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Old 29-06-2011, 12:13   #1
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Removal of Bowsprit

I've searched the forum and read some great stuff about *adding* (or not) a bowsprit to a sloop rig to make it a cutter. It seems unwise in most situations unless the original design was not well balanced.

I would like to know a bit more about removing a bowsprit to turn the rig into a sloop.

The boat is a Hans Christian 38. The total length is huge (47 feet!) and in Australia I will be charge fees on this total length in marinas.

Is there an easy process to determine how the balance would be affected and her sailing ability windward if the bowsprit was removed and the rigging adjusted to use just one forestay with jib?

Cheers!
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Old 29-06-2011, 12:23   #2
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Re: Removal of bowsprit

Usually boats are designed with the rig that is to go with them in mind, so getting the rig to balance without the bowsprit would take some serious re-rigging. The easiest way to do that would be to pay a rigger or a boat designer to figure that out for you. You could also modify the bowsprit to be retractable, like some of the older pilot cutters of yesteryear, but they were all gaff-rigged, so didn't depend on the jibstay to keep the mast up. Of course, the best thing you could do is to convert your rig to a gaff; then you'd have the best possible arrangement of all.
Now if that canoe stern could be made square......
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Old 29-06-2011, 12:24   #3
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Re: Removal of bowsprit

i have seen hinges placed for just that reason in usa--as slip fees are dependent on boat overall length including sprit-- thank gods they dont do that here in mexico..LOL...my sprit adds 8-9 ft to LOA.
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Old 29-06-2011, 12:26   #4
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Re: Removal of bowsprit

Great question. I am not a rigger, but I do seem to recall that bringing the stays inboard (as in from the end of the bowsprit) will require more tension, so you're going to need to increase the tension by some factor. The sprit with the bobstay balancing the forestay is a pretty stable arrangement and you would need something at least that strong (if not more so) if you were bringing the forestay directly to the deck.

As for sailing, it would bring the center of effort back a bit, which should reduce weather helm. I don't know how that affects pointing, but I think with my staysail alone I don't point as well as when I use the genny, so it might have a slight negative impact.

Again, this is my untrained opinion.
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Old 29-06-2011, 12:46   #5
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Re: Removal of Bowsprit

The boat will sail like a pig in anything less than a hurricane. In light air, will probably have a bad lee helm which is a total pain to try and steer. I can live with even severe weather helm but lee helm is a compleat non starter. Somewhere around 15k of wind the boat may begin to balance out though still sailing like a pig. Above 25k wind things may be okay. FWIW, when the winds were high enough that I had to douse the yankee jib on my Westsail 32, it cost me a full knot of boatspeed. If I sailed with staysail alone below about 30k, the boat took an unaccepatable performance hit. Bowsprits and boomkins were/are ways to get significantly more sail area without resorting to a way taller mast. Imagine if you really, really, really wanted to do away with the 'sprit, you could an NA to design a much taller mast and relocate it further aft. Boat would still probably not sail as well and require much earlier and more often reefing.

If you have to get rid of the bowsprit for harbor reasons, figuring out a way to make it easily pulled inboard is your best bet. Either work out a hinge system so you can pull it up or a way to slide it inboard. Have seen both set ups that seemed to work fine. In our case, since we were still working on the boat and not ready to go sailing regularly, we just pulled the bolts on the 'sprit and set it on the deck. Took maybe an hour to rerig it reattaching the whisker and bobstay and bolting it back down. Couldn't do that once we had a windless, so held off to the last before installing the windlass and then went cruising. You may be able to devise a way to have a windlass and still retract the windlass, btw. We didn't waste time designing such a system since we weren't going to be hanging around marinas for quite some time.
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Old 29-06-2011, 12:54   #6
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Re: Removal of Bowsprit

One of the reasons the bowsprit was there was to reduce the size of the mast while retaining the necessary sail area to keep a fair boat speed for cruising. To remove the bowsprit will create an unbalanced sail plan and reduced sail area and speed. If you increase the mast size to compensate then you might have additional problem with higher vertical balance area aloft and perhaps an instability in higher winds for the design requirements. This is one reason why cruisers for a while there preferred a cutter rig rather than a sloop (in addition to smaller areas of sail that can be managed easier by a small or single crew).
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Old 29-06-2011, 13:23   #7
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Re: Removal of Bowsprit

Thanks everyone! This is why I come back to CF again and again
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Old 29-06-2011, 14:58   #8
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Re: Removal of Bowsprit

Quote:
Originally Posted by sneuman View Post

As for sailing, it would bring the center of effort back a bit, which should reduce weather helm.

Again, this is my untrained opinion.

I believe that you have this backward here: moving the center of effort aft will increase, not decrease weather helm.

