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Old 28-07-2015, 11:06   #1
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Looking for gaff rigged sailing tips

I am the lucky owner of a gaff rigged 14'9" reproduction of a Tuckup sailboat. I have experience as a windsurfer but dinghy sailing is new to me and I am looking for gaff rigged experienced sailors to compare notes with on some of the unique aspects of sailing with these classic sails.

This is a website that gives a good introduction to them:
Tuckups Homepage

Thanks very much,
Jim Lee
14'9" Delaware Bay Tuckup

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Old 28-07-2015, 18:31   #2
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Location: Hudson Valley N.Y.
Boat: contessa 32
Posts: 816
Re: Looking for gaff rigged sailing tips

Cool looking craft,looks like a lot of sail area so I would want the 2 reefs pictured in photos. Dingy sailing is total fun and with what appears to be a narrow beam the crew ill be lively hiking out to prevent capsizes.

Gaff rig is easy rig and a terror off the wind…going to windward will do OK if throat and peak halyards are hauled tight. Too much wind? just "scandalize" the main by releasing the peak halyard ;this is really your !st reef, and when the gust passes ,haul tight again.
I sailed a gaff sharpie many years, had a trailer and like your boat she made a great camp-cruiser with the addition of a boom tent. I am envious. Stay with tis boat and your future will be filled with fun…………………….mike…………………...

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Old 06-08-2015, 11:57   #3
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Location: Portland, Maine
Boat: 1970 hinckley 38
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Re: Looking for gaff rigged sailing tips

the key to good sail shape on a gaff rig is the halyard tension. you have 2 halyards, the throat at the inboard end of the gaff and the peak at the outboard end of the gaff. when you get the sail up the sail shouldn't be baggy. if you have a crease running up towards the peak end then the peak halyard is too tight, if you have a crease running up towards the throat end then the throat halyard is too tight also downwind most gaff rigs will develop a crease running up towards the peak end up the sail so a slight ease of the peak halyard is usually necessary to maintain good sail shape. also. understand that gaff rigs do not paint anywhere near as high as a marconi rig.
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Old 06-08-2015, 15:37   #4
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Re: Looking for gaff rigged sailing tips

Thanks for the comments. I am reading 'the craft of sail' by Jan Adkins which looks like an excellent book for a neophyte such as I.

I am fortunate in that I have a lake locally in which I can learn that during the summer has winds varying from absolutely nothing (yesterday!) to 5-9knot winds. Sometimes its interesting to see how little wind I can keep the boat moving in. I windsurfed for many years so that experience helps but it is different sitting down and balancing a rather tender boat. I am learning both how and where to move on my boat and in spite of wishing I was about 20 years younger I am progressing. On a windsurfing board it is simpler in a way because you are always standing and moving your feet and hips is a pretty intuitive process...or at least becomes one after some practice.

One challenge that the lake presents is gusts and wind direction changes. I am learning about 'weather helm' where a gust of wind will turn the boat strongly to wind. I alway thought that was the strangest feeling on a sailboat where a gust comes up and you have to swing the tiller hard to keep going on course. I think that I read somewhere that weather helm is particularly pronounced on catboats. Is there any way to minimize 'weather helm'? When a quick gust comes up it is one time that I feel that the boat has been taken out of my control.

Thanks very much,
Jim Lee
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