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Old 24-09-2021, 14:17   #31
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Re: A circular bar room argument... how do fixed bowsprits make sense?

Was in a race when a bow spirited yacht had a port/starboard incident. The bowsprit broke inside the cabin of the other and it took a bit of effort to separate.
Next day both were racing again one with splints and a bandage. All kept well clear.
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Old 24-09-2021, 14:30   #32
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Re: A circular bar room argument... how do fixed bowsprits make sense?

Cost. It’s a lot cheaper to run out a sprit 4-10’ than to build a hull that much longer.
No you don’t get the waterline but you get a lot of the benefit. Also you get the sail area without the weight of the longer hull.

It keeps the upfront cost of building/buying the boat down. In the long run you pay more in moorage for a given sized boat. Since you are trading long-term living volume for initial price it’s an apple to oranges comparison.
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Old 24-09-2021, 16:00   #33
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Re: A circular bar room argument... how do fixed bowsprits make sense?

Fixed bowsprits seemed like a good idea to those who based their ideas on creating weatherly, seaworthy, and fast, load carrying vessels on thousands of years of accumulated experience. But then, they were sailing on the old fashioned traditional ocean. Those of us sailing on the up-to-minute, digital, 21st century ocean know that fixed sprints have no place on today's "perfect combination of entertainment platform and performance luxury yacht".
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Old 24-09-2021, 17:40   #34
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Re: A circular bar room argument... how do fixed bowsprits make sense?

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The principal reason for using a bowsprit on a fore'n'aft rig is to enable a boat of given lines to carry more sail than a boat without a bowsprit can.

"Given lines" means that for this discussion displacement is held steady, thus the arguments in prior posts referring to "heavy boats" are not relevant.

Holding displacement steady will mean that more canvas will be reflected in the Sail Area/Displacement ratio. TrentePieds, a five tonner with a 25 foot LWL, has a SA/D of 13. For all intents and purposes she is "permanently reefed". In light airs, which prevail on the vast majority of summer and autumn days in the Salish Sea, she would perform far, far better if her SA/D were 26! I cannot achieve that on her hull without going to a gaff rig with a bowsprit.

Believe me! I've done the calculations, and the sail plan drawings, a number of times :-).

Those of us who hail from locations with long - centuries long - sailing traditions behind us have no fear of sprits, nor indeed of boats that can carry very considerably more canvas than can the modern "cruiser/racers". Part of the reason for that is that we know how to rig a boat so she may be adequately reefed, how to do the reefing BEFORE the stormy winds do blow, and how to predict betimes just WHEN the stormy winds WILL blow :-)

The vast majority of sailormen extant today have gone to sea during the last half century or so, and is therefore conversant only with factory built "cookie cutter" cruiser/racers" intended to sell in to a mass market. That is just fine but explains how threads such as this one come into being :-)!

Here, for your enjoyment, is a video of a boat with a luvverly sprit:



But be not deceived - what boat handling you learn in, say, a Hunter 41 is not sufficient to sail a Bád Mór

Nostalgically,

TrentePieds
Thank Goodness! I was beginning to despair that all the posters were not addressing the actual design concept or naval architecture of bowsprits.

The other answers on this thread initially seem to have missed the point completely. However, once you realize that the question actually being asked is really, "How will having a bowsprit benefit my weekend yachting". Then most other advices on this thread makes quite good sense.
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Old 24-09-2021, 18:09   #35
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Re: A circular bar room argument... how do fixed bowsprits make sense?

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Originally Posted by Scaramanga F25 View Post
I have cruised several years on a boat with a bowsprit. Dangerous sail handling and a weak part of the rigging.. I was a necessity on my 32 foot cutter that had slack bilges and could not support a more efficient taller rig. A few of these boats lost their mast offshore and were abandoned.
I don't understand the dangerous sail handling comment.

Sounds more like a sailor issue.
Nothing difficult about it. Sail is drawn up a forestay, there is a net under you, few boats, or a platform and pulpit.
What's the problem?

