Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Bolger Manatee Chinese Gaff Rig Critique

Expand Messages
  • graeme19121984
    ...It s turned out a rather poor rig for offshore.I m ready to convert it to traditional full Chinese-junk rig, which I believe will work better.... said Jim
    Message 1 of 23 , Mar 28, 2005
    • 0 Attachment
      "...It's turned out a rather poor rig for offshore.I'm ready
      to convert it to traditional full Chinese-junk rig, which I believe
      will work better...." said Jim Melcher, as quoted by James Baldwin

      I'm about 2 weeks behind in my reading the posts here so I don't
      know yet if anyone else picked up on this point: the Chinese Gaff
      Rig may not be as suitable offshore (especially perhaps due to
      downwind excessive weather helm in the trades) as the higher aspect
      ratio traditional Junk with its sail somewhat balanced about the mast

      I read a post here with a link to a story on Jim Melcher and his
      lovely Bolger Manatee 'Alert':

      http://www.atomvoyages.com/articles/Alert.htm

      I trust James Baldwin will think it fairdealing to quote here his
      6th and 7th paragraphs in from the end of his 'sailor profile'
      article on Jim Melcher *Still Cruising After 80 Years*:

      *In the autumn of 2001, the Melchers departed the Med to cross the
      Atlantic to the Caribbean via the Canary and Cape Verde Islands.They
      arrived in Martinique on February 4 after a blustery 19-day passage
      with winds mostly in the 25-30 knot range. Their AutohelmTillerPilot
      was frequently overwhelmed, and the resulting accidental jibes led
      to frayed nerves as well as broken battens and chafe on sails.

      "To handle the strong winds, we reefed and then scandalized the
      main by lowering the gaff's peak halyard," Jim said."Even
      using a working jib, we had excessive weather helm. When a lazy jack
      broke, it dumped the whole works – boom, gaff, and sail –into
      the sea.It's turned out a rather poor rig for offshore.I'm
      ready to convert it to traditional full Chinese-junk rig, which I
      believe will work better."*

      Great boat! Trans-Atlantic deck-freightable, canal-able, easily
      legally trailed across the US, coastal cruiser, ocean crosser,
      gunkhole extraordinaire, not to mention looks etc.

      Apparrently the original rig was a Marconi cat yawl. As Chinese Gaff
      I note it has the option of rigging a small working jib in order to
      help balance the helm. Perhaps in the kind of conditions as
      described,that sorely tested the rig, the main should have been
      completely put to bed, and she should have been allowed to run
      before jib and mizzen only. However these were not storm conditions,
      and I would greatly defer to the vast experience and seamanship of
      her skipper (can't be many with 8 decades sailing cred).

      Any thoughts on the Bolger Chinese Gaff in light of this event ( or
      the Manatee)?
      cheers
      graeme
    • dbaldnz
      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
      Message 2 of 23 , Mar 28, 2005
      • 0 Attachment
        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 sheetlets,
        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.
        Actually, the tension on the sheetlets is extremely sensitive, and if
        a little tight throws the battens into a deep curve, which would cause
        balance problems. But then again, they don't need to be tensioned if
        conditions are unsuitable,
        DonB
        http://oink.kiwiwebhost.biz/


        --- In bolger@yahoogroups.com, "graeme19121984" <graeme19121984@y...>
        wrote:
        >
        > "...It's turned out a rather poor rig for offshore.I'm ready
        > to convert it to traditional full Chinese-junk rig, which I believe
        > will work better...." said Jim Melcher, as quoted by James Baldwin
        >
        > I'm about 2 weeks behind in my reading the posts here so I don't
        > know yet if anyone else picked up on this point: the Chinese Gaff
        > Rig may not be as suitable offshore (especially perhaps due to
        > downwind excessive weather helm in the trades) as the higher aspect
        > ratio traditional Junk with its sail somewhat balanced about the mast
        >
        > I read a post here with a link to a story on Jim Melcher and his
        > lovely Bolger Manatee 'Alert':
        >
        > http://www.atomvoyages.com/articles/Alert.htm
        >
        > I trust James Baldwin will think it fairdealing to quote here his
        > 6th and 7th paragraphs in from the end of his 'sailor profile'
        > article on Jim Melcher *Still Cruising After 80 Years*:
        >
        > *In the autumn of 2001, the Melchers departed the Med to cross the
        > Atlantic to the Caribbean via the Canary and Cape Verde Islands.They
        > arrived in Martinique on February 4 after a blustery 19-day passage
        > with winds mostly in the 25-30 knot range. Their AutohelmTillerPilot
        > was frequently overwhelmed, and the resulting accidental jibes led
        > to frayed nerves as well as broken battens and chafe on sails.
        >
        > "To handle the strong winds, we reefed and then scandalized the
        > main by lowering the gaff's peak halyard," Jim said."Even
        > using a working jib, we had excessive weather helm. When a lazy jack
        > broke, it dumped the whole works – boom, gaff, and sail –into
        > the sea.It's turned out a rather poor rig for offshore.I'm
        > ready to convert it to traditional full Chinese-junk rig, which I
        > believe will work better."*
        >
        > Great boat! Trans-Atlantic deck-freightable, canal-able, easily
        > legally trailed across the US, coastal cruiser, ocean crosser,
        > gunkhole extraordinaire, not to mention looks etc.
        >
        > Apparrently the original rig was a Marconi cat yawl. As Chinese Gaff
        > I note it has the option of rigging a small working jib in order to
        > help balance the helm. Perhaps in the kind of conditions as
        > described,that sorely tested the rig, the main should have been
        > completely put to bed, and she should have been allowed to run
        > before jib and mizzen only. However these were not storm conditions,
        > and I would greatly defer to the vast experience and seamanship of
        > her skipper (can't be many with 8 decades sailing cred).
        >
        > Any thoughts on the Bolger Chinese Gaff in light of this event ( or
        > the Manatee)?
        > cheers
        > graeme
      • Bruce Hallman
        ... I sent that webpage to Bolger in a letter and this was his response: PCB: As to Melcher s problems, he rig was a makeshift in the first place. (to use as
        Message 3 of 23 , Mar 29, 2005
        • 0 Attachment
          > dbaldnz <oink@...> wrote:
          >
          > This report has been on the web for quite a while.

