Rigs & Rigging

For dialogue relating to rigs and rigging, read on.

In order to submit a new question, click on “Cruisers Q&A” in the sidebar, whereupon you’ll find a form you can use.

Wharram style “soft wing sail” viability on a monohull

Hi Steve,

I am designing a rig for a 42′ cruiser (monohull). Due to the nature of the hull I need a lot of sail area and a low center of effort. James Wharram, about 20 years ago, developed what he calls a “soft wing sail”. It is a gaff rig with the leading 1/4 of the sail made up as a sock which slides over the mast, in place of hoops, lacing, etc.
It’s obviously efficient aerodynamically.

My concern is that friction between the sail and mast could cause problems with reefing/dropping the sail. Wharram has been using the design now for decades and says that there is no problem, that it can be dropped on any point of sail. He has lots of boats sailing with this rig.

It seems to me that if this works on a cat it should work on a mono as well. I’ve crunched the numbers on rigging loads and mast compression and these can be made to work.

I’d greatly appreciate your thoughts any any experience you have to share on how this rig might work on a mono.

Regards, Paul

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (June 23, 2009)    |    Comments (2)

Furling Line Control

Can a ratchet block be used in order to control the release of a furling line? The 44′ boat I recently purchased uses a small diameter spectra line for furling, and if and when it takes off in a breeze, it can do great damage to the hands! If you let it go, it usually kinks in the aft furling block. Thanks, Ted

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Roller-Furling Headsail Halyard

Gentlemen: For years we have been setting our headsail on a roller furler and, once tightened to the desired deployment, have simply cleated the jib halyard off to remain at the same tightness until we changed the headsail. It has been suggested that the jib halyard should be loosened when the boat is not in use, to be tightened again when the jib is deployed. Are we doing any significant damage to the standing rigging, the roller furling gear or the luff of the jib/genoa by failing to release the halyard when the boat is not in use? Thank you. J.P. Anderson

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Stoboom Parts

We have a Stoboom on our Bristol sloop and I would like to keep and maintain it for some time to come. When we bought the boat several years ago, the sage wisdom from the people we spoke with was to ditch the Stoboom and go back to a conventional boom/sail rig.

We have got used to using the Stoboom and really would like to keep it in good shape. Any idea where we might find a source of parts for it? We have been unable to find anything on the Internet or by contacting Hood. Also concerned about eventual deterioration of the sail track over time. Thanks. – Roger

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Furler Vs. Hank-on

A couple of quick questions:

How much has your boat slowed down with furling sails vs. non-furling sails? Do you foresee any major problems with furling vs. hank-on for serious offshore work? How do you plan to douse the sails if the furler jams?

Thanks again for your time. God Bless, Dr. Kirk

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Chafe-Backstay

Steve, I kept your 2 big books (Cruising Encyclopedia and Weather book) on the shelf, frankly afraid of them: they are so big, they intimidated meÉ So I kept reading smaller, easier to finish books for the past 3 years. Finally I gathered the courage to open your cruising encyclopedia and now I canÕt put it down: I donÕt even play spades on the computer anymore.

The fact is that I closed today on my first "big boat", is a 1989 Hylas 44, called Delta Tango, soon to be named "Alegria". I stopped working (or maybe my companyÕs business decided to slow down to the point that it stopped me) and plan to prepare to sail with her (my wife and Alegria) for the rest. Will shake down to Bermuda and BVI, afterwards going anywhere but including Alaska, Hawaii, Palmyra, Tonga, Tahiti, Western Europe, etc. I am 54, have some time to cruise, hopefully. Your book provides me with a lot of info that I intend to use to equip, improve and secure her. Your first advice in the book (donÕt start buying things and changing them around until you sailed for a while) is great advice. But hard to follow by someone like me who is always trying to improve things (and people, just ask my wife and kids!).

