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Old 21-09-2011, 18:11   #1
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Adding a Bowsprit

Hi all. I am currently considering adding a bowsprit to my 36ft timber ketch. I understand the usual debate surrounding bowsprits to have or not to have however seems I intend to do a large amount of cruising near the equator I will need to be able to add as much possible sail for light winds. I would prefer if I could keep my current rigging from the tip of the bow to the top of the main and simply run a line from the end of the bowsprit to another block at the top of the main by which to rig a jib or an asymmetrical Instead of re rigging the current for stays to three quarters up the main. Any ideas on an appropriate timber for the bowsprit and any other advice would be good. Thanks, Nicholas.
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Old 21-09-2011, 18:15   #2
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This boat.
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Old 21-09-2011, 20:16   #3
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Have you considered a retractable sprit? Basically extends out through a tube. There when you need it gone when you don't. SC
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Old 21-09-2011, 20:51   #4
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It's a neat idea. I had considered it. Considering the use would be for added sail in light air it could probably be a retractable sprit without too much reenforcement necessary. I would love not to have to have a bobstay yet at the same time i would like the bowsprit to be at least 6-8ft. Once the bowsprit is extended would I then just run a line from a block at the top of the main with which ever sail clipped to it?
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Old 21-09-2011, 23:01   #5
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Re: Adding a Bowsprit

Bobstay could be PBO or something similar. And maybe clip it to the rail when not in use (anchored)
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Old 22-09-2011, 11:45   #6
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Re: Adding a Bowsprit

I would rather add a big light sail. It is a common mistake to think that in light wind areas one needs plenty of SA. What you want is sails that will work in light conditions - light sails in good shape.

PS You can always add a length of light alloy or composite tube for a light fore sail to act as a retractable sprit.

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Old 01-10-2011, 00:16   #7
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My boat has a lot of sail aft meaning a larger mizzen in comparison to her small headsail. I think I few extra meters of sail up front would also help her windward ability. I had a mock up photoshop done of what it may look like with a sprit.
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Old 01-10-2011, 00:18   #8
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Old 01-10-2011, 04:23   #9
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Re: Adding a Bowsprit

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Originally Posted by Nikos Baillie View Post
(...) I think I few extra meters of sail up front would also help her windward ability.(...)
How would this be?

From my experience, adding a bowsprit to a boat designed not to have one is like adding a spoiler to a Fiat Panda.

If your boat has serious weather helm then maybe. (?)

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Old 01-10-2011, 04:57   #10
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Re: Adding a Bowsprit

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Originally Posted by Nikos Baillie View Post
My boat has a lot of sail aft meaning a larger mizzen in comparison to her small headsail. I think I few extra meters of sail up front would also help her windward ability. I had a mock up photoshop done of what it may look like with a sprit.

Have you considered a mizzen staysail (a "mule")? Also a code zero or a gennaker? A 150% or even 180% genoa? You can add quite a bit of sail area without a bowsprit.
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Old 04-10-2011, 00:14   #11
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She is a one off design so I don't believe it is going against any design criteria. Also she has a high bow (very). With most of her storage space in the stern (main cabin in bow) so the weight shouldn't be an issue. The reason she would go better to windward is that close hauled the mizzen would be able to be trimmed in more if there was more sail at the bow to balance it. This is quite common with ketches. Too tight in and she will attempt to push to the bow into the wind. Given extra sail upfront I think might balance her out nicely.

I've never heard of a mule but i will look it up now. Thanks
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Old 04-10-2011, 00:19   #12
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Very cool.
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Old 04-10-2011, 01:48   #13
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Re: Adding a Bowsprit

You wouldn't need to make a huge extension to add significant sail area.

Just to clarify, Im assuming you want upwind only sails.

A four foot alloy extension would give a significant luff area for your new sail (note the word new) get a light weight sail made that has good light weather shape to fly and not only will the sail area up front settle your weather helm but if the sail is made for light air it should help the flow around your other heavier sails which always struggle in low wind as they are designed to be able to handle a large wind range and therefore are much heavier than specific light weather sails. once the winds up to 5-8kt you shouldn't need the new light sail anyway.
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Old 04-10-2011, 03:15   #14
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Re: Adding a Bowsprit

Thanks for the replies.

firstly i will most certainly have the bowsprit made from timber, and one piece not laminated. She is a old timber boat and that is how she will stay. Secondly i feel the easiest way to get better sailing out of her (in light and heavy winds) would be to add a smallish bowsprit(4-6ft) and have a roller furler or a slightly larger heady. however i want to employ an attitude of 'hands on sailing' by which i am happy to take up, clip on, clip off and deal with all the hassels of multiple sail arrangements in all types of weather conditions. I am thinking moitessier type sailing. For these reasons i am thinking a bowsprit of atleast 6-8ft with two forstays, one from the end of the sprit to the top of the main and the other from the bow to three quarters up the main) and several different jibs. some for 15+ knots and sometimes just to run a A symentrical in lighter winds. I need a timber type that will be slightly flexible (seems my timber boat will swing and groaning) yet light as possible (obviously). I loved the idea of the mule. I had never seen on before but thought it was great.
Thanks for any help given.
Niki from Gwenn a Du.
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Old 05-10-2011, 11:49   #15
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Re: Adding a Bowsprit

interesting discussion...i made a bowsprit recently...i used a timber called "cardinal wood"...apparently it comes from columbia...it is extremely heavy, strong, but surprisingly flexible...and full of oil...so no varnishing...it has weathered a little now and it looks great.

re balancing your sails...it is all about getting the center of effort about 20% forward of the center of lateral resistance...so your boat's designer will have made those calculations so adding sail forward is likely to thro off the balance, espcially going to windward. my guess is that too much sail and you will end up with lee helm when heading up. however, on a broad reach or a run it should work perfectly. who wants to beat to windward anyway?!

i added a bowsprit because they look great on the right boat, and yours looks perfect for one. add a little netting on the sides and you've got a great platform to sit on while you slice through those crystal clear waters...oh the dream!
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