          I sent that webpage to Bolger in a letter and this was his response:

          PCB:"As to Melcher's problems, he rig was a makeshift in the first
          place. (to use as much of the existing gear and structure as
          possible and he also did not make the most of it in several ways.
          We did not at all like his sheeting arrangements when he was here,
          and thinks at least part of his trouble would have been avoidable
          with more thought.

          We made the [Micro Navigator] mizzen quite large since there have
          been complaints on other designs that they are not powerful enough
          to keep the bow to the wind, whereas it can be feathered (luffed) or
          furled if there's too heavy a helm.

          Of course, no boat the size of Micro can keep going against a gale,
          if only because the drift of the surface water will take her to
          leeward more or less. But I would expect her to hang on better than
          most."

          =====

          Important to note that Melchers 'Alert' did not have a mizzen,
          which would/could have served to bring her up to the wind in a gale.
          All the more recent Bolger Chinese Gaff rigs have mizzens.

          Also, PB&F wrote more of their observations of Jim Melcher's _Alert_
          in an article in 1999 in the excellent magazine Messing About in Boats,
          quoted below:

          "Bolger on Design

          Update on Bolger's

          Chinese Gaff

          [from Messing About in Boats, V16,No17, Jan 15, 1999]

          In MAIB Vol 15 #6, August 1, 1997, we discussed upgrading Jim
          Melcher's well-cruised Alert with this new rig geometry. Our Design
          #357 Manatee, Alert, built by Jim Melcher and Naoko lnouye in New
          Market New Hampshire, was rigged according to plans with a
          leg-o-mutton Cat-Yawl rig. Originally designed as a somewhat over
          sparred weekender/light coastal cruiser, Melcher began to sail the
          design far and wide, more or less living aboard full-time. She grew a
          full-headroom trunk, carries a stout dink on her foredeck, and thus
          gained a few pounds here and there.

          Jim, wife Marie, and Alert sailed both coasts of America, the length
          of the East Coast once without power, trucked her across the continent
          in a personal flatbed rig, did the Panama Canal and the Caribbean,
          shipped her to Europe for extended cruising including the Baltic and
          inland to Berlin, for instance, and then back again. Finally a few
          years back they soloed her across the Atlantic eastward via Azores and
          Ireland, rounded the British Isles, and touched base on Europe's west
          coasts. He finally wrote us from the U.K. about a rig more suitable
          for cruising.

          Here we should correct our article of 8/ 1/97 in which we erroneously
          stated that he had sailed her over 100,000 nm, wherever the
          misunderstanding came from, it is just around 42,000 nm on this
          home-built, strip-built advanced barge yacht, drawing 20" with the
          leeboards up. And there are still people insisting that this type of
          boat is unsafe and Jim has just been lucky for near 20 years.

          The original rig had been tinkered with over the years, tweaked for
          more comfort under these more demanding conditions of near full-time
          cruising, including taming her sprit boom by first shortening it and
          the main somewhat, to finally graft on a gooseneck for the big pond
          crossing.

          As the before and after drawings show, Alert regained most of her
          original sail area (now 524' vs. the original 540), which is now more
          readily reefable on apparently just about any point of sail. Jim
          reported a 29-hour solo passage from Ireland to the U.K., a shakedown
          cruise with the new rig, during which he frequently changed sail area
          from the cockpit to respond to increasing and then again waning winds,
          and was at ease about the demands on him, he is in his mid-70s now.

          Near 20 years old and once designed for compression only, the original
          mast broke. According to Jim, the crack began at a long, visibly aging
          seamline now under the greater strains of the gaff geometry. Thus, we
          drew a fresh mast to match this rig. Jim's Yankee use it up philosophy
          produced no injury nor serious damage to the new sail, and she steamed
          in under her own power.

          With her new mast, Jim, Alert, and now Diane showed up in Gloucester
          this fall on their wedding cruise from Maine to Cuba. All looked good.
          So far the only nagging wrinkle in the picture is the demanding
          fine-tuning of no sag of the gaff to leeward and thus no performance
          robbing twist of the sail, so traditional in many gaffers, unless it
          seems somehow desirable to slack off the peak guy in order to spill
          too much wind quickly.

          There is no inherent permanent twist related straining of the cloth
          which is bound to prematurely deteriorate any shape cut into it. And
          while, depending upon sheeting geometry and panel number, the Chinese
          Gaff Rig's lower panel can benefit from a light boomvang, and can
          often be accommodated right off the bat. Melcher's Alert offers not
          enough space below the boom for an efficient set-up. In practice, this
          point seems not to matter too much in the overall equation of cost vs.
          benefit vs. drawbacks. In new designs with this rig geometry ,we' ye
          solved that issue in a number of ways. We'll discuss one such example
          in a future issue.

          In any Chinese Gaff Rig's case, there is an absolute minimum of
          strains as the sheet pull more aft than down, a more sensible geometry
          in any light than the conventional gaffer's and the traditional Junk
          Rig's. Even the light boomvang is controlling just the lowest panel
          and does not constantly strain all seams across the cloth from boom to
          gaff at a decidedly unhealthy angle just to attempt to control that
          sag in the gaff.