I called Hood and they prepared an estimate on a Vektron Main, reacher, stay sail and storm main. Initially I thought on getting the main (full batten, 5 of them), to go over the back stay, then I chicken out, now I am back on the first idea, making it elliptical, overlapping the back stay by some 8 inches. If it chafes, I guess I can cut it down to regular size. This is not a particulary fast boat, so I need all the sail I can get. I talked to the riggers at Nance & Ubderwood to build the baby stay and runners. Thank you for any advice you can give me. Regards, Pablo

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Rod Rigging Fatigue

Hello Steve, I have a decision to make now on my new rig.

I have a brand new carbon fibre spar. It is 56′ long, double spreaders with discontinuous rod standing rigging.

The shrouds terminate with stemballs in the spreader bars (i.e. no tangs in the spar except for the cap shrouds).

The shroud stemballs cannot be removed while the spreaders are in place, which means that if I had a shroud problem, it would be impossible to change while the mast is standing.

Navtec has a part which is a stemball with a marine eye on the other end. This means I could have forks on the ends of the shrouds, which are pinned to the stemball eyes, which are embedded in the spreader bars. This would allow me to change a broken shroud while under way.

My question is: Should I bother? With rod rigging, are there signs of fatigue, like with meat hooks etc. in wire? If I broke a shroud, say a D3 or V2 or D2, or something, would the spar already be broken and changing the shroud is now meaningless? Obviously if a V1 broke, the mast would snap instantly, so we don’t have to talk about that. More clearly stated: is there any circumstance that would prompt me to want to replace a rod shroud while away from a harbour and a mast crane?

The stemball eyes would likely add maybe 2 or three pounds to the rig, and add the complexity of a dozen extra bits and pieces.

I want to sail across an ocean (and back) some time in the next few years or so. – Ryan

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (2)

Single-Line Reefing (Continued)

In Steve & Linda Dashew’s 6Sept 2000 report they discussed new sails and closed with a comment that they had gone for a single-line reefing system–“details in a later bulletin”. I don’t recall seeing such an article–either in the logs or in Tech Talk. Did I miss it, or is it still to come? Regards, Mike

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Rope to Winch Angle

Dear Mr. Dashew: A few years ago, I bought your book Offshore Cruising Encyclopedia and found it most informative. For the past 3 years I have been building a Baltek Superlite balsa/epoxy 50′ Simonis-designed catamaran here in Johannesburg, South Africa. We have never sailed or owned a boat before, and every day we find new challenges and unique problems that we have to overcome. We are building this boat 600 kilometers from the nearest port with no experienced folk anywhere in sight. Despite these handicaps, so far I think we have managed pretty good, and day by day we are getting closer to our dream. We are now close to finishing the hull, deck and bulkheads. After this we will then commence with the deck hardware and internal fitting.

The purpose of my email: I cannot find any readily available information either in your book or elsewhere on the Internet providing details regarding the rope to winch (Lewmar – self tailing) angle. I am referring to the genoa rope – at what angle to the winch drum should this rope connect? I would imagine that the rope should meet the drum at about 90 degrees – but I am not sure.

You must be extremely busy but your advice will be greatly appreciated. Regards, Wiets W

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Ketch for Bruce Roberts 38

Dear Mr. Dashew, Your books are most informative, thank you for writing them. I have recently inherited a steel Bruce Roberts 38 built by an uncle who was a professional fitter/welder. I like the boat, but do not favor its ketch rig. Reading your work, it has occurred to me that I might convert the rig to a mast forward sloop.

At the present time I do not want to replace the entire rig. However, in preparation for a 6 month Bahamas–Chesapeake cruise I need to replace the main and one headsail anyway.

So, here is my question. Am I likely to benefit from removing the mizzen and replacing the main with a much larger big roach full batten sail, keeping the current mast in its present position (13ft from bow, LOD 38)?

Knowledgeable friends tell me that there are many complex balance and stability factors involved. I question this because I can balance the boat without the mizzen on most points of sail over a fairly wide range of wind speed. As for stability, I would not increase mast height. With a P36ft/E14ft I can almost match the sail area if I go with a big roach mainsail.

