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Old 30-11-2011, 23:58   #1
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Topgallant Sail on a Sloop

I recently saw a 35 foot sloop with a type of lower topgallant sail ahead of the mast. The owner says it gives safer and more comfortable downwind sailing.

I am thinking of making one for my 30 foot sloop. Does anyone have experience of this?

What size sail should I consider?

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Old 01-12-2011, 00:55   #2
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Re: Topgallant Sail on a Sloop

I've only sailed on my friend's modified CT 41 ketch a few times in medium to light air. She had a topsail and a course. The topsail was roller furling and the course you had to go up the ratlines to the yard to furl and unfurl.

More stable than a jib for downwind, but a single topsail seems like it would be smaller than most jibs. Is the sail set flying from the deck or do you have to climb the mast to set and furl? I think I would be less likely to set it if I had to climb the mast. The topsail she had on the roller furler seemed to work well. The sheet blocks weren't set up properly though and could capsize requiring a trip to the end of the course yard to fix.

Fun to sail for the fun of it and a very cool experience, but a bit of rigging, drag, and weight aloft. Yard halyards, sheets, braces, buntlines, there were two rows of belaying pins next to the mast. It was very impressive with the whole shooting match up. 3 jibs (bowsprit shortened and a jibboom added), topsail, course, main, mizzen staysail, and mizzen.

I suppose a single small topsail could be fairly simply rigged and setup to be set flying from the deck. From my limited experience not worth it.

Also unless you modify the mast or already have aft swept spreaders you are very limited in the course you can sail.

John
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Old 01-12-2011, 01:04   #3
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Re: Topgallant Sail on a Sloop

Thanks for your reply.

The square sail in the photo is hoisted to a pulley about two feet above the spreader. According to the owner it is quite manageable. There is also a short strop from the center of the pole to the forestay.
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Old 01-12-2011, 04:59   #4
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Re: Topgallant Sail on a Sloop

Did this on a Tahiti ketch in the 60s.
Flew an inverted IOD chute that had been squared off at the pointy end.
Cross yard and sail were hoisted ahead of forestay with short sheets to breasts to control oscillations.
Good ahead lookout kept.
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