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Old 15-11-2015, 14:31   #1
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30-50 ft LOA non-wooden Gaff-Rigged Sloops and Schooners?

My fiance and I are looking for a sailboat to live aboard, and he loves the look of a gaff rig. We aren't looking to race and aren't all about performance, but want a reliable boat that we can take most anywhere (blue water capability is a huge plus, but not a requirement for the immediate future). We've been searching for liveaboard sized gaff-rigged sloops and schooners, and they seem to be relatively few and far between. That said, the more I've dug, the more I've turned up. So, I thought I'd pose my question to the CF folks, since there's a huge wealth of knowledge here.

The maintenance of wooden construction is out for us, but we're very interested in steel and fiberglass construction.

The first boat that really caught his eye was a Colvin Pinky Schooner of recent construction, but it was picked up off the market before we had a chance to go take a look.

So far, these are the designs I've found that fit the bill:

- Colvin Pinky Schooner
- Wylo II's and Wylo 35.5's - both of which are uncommon, especially out in the Pacific Northwest
- Dudley Dix Hout Bay 33/40 - I haven't seen any of these on the market to-date, but have been keeping my eyes peeled
- Ted Brewer Sunshine 34' Pinky Sloop - I've yet to actually run across one of these. Unlike the others, it's a fiberglass design.

All that said, does anyone have recommendations of similar designs, or even better, has anyone run across a similar boat for sale in their local market?

Sorry if this is a topic that's already been covered, but I did a bit of searching and didn't come up with much.

Thank you,
~Kim
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Old 15-11-2015, 18:25   #2
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Re: 30-50 ft LOA non-wooden Gaff-Rigged Sloops and Schooners?

Ummm----

Have either of you spent any time sailing gaffers?
Ideally either of you should be able to raise the main alone. For starters, maybe just the partner with the most upper body strength should try it.
You can probably find a charter or somebody willing to give you a ride for educational purposes.
I lived for years on a small gaff rigged cutter (26 lod, 32 loa) and was always amused when guests asked where the winches were.
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Old 15-11-2015, 18:46   #3
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Re: 30-50 ft LOA non-wooden Gaff-Rigged Sloops and Schooners?

I'd hesitate to purchase a gaff-rigged boat just because I like the way it looked. OTOH, if you get some sailing time in and you like a gaffer, that's a different story. Our (wooden) boat has the best of all worlds IMO, schooner rigged, gaff foresail and bermuda main. Only other folks who have sailed both gaff and bermuda rigged boats might "get" that thought.

Several Atkins designed boats are gaff rigged though most built in wood. Check out the Atkins Ingrid since you can find them non-wood and they may be gaff rigged. You can also sometimes find a fiberglass Bristol Channel Cutter (um...Lyle Hess designed 30-ish ft) gaff rigged.

There are surely others but I know of at least those. Gaff and wood boats go together so you're not so likely to find it another way. It's traditional with traditional.

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Old 15-11-2015, 19:27   #4
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Re: 30-50 ft LOA non-wooden Gaff-Rigged Sloops and Schooners?

I think that "looks good" is an excellent reason to seek out a gaff rig boat.

However, it is not quite a good enough reason to pass on a high quality marconi boat that is available at a good price.

I hope you find that perfect Gaff rigger.

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Old 15-11-2015, 19:46   #5
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Re: 30-50 ft LOA non-wooden Gaff-Rigged Sloops and Schooners?

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I think that "looks good" is an excellent reason to seek out a gaff rig boat.

However, it is not quite a good enough reason to pass on a high quality marconi boat that is available at a good price.

I hope you find that perfect Gaff rigger.

Steve
+1, lots of nice salty looking bermudan yachts out there.

A few years ago I helped build a steel 28 foot Tom thumb with a gaff cutter rig. A nice little boat that sailed well in light airs with A huge yard topsail.

Some of the Roberts sprays have some kind of gaff rig, but they may not be the best performing hull design.

I also think some of the Brent swain designs could easily be re rigged as gaff. Though it would be silly to Chuck out a good Bermudan rig.