I contacted Bruce Roberts but was dissatisfied with the response as they only wanted to sell me plans for a traditional cutter rig.

If the conversion has merit can a good rigger/sailmaker help me work out the details or would I need to involve a naval architect? Any recommendations? I’m in Florida. Thanks, Beau

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Mainsail Handling Systems

We are recent owners of a ’67 boat and sometimes find the hoisting/handling of the main to be cumbersome if not downright difficult. What modifications/solutions can you recommend? What of main furling system? Thank you. Best regards, Phil

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (1)

Leaks via Mast

Hi Steve, Good articles on leaks…

I’ve never had mast collar leaks…but what I do have is rain water getting into the mast, I guess through the halyard exits etc., which accumulates in the bilge…any suggestions as to how to cure that kind of leak?? Cheers, Alan

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (4)

Baby Stays

My rigging includes a baby stay that is attached just under the 1st spreader. My mast has 54 foot “I” and two spreaders. This is the first boat I have had with a baby stay, so I am not sure why with this rigging I need one. I would like to take it off for more forward deck room. What are the trade offs? And when would I most likey need the baby stay?

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Sloop to Ketch

I’ve enjoyed reading the Q&A on rigs on your site…and have a question…I wonder if this is the way to communicate it?

I have a 60′ aluminum centerboard boat–very French looking. I love the boat but the rig is a handful. The mast came out of Fortuna Light–a Whitbread boat from the 80s. It’s very beefy, but also very tall–about 80′ off the water. I put a Harken track on the main so it’s not too bad to handle, although it takes a while to get it up. The headsails are a lot of work though. The boat has a fairly healthy weather helm (I’ve experienced worse, for sure) but the main is old, a bit baggy and has been cut and recut quite a few times. All in all, the sail area is generous, and I could probably get by with a little less.

What I’d like to do is re-rig the boat as a ketch, with nearly equal masts. Do you think I can get the mast height down to around 60-65′? There would be two natural places for masts, about 10-12′ fore and aft of the current mast. Can I use those spots and then design the sails to provide a balanced center of effort? Is this worthwhile or would I be better off buying electric halyard and Genoa winches? All the best, Willy R

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Norseman Fittings and Holland Yachts

Once again thanks for the great books. I’ve had the Offshore Cruising Encyclopedia for a year or so and have just been given Surviving the Storm as a present…One more to go, but Christmas is near.

Just a quick one: I’m in Hong Kong at the moment and am looking for my next yacht to start kitting out for some extended cruising in the region. I have found a slightly run down Formosa 55′. Seems to be mostly cosmetic. The older wooden masts have been replaced by alloy ones but have not been fitted yet. The fittings have all been kept as have the terminals (look like Norseman to me), and seem to be in good order.

The point being, if I replace all the rigging, can I still use the fittings and fit new terminals? It needs new canvas as well. The cost as seen is about US$45,000. I have never sailed this type of yacht before although I have been sailing for 25 odd years and have worked on many boats over the years.

I have another option buying a 1986 Ron Holland design 52′ sloop extremely well kitted out, very sound, and extremely rugged. This however is around US$153,000. Both will be sailed by two people most of the time.

Any ideas or suggestions based on your vast experience would be great. Happy Christmas to you all–Mac.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Junk Rigs

After watching your Offshore Cruising Video, I happened to see a picture of a ketch rigged with junk sails. One reminded me of the other. Is that where you got the idea for the fully battened sails front and rear? I sure do like that combination. Do you think it would work for a 40 ft. boat? What is your opinion of junk rigged cruising sailboats? Sidney

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Roller Reefing #4?

Hi Steve, I’m ordering a #4 for my J120 which I intend to sail from the Caribbean back to the States this spring. The boat is set up for roller furling on the headstay.

My question: Does it make any sense to put reinforcement in the #4 so it can be rolled up to storm jib size? I do have a storm jib, but think it would be easier to set the trysail and the #4 when the wind gets over 25 knots, and progressively roll up the #4 as the wind builds. Easier — but impractical?

