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Old 15-02-2009, 10:40   #16
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Sorry, I haven't participated in forums that much and the web address just doesn't seem to get through. However, a google search would bring him up. Good luck.

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Old 15-02-2009, 11:40   #17
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nothing wrong with a gaff rig as long as you understand that into the wind you will not be able to sail out of sight on a dark night. Nothing can be as simple as a marconi cutter rig.

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Old 17-02-2009, 10:28   #18
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One important point I'd like to make on this thread. Gaff doesn't (generally) point quite as well as marconi. But off the wind, which is where you are going to be sailing a majority of the time if you're cruising, gaff is faster. The reasons are several:
1. A lower center of effort, which allows more sail area to be carried.
2. More sail area.
3. A lower aspect ratio sail, which is less efficient working very close to the wind but is much more efficient working off the wind, ie reaching and running.

Regards, Paul
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Old 17-02-2009, 11:33   #19
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Still can't get out of my mind to ask WHY//// The gaff rig was a development of the materials and construction techniques available at the time. Masts were solid trees of limited length and heavy weight carried throughout. Sails were cotton or other organic material that stretched badly and soaked up a lot of water weight.

The marconi rig is more efficient on most points of sail and especially over a greater range of conditions and sail material is synthetic which is way better at handling stretch problems. Even though a Marconi sail is a triangle that gets smaller and smaller as you go up the sail gives more drive per square foot. Windspeed increases by a significant factor as you get higher up off the water. Especially in light air, a taller sail will be way more efficient at driving the boat. I guess if you plan on turning on the motor everytime the boat speed drops below 4 knots, you wouldn't care about light air sailing efficiency.

The gaff rig is a complicated rig that has a whole bunch of things to chaff and bang that the marconi rig doesn't have. I really don't think I'd want to be dealing with the gaff in serious storm conditions. Talk about a big stick.

Anyway, just can't see why anyone would purposely go back to a gaff unless they wanted to do it strictly for character, ease of handling and sailing ability be damned.

Peter O.
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Old 17-02-2009, 13:16   #20
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Originally Posted by Legatia View Post
I am building this boat in the boonies. It is a 3 hour drive to the sailboat unfriendly Oregon coast and 7 hours to the San Francisco bay area.
Legatia, I have an Ingrid 38 Cutter here on the sailboat un-friendly Oregon coast. Winchester Bay to be exact. While it is not gaff rigged, you are welcome to drop by at some point if you want to look at it if it may help you with some ideas. I am in the middle of rebuilding much of the interior right now myself.

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Old 17-02-2009, 18:12   #21
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Originally Posted by roverhi View Post
Still can't get out of my mind to ask WHY////
Anyway, just can't see why anyone would purposely go back to a gaff unless they wanted to do it strictly for character, ease of handling and sailing ability be damned.

Peter O.
Ah, Peter, There you have it. Character and aesthetics is the essance of the issue. "No man would go to see who hath the contrivance to get him in gaol, for to be at sea is to be in gaol with the added hazzard of drowning." If one wanted to visit foreign lands with efficiency one would book a flight and be there tomorrow.

No, it is the voyage that is the destination. The departure is the exestential arrival. If one wants to add the element of time travel to it, then adopt a 19th century rig. And along with all that top hamper, enjoy exploring and reinventing the solutions to all that maintenance. It is not what I would do. However, sometimes it is best to wave encouragement from the dock and let Darwin take the tiller.
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Old 17-02-2009, 18:27   #22
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Roverhi: if the gaff sail is such a poor performer, why are almost all of the latest/most extreme sportboats simply gaffs with topsails that cannot be dropped?

A well-designed modern gaff rig will have a single additional line aloft. In exchange for that one line the boat will have about 150% more sail area with less heeling moment despite greater weight aloft due to the shorter lever arm. What that means is the boat will not need to reef as early, despite having more sail flying. And despite what you think about light airs, area trumps windward efficiency. You don't find ratings rules penalizing mast height, but you do find them all penalizing sail area. And gaffs excel at sail area.

A gaff cutter is not going to point as high. However, its polars improve well into the reach, and will be more efficient than a similarly-sized marconi over about 165 of the 270 sailable. Right in the regions cruisers try to sail in.

And when it comes to chafe, go talk to your sail maker. A gaffer doesn't have battens (usually), it doesn't have headboards (which are just flat panel gaffs), and mast hoops or parrels don't chew through the luff tape the way track slides do. The chatter of the leech - a primary cause of mechanical failure through hingeing - can be easily controled by peaking up the gaff. The shorter hoist means almost none of the sail is above the spreaders or against the shrouds compared to a similar-sized marconi. You'll find these are the primary sources of chafe aboard. (On the other hand, if the gaff *can* pinch the sail between it and the shrouds, it will cause damage *faster*.)

The problem with most people thinking about a gaffer is they immediately think solid wood masts and gaff, built by luddites who avoid winches or any other time- or energy-saving devices. Bet you didn't know those racing dhows with the 100+ foot lateen yards have nothing but carbon fibre spars, both masts and yards. So do a number of the classic racing circuit.

If I could build the fantasy cruiser it would probably be gaff or junk rigged, because I'm lazy but I want to go fast and can't afford a rig that can only be serviced by professionals. The gaffer would need expensive sails, but at least it wouldn't have as much chafe and maintenance as the junk.

On the internet, nobody knows you're a dog anchored in a coral atoll.
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Old 18-02-2009, 09:54   #23
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I have owned two gaff rigs. A sloop and a ketch and have wonderful memories of sailing both. The reason to own a gaff rig is because under sail your going to get all of us old salts smiling, as there is hardly anything that looks as salty and pretty as a well sailed gaff rig. Everything sails off the wind. Your gaff rig will look as good or better than any other rig. Good sailing to you. Good luck with that wind always at your back.
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Old 22-02-2009, 11:46   #24
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I am in the unending process of restoring an Ingrid ketch that I purchased four years ago. Brought it down from Seattle to Eureka, Calif. same unfriendly coast but enjoyed a relatively uneventful trip in mid-Sept. Mostly lucky I think.

There is some gaff-rig Ingrid history out there. When I was looking for my Ingrid there was a gaff-rig for sale in the SF Bay area, "Muir Cat". It was sold and I don't know where it is now. I had seriously considered it mainly because I liked the rig, the tan-bark sails didn't hurt the appeal either. Interior layout issues took me to another boat. Maybe someone out has seen Muir Cat recently?

Check out this site: Ingrid home page. There is an excellent photo of a gaff rigged Ingrid anchored in La Paz in 1994. Go to the "Old La Paz gathering of Ingrids". The boats name is "Pilar". Should be a bit of inspiration. Maybe not the best or most efficient rig but it sure looks like it belongs there. I guess I belong in the "romance" group.

This particular Ingrid site is very informative, lots of photos.

There is a 42' Westsail parked on the next dock across from me for the winter. Also gaff-rigged and looks great! I haven't met the owner but my sense is that there isn't much to go wrong there that couldn't be repaired almost anywhere.

So it has been done and it appears successfully.

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