48138Re: Chinese gaffer
- Feb 4, 2006--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, stuart crawford <scrawford@...> wrote:
> DonB or anyone else who has experience using the Chinese gaff rig on
> All theory aside, how do you find the rig in practice? What
> you find it most suitable for?Hi Stuart,
> Stuart Crawford.
How is your Cynthia J?
The Navigator was designed by Bolger, so an Aussie Micro owner could
convert his Micro into an ocean cruiser, hopping from port to port
around Australia, which would require quite a seaworthy boat and rig.
I don't know of any builder so far who has done more than daysailing
or short cruises in sheltered waters. I have not been out in more than
marginal reefing breezes. And the set of the sails on my website is a
cringe. My excuse is, that it was the first sail, and rigging took an
age, leaving little time to sail before the tide went out again.
Sitting in mud for a day was not on my wishlist. But I do have some
The rig was designed for reefing without the need to go outside, at
sea. Really, it is normal jiffy reefing with the lines leading inside,
with full length battens and jaws to help keep it all under control.
Then mainsail sheetlets sheeted to the mizzen mast to sit the mainsail
leech up for efficient windward sailing. And the rig is very competent
for windward sailing, at least in light to moderate conditions.
However it does have potential vulnerabilities in my opinion, in heavy
adverse conditions. For example, turning from 'on the wind' to a broad
reach or run, you have to remember to let go and reset the main leech
sheetlets as well as the mainsheet. If you forgot to do so, and were
hit by a strong gust,wild rolling and gear breakage would be a strong
possibility. The jaws bolted to the mainsail luff could easily be
broken, as could the battens.
The rope in the rig is a nightmare until both masts and sails are
erected and in place. What looks simple viewed on the sailplan is a
cats cradle when the masts and sails are laid out on deck. It is so
easy to get one wrong, around something else or hooked up as you lift
the mast in place. Twice I have had to take the whole thing down again
because of one small problem. Both masts and sails are interconnected
with ropes, and EVERYTHING needs to be in place before anything can be
erected. You need a Boeing 747 checklist!
The ropes are also everywhere when you are not sailing. Once in place
correctly however, everything looks after itself quite well when
sailing and gybing, with the exception of extra watching and handling
as said above. I did have one of the sheetlets hook around the aft
corner of the cabin roof overhang, but luckily just while swinging on
the mooring. If it happened in anger, perhaps the roof could be lifted!
Bruce and Dereck will know better, but I would not like to trailer
this boat, just for short sailing, because of the rig complexity. In
fact I'm thinking I will try it without the connecting string.
Basically, I think the rig is over complex for casual sailing, and
possibly not that seamanlike for ocean work, as the owner of Alert
found. The rig is great for someone who loves tinkering and playing
about with setups and improvements. If I were starting over, Jason's
overlarge balanced lug, or the chinese lug on the Birdwatcher featured
in Duckworks magazine are better rigs for simple casual sailing. Big
for speed, and much easier to reef as soon as needed. Combined with
Jason's swing mast, a very sensible combo.
I feel the Chinese Gaff rig is better in theory than in practice.
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