I’d be most interested in your comments. Love your books (I’ve got ’em all). Cheers, David

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Vortex Reduction

Hi Steve and Linda, Thanks for all of the excellent books and tapes on you adventures. They have been a great help. I have noticed the winglets on airplane wings over the last few years. Has any one tried making a “plate” at the top of the mast, maybe using carbon fiber as a frame covered with sail cloth, to form a device which would reduce the vortexes created by a headsail & main combination? If if would work with a plate on each side of the mast, to tending would be needed during tacking or gybing. Asked my sailmaker about it but he deals with racers more than cruisers, so he is not too interested in the idea. Since you seem to be interested in making cruisers go faster with less effort, thought this idea might be for you. Thanks for thinking about it. Crawford

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Ketch to Sloop

Hi Steve, Along with other boats, I’ve been looking at a 47-foot ketch that has 454 sq.ft. in the foretriangle, 416 in the main (only one set of spreaders) and 182 in the mizzen. As the mizzen represents only 17% of sail area, by your recommendations on pg.645 of the Encyclopedia, this sail is more decorative than useful and the boat would probably be better rigged as a sloop with a removable inner forestay. If the mizzen were removed and a second set of spreaders added to the main mast to support the inner forestay, could this boat be expected to sail just as before? Or, is it more likely that the main mast would have to be moved aft and both the main and headsail be replaced? Thx for your comments, DM

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Catamaran Rig Options

I recently read an article from Forespar, showing that your 78 foot Beowulf is using their AeroRigging spars. My question to you is, does this set up support less maintenance, ease of sailing? Also, I am very close to ordering a 46′ Prout Catamaran, and I am considering my custom rigging options. Which way would you go: Carbon Fibre Spars and Poles AeroRig Furlaway E-Z Furl? I will primarily be the only sailor aboard. Would you please share some of your tried and true experiences with me regarding the way you would go in this situation? Rory

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Split Rigs for 40-footers

I am thinking of building or buying a 40-ft yacht for long-distance bluewater cruising with a small family crew. Can you please give me some input to the rigging systems you have for your yachts? I have read some of your most interesting topics in Tech Talk–is there any for the 2-masted rigging? I’m very impressed with your boats. Yours, Bosse

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Slab Reefing

Hi, I’ve just purchased a 1975 Westerly Centaur (and yes, I don’t plan on getting anywhere quickly). The boat has its original rigging including a roller-reefing boom. I would like to employ some sort of basic slab reefing type approach, but there are no reef hooks and there doesn’t appear to be an blocks on the stern end of the boom for running lines to the clew of each reef. Can I just mount all of this on the present boom and run appropriate lines? If I can mount such hardware, would I rivet it onto the boom? Or do I need to think about a new boom (I really don’t want to buy a new boom). Thanks! – Arthur

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Single-Line Reefing

Dear Steve: I read your comment regarding your new single-line reefing system and your intention to write about it ( 6Sept 2000 article). Have you done that somewhere? I’m in New Zealand rethinking my reefing system and sail controls in general and I’d be interested in your thoughts. One of the riggers here is telling me that he has good luck on big boats with single-line reefing, so I’m tempted to try it. My boat is only 52 feet, so he thinks it would be no problem. Randy

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Removing the Mizzen

I am restoring a 1980 Cheoy Lee 44 Ketch. She currently has wood spars. I have been considering having a taller main aluminum mast made with a longer boom and removing the mizzen all together, running her as a sloop. Is this possible? P.S. Love your books!! Best Regards, Larry

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Rigging Costs

My husband and I are in the process of buying our first boat ever. We plan to live aboard while we learn to sail. I found a 1972 Challenger 40 for $29,000. It has a 13’10” beam and is really well laid out–we’d be quite comfortable living in it. However, it needs all of the rigging replaced. We just read an article in Cruising World about the costs of refitting a boat which gave a rigging replacement estimate of $10,000. In your opinion, do you think this would be worth it? We don’t mind investing elbow grease and gear costs, but we also don’t want to “go down with the ship” on this! Thank you! Erin