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Old 15-11-2015, 19:48   #6
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Re: 30-50 ft LOA non-wooden Gaff-Rigged Sloops and Schooners?

Your fiancee has good taste; gaffers are the most lovely. And if well-designed, they sail wonderfully well. In the UK there is a good size range of gaffers with fiberglass hulls: the Heard 35; the Cornish Crabbers; a few others that will come up if searching the first two. Almost any Atkins or Lyle Hess design will gladly take a gaff rig; all you have to do is heave the silly marconi rig overboard where it belongs and put a proper rig on. For pics of a Cape George 31 (Atkins design built in fiberglass) with a gaff rig, go to my website: zartmancruising dot com
Don't let people try and tell you that gaffers are necessarily slow/heavy/unmaneuverable/whatever. Those folk are ignorant, and have not had the joy of sailing one that was well designed and built.
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Old 15-11-2015, 19:55   #7
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Re: 30-50 ft LOA non-wooden Gaff-Rigged Sloops and Schooners?

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snip...
Don't let people try and tell you that gaffers are necessarily slow/heavy/unmaneuverable/whatever. Those folk are ignorant, and have not had the joy of sailing one that was well designed and built.
Ben
+1 Glad you piped in Ben. Lovely job on your Atkins. I agree completely, gaff rig done well is a fast and easily handled rig. Especially on smaller boats where the gaff isn't to heavy, and if selective use is made of modern technology such as hollows gaffs, spectra and a few winches.



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Old 15-11-2015, 21:01   #8
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Re: 30-50 ft LOA non-wooden Gaff-Rigged Sloops and Schooners?

Thank you everyone for your insight and suggestions!

Personally, I'm of the very practical variety - I'd be happy with any boat that sails well, we can live comfortably in, and isn't a ticking maintenance time bomb. At the end of the day, I think more traditional boats are gorgeous, but would happily make myself at home in a mass-produced boat. However, both of us need to be very excited about whatever boat we end up with- I don't want us starting our life aboard full of regrets.

@FSMike - That said - absolutely correct, we need to get on a gaffer and actually sail it. We're both fairly young and fit and willing to put in some effort (or find clever solutions if it really is beyond our physical abilities.

@SchoonerChandlery - Thank you for the tip on the Atkins Ingrid - I saw a fiberglass bermuda rig just recently, but didn't realize they came gaff rigged. Though, neither of us are too keen on ketches. And yes, I've been seeing acres of absolutely gorgeous wooden boats with personality galore. I think we'll need to spend a few years getting experience under our belt before we consider wood construction seriously, though.

@Panope - Thank you! We'll need all the luck we can get to pull this off. I think that more than anything, we want a boat that doesn't look like a slick day-sailer. When we went to a local boat show, the Island Packets were the only ones that held much appeal to us. Other manufacturers ran the gamut of Hanse/Moody, Beneteau, Catalina, and Hunter/Marlow.

@Snowpetrel - The Roberts Sprays were actually one of the more common boats that caught my eye, but I read many a mixed review of Roberts's designs in general. It sounded like many of the designs were either dated, or not built to actual spec by home builders. Do you happen to know if the Spray design sails well when actually built to spec, or if it's just outright problematic.

I'll take a look at the Brent Swain designs, thank you! Maybe someone else has already gotten the same idea, if we're lucky.

@Benz - Thank you hugely for all of the advice. I'll definitely be looking more into those. There does seem to be a much stronger gaff following in the UK - which is very unfortunate, since we're all the way out on the US west coast.

Thanks again, everyone, this has given me plenty to dig into!

Best,
~Kim
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Old 15-11-2015, 23:10   #9
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Re: 30-50 ft LOA non-wooden Gaff-Rigged Sloops and Schooners?

You might consider looking for boats that are cold molded. As, generally speaking, they're built with so much epoxy as to be composite boats, & many are listed as such.
Or, occassionally, you'll run across a boat which has either; had a new skin/skins (layers of diagonals) laminated over her original hull, or has had each plank splined & glued to the next, along with varying levels of epoxy encapsulation.


