. JMHO.
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Old 02-20-2009, 10:32 PM   #26
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Coming to the party a little late but...

I love my gaff, when it comes to smaller boats I think the gaff rig is superb. It makes handling the boat very straight foward, you can scandalise the sail if you get into difficulty and because the mast is short my less sailing inclined friends don't freak out about the boat tipping. With the size of the gaff we don't have any winches which considering the lack of space outside of the cockpit is great. The boat can point suprisingly well to windward if you have her trimmed correctly but really can't match a bermudan rig, however off the wind she sails like an absolute dream.

I don't know about America but the UK has a very active Old Gaffers Association, so it's a great way to meet like-minded individuals and get lots of handy hints. Check out their site here and their forum.

Just to reinforce something already suggested really do get hold of "Hand, reef and steer" by Tom Cunliffe, it's a real help when thinking about gaffs and he's got a real way with words, he also wrote the shell channel pilot, a real hoot in places! (Who'd think you could say that about a pilot guide?)

Also grab a copy of "the gaff rig handbook" by John Leather

I have never sailed a large gaff but I can tell you that I prefer gaff rigs for anything under 25'. It's just more fun!

Mostly though it's just the fact that gaff rigged vessels are so pretty
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Old 02-20-2009, 11:31 PM   #27
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As an update to my original revival post....

I spoke with Ted Brewer (the designer of the boat I'm looking at) in email and ends up she is an extended stern, clipper bow, ketch, cutter rigged Ingenue design (which is every mod offered for that design). He highly advocates the boat as a great bluewater/heavyweather cruiser but is adamant that gaff rigging her would destroy her performance... she just isn't engineered for a gaff rig... and well as the designer I'm going to trust he knows what he's talking about... ... while this makes me a bit sad I'm still interested in the boat... ... but am still keeping an open mind in case I can find a gaffer... hopefully a schooner...

of which i've actually found a few in my price and size range which all appear to be marvelous boats (one thanks to redbopeep) but after talking to the previous owner and friend of the designer these boats just aren't built for the kind of sailing I'm looking to do... While the schooner was originally a fishing boat it seems a lot of the more modern iterations are pretty lightly built more designed for racing than bluewater sailing...

still, I'm keeping my hopes up.
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Old 06-20-2011, 05:41 AM   #28
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A few comments on the gaff rig. I have a 40 foot double ended steel sloop,gaff rigged. Hoist is 28',gaff is 15' and boom is 24'.

I frequently sail the boat alone in moderate weather and find that with the proper planning it is no harder than the bermuda rig.

Surely there are more strings to pull,but if one wants to sit and steer why not a power boat. Most people with gaff rig enjoy it precisely for what it requires to sail.

Other than a roller furling jib the only exception I have to blocks and tackle are highfield levers on the runners.

Reason for making a comment is that one chooses the rig and boat for how one wants to experience sailing.

A comment about difficulties handling gaff rig. I am 88 years old.
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