Quote:
Originally Posted by roverhi View Post
The boat will sail like a pig in anything less than a hurricane. In light air, will probably have a bad lee helm which is a total pain to try and steer. I can live with even severe weather helm but lee helm is a compleat non starter.
Again, I don't think that this is correct... weather helm will increase, and lee helm (which I agree is nasty to sail with) will not.


And for the OP, one way of simulating the sailing performance without the sprit is to sail in moderate or light conditions with main and staysail only. The main difference being that the stays'l does not go to the masthead and thus looses area relative to a non-overlapping jib... also does not simulate the performance of a genoa tacked to the stemhead. But it might give you some idea of what you will experience with your proposed modifications.

Personally, I think that the HC is somewhat underpowered in light airs with the sprit intact, and that with less sail area it would be pretty poor indeed. This does not even consider the possible balance issues.

Cheers,

Jim
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Old 29-06-2011, 15:32   #9
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Re: Removal of Bowsprit

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aussie_Sequoia View Post
I've searched the forum and read some great stuff about *adding* (or not) a bowsprit to a sloop rig to make it a cutter. It seems unwise in most situations unless the original design was not well balanced.

I would like to know a bit more about removing a bowsprit to turn the rig into a sloop.

The boat is a Hans Christian 38. The total length is huge (47 feet!) and in Australia I will be charge fees on this total length in marinas.

Is there an easy process to determine how the balance would be affected and her sailing ability windward if the bowsprit was removed and the rigging adjusted to use just one forestay with jib?

Cheers!
Removing the bowsprit would essentially move the center of effort nine feet aft, giving the boat massive weather helm. Not something you want to do.
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Old 29-06-2011, 15:52   #10
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Re: Removal of Bowsprit

find one that has been hinged and copy.
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Old 29-06-2011, 15:53   #11
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Re: Removal of Bowsprit

Oops!!! You are right. Not sure what I was thinking of but it definitely wasn't reality. Boat would probably have very strong weather helm in light air unless you sailed with reefed main all the time.

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Old 29-06-2011, 16:01   #12
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Re: Removal of Bowsprit

You own a real cutter and a nice one at that. The mast isn't any place close to make it a sloop. Sell the boat or enjoy it as it is. It really is a nice boat for the deep blue. I've owned only cutters and never paid extra for the sprit. Some places do charge more especially in the "big city". I assume it is the same down under too. Never hurts to just say it is a 38. I'm a 36 but with davits and sprit I'm a 46. It makes sense to charge more on a bulkhead but I've never paid extra yet.
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Old 29-06-2011, 16:09   #13
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Re: Removal of Bowsprit

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pblais View Post
You own a real cutter and a nice one at that. The mast isn't any place close to make it a sloop. Sell the boat or enjoy it as it is. It really is a nice boat for the deep blue. I've owned only cutters and never paid extra for the sprit. Some places do charge more especially in the "big city". I assume it is the same down under too. Never hurts to just say it is a 38. I'm a 36 but with davits and sprit I'm a 46. It makes sense to charge more on a bulkhead but I've never paid extra yet.
G'Day Paul,

Hate to say this, but nearly EVERY marina that I have visited in Oz does indeed charge on your OAL, including sprits, bumkins, dinghies in davits, anchor rollers or any other appendage that they can slap a tape measure on.

Rotters, all! But really, if they don't let you hang out astern nor over the dock, it does take a bigger berth if you have all that crap.

Greed is ugly but nearly universal... guess that's what happens when accountants run the marina instead of sailors.

Cheers,

Jim
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Old 29-06-2011, 16:37   #14
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Hi Jim
It's a very beautiful boat the HC, always turns my head
Was wondering how much of a saving the effort was worth?
Berths we've priced here are +12m then they jump to +15m. We did the calcs on annual fees between the two when deciding on buying our boat and for us the beauty if extra space outweighed the finances
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Old 30-06-2011, 07:12   #15
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Re: Removal of Bowsprit

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
I believe that you have this backward here: moving the center of effort aft will increase, not decrease weather helm.



Again, I don't think that this is correct... weather helm will increase, and lee helm (which I agree is nasty to sail with) will not.


And for the OP, one way of simulating the sailing performance without the sprit is to sail in moderate or light conditions with main and staysail only. The main difference being that the stays'l does not go to the masthead and thus looses area relative to a non-overlapping jib... also does not simulate the performance of a genoa tacked to the stemhead. But it might give you some idea of what you will experience with your proposed modifications.

Personally, I think that the HC is somewhat underpowered in light airs with the sprit intact, and that with less sail area it would be pretty poor indeed. This does not even consider the possible balance issues.

Cheers,

Jim
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