As well shorter masts less efficient up wind.
Yes, but these shorter masts are stronger in heavier wind and carry more load because of the shortened stick.
Much less time or requirement to reef because usually you don't reef.
You lower sail or change headsails.

These boats best sail point isn't up wind, it's a beam and reach, different conditions altogether. These boats are purpose driven.

Like thinking an orange tastes like an apple because it's fruit, a Drunken argument at best.

Those that own these boats, do so for a reason, and mostly it's not appearance.
That argument of ownership is for appearance, shows that the commenter is uninformed.

That's okay cause that's why this forum exists.
They Are pretty though, so there is some envy there, understandable.
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Old 24-09-2021, 19:39   #36
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Re: A circular bar room argument... how do fixed bowsprits make sense?

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A bar room argument is one that has no right answer but can be argued for hours on a barstool with no one caring too much about the outcome.

I've been thinking about fixed bowsprits and the arguments to support them keep going in circles. So here's my bar room argument for today. Why do fixed bowsprits make sense???

Why have a bowsprit at all?
Well, it extends the foot of a sail beyond the deck so you have more sail area of course!
Why do you need more sail area?
Because the boat is very heavy and it needs more canvas to get moving...
Ok, but if you have a heavy boat, wouldn't increasing the length of the hull provide more displacement to carry that weight AND give you more sail area?
But when you build a longer hull, you increase weight and need more sail area... so then you have to build a bowsprit...

And we go in a circle.

Another argument goes like this...

Why do you have a bowsprit?
Well, I can have a smaller boat, but have way more sail area of a much larger boat!
Yah... but don't you pay for slips, winter storage and canvas based on the overall length?
Hmmm... yeah, that is more expensive.
But you get the performance limitations/drag of a short water line, right?
Hmmm... yeah... that too.
But it looks pretty!

So from my bar stool, I can't think of a good case for a fixed bowsprit other than, "They look pretty." I keep coming to the conclusion that the boat is designed too heavy and I'll end up paying more for less performance. Feel free to support or oppose that opinion, I'm not attached to it.

(Please note, retractable bowsprits for downwind sails are not in scope.)


FWIW, I have no horse in this race, I was just pondering this last night while looking at pictures of a couple pretty boats.
Chicks dig them.
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Old 24-09-2021, 19:54   #37
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Re: A circular bar room argument... how do fixed bowsprits make sense?

Can't believe I bought this boat recently with a bowsprit after not having a boat with one since 1973. Dementia has set in I guess. She's very pretty though. The wraps around the sailcover are due to swallow nesting season. Brisbane boatbuilder Mike Regan put approx 6000hrs and 10 years into building her as a memorial to his 7 yr old son. Launched 2003. Lots of bronze on this one, it's everywhere and he showed me dozens of the patterns he's kept. Yet to find any stainless on her. Surprisingly she is quite fast in light winds and feels 10ft longer at sea because of the heavy displacement I guess. Will pass it on to another caretaker when the time comes. Just about to put 3 coats of varnish on the mast..... an annual event.
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Old 24-09-2021, 20:52   #38
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Re: A circular bar room argument... how do fixed bowsprits make sense?

In a circular bar room there are no corner tables.
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Old 24-09-2021, 21:01   #39
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Re: A circular bar room argument... how do fixed bowsprits make sense?

Well, what a wonderful thread THIS has been after all the palaver about pandemics and politics!

BARKEEP - SET THEM UP AGAIN :-)!!

TP
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Old 24-09-2021, 21:07   #40
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Re: A circular bar room argument... how do fixed bowsprits make sense?

Bow sprits originally came into being as a way to add sail area. A taller mast would also add sail area but rigs were not strong enough to support taller masts so we went to lower aspect ratio sail plans, with sprits.

But by now we have become enamored with the "look" of the old boats but that does not mean they are fast or efficient.

OK, they look gorgeous. Two of them together is a fantastic bit of nostalgia, but add a modern boat and they are hopelessly out-classed in every category except looks.

For a day on the bay, reaching back and forth in front of the harbor entrance it is great. Try to sail 20 miles to windward and you need two days.

So better go with a sloop and a tall mast (they are also gorgeous) .