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Staysail Stay Made of Kevlar

Dear Mr. Dashew: November 2001 Sail magazine contains an article by naval architect Roger Marshall titled "Seamanship in High Winds" in which he states (page 36), “…I believe that every boat that is intending to go offshore should have a staysail stay, possibly made of aramid, on which to set the storm jib.” My question concerns the nature of such a staysail stay made of aramid. Could this be as simple as an aramid halyard attached to a folding padeye on deck made tight with a winch? (Assuming the geometry of the aramid halyard/staysail stay would be acceptable using the topping lift sheave, for example.) If so, such an arrangement might appeal to coastal cruisers such as myself, who would like to have the option of using a hanked-on storm jib on a staysail stay but have difficulty justifying a conventional staysail stay installation due to its low frequency or probability of use.

If my understanding, as set out above, of what Mr. Marshall intends is correct, how satisfactory would such an arrangement be in actual use? Do you believe this would be a good option for coastal cruisers such as myself? (I realize the scope of my question ignores additional important considerations like keeping the mast in column, possibly using running backstays or swept-back spreaders, etc. and the structural concerns of the deck handling the loads.) If such an installation is a reasonable approach, I am sure you can see the potential appeal for some cruisers. If one were lucky, installation might be as simple as installing a folding padeye on deck, replacing the topping lift with aramid line run to an appropriate winch (assuming the topping lift sheave is located opposite upper swept back spreaders) and buying a storm jib with hanks. Wishful thinking? As always, thank you for your assistance.—Downing Mears

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Single Line Reefing

Dear Steve, We are building a 46ft cat for live-aboard offshore cruising and have been studying and contemplating your writings with relish…We are ready for rig quotes and have been considering single line reefing – mostly to reduce the number of lines in the cockpit. Our last cat had simple slab reefing with luff & leach lines returning to the cockpit, and it worked very well.

We are concerned about adding complications and are unsure how to do it so, & that if anything goes wrong inside the boom we can fix it easily. Most people we have asked have thought it was OK in smaller boats, but weren’t confident to recommend it for as powerful a rig as ours.

Our cat is ‘a mainsail boat’ with 75sqm main with big roach like Beowulf, and self-tacking jib.

I am wondering if you could tell us how you set up single-line reefing in Beowulf and whether you have any more information or impressions that would help us.

Best wishes with your new project. – Sandy S

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Furlers: Profurl vs. Schafer

Hi! I was wanting to ask Steve if he compared Profurl to Schafer furlers and if so, why he chose Profurl?…Thanks.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Deck Organizers

I am continuing to work on re-fitting my Columbia 45 with Mike Conner’s continued assistance.

We are beginning to engineer running halyards and lines back to my cockpit. I have main, jib and spinnaker halyards as well as the spinnaker topping lift halyard. My current main has one set of reef points and I intend to have two sets when I build my next main, so I am planning for two reefing lines. We would like to know whether I should plan to run these six lines back to the cockpit or if there are additional ones that should go back as well. If we run more than six, we are aware of deck organizers that stack the lines so four can run back with two on top of two.

Do you recommend for or against stacking lines with deck organizers?

Can you give a recommendation on which lines/halyards you most strongly recommend running back to the cockpit? Thank you for your input. – Eric

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Yawl Rigs

In your new weather book, do you cover storm tactics in a yawl? On a mizzen staysail where do you place the clue? We are thinking of getting a mizzen staysail for our Crealock 37. The mizzen mast is about 21′ tall, is this too small for a mizzen spinnaker or stay with the staysail? Thanks, Dave

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Mainsail Track Systems

Hi Steve and Linda: You may remember me as a contributor Surviving the Storm (RAMTHA Photos). We have purchased a Gitana 43 IOR-type yacht in order to undertake our planned extended cruise to the Northern Hemisphere starting 2004. The yacht is well proven with 5 Atlantic crossings and South Pacific passages since she was launched in Cape Town in 1981. We are now planning her refit. We intend unstepping the aluminium mast and closely inspecting the rig. This raises several questions as to how much we upgrade the mast systems and we would value your comments.

