Gaff ANNIE to junk: update, mast bend

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  • 19 Jun 2018 08:28
    Reply # 6320445 on 6316399

    Hey, Graham, it's warmer in chilly NZ.  Only down to around 11 for the last few nights!  It's really exciting, isn't it, watching Pol and Jami getting their boats converted and ready for sailing? 

    I think your mast will be more than strong enough, Pol and I wouldn't mind taking a bet that you never use your jib after the first few attempts.  I should love to have the chance to sail aboard my namesake and see how she likes her new rig.  I think that she's going to turn a few heads and surprise more than a few people.

  • 18 Jun 2018 23:00
    Reply # 6319744 on 6319624
    POL BERGIUS wrote:Of course you're  a few thousand miles from North Island, NZ, Graham. And I dare say a good deal warmer. Silly me!

    Actually, it is freezing here too, having a serious cold snap by our standards.  It was 9C here last night, with a cold wind that came up from the southern ocean over the snow-laden mountains.  Even the tropics are cold, with 10C last night in the Whitsunday Islands.  Still, nothing like a serious winter.  A Swedish sailor once told me there is no such a thing as being too cold, just the wrong clothes, but I am not so sure!

    I was also thinking more about your mast bend.  You mentioned taking your topping lifts to the aft quarters to limit the swing of the sail.  If the sail was pressing against one of those lifts, then the top of the mast would bend aft, just like it will bend forward if you have a jib up with too much wind in it.  I suspect this will not be a problem when you are sailing free.

    I look forward to hearing of your progress.

  • 18 Jun 2018 21:34
    Reply # 6319624 on 6316399
    Of course you're  a few thousand miles from North Island, NZ, Graham. And I dare say a good deal warmer. Silly me!
  • 18 Jun 2018 21:30
    Reply # 6319618 on 6316399
    Thank you Graham, I reckon you're right about the forestay potentially building up unwanted stresses in the rig. The unstayed mast should be just that, unless you're a dipping lug with your halyard to windward. The only time I'll use it is just as you suggest - with great caution on a very light day! Some seasons we get quite a lot of that here, and chatting to a few cruisers passing through the canal basin there seems to have been a lot of not much wind in this nice high pressure weather we've been having lately! David Tyler has been reporting some great weather (in the cruiser's forum) as well as some with two anchors out. Meantime it sounds as though North Island NZ has been having it unusually chilly  - commiserations!

    Thanks again for your encouragement and for sharing the kitten-with-two-tails excitement that I'm feeling right now.. I feel a trial sail coming on!

    All the best,


  • 18 Jun 2018 03:21
    Reply # 6317682 on 6316399

    Hi Pol, glad to see you have some good responses.  Given the diameter and the laminated construction of your spar it just HAS to be strong enough once you sort out the running rigging.  Although I have never set up my spare halyard as a forestay, I cannot see any advantage of doing so when sailing to windward.  I always make sure mine has enough slack in it to allow the mast to bend naturally, as I have always felt that keeping it tight would induce undesirable stresses on the mast.  I only tighten the spare halyard in port, and add a swifter, to keep it from clanging (aluminium masts don't do tapping) in a breeze,  If you do use it to hoist a lightweight headsail, be very cautious and always stand by the sheet.  If you were going to break that mast, a sudden wind gust while you were flying that headsail is the thing that would do it.  otherwise, all you have to look forward to now is the joy of setting sail.  All the work is behind you and all the fun is ahead.

  • 17 Jun 2018 15:49
    Reply # 6317027 on 6316399

    Hi all,

    WOW! Thanks a million for your responses. And so quick, but then that is the benefit of having such knowledge accumulated by those willing hands down under, and early risers here in the north! I am very much reassured.

    The mast is built to PJR spec, with Arne's input. I'm happy that it looks pretty heavy although it's not much over the specification recommended. It is clean locally-grown D Fir, tho quite fast grown, laminated in 60 mm boards the full width. 

    I was looking at the sling point(s) and thinking I had overcooked Arne’s suggestion of keeping it aft of the 50% mark. As has been pointed out, the angle between the halyard and the mast is too much. I see now that the forces should be much more vertical than they are. I may have also put a bit of LHP tension on too soon which will have accentuated the problem, as Arne said. I will try a bit of YHP before touching anything else. I need to look up PJR’s chapter on handling the rig – what complete joy to be at this stage!! Presumably the sling point should not be less than halfway along the yard, especially of designed to be further aft than that?

