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48138Re: Chinese gaffer

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  • dbaldnz
    Feb 4, 2006
      --- In bolger@yahoogroups.com, stuart crawford <scrawford@...> wrote:
      > DonB or anyone else who has experience using the Chinese gaff rig on
      > Navigator.
      > All theory aside, how do you find the rig in practice? What
      conditions do
      > you find it most suitable for?
      > Stuart Crawford.
      Hi Stuart,
      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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