          With easy reefing and unfurling, there is no need to risk
          extraordinary strains on the each batten's particular stiffness along
          the foil of the sail. Reminiscent of the inherent and unavoidable
          problem of the traditional Junk Rig, batten-stiffness is a major
          preoccupation to get just right. Jim broke some of his first battens
          in the waters off the U.K., but pointed to incorrect assembly of the
          units. The current ones still seem too soft where they should not be,
          particularly near the trailing edge. Depending on the sheeting angle,
          the Chinese Gaff geometry can both pull the battens off the mast
          against the parrels going upwind, and then compress them running off.

          Each of these rigs will thus require repeated pulling of the battens
          to either add a layer of glass/veneer or take some of it off in
          particular sections. Since we designed the battens to have simple
          bolt-through-the-sail-cloth battenjaws to ride against the round mast,
          two wrenches will unlock the batten from the cloth and the jaws for
          quick removal, a clear advantage either for offshore repairs or just
          initial breaking-in of the as yet unadjusted battens. Jim's rig is
          thus not quite there yet in this issue. We'll know more next summer
          when he's back.

          But setting sail, reefing underway, furling it into her lazyjacks are
          predictable and, in Jim's experience, reliable. As some of these
          photos here show, producing a vertically straight, no-sag trailing
          edge on the sail is possible on just about all points of sail. There
          is whole rig, since reefing should never be too strenuous during a
          demanding passage in gusty conditions, while progress can be
          maintained by just setting another panel. In light of this safety,
          we've come to design Chinese Gaff Rigs with well-above-normal sail
          areas, proposing to usually sail them with the first reef in and thus
          saving on additional light-air cloths, strings, and sticks that can
          become too much to play with after a while. Indeed, using increasingly
          heavier cloth for each higher panel, the last panel left standing in a
          gale should be able to stand. Perhaps all you need is one sail, a
          properly over-canvassed Chinese Gaff Cat Rig."
        • graeme19121984
          My take now on J Melcher s episode is that they were running before the trades on their east to west Atlantic passage. The winds were only 25 to 30 kts, not
          Message 4 of 23 , Mar 29, 2005
          • 0 Attachment
            My take now on J Melcher's episode is that they were running before
            the trades on their east to west Atlantic passage. The winds were
            only 25 to 30 kts, not gale force, and not requiring them turn
            around hove to with the bow presented to weather (where a mizzen
            would shine).

            It would appear from the photos that the mainsail on Alert was
            relatively quite long in proportion to its height, even the upper
            panels (as the boom was shortened from the original jib headed cat
            rig the proportionalitymay have been even more marked before). With
            the boat running downwind with the sail let out it would appear that
            the sail centre of effort would be quite widely offset to the the
            boat centreline. This probably led to the overwhelming of the self
            steering, and accidental gybes. The shocks on the sail battens from
            the gybes would not of done them much good.

            However Melcher says they scandalised the sail by not just easing
            the peak but by lowering it. Perhaps the batten sheetlets were thus
            eased which may have led to the leach being let go before the mast.
            I've read that it is a big No-No to let the leach of a junk sail go
            for'ard of the mast, as then the battens may be subject to excessive
            compressive loading resulting in failure, especially when the sheet
            is again taken in.

            I think Melcher's expressed intention to convert to a traditional
            full Chinese-junk rig relates to that sail pivoting balanced about
            the mast and so bringing the sail centre of effort in closer to the
            boat centre. I think he believes such a sail plan would result in
            better downwind control. He could cruise on auto steering etc.
            cheers
            graeme

            --- In bolger@yahoogroups.com, Bruce Hallman <bruce@h...> wrote:
            > > dbaldnz <oink@w...> wrote:
            > >
            > > This report has been on the web for quite a while.


            > Important to note that Melchers 'Alert' did not have a mizzen,
            > which would/could have served to bring her up to the wind in a
            gale.
            > All the more recent Bolger Chinese Gaff rigs have mizzens.

            >Perhaps all you need is one sail, a
            > properly over-canvassed Chinese Gaff Cat Rig."
          • Will Samson
            The Chinese gaff sail, running before the wind, would act in much the same way as the gaff sail on a catboat, with the centroid of the sail being way over to
            Message 5 of 23 , Mar 29, 2005
            • 0 Attachment
              The Chinese gaff sail, running before the wind, would act in much the same way as the gaff sail on a catboat, with the centroid of the sail being way over to one side, tending to turn the boat into the wind.

              It's well-known that catboats are notoriously hard-mouthed (i.e. have extreme weather helm when running) so there should be no great surprises here. It certainly wouldn't be the rig of choice for downwind ocean crossings. That's why square-rigged ships do so well on long trips, despite their poor windward characteristics.

              Another thing about catboats is their need for huge masts. Skinny, unstayed masts snap off above the partners, just as Jim Melcher's did towards the end of his trip.

              A conventional Chinese junk sail has some area before the mast, so the centroid for a given sail-area/aspect-ratio would be less far out from the centreline of the boat, thereby reducing the tendency to round up.

              I can't see a little mizen making a lot of difference in these circumstances, though a bigger one might help to balance things up by being goose-winged.

              Bill

              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Peter Lenihan
              ... circumstances, though a bigger one might help to balance things up by being goose-winged. ... My kingdom for a schooner! Peter Lenihan
              Message 6 of 23 , Mar 30, 2005
              • 0 Attachment
                --- In bolger@yahoogroups.com, "Will Samson" <willsamson@y...> wrote:
                > I can't see a little mizen making a lot of difference in these
                circumstances, though a bigger one might help to balance things up by
                being goose-winged.
                >
                > Bill

                My kingdom for a schooner!

                Peter Lenihan
              • Bruce Fountain
                ... To tie in another recent thread here, maybe there is a case for using an alternative rig for extended downwind sailing? Perhaps an assymetrical spinnaker,
                Message 7 of 23 , Mar 30, 2005
                • 0 Attachment
                  Will Samson wrote:
                  > It's well-known that catboats are notoriously hard-mouthed (i.e.
                  > have extreme weather helm when running) so there should be no
                  > great surprises here. It certainly wouldn't be the rig of choice
                  > for downwind ocean crossings. That's why square-rigged ships do
                  > so well on long trips, despite their poor windward characteristics.