Just putting it out there in case it's not something which you've run across before.


Also, any of the schools which build wooden boats (many of them cold molded) are good resources for non-traditional boats, gaffers included. As the wooden boat crowd tends to draw non-tradtional vessels.
You might try both the School & the Foundation, in Port Townsend WA.
There's also the Metal Boat Society, given the boats which you named, & maybe (?) the Seven Seas Cruising Association. Worth a shot anyway.
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Old 16-11-2015, 05:06   #10
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Re: 30-50 ft LOA non-wooden Gaff-Rigged Sloops and Schooners?

"@Benz - Thank you hugely for all of the advice. I'll definitely be looking more into those. There does seem to be a much stronger gaff following in the UK - which is very unfortunate, since we're all the way out on the US west coast."

I was also on the West coast--Cape George Marine Works is in Port Townsend, WA. All their models are available as kits finished to whatever degree you wish, so if you're handy you can save some serious $$$$$. If you wind up with a gaffer whose spars are too heavy, a wooden gaff can easily be changed for an aluminum one; standing rigging can be done with synthetic; blocks can be replaced with lighter ones, or often with simple round thimbles: there's dozens of tricks for reducing weight aloft on an existing rig. As for Roberts' Sprays--I've been on a couple, and they're not shaped for speed like the Atkins or Hess designs. If it were to be steel, I'd have a Charles Wittholz schooner design scaled down to 40 feet and sail it schooner rigged. Though you're probably not looking to have anything custom-built.
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Old 16-11-2015, 07:35   #11
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Re: 30-50 ft LOA non-wooden Gaff-Rigged Sloops and Schooners?

There is a Thomas Colvin "trinity" design gaff rigged schooner with aluminum hull for sale in BC, the ad makes it look like a nice yacht, can't find much info on the trinity design. Check BC kijiji listings under sail, asking roughly $40k cdn, I am not affiliated with the owner in anyway. I am kind of in love with it but not ready to purchase our liveaboard at this time.


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Old 16-11-2015, 10:07   #12
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Re: 30-50 ft LOA non-wooden Gaff-Rigged Sloops and Schooners?

Tom Colvin designed a number of steel or aluminium vessels, with a variety of rigs possible, including gaff rigged. Mine is a Colvin Doxy, stretched from 38' to 41', and I have been sailing her, mostly single-handed, for almost thirty years, so I guess it is safe to say I am a little biased in favour of gaff schooners!
I have never really missed those winch thingies, and at 69 years I still have no trouble hoisting the main alone, so don't be dissuaded by those who suggest a gaffer requires superhuman strength.
Have another look at the Colvin designs.
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Old 16-11-2015, 10:16   #13
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Re: 30-50 ft LOA non-wooden Gaff-Rigged Sloops and Schooners?

I seem to remember that a lot of Benford designs were gaff rigged and some schooners. Many were constructed around Seattle.

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Old 16-11-2015, 10:24   #14
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Re: 30-50 ft LOA non-wooden Gaff-Rigged Sloops and Schooners?

Look at the Lazy Jack 32 Schooner. I bought one last year and love it. Fiberglass with bowsprit and booms gallow. Very sweet looking traditional design. Marconi main, gaff foresail, rollerfurl jib. There were two for sale last week. Smaller sails with aluminum mast and spars easy to handle. More lines takes some learning, but easy to learn. Not for everyone, but I get lots of compliments.
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Old 16-11-2015, 10:27   #15
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Re: 30-50 ft LOA non-wooden Gaff-Rigged Sloops and Schooners?

Don't be to hasty to discount wood. It is a wonderful material to live in. Quiet, insulated and much more like a living breathing entity. Torredos aside, steel vessels are every bit as much maintenance as wood.

It's really a subjective opinion but I have always placed Pinkies up there with the most asthetically unappealing designs ever conceived. Their pinched stern quarters limit interior space and the long, overhang makes them useless for just about anything besides pooping off.
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