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Old 30-04-2011, 07:08   #1
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Bow Sprits

Hello
This is my first post - I'm new here!

I have a Barbican 33 (long shoal keel with small bilge plates), it has a non standard large bowspit. I was wondering if cruisers could tell me any advantages of the bowspit over not having one?

I included a picture (I hope!)

Paul
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Old 30-04-2011, 07:15   #2
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Re: Bow Spits

Hi Paul,

Welcome to CF.

Common spelling is sprit.

For a cruising design like yours a bow sprit can allow a larger jib than you could carry on the boat if the jib ran just to the bow. You could also get a larger jib by having a taller mast but that moves the center of wind pressure higher over the boat making it heel more and reduces clearance under low bridges.

Also used as a place to mount anchor rollers.
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Old 30-04-2011, 07:16   #3
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Re: Bow Spits

advantage - more sail area for a given waterline length = superior light air performance v.s. a nonsprited/less sail area boat
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Old 30-04-2011, 07:19   #4
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Re: Bow Spits

Hi Paul,
The bowsprit (not bowspit) is usually there for the designed balance of your sail plan. so the question is, is your boat well balanced going to weather. Do you need a lot of correction with your wheel to keep her on course? When you are sailing to weather and release the wheel, does she start to round up into the wind?

If this bowsprit was added after the orginal design she may have had to much weather helm. But also she could at this pont have lee helm (very bad).

They also make it handier for handling your anchor gear. And a cutter rig, that a bowprit easily allows is a handy sail plan.
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Old 30-04-2011, 07:24   #5
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Re: Bow Spits

Thanks skipmac and pressure drop (that was a quick reply I didn't anticipate!)

I have a cutter rig (small jib and a self tacking stay sail), The jib although small really performs well, the self tacking staysail doesn't do much as far as I can see)

Do you think that a big jib would help windward performance?

Regards
Paul
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Old 30-04-2011, 07:28   #6
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Re: Bow Spits

Thanks seacap

Yes, anchoring is very easy

She has just a slight weatherhelm. I would like to get better perfomance to windward if that is possible with the bowsprit?

Regards
Paul
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Old 30-04-2011, 08:26   #7
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Re: Bow Spits

Another advantage that isn't mentioned is that you don't need as tall a mast for same sail area.
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Old 30-04-2011, 08:40   #8
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Re: Bow Spits

Paul,
Sounds like it is balanced, and that is the best thing for performance to weather.

If you are not happy with the boats weather performance check your headstay tension. Probably one of the biggest detriments to weatherly performance is to slack of a headstay. You can have a local rigger check it for you or buy a Loos guage and set it up yourself to about 1200lbs tension measured on the backstay (since you can't measure headstay w/roller furling). This is only a rough estimate as a lot depends on the angle both the headsaty and backstay make to the mast. If you are not to familiar with all this kind of rigging stuff, best to get a rigger out to do it.

Good luck, and remember she's not a racer. But you do want the best performance she can give you.
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Old 30-04-2011, 08:45   #9
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Re: Bow Spits

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Originally Posted by PaulHBaker View Post
Thanks seacap

Yes, anchoring is very easy

She has just a slight weatherhelm. I would like to get better perfomance to windward if that is possible with the bowsprit?

Regards
Paul
With sails in good shape a slight weather helm is about right for best performance.

How old are the sails. If they are old, sail draft will have shifted aft and increased the weather helm. If the weather helm is slight now, then with new sails you would have lee helm which is not good for performance or safety.

The best of all worlds in this case would be if there are row of attachment points top and bottom along the end of the sprit maybe 12" long spaced at 2", a single plate say 18" long welded into a slot thru the sprit if it is metal or attached some otherway if the sprit is wood. With new sails the headstay and bobstay are attached at the in board end to give light weather helm. As the sails age and stretch the attachment point is moved forward to maintain the light weather helm. When you run out of attachment points, it's time to get new sails.
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Old 30-04-2011, 13:40   #10
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Re: Bow Spits

The only disadvantage I can think of is you may be paying marina fees on total length of boat. So with a bowsprit, you would be paying the same fees as a much larger boat.
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Old 30-04-2011, 18:52   #11
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Re: Bow Sprits

Depending on how fore stays are run, when you lose this lovely bowsprit you may lose the stick. Or not.

Well designed boats without bowsprit do not need one. Often a short bowsprit-like platform is added and then it is often used to store and deploy anchors.

If you have the bowsprit and the boat sails well, all other things equal, keep it. If you do not have one and your boat sails well, do not add one!

BTW You have a lovely boat!

;-)
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Old 03-05-2011, 11:20   #12
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Re: Bow Sprits

Thanks for all the help, plenty of food for thought.

Most marinas in the UK do not charge extra for the bowsprit

Adelie - thanks for that post - there is a row of attachements on the bowsprit - I was wondering why it was there!

Thanks
Paul
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Old 03-05-2011, 11:57   #13
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Re: Bow Sprits

Aloha Paul,
A very fine looking vessel. I did a search for the Barbican 33 and noticed that the many that are pictured have no bowsprit. It appears that a previous owner added the sprit for you. They also added dinghy davits.
This was probably an effort to change to a cutter rig for more power off the wind or on a beam reach maybe to change a heavy weather helm.
If your boat performs well with the bowsprit using a high cut yankee on the headstay and a smaller foresail on the forestay then I'd keep it as is. I would think though that the added weight of the bowsprit on the bow and the dinghy davits on the stern would cause a bit more hobby horsing in a seaway. These are just some thoughts and again may add some more information to whatever decision that you make about the rig. How long is the sprit?
kind regards,
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Old 03-05-2011, 12:14   #14
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Re: Bow Sprits

Hi JohnL

Not sure what size the sprit is - I'm not boasting but I think it's a biggun!

Yes, the boat cracks along in on a beam reach - the more wind the better (within reason!)

She does turn to windward to protect herself if I do something silly.

I like the bowsprit - but I'm not sure I like the self tacking stay sail - it doesn't seem to do much compare with the main and the Jib.

My thoughts so far with the feed back I'm getting is to maybe just get a big genoa and dump the staysail?

Regards
Paul
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Old 03-05-2011, 13:56   #15
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Re: Bow Sprits

Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulHBaker View Post
I like the bowsprit - but I'm not sure I like the self tacking stay sail - it doesn't seem to do much compare with the main and the Jib.

My thoughts so far with the feed back I'm getting is to maybe just get a big genoa and dump the staysail?
Keep the forestay and staysail.

A self-tacking staysail, or headsail for that matter, makes operating in confined areas much easier. You can short tack up a channel single-handed.

The forestay for the staysail and related intermediate shrouds and running backstays also give the mast redundant support, if one of the stays or shrouds to the masthead fail under load you don't automatically lose the rig.

In really heavy weather the staysail is easier to handle than a jib on the bowsprit.

If you want to clear the foredeck some in lighter weather or for short tacking with crew, or to have the headsail use the selftacking equipment, you could convert the forestay to be releasable using a highfield lever or a J-hook. In one of the Pardey Books there is a sketch for a J-hook you could fab yourself.
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