                  To tie in another recent thread here, maybe there is a case for
                  using an alternative rig for extended downwind sailing? Perhaps
                  an assymetrical spinnaker, or genoa? Drop the cat rig, with its
                  gaff etc and whack up an appropriately sized headsail of some sort?

                  Sort of like running under stormsail, but with a bigger stormsail.

                  Bruce Fountain
                  Systems Engineer
                  Union Switch & Signal
                  Perth, Western Australia
                • James Pope
                  ... Or, simply remove all of the standard sailing rig, mast, sails, battens, rigging and all, and set the boat up with a Kite Sails, Inc. kite spinnaker from
                  Message 8 of 23 , Mar 30, 2005
                  • 0 Attachment
                    Bruce Fountain wrote:

                    > To tie in another recent thread here, maybe there is a case for
                    > using an alternative rig for extended downwind sailing? Perhaps
                    > an assymetrical spinnaker, or genoa? Drop the cat rig, with its
                    > gaff etc and whack up an appropriately sized headsail of some sort?
                    >
                    > Sort of like running under stormsail, but with a bigger stormsail.
                    >
                    > Bruce Fountain
                    > Systems Engineer
                    > Union Switch & Signal
                    > Perth, Western Australia
                    >
                    Or, simply remove all of the standard sailing rig, mast, sails, battens,
                    rigging and all, and set the boat up with a Kite Sails, Inc. kite
                    spinnaker from Australia. A small pole mast aft is all that is needed to
                    launch it and the sail then sheets directly to deck level. It apparently
                    goes to windward at least as well as the old square riggers did and on
                    all other points of sail it will pull like all get out, without making
                    the boat heel. A much reduced ballast requirement and a slender fast
                    hull could be said to be the kite's side effects.

                    If there is no alternative to going upwind directly then that part of
                    the trip can be done under power. After all, all the old world sailing
                    routes were, as much as they could be arranged to be, down wind. There
                    is still a good record of what those routes were.

                    Jim


                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • Bruce Hallman
                    ... I own and sail a Chinese Gaff cat yawl, (though perhaps I don t understand what you are writing about), but my boat sails like a dream downwind. ... Again,
                    Message 9 of 23 , Mar 30, 2005
                    • 0 Attachment
                      Will Samson wrote:
                      > It's well-known that catboats are notoriously hard-mouthed (i.e.
                      > have extreme weather helm when running) so there should be no
                      > great surprises here.

                      I own and sail a Chinese Gaff cat yawl, (though perhaps I don't
                      understand what you are writing about), but my boat sails
                      like a dream downwind.

                      > I can't see a little mizen making a lot of difference in
                      > these circumstances,

                      Again, (perhaps I don't understand what you are writing), but
                      the Bolger write ups in the last several years don't call for
                      'a little mizzen' they call for an 'oversized mizzen', and that
                      is a good description of the mizzen on my boat; and I do
                      find it *very* useful and effective for trimming the balance of
                      the helm. If I owned _Alert_ I would definitely rig a mizzen
                      on that stern staff.
                    • Susan Davis
                      ... Do you find that she handles differently downwind on starboard gybe than on port gybe? Or on deep broad reaches versus goosewinged? And how hard has it
                      Message 10 of 23 , Mar 30, 2005
                      • 0 Attachment
                        Bruce Hallman:
                        > Will Samson wrote:
                        > > It's well-known that catboats are notoriously hard-mouthed (i.e.
                        > > have extreme weather helm when running) so there should be no
                        > > great surprises here.
                        >
                        > I own and sail a Chinese Gaff cat yawl, (though perhaps I don't
                        > understand what you are writing about), but my boat sails
                        > like a dream downwind.

                        Do you find that she handles differently downwind on starboard gybe
                        than on port gybe? Or on deep broad reaches versus goosewinged? And
                        how hard has it been blowing when you've been out?

                        -- Sue --
                        (soon-to-be Micro Navigator nut)

                        --
                        Susan Davis <futabachan@...>
                      • dbaldnz
                        I have owned 2 cat sailing dinghies, Finn and Moth, and both were not hard mouthed sailing downwind, though if you sailed by the lee you could very quickly be
                        Message 11 of 23 , Mar 30, 2005
                        • 0 Attachment
                          I have owned 2 cat sailing dinghies, Finn and Moth, and both were not
                          hard mouthed sailing downwind, though if you sailed by the lee you
                          could very quickly be tossed over the weather rail if you heeled to
                          windward.
                          As for the mizzen on the Navigator, in my opinion it's main value is
                          to stop the boat hunting around when on the mooring setting the
                          mainsail. And on this design, a sheeting point for the mainsail
                          sheetlets. I would guess it is otherwise a slowing factor, especially
                          to windward. On a reach it would have some influence on the helm,
                          diminishing as you run off more square to the wind. In theory, but
                          hull shapes and sail cut may have more influence on helm.
                          DonB
                          http://oink.kiwiwebhost.biz/
                          --- In bolger@yahoogroups.com, Bruce Hallman <bruce@h...> wrote:
                          > Will Samson wrote:
                          > > It's well-known that catboats are notoriously hard-mouthed (i.e.
                          > > have extreme weather helm when running) so there should be no
                          > > great surprises here.
                          >
                          > I own and sail a Chinese Gaff cat yawl, (though perhaps I don't
                          > understand what you are writing about), but my boat sails
                          > like a dream downwind.
                          >
                          > > I can't see a little mizen making a lot of difference in
                          > > these circumstances,
                          >
                          > Again, (perhaps I don't understand what you are writing), but
                          > the Bolger write ups in the last several years don't call for
                          > 'a little mizzen' they call for an 'oversized mizzen', and that
                          > is a good description of the mizzen on my boat; and I do
                          > find it *very* useful and effective for trimming the balance of
                          > the helm. If I owned _Alert_ I would definitely rig a mizzen
                          > on that stern staff.
                        • Bruce Hallman
                          ... Hard to say, I have only been out sailing three times. The wind was perhaps 15 knots max, and I can t say I noticed any difference port or starboard. What
                          Message 12 of 23 , Mar 30, 2005
                          • 0 Attachment
                            > Do you find that she handles differently downwind on starboard gybe
                            > than on port gybe? Or on deep broad reaches versus goosewinged? And
                            > how hard has it been blowing when you've been out?
                            >
                            > -- Sue --
                            > (soon-to-be Micro Navigator nut)


                            Hard to say, I have only been out sailing three times.