We intend keeping the slab reefing system but see potential in a low friction track system with Bat Cars. The mast currently has the original track where the slugs are flat and slide inside a track that is riveted on to the mast. The same system used for most trysails. The question is: Is there any major advantage or gain in upgrading to a low-friction track system with batten cars or should we continue with the existing system and be happy with the fact that the last third of the main needs to be hauled down by hand? The reefing is done at the mast. We intend adding lazy jacks and like the look of boom bags instead of a standard sail cover. Regards, Lindsay and Lynley Turvey

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Fractional Rigs for Cruising

Dear Steve, Thank you for taking the time to read our email. We are selling our home to buy a yacht to cruise the oceans to enjoy our time together. I’m a marine mechanic specializing in power boat refits. I have limited sailing experience and Karen has even less.

We are currently shopping for a yacht with the intentions of learning on the boat we will be cruising on. We have your books and recently purchased a video you appear in (Heavy Weather Sailing), we found it all very exciting and informative. We are planning on spending the next year or three learning and doing all the necessary courses to become competent offshore sailors.
The yachts we are looking at are mainly masthead rigs but we have come across a fractional (Farr 1104) which shows a lot of potential as a cruiser/live-on.

Although you suggest water length to be main consideration, this is the largest within our price range. I am aware of the sailing differences between fractional and masthead after reading your books, but I have no experience sailing on fractional rigs and am not sure of the difference of rig strength.

The type of yachts we are looking at are:

Duncanson 35′ Masthead
Northshore 33′ Masthead
Farr 36′ Fractional

Just once again thank you for your time and valued advice. – Alen S

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Mast Loads when Sailing without a Main

Dear Steve and Linda: Cate and I were arguing last night about sailing w/o a main. She thinks that it can damage the rig. My not-so-engineering mind didn’t think so provided there was plenty of backstay support. Saw a few illustrations in Surviving the Storm where boats were sailing w/o a main. What do you think?

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Repair of Broken Mast

Hi Steve, I recently broke my mast on my 41 foot sloop and I am in a quandary in what to do. A new mast is pretty expensive and I am trying to avoid getting a new mast.

Some people have suggested that I sleeve and rivet the mast together (splice). I am not convinced if this method would have long-term advantages.

My mast broke right around the 1st spreaders with a relatively clean cut. It was a fractional rig. The aluminum mast is about 54 feet long. Do you think that a repair would be wise if done properly or would it be prudent to get a new mast if the budget permits? Thanks, Joey

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Baby Stay Downwind

Hi Steve: Question: I have a double spreader rig on a Beneteau First 375. Gybing downwind with the babystay means you have to remove the pole from the mast toggle and move it around the other side of the babystay to complete the gybe (somewhat of a pain). Do I need the baby stay downwind? Can’t I loosen it off so it could be bungied back to the mast and then do a dip pole gybe using tweakers, with two sets of sheets and guys? It seems that would be easier shorthanded, Thanks again, Gord

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Using a Roller Furling Headsail Upwind

Hello, In your rigs and rigging section, you mention using the Profurl 4000 free flying furler. Can that furler be set tight enough to work for use up wind sail?

Don Street, in his valuable book The Ocean Sailing Yacht, mentions his using a similar unit some years ago for both jib and staysail and using them upwind, downwind, whatever. High luff tension is vital, of course. I don’t see why these couldn’t be used for all headsails, providing the safety of being able to get the sail down and also being able to easily change sails. Leaving the headstay would provide the backup system for a hanked-on sail. The century-old Wykeham-Martin design still works well for gaff riggers. Can the new flying furlers fill the role for Bermudan rigs?

Thanks, Donal

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Aerorig Comments

Aerorig recently sent a request to Steve Dashew for a comment on AeroRig generally and how it worked on Sundeer:

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Mast Leak Through Electronic Cable

Dear Steve, I have written before and always have received a kind and enlightening response. I recently had our mast unstepped, repainted, and rewired (spreader lights, vhf, wind NMEA, anchor lights, etc.) . The electronics guy installed a new pvc tube for a wire chase.

