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Old 20-10-2010, 19:32   #1
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What's So Bad About the Bowsprit ?

Whats so bad about the bowsprit? Now I'm not defending it or saying it's good or anything, but I havent an idea why it's bad. I thought it was used to give a better angle for the jib(s)... So what's so bad about it that I keep hearing everyone saying that it is not good for your boat?
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Old 20-10-2010, 19:35   #2
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depends on the boat.... some are built to have them. that isnt bad. and they have ti be rigged for the boat.
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Old 20-10-2010, 19:35   #3
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It increases slip fees? Some boats mount a retractable bowsprit.
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Old 20-10-2010, 19:38   #4
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Nothing inherently wrong. It permits a larger sail area for a given hull length. Works particularly well if one has a cutter rig, with its flying jib coming down first with higher winds.
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Old 20-10-2010, 19:50   #5
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A bowsprit can be hazardous if you have a hull design that hobby horses.

On my Westsail 32, I have been out on the end of the bowsprit sailing in big seas to windward while doing some serious hobby horsing. I was rocketing up and down 10 feet vertically while I was working on the sail hanks out at the end of the bowsprit. Very exiciting business, and a little scarry. I always felt like it was an accident waiting to happen. It was a good argument for a roller furling headsail on a bowsprit.
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Old 20-10-2010, 20:00   #6
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This is the first I have heard they are bad....sounds like another Canadian Myth..

Another benifit not listed yet is they give your anchor a place to rise and fall with out dinging up your hull.
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Old 20-10-2010, 20:07   #7
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I love mine sometimes and wish for something simpler at others. The ride up front while messing with headsails is rather sporting and while I would prefer the clean look of no platform on the sprit I can't imagine not being able to hunker down with those rails around me. Not a furler person but then not a singlehander... if I were I'd change over I think.
One improvement I will make is a pigtail between gunnel and rail up near the headstay so I can transfer the sail by it's hanks onto a storage set up... sort of a cartridge idea I guess... forget where I first saw this looks useful.
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Old 20-10-2010, 20:07   #8
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Historically, the bowsprit is there to balance the sail plan against a full keel. Headsails working best if ahead of the keel. When the cut-away keel was developed, and certainly when the fin keel was developed, the classic bowsprit should have vanished. But then along came sportboats....

I think their only use on cruising boats are for that classic look and to make the boat pitch more violently.
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Old 20-10-2010, 20:07   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maxingout View Post
A bowsprit can be hazardous if you have a hull design that hobby horses.

On my Westsail 32, I have been out on the end of the bowsprit sailing in big seas to windward while doing some serious hobby horsing. I was rocketing up and down 10 feet vertically while I was working on the sail hanks out at the end of the bowsprit. Very exiciting business, and a little scarry. I always felt like it was an accident waiting to happen. It was a good argument for a roller furling headsail on a bowsprit.
Cockpit-accessible downhalls on the flying jib, as well as the staysail, eliminate much of the problem. Lines for the mainsail's jiffy-reef accessible to the cockpit are also handy.
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Old 20-10-2010, 20:10   #10
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They obviously have some benefit, but that's not your question.

What I don't like about the small ones you can't walk up is that they make reaching forward for the anchor much more difficult.

On larger ones, they have restricted space in which to work, and increased motion when out there in rough seas. They are more prone to damage than the boat itself. They increase the boat length which restricts maneuvering room and slip fees without offering any additional interior space.
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Old 20-10-2010, 20:20   #11
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Waterline length is such a huge benefit in speed and stability it seems foolish on a modern design (after 1930?) to have overhangs that offer only the penalties of length and none of the benefits.

Rating rules have done much of the damage over the years...stunting development.
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Old 20-10-2010, 20:29   #12
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I can't imagine a substantial increase in boat volume by extending the the bow on a small craft such as this, nor how that would increase the waterline.




... having owned and sailed Bluewater Blackwatch, hull #60 (so obviously this isn't a photo of my Blackwatch.)
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Old 20-10-2010, 20:38   #13
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Here ours..I cant wait to lay up there and view the dolphins
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Old 20-10-2010, 21:42   #14
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This is the first I have heard they are bad....sounds like another Canadian Myth..

Another benifit not listed yet is they give your anchor a place to rise and fall with out dinging up your hull.

Did you mean Canadian Mist?

Regarding the dinged up hull, yup, I got a quarter-sized chip needing repair from the last time we weighed anchor in really thick mud that was caked heavily on...hopefully we'll be more careful next time!
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Old 21-10-2010, 00:09   #15
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I've heard that when you really need to be up there, you really don't want to be up there. Lots of water coming over the sprit with no hull to slow it down first.
I've got one, but I haven't launched the boat yet so I can't tell you how good or bad it really is yet. I like the way it holds the anchors out away from the hull so they won't bang around and they sure are pretty.
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