                            The wind was perhaps 15 knots max, and I can't say I noticed any
                            difference port or starboard. What I do remember is the
                            'resolve you must have' in a 15'4" displacment boat when
                            virtually all the other boats are 30 feet or more, they are all
                            faster. Though, twice, on a downwind leg to the east southeast,
                            running along the San Francisco waterfront I have passed
                            some big plastic boats, a Beneteau 325 for instance. I
                            admit the skipper looked drunk and was fiddling endlessly
                            with his spinnaker to keep from being passed by my odd
                            little boat. All in all, going slower, sitting warm and comfortable
                            on pillows and cushions drinking tea is not a bad thing!
                          • Will Samson
                            ... From: Bruce Hallman ... understand what you are writing about), but my boat sails like a dream downwind. I ll clarify - by catboats I mean traditional
                            Message 13 of 23 , Mar 30, 2005
                            • 0 Attachment
                              ----- Original Message -----
                              From: Bruce Hallman

                              Will Samson wrote:
                              > It's well-known that catboats are notoriously hard-mouthed (i.e.
                              > have extreme weather helm when running) so there should be no
                              > great surprises here.

                              >>I own and sail a Chinese Gaff cat yawl, (though perhaps I don't
                              understand what you are writing about), but my boat sails
                              like a dream downwind.>>

                              I'll clarify - by 'catboats' I mean traditional Cape Cod cats with very large, low aspect ratio gaff sails. No mizen, no jib. I don't mean dinghies like Lasers, Moths etc, which have much shorter booms, in proportion, and neither do I mean yawls.

                              Alert/Manatee had just the one very large (chinese) gaff mainsail and so resembled a catboat in many ways and therefore might be expected to share many of its vices.

                              Bill

                              Bill



                              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                            • dbaldnz
                              ... very large, low aspect ratio gaff sails. No mizen, no jib. I don t mean dinghies like Lasers, Moths etc, which have much shorter booms, in proportion,
                              Message 14 of 23 , Mar 30, 2005
                              • 0 Attachment
                                --- In bolger@yahoogroups.com, "Will Samson" <willsamson@y...> wrote:
                                >
                                > ----- Original Message -----
                                > From: Bruce Hallman
                                >
                                > Will Samson wrote:
                                > > It's well-known that catboats are notoriously hard-mouthed (i.e.
                                > > have extreme weather helm when running) so there should be no
                                > > great surprises here.
                                >
                                > >>I own and sail a Chinese Gaff cat yawl, (though perhaps I don't
                                > understand what you are writing about), but my boat sails
                                > like a dream downwind.>>
                                >
                                > I'll clarify - by 'catboats' I mean traditional Cape Cod cats with
                                very large, low aspect ratio gaff sails. No mizen, no jib. I don't
                                mean dinghies like Lasers, Moths etc, which have much shorter booms,
                                in proportion, and neither do I mean yawls.

                                Rather like a Finn in proportion Bill, including long boom and big
                                sail. But the difference is, those hard mouthed catboats you are
                                talking about also have very broad hulls, which are probably a totally
                                unbalanced underwater form when they heel or yaw downwind. An
                                unbalanced hull which does that, will round up 9 times out of 10. The
                                Finn with it's large rig for it's size, mast right in the bow is a
                                finer shape, and does not change to a horrible unbalanced shape when
                                it heels.
                                DonB
                                >
                                > Alert/Manatee had just the one very large (chinese) gaff mainsail
                                and so resembled a catboat in many ways and therefore might be
                                expected to share many of its vices.
                                >
                                > Bill
                                >
                                > Bill
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                              • John B. Trussell
                                I ll stick my 2 cents in. My experience is with a modified Marsh Hen which is rigged with a fairly large gaff sail with the mast right up in the bow, a long
                                Message 15 of 23 , Mar 30, 2005
                                • 0 Attachment
                                  I'll stick my 2 cents in. My experience is with a modified Marsh Hen which is rigged with a fairly large gaff sail with the mast right up in the bow, a long centerboard which drops about 18 inches at its aft end, and shallow, balanced rudder. The hull is a 5 panel multi-chine hull which is somewhat portly.

                                  Going straight downwind, the sail swings way out to the side and the boat, if driven down wind, develops a strong weather helm. This could be due to the force exerted by the sail being outside the edge of the boat; it could be due to the rudder becoming less effective as the boat heels, or it could be due to the asymetric shape of the hull as the boat heels. But...the boat doesn't heel much going down wind. It heels going upwind, but it doesn't develop a weather helm when going upwind. My conclusion is that the weather helm is the result of the center of effort being outside the boat when going straight down wind. The corollary is that the shallow rudder and asymetrical, heeled hull shape are not factors. (Marsh Hens are double ended, so the degree of asymetry is incertain.)

                                  I might add that a single jibe is sufficient to deter further experiments with sailing straight down wind.