Our mast is stepped on deck (metal boat). The wiring feeds out of the mast about 6" above the deck. The cable splits into two bundles (taped) and the two bundles are fed through metal stand pipes throughwelded through the deck (port and starboard). The teak j box in the salon leaks whenever it rains.

I don’t know whether the electronics guy left a Ptrap with the wire before he fed it out of the mast. I also am wondering if the fit at the mast step could be so tight as to not allow water to drain out the step, but rather sit and collect until it gets deep enough to follow the wiring chase and ultimately end up in the cabin.

I don’t want to unstep the mast again to look. And I don’t want to unnecessarily bore a hole in the mast to allow drainage if no need exists. Any advice? Thanks, Wayne

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

B&R Rigs

Dear Steve and Linda: I’m not going to go on about the profound influence your work has had on my wife and I, nor will I bore you with how much we appreciate your efforts–we’ve sent a separate letter for that 😉 I have a question concerning the B&R rig. We are slowly getting together our “ideas book” for a 70-foot aluminium ketch and it occurred to me that twin B&R rigs would offer many advantages. In addition to their survivability (HUNTERS CHILD testimony) I figured the absence of any true backstays would allow much scope for a range of "reaching sail" possibilities on the mizzen. The full roach, full batten mains are also appealing. I understand the limits with the 30-degree spreader angle, but figure that even with the wind dead astern we would achieve 85% plan form. Judging from what you said in your offshore video we figure we’re more likely to want to head up a little, use the reachers/spinnakers and get more ventilation through the boat anyway.

Getting to the point slowly…Deb and I have just married and we chartered a Hunter 41 for two weeks in the Whitsundays–largely because of the B&R rig and also because we wanted some experience in a bigger boat with just the two of us. Though we had a great time, we were a little disappointed. On the couple of days it reached 25kts gusting low 30s, the headstay would slacken severely reducing our windward performance and introducing a lot of unwelcome heel. I understood that the B&R rig was originally designed for a hydraulic vang (though I know HUNTERS CHILD had a solid vang). I figure a hydraulic vang may help solve this problem? It could also have been the barrel of the furl system (ProFurl) on the headstay bending around an otherwise solid stay. Is this possible? Can you think of any engineering problems with the rig if we were to fit a removable inner forestay, given there is no easy adjustment in the rig once tuned? Is there an information resource you know of where I might research this further? I welcome any comment you may have on these matters. Take Care, Gair and Deborah, Perth, Australia

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Halyard Brake for Use with a Furling Boom

I am installing a small electric anchor winch to hoist and reef my boom furling main, which has a large roach. I would like to have a halyard brake or other device to maintain light, constant tension on the halyard as I haul the sail down to reef or stow completely. If tension varies, the roll loosens and risks jamming against the front of the boom. Who makes such devices, or can one find a rope clutch that has a variable setting that could be used? I don’t care what it is called, only that it does the job I require…Thanks….Lowell

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (1)

Aero Rig on Sundeer 60

Dear sirs: I’m interested in purchasing a Sundeer 60 and have seen this AeroRig system advertised in one model. Can I have some comments as to the efficiency of this seemingly very simple rig on offshore conditions? Heavy conditions? Your help will be greatly appreciated.–H.J.Argeles, MD

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Replacing Running Rigging

Hi, our insurance requires us to replace all running rigging after 5 years (which is at the end of this year) whether it needs it or not. Probably not a bad idea. along the same lines, someone suggested all thru hulls be replaced after 5 years. Do you agree with the latter? Regards, Peter

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Kelvar Chafe Pads

Greetings- Any chance you know where to buy Kevlar chafe pads? The type I’m referring to are typically about 1 foot diameter and are deck mounted to prevent damage from unsupported blocks. I can’t find these anywhere. Thanks, Randy M

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Swept Back Spreaders and Baby Stays

Dear Steve, We have been following your commentary for years now and have a question that we hope you can help with.