Now, about bowsprits on a modern boat:

You don't need them if you have an overlapping genoa. You have all the sail area you need. But if you have a sloop with a non-overlapping jib, OK then a sprit and a flying sail helps off the wind (lots of messing around though).

On our boat we use a genoa upwind and downwind we use either a symmetrical kite with pole or an asymmetrical. For deep downwind sailing we use a pole on the assym.

So, if you are into looks and romanticism go with a long sprit. If you want to really sail, get a tall mast skip the sprit.

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Old 24-09-2021, 22:14   #41
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Re: A circular bar room argument... how do fixed bowsprits make sense?

As is often the case, it depends on what you plan to do with your boat. Racing around buoys? long term cruising in the low latitudes ? how much time do you spend in a marina berth ? How much crew will you need?
In my case I would not add a fixed bowsprit as it would add to my marina fees but a retractable bowsprit is definitely a possibility as it reduces crew size vs handling spinnaker poles ,
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Old 24-09-2021, 22:25   #42
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Re: A circular bar room argument... how do fixed bowsprits make sense?

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As is often the case, it depends on what you plan to do with your boat. Racing around buoys? long term cruising in the low latitudes ? how much time do you spend in a marina berth ? How much crew will you need?
In my case I would not add a fixed bowsprit as it would add to my marina fees but a retractable bowsprit is definitely a possibility as it reduces crew size vs handling spinnaker poles ,
I think with your boat you do not need any bowsprit to fly an asymmetrical spinnaker since your bow itself is pretty far out ahead of your waterline. Just tack the spinnaker to the bow near the anchor roller (inside the pulpit).

If you want to sail really deep then a spinnaker pole to bring the tack back will be helpful. Mostly it is not needed
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Old 24-09-2021, 22:39   #43
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Re: A circular bar room argument... how do fixed bowsprits make sense?

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genuine long bowsprit puts your sailplan focus on downwind/tradewind sailing.
Sprit gives plenty of room for Twinhead sails of a cutter rig.
Sprit thrusts your largest pulling sails into clean air ahead of the main and any mizzen.
Sprit moves the center of effort forward, helping to balance the boat and keep the Stern light in following waves in sporty tradewind conditions.
Sprit Increases the possible foot length of the foretriangle, then you can reduce the aspect ratio and mast height. reduces the workload on crew as well as rolling of the boat.
Low aspect-ratio rig is terrible for upwind/ downwind around the buoys racing, but very helpful for long distance downwind tradewind following seas conditions.

A nephew of Lyle Hess helped me install an 8 foot retractable bowsprit on my Santa Cruz 27 in 1990. It was a good way to help that boat on the spinnaker runs while keeping my marina cost to a minimum. My boat was as fast as a Santa Cruz 50, but difficult to control due to the massive power we could carry with only the tiny thin racing keel.

Lots of good characteristics of bowsprits given, all of which applied to the old square-riggers, not so much to small yachts.
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Old 24-09-2021, 22:52   #44
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Re: A circular bar room argument... how do fixed bowsprits make sense?

Dear wingssail. Putting an asymmetric on my bow would not cut it. It would have very limited use or sailing angle. An asymmetric needs to be well out front to work properly. A properly designed bowsprit with an asymmetrical has been tested against spinnaker poles on one designed boats in regattas and found to be pretty much equal. However handling is much easier and less crew is required with the bowsprit/asymmetric option.
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Old 25-09-2021, 00:39   #45
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Re: A circular bar room argument... how do fixed bowsprits make sense?

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I think with your boat you do not need any bowsprit to fly an asymmetrical spinnaker since your bow itself is pretty far out ahead of your waterline. Just tack the spinnaker to the bow near the anchor roller (inside the pulpit).

If you want to sail really deep then a spinnaker pole to bring the tack back will be helpful. Mostly it is not needed
on many boats you can get away with flying an A-sail off the bow, but always provided you do not want to gybe

to gybe satisfactorily you always need a bowsprit (and please don't talk to me about outside gybes !)

cheers,

(oh and to sail really deep you just need to go faster ! )
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