                                  JohnT
                                  ----- Original Message -----
                                  From: dbaldnz
                                  To: bolger@yahoogroups.com
                                  Sent: Wednesday, March 30, 2005 6:44 PM
                                  Subject: [bolger] Re: Bolger Manatee Chinese Gaff Rig Critique



                                  --- In bolger@yahoogroups.com, "Will Samson" <willsamson@y...> wrote:
                                  >
                                  > ----- Original Message -----
                                  > From: Bruce Hallman
                                  >
                                  > Will Samson wrote:
                                  > > It's well-known that catboats are notoriously hard-mouthed (i.e.
                                  > > have extreme weather helm when running) so there should be no
                                  > > great surprises here.
                                  >
                                  > >>I own and sail a Chinese Gaff cat yawl, (though perhaps I don't
                                  > understand what you are writing about), but my boat sails
                                  > like a dream downwind.>>
                                  >
                                  > I'll clarify - by 'catboats' I mean traditional Cape Cod cats with
                                  very large, low aspect ratio gaff sails. No mizen, no jib. I don't
                                  mean dinghies like Lasers, Moths etc, which have much shorter booms,
                                  in proportion, and neither do I mean yawls.

                                  Rather like a Finn in proportion Bill, including long boom and big
                                  sail. But the difference is, those hard mouthed catboats you are
                                  talking about also have very broad hulls, which are probably a totally
                                  unbalanced underwater form when they heel or yaw downwind. An
                                  unbalanced hull which does that, will round up 9 times out of 10. The
                                  Finn with it's large rig for it's size, mast right in the bow is a
                                  finer shape, and does not change to a horrible unbalanced shape when
                                  it heels.
                                  DonB
                                  >
                                  > Alert/Manatee had just the one very large (chinese) gaff mainsail
                                  and so resembled a catboat in many ways and therefore might be
                                  expected to share many of its vices.
                                  >
                                  > Bill
                                  >
                                  > Bill
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >
                                  > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]





                                  Bolger rules!!!
                                  - no cursing, flaming, trolling, spamming, or flogging dead horses
                                  - stay on topic, stay on thread, punctuate, no 'Ed, thanks, Fred' posts
                                  - Pls add your comments at the TOP, SIGN your posts, and snip away
                                  - Plans: Mr. Philip C. Bolger, P.O. Box 1209, Gloucester, MA, 01930, Fax: (978) 282-1349
                                  - Unsubscribe: bolger-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
                                  - Open discussion: bolger_coffee_lounge-subscribe@yahoogroups.com


                                  Yahoo! Groups Sponsor
                                  ADVERTISEMENT





                                  ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                  Yahoo! Groups Links

                                  a.. To visit your group on the web, go to:
                                  http://groups.yahoo.com/group/bolger/

                                  b.. To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
                                  bolger-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com

                                  c.. Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of Service.




                                  ------------------------------------------------------------------------------


                                  Internal Virus Database is out-of-date.
                                  Checked by AVG Anti-Virus.
                                  Version: 7.0.308 / Virus Database: 266.8.1 - Release Date: 3/23/2005


                                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                • dbaldnz
                                  True, you don t sail heeled downwind generally John, but in waves or wind gusts from different directions, heeling and loss of control can happen very quickly
                                  Message 16 of 23 , Mar 30, 2005
                                  • 0 Attachment
                                    True, you don't sail heeled downwind generally John, but in waves or
                                    wind gusts from different directions, heeling and loss of control can
                                    happen very quickly if the hull is very assymetrical when heeled.
                                    There is a 35ft class of keelers here in Auckland, and when they are
                                    fleet racing downwind, and a gust hits, everyone else on the water
                                    knows to scatter, because most of them will round up out of control.
                                    They are fast wide, flattish hulls with widish sterns, sloop rigged I
                                    might add.
                                    DonB
                                    --- In bolger@yahoogroups.com, "John B. Trussell" <John.Trussell@w...>
                                    wrote:
                                    > I'll stick my 2 cents in. My experience is with a modified Marsh
                                    Hen which is rigged with a fairly large gaff sail with the mast right
                                    up in the bow, a long centerboard which drops about 18 inches at its
                                    aft end, and shallow, balanced rudder. The hull is a 5 panel
                                    multi-chine hull which is somewhat portly.
                                    >
                                    > Going straight downwind, the sail swings way out to the side and the
                                    boat, if driven down wind, develops a strong weather helm. This could
                                    be due to the force exerted by the sail being outside the edge of the
                                    boat; it could be due to the rudder becoming less effective as the
                                    boat heels, or it could be due to the asymetric shape of the hull as
                                    the boat heels. But...the boat doesn't heel much going down wind. It
                                    heels going upwind, but it doesn't develop a weather helm when going
                                    upwind. My conclusion is that the weather helm is the result of the
                                    center of effort being outside the boat when going straight down wind.
                                    The corollary is that the shallow rudder and asymetrical, heeled hull
                                    shape are not factors. (Marsh Hens are double ended, so the degree of
                                    asymetry is incertain.)
                                    >
                                    > I might add that a single jibe is sufficient to deter further
                                    experiments with sailing straight down wind.
                                    >
                                    > JohnT
                                    > ----- Original Message -----
                                    > From: dbaldnz
                                    > To: bolger@yahoogroups.com
                                    > Sent: Wednesday, March 30, 2005 6:44 PM
                                    > Subject: [bolger] Re: Bolger Manatee Chinese Gaff Rig Critique
                                    >
                                    >
                                    >
                                    > --- In bolger@yahoogroups.com, "Will Samson" <willsamson@y...> wrote:
                                    > >
                                    > > ----- Original Message -----
                                    > > From: Bruce Hallman
                                    > >
                                    > > Will Samson wrote:
                                    > > > It's well-known that catboats are notoriously hard-mouthed (i.e.
                                    > > > have extreme weather helm when running) so there should be no
                                    > > > great surprises here.
                                    > >
                                    > > >>I own and sail a Chinese Gaff cat yawl, (though perhaps I don't
                                    > > understand what you are writing about), but my boat sails
                                    > > like a dream downwind.>>
                                    > >
                                    > > I'll clarify - by 'catboats' I mean traditional Cape Cod cats with
                                    > very large, low aspect ratio gaff sails. No mizen, no jib. I don't
                                    > mean dinghies like Lasers, Moths etc, which have much shorter booms,
                                    > in proportion, and neither do I mean yawls.
                                    >
                                    > Rather like a Finn in proportion Bill, including long boom and big
                                    > sail. But the difference is, those hard mouthed catboats you are
                                    > talking about also have very broad hulls, which are probably a totally
                                    > unbalanced underwater form when they heel or yaw downwind. An
                                    > unbalanced hull which does that, will round up 9 times out of 10. The
                                    > Finn with it's large rig for it's size, mast right in the bow is a
                                    > finer shape, and does not change to a horrible unbalanced shape when
                                    > it heels.
                                    > DonB
                                    > >
                                    > > Alert/Manatee had just the one very large (chinese) gaff mainsail
                                    > and so resembled a catboat in many ways and therefore might be
                                    > expected to share many of its vices.
                                    > >
                                    > > Bill
                                    > >
                                    > > Bill
                                    > >
                                    > >
                                    > >
                                    > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                    >
                                    >
                                    >
                                    >
                                    >
                                    > Bolger rules!!!
                                    > - no cursing, flaming, trolling, spamming, or flogging dead horses
                                    > - stay on topic, stay on thread, punctuate, no 'Ed, thanks, Fred'
                                    posts
                                    > - Pls add your comments at the TOP, SIGN your posts, and snip away
                                    > - Plans: Mr. Philip C. Bolger, P.O. Box 1209, Gloucester, MA,
                                    01930, Fax: (978) 282-1349
                                    > - Unsubscribe: bolger-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
                                    > - Open discussion: bolger_coffee_lounge-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
                                    >
                                    >
                                    > Yahoo! Groups Sponsor
                                    > ADVERTISEMENT
                                    >
                                    >
                                    >
                                    >
                                    >
                                    >
                                    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                    > Yahoo! Groups Links
                                    >
                                    > a.. To visit your group on the web, go to:
                                    > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/bolger/
                                    >
                                    > b.. To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
                                    > bolger-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
                                    >
                                    > c.. Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of
                                    Service.
                                    >
                                    >
                                    >
                                    >
                                    >
                                    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                    >
                                    >
                                    > Internal Virus Database is out-of-date.
                                    > Checked by AVG Anti-Virus.
                                    > Version: 7.0.308 / Virus Database: 266.8.1 - Release Date: 3/23/2005
                                    >
                                    >
                                    > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                  • Derek Waters
                                    A scattering of observations... What has been said about the radical asymmetry developed by the beamy-aft catboat hull when heeled seems to make a lot of
                                    Message 17 of 23 , Mar 30, 2005
                                    • 0 Attachment
                                      A scattering of observations...

