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Dipping Lugsail Hiking Downwind

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  • c.ruzer
    There s this quote: ...The only time the rig gave us a fright was once when we tried to get more power running before the wind by taking the tack off the
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 17, 2011
      There's this quote:

      "...The only time the rig gave us a fright was once when we tried to get more power running before the wind by taking the tack off the stemhead and guying it out to one side like a squaresail. The big Scots luggers, some of whose sails were as much as 1,600 square feet, are supposed to heve done this, and I've seen it mentioned as an advantage of the rig, though after my attention was engaged I looked at scores of photos of them under sail and have not found one in which the tack is outside the boat, though I've found a couple in which it was fastened to the rail abreast the mast. Be that as it may, when we tried it we couldn't hold the tack down hard; since the luff of the sail is what keeps the yard peaked-up, the head of the yard dropped some and went forward a lot, producing a great twist in the sail and a steadily-increasing rythmic roll that almost capsized us before we could let go the halyard. I surmise that if they actually did do this in big luggers they must have had a vang or heel rope on the yard, probably brought in to the mast about where the tack would be in a standing lug, or some such arrangement. With the tack on the stem, her downwind manners were good...." (Little Superior, Chap 19, FS, p111)

      And this much later:

      "...The lugsail can be converted into a near-squaresail for downwind passages by bringing the tack to the deck edge abreast of the mast and poling out the clew..." (Ataraxia, Chap71, BWAOM, p382)


      Poling the clew out downwind, if possible from the mast, by an oar or some such, is common for the sheet carries most of the wind load from the sail. This reduces weatherhelm by way of better load pathway geometry from the sail.


      The big luggers may have had the tack guyed outboard downwind and with a yard heel rope to prevent the yard peak dropping, or possibly not, but how about something like a HIKING BOARD for outboard tack positioning downwind? Such a hiking board need only withstand the cantileverd distal mass of the yard as slung from the halyard with possibly some minor component of sail lifting and driving forces added when running... The hiking board might also be used for meat ballast fun on the wind - if constructed to take such larger juxtaposed loads.
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