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Old 09-10-2011, 05:00   #1
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Fisherman Sloop Rig

G'day cruisers,

I'm an amateur sailboat designer at heart, and came up with what I think is a new way of rigging a sailboat that I think offers some practical advantages. I did some reasearch into old rigging designs and discovered that this particular sail has already been invented and is called a fisherman. But is only really used on ketch-rig vessels and staysail scooners.

But I was considering using this type of sail on a single masted sloop-rig. Essentially, I take a gaff mainsheet and cut it diagonally from the tip of the gaff down to a point at the base, of the mast. Removing the boom and using the gaff as the only supporting structure. This significantly cuts out power, but leaves sail area high up which is useful when "skunkholing" in the shadow of land. It also leaves the aft deck totaly free of obstruction, say if you wanted to use the space and getting somewhere fast wasn't an issue. If you wanted to make more sail, you can simply hoist a triangular sheet from the gaff point - replacing the cut segment from the mainsail, albeit with a soft bottom.

Can any experienced sailors see a flaw in this design?

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Old 09-10-2011, 05:58   #2
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Re: Fisherman Sloop Rig

I'm trying to picture this in my head. But a gaff mainsheet is a line of running rigging, how do you cut one diagonally? Picture may help...

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Old 13-10-2011, 20:42   #3
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Re: Fisherman Sloop Rig

An Image can be found here:

As you can see, the standard Gaff Mainsail has been separated into two sails (shown #2 and #3 above). Which would be designed to operate in either of two configurations: Jib+Fisherman gives low speed and control, with a clear aft deck and good visibility for'd - whilst at the same time capturing the upper air-stream away from ground effect. Jib+Fisherman+Leech Main gives more weather helm and power, with lower center-of-effort (CE).
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Old 14-10-2011, 09:24   #4
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Re: Fisherman Sloop Rig

A couple of comments on this. Note: I am not a designer but have sailed boats with many different rigs.

Your "fisherman line" has very poor mechanical advantage and you will have a hard time controlling the gaff. You could have an adjustable lead on this which would give you a little more control but it still doesn't seem like it would be that good. On a ketch or a schooner, you have the option of controlling the gaff by leading a line to the other masthead but that doesn't work on a sloop. In addition, you will need to tack this line around your "leech main".

Since your "leech main" is attached to the gaff at one end, it will be very hard to controll luff tension. Additionally, without a boom, you will need to have a traveler to get good sail shape. Loose footed sails are not good off the wind also.

I hope that these comments are helpful, it is certainly intriguing.
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Old 14-10-2011, 09:46   #5
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Re: Fisherman Sloop Rig

seems that with the fisherman and jib, you will have a good balance---doesnt matter if sail has "shape" as is a gaff rig. any air is good, as long as ye do not get taken aback.
i think you are on to a good idea for your boat.
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Old 14-10-2011, 10:09   #6
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Re: Fisherman Sloop Rig

The gaff sail solo, the gaff will wiggle.

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Old 15-10-2011, 03:39   #7
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Re: Fisherman Sloop Rig

Thanks all for your comments,

I can see where you are coming from Klem, as I originally got this idea from looking at Staysail Schooners and Staysail Ketch configurations. When the boom is gone, the gaff becomes the primary control member. But without a mizzen mast to run a control line to, this becomes more difficult. The main line #10 was intended as the primary control, with the leech tension on the fisherman controled by #6 peak halyard and #8 fisherman line.

I had originally thought that the fisherman line could come off the deck centerline, as a one time set control. I'd need to take care to ensure that the sail twist can deal with unexpected gaff travel.

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