                                      What has been said about the radical asymmetry developed by the beamy-aft
                                      catboat hull when heeled seems to make a lot of sense. That's a very
                                      different hull form from the Micro [isn't just about everything :) ].

                                      We've been comfortable running dead downwind in [Chinese gaff rigged]
                                      Moriarty, in winds strong enough to make hull speed [by GPS] with only the
                                      fully reefed main up. That's lake sailing though, not the salt chuck. I've
                                      not found my helming adequate for keeping her goosewinged very long. I'm
                                      usually watching the main, and the mizzen gets gybed. If the mizzen was
                                      allowed forward of the mast that might be different.

                                      In "103 Sailing Rigs" Bolger talks about the effect of the boom lifting
                                      before the wind causing the head of the sail to twist forward, leading to
                                      roll, to yaw, and to poor control. In the chapter on Gaff Cats he says of
                                      downwind behaviour 'It's surprising how well the "hard mouthed cat" will
                                      steer if you can hold her boom down where it belongs'. I'd take that to mean
                                      'hard mouthed' the way I've heard it used elsewhere [in the horse sense];
                                      'disinclined to answer control inputs' rather than carrying lots of weather
                                      helm.

                                      cheers
                                      Derek
                                    • Will Samson
                                      ... sail. But the difference is, those hard mouthed catboats you are talking about also have very broad hulls, which are probably a totally unbalanced
                                      Message 18 of 23 , Mar 31, 2005
                                      • 0 Attachment
                                        >>Rather like a Finn in proportion Bill, including long boom and big
                                        sail. But the difference is, those hard mouthed catboats you are
                                        talking about also have very broad hulls, which are probably a totally
                                        unbalanced underwater form when they heel or yaw downwind. An
                                        unbalanced hull which does that, will round up 9 times out of 10. The
                                        Finn with it's large rig for it's size, mast right in the bow is a
                                        finer shape, and does not change to a horrible unbalanced shape when
                                        it heels.
                                        DonB>>

                                        Correct Don - I've read up about that theory in one of the WoodenBoat plans catalogues. I must say I'm a wee bit sceptical though, because when catboats are heeled, beating into the wind or close reaching, they behave beautifully, self steer and all that. You can just about lash the tiller and go below for a cup of tea while she makes good progress. But it's when they're on a more-or-less even keel, running downwind that the weather-helm really hits you and the boat needs 100% concentration and lightning quick reactions on the helm to keep it from rounding up.

                                        Maybe it's one of these things that's not fully understood yet?

                                        Bill



                                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                      • John B. Trussell
                                        A couple of things. I have never seen a Finn in person, but my impression is that they have the usual sail controls, including a vang. Most gaff rigged cat
                                        Message 19 of 23 , Mar 31, 2005
                                        • 0 Attachment
                                          A couple of things.

                                          I have never seen a Finn in person, but my impression is that they have the usual sail controls, including a vang. Most gaff rigged cat boats do not have a vang. On a run, the boom rises, allowing the gaff to swing forward and the sail develops a substantial twist. Since the sail is quadrilateral, there is a lot of area twisted up high, and in addition to weather helm, there is the potential for rythmic rolling. All this is a problem which I avoid by tacking down wind.