Do you feel that a baby stay on the ketch rigged Sundeer 64’s would aid in preventing a mast inversion due to operator error? What conditions would create a circumstance where you could lose the spar?

I am referring to page 662 of Offshore Cruising Encyclopedia, regarding your discussion of swept back spreaders. Is this setup less forgiving than a conventional spreader configuration with forward shrouds?

Any comment would be appreciated. Thanks, Wayne

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Cat-Ketch Rigs

I just found your site and was quite intrigued by the variety of information available!…I was particularly happy about the comment on mainsails, in which the mast sits in a sleeve about 2′. The idea is that this should reduce wind shadow around the mast, particularly important when the mast is fairly “fat” as in a cat-ketch.

I am considering building a 30′ wood strip-epoxy boat, and thought of 2 rigs using free-standing rotating masts, both cat-ketch with sleeved sails, one option being a big-roach fully-battened (possible conflict with the sleeves…) and the other gaffs (!), which I think merit consideration for shape control.

For the gaffs, I thought of using struts attached to the mast, parallel to the boom, which would keep the gaffs in alignment with the booms, reducing sail twist.

I worry about upwind performance on a cat-ketch: Any views on this? Would the mainsail interfere very much with the mizzen? Would a jib work well in this arrangement?

I look forward to looking through your site again! Thank you! Tom Kottmeier

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Battslide Slider Length/Source

Hi Steve, In the FAQ section under Rigs and Rigging you mention you use 3 to 3 1/4″ sliders in your mainsail system. Do you have these sliders in this length specially manufactured for you, and if so, who does it and what material is used? Or are they ‘off the shelf’? And lastly, do they have any metal inserts within the plastic for reinforcement? (I’ve searched extensively but apparently not well enough!) Thanks Rich

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Free-Flying Roller-Furling Gear

A rigging question: What make (I assume ProFurl) and model furler would you recommend for our big reacher? The little Hood unit that was on the boat has a nice small headfoil for minimal windage but marginal drum capacity even at 5/16″ line for this big sail? These Spectra sheets and halyards are great! Have you had any problems with knots (bowlines) failing? Ref. June Sail magazine article. Thanks, Kurt

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Controlling the Furling Line

Can a ratchet block be used in order to control the release of a furling line?

The 44′ boat I recently purchased uses a small diameter spectra line for furling, and if and when it takes off in a breeze, it can do great damage to the hands! If you let it go, it usually kinks in the aft furling block. Thanks, Ted

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Dry Rot on Spars for a 1978 Hudson Force 50 Ketch

Hello. We have the Offshore Cruising Encyclopedia and the Mariner’s Weather Handbook, as well as the Dashew Offshore Video (which my VCR promptly ate), and I’ve enjoyed them immensely.

We have a 1978 Hudson Force 50 Ketch. We have just found out that our mizzen mast is rotten, and are planning to replace it with an aluminum one. My question is about the (wooden, painted) main mast and boom. According to a very experienced friend, the main mast has “some” rot, but may be able to be saved by removing all hardware and stripping it down to the wood, and inspecting. If we/he determines the mast can be fixed, we would fix the rotten places and repaint the mast. He thinks both port side spreaders will need to be replaced.

In addition, the main boom has bad rot in the lower scarf, just below the glue joint, (also) just below the big bronze fitting (name?) on the boom, which attaches to the gooseneck. The stainless tangs on the main look, at best, “fair”.

We plan to take the boat offshore in a few years. If we refurb the mast, is it advisable to replace the stainless (it is 1978 Taiwanese stainless) with new 316? Do you think the risk justifies replacing the main mast/boom with a new aluminum spar also? Thanks, Mike

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Deck Stepped Spars

Steve, I’m looking at a Hardin 45 Ketch. It has two deck stepped masts. Would you consider that a trait that would be suitable for an offshore vessel? Know anything about these vessels? Les

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)