For what it's worth, I sailed Jim Melcher's Alert/Manatee during his
visit to Bolger's. We drove from Indiana to Cape Ann for the express
purpose of gaining some experience with the Chinese Gaffer --- the
ANTISPRAY 48 we are building is like rigged.
Unfortunately, Jim had failed to take advantage of several of the
Chinese Gaffer's advantages. A few examples:
She was not rigged with individual batten downhauls which limited sail
luff tension when reefed. Since the rig is "over-canvased" by design,
it is commonly sailed with a reef in. The lack of downhauls
definitely prevented proper luff tension at less than full sail.
Sheetlet angles were not optimal as the original mizzen mast was being
used..... causing some frustration when tacking. Obviously this was
an implementation problem rather than a design flaw.
Also, no work had been done on batten(s) stiffness. From the outset,
it was known that experimenting with batten stiffness would be an
integral part of developing this rig. Generally, all battens needed
more stiffness aft and less stiffness forward.
These points aside, she was very nice to sail, and easy to tack. She
reefed/bent on sail amazingly well even on the wind.... and even
without batten downhauls.
I'm eager to sail a Chinese Gaffer that's had a real tune up!
I'm sorry that the rig didn't meet Jim's expectations, but I don't
think he gave it a fair shake ---- kinda like buying a car, leaving
out a couple of spark plugs and then complaining about the engine
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "dbaldnz" <oink@w...> wrote:
> This report has been on the web for quite a while.
> I have very limited experience of the chinese gaff rig, but I'm
> puzzled as to why the specific chinese gaff rig was blamed for the
> downwind control problems. If you don't tension the batten
> the mainsail is no different from a normal gaff sail, except it has
> long battens. It seems to me that the problem may have been one of
> sail distribution and hull balance or other factors which caused the
> weather helm.