                                          It is certainly true that under certain conditions a boat will suddenly round up (as I once found out shortly after rounding a mark in a Lightning!). However, the problem with gaff rigged cats is that they have very long booms and when the sail is out at right angles, the center of effort swings way outboard. Imagine an outboard motor on the side of the boat. The offset force of the motor tends to turn the boat. Now put a boom on the side of the boat and move the motor further out on the boom. The further you move it, the more offset the force becomes and the more the boat will want to turn.

                                          In my experience, weather helm which is induced by hull shape occurs as a very wide and or deep boat is heeled. Many modern racing "cruisers" will go down by the head when heeled, raising part of the rudder out of the water, and these boats will suddenly round up upwind or broach going down wind. Needless to say Bolger doesn't design boats like this!

                                          John T
                                          ----- Original Message -----
                                          From: Will Samson
                                          To: bolger@yahoogroups.com
                                          Sent: Thursday, March 31, 2005 3:15 AM
                                          Subject: Re: [bolger] Re: Bolger Manatee Chinese Gaff Rig Critique


                                          >>Rather like a Finn in proportion Bill, including long boom and big
                                          sail. But the difference is, those hard mouthed catboats you are
                                          talking about also have very broad hulls, which are probably a totally
                                          unbalanced underwater form when they heel or yaw downwind. An
                                          unbalanced hull which does that, will round up 9 times out of 10. The
                                          Finn with it's large rig for it's size, mast right in the bow is a
                                          finer shape, and does not change to a horrible unbalanced shape when
                                          it heels.
                                          DonB>>

                                          Correct Don - I've read up about that theory in one of the WoodenBoat plans catalogues. I must say I'm a wee bit sceptical though, because when catboats are heeled, beating into the wind or close reaching, they behave beautifully, self steer and all that. You can just about lash the tiller and go below for a cup of tea while she makes good progress. But it's when they're on a more-or-less even keel, running downwind that the weather-helm really hits you and the boat needs 100% concentration and lightning quick reactions on the helm to keep it from rounding up.

                                          Maybe it's one of these things that's not fully understood yet?

                                          Bill



                                          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



                                          Bolger rules!!!
                                          - no cursing, flaming, trolling, spamming, or flogging dead horses
                                          - stay on topic, stay on thread, punctuate, no 'Ed, thanks, Fred' posts
                                          - Pls add your comments at the TOP, SIGN your posts, and snip away
                                          - Plans: Mr. Philip C. Bolger, P.O. Box 1209, Gloucester, MA, 01930, Fax: (978) 282-1349
                                          - Unsubscribe: bolger-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
                                          - Open discussion: bolger_coffee_lounge-subscribe@yahoogroups.com


                                          Yahoo! Groups Sponsor
                                          ADVERTISEMENT





                                          ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                          Yahoo! Groups Links

                                          a.. To visit your group on the web, go to:
                                          http://groups.yahoo.com/group/bolger/

                                          b.. To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
                                          bolger-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com

                                          c.. Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of Service.




                                          ------------------------------------------------------------------------------


                                          Internal Virus Database is out-of-date.
                                          Checked by AVG Anti-Virus.
                                          Version: 7.0.308 / Virus Database: 266.8.1 - Release Date: 3/23/2005


                                          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                        • Bruce Hallman
                                          ... I can ditto that. There is plenty of sail in the main to achieve hull speed, and worrying about whether the mizzen gybes does doesn t seem important.
                                          Message 20 of 23 , Mar 31, 2005
                                          • 0 Attachment
                                            > I've not found my helming adequate for keeping her goosewinged very long. I'm
                                            > usually watching the main, and the mizzen gets gybed.

                                            I can ditto that. There is plenty of sail in the main to achieve hull speed,
                                            and worrying about whether the mizzen gybes does doesn't seem important.

                                            Don't forget that the biggest reason for the Chinese Gaff is to have
                                            excellent control over the reefing. That, it does, very well!

                                            Another reason for the Chinese Gaff is to have lots of low stress
                                            sheeting points, again, it does that well too.

                                            [As an aside, this weekend I plan to to take off my battens and
                                            (using my electric planner) taper them to improve the airfoil shape
                                            of the sail. My battens are currently too stiff.]
                                          • elejon
                                            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
                                            Message 21 of 23 , Apr 1, 2005
                                            • 0 Attachment
                                              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
                                              design.

                                              Regards,

                                              John



                                              --- In bolger@yahoogroups.com, "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
                                              sheetlets,
                                              > 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.
                                            • Clyde Wisner
                                              Thanks for posting your observations. I m not in love with the look of the Chin. Gaff , but I ve always thought it would work well. Clyde ... [Non-text
                                              Message 22 of 23 , Apr 2, 2005
                                              • 0 Attachment
                                                Thanks for posting your observations. I'm not in love with the look
                                                of the Chin. Gaff , but I've always thought it would work well. Clyde



                                                elejon wrote:

                                                >
                                                > 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
                                                >



                                                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                              • sae140
                                                Guess who s been trawling through the archives .... ... Hi John - by any chance do you have, or do you know of anyone who might have, any means of contacting
                                                Message 23 of 23 , Aug 6 8:06 AM
                                                • 0 Attachment
                                                  Guess who's been trawling through the archives ....

                                                  From April 1st:

                                                  --- In bolger@yahoogroups.com, "elejon" <jmcdan@h...> wrote:
                                                  >
                                                  > For what it's worth, I sailed Jim Melcher's Alert/Manatee during his
                                                  > visit to Bolger's.

                                                  Hi John - by any chance do you have, or do you know
                                                  of anyone who might have, any means of contacting
                                                  Jim Melcher ?

                                                  Regards

                                                  Colin
                                                Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.