    It does look like a bit of a muddle of rope in the photo. The “funnies” are the spare halyard leading forward and the two topping lifts which I led right aft to the quarters to limit the swing of the sail. I have rigged the YHP and LHP and they are operating beautifully. Most creases decrease (!) when the LHP is tensioned a bit. I need to get the YHP block off the side of the yard rather than the top where it was easiest to rig, I order to improve the lead to the deck block.. The (5:1) halyard is slung at two points as per Arne's very straightforward method, lashings round the spar. The lead looks pretty fair at the moment, but I’m able to change that easily. I wasn't planning on fitting a tack parrel until we find out if it's required.

    BTW David, I opted for the 5:1 rather than 3:1 we were going to fit when you were with me, as my inclination is to reduce reliance on the winch as much as poss. I had no bother hoisting to this point while standing on deck at the mast – old habits!!! Actually I could see what was happening better from there. When I led it back to the cockpit to see what it felt like with most of the sail up, it felt like harder work, but then as Annie once pointed out standing in your cockpit pulling horizontally is not as easy for the human frame as heaving straight down. Even the winch felt heavy. That said, standing at the mast, with these very free running blocks it felt quite like hauling up ANNIE’s 2 gaff halyards together (which didn’t have very free blocks). At the masthead the double is on the crane away from the mast and the single is closer in to the mast with a long shackle. I’m confident that this arrangement will work OK when squared away on a run. We’ll see in a few days… The blocks look as if they'll be fine together, but the pin of the inner shackle may chafe on the mast a bit when running, so I may need to fit some protection there.

    Graham's point about the reefed sail being on the sturdier part of the mast is particularly reassuring! Graham there isn’t any tension on that thing that looks like a rope forestay. It’s just the spare halyard as recommended by David when he was with me, for flag or emergency access to the masthead, or for a headsail: With great care I plan to fly a feather weight running or reaching sail from this to the bowsprit end, if there's a slop and not enough breeze to fill the mainsail. The wind yesterday was quite fluky but mostly over the port quarter about F3. Too much for the job. When I first hoisted in the pouring rain it was a flat calm. If it is sheltered from the sea at our swinging mooring it might be easier to make these pre-sailing tweaks swinging to a (light) breeze. If the weather gods oblige.

    Does anyone have any thoughts on using a little forestay tension when on the wind, if the bowsprit end holds the stay well clear of the yard? My feeling is that it might upset the natural balance of the unstayed mast, but others may have experience of this?

    Thanks again for all help. That anxious moment is passing! Will post more info on my profile when my phone agrees to let go of the photos...


  • 17 Jun 2018 09:21
    Reply # 6316799 on 6316399
    Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The photo below of Pol’s Annie shows a sail which is sitting much further aft than on her sailplan (which has 16% balance). A light tug in the YHP before touching the THP  (or the sheet) will increase the balance of the sail and bring the slingpoint on the yard much closer to the mast. Remember to adjust the length of the Tack Parrel, TP, to suit the rest of the sail. The hoisted sail should not be canted forward in the top. The luff should be parallel with the mast.

    Remember, the mast bend of any freestanding rig seems much worse when we sight along the mast than when watched from the cockpit or from the side.

    I would not worry about this. I would bring the sail into the right fore-aft position and then go sailing. Then, with the wind pressing on the mast, one could have a second look, both along the mast, and from a following boat. My guess is that there is no problem, here.

    Good luck, Pol!


    Last modified: 17 Jun 2018 09:23 | Anonymous member (Administrator)
  • 17 Jun 2018 07:10
    Reply # 6316776 on 6316399

    Hi Pol,

    When I was up at the top of the mast, it didn't seem particularly small in diameter - was it built to PJR sizes?

    Mainly, I'm seeing too great an angle between the halyard and the mast, due to the lack of an effective YHP to haul the yard forward. I think the problem is simply that you haven't finished rigging the YHP and LHP according to the diagrams in PJR, and when you have, all will be well.

  • 17 Jun 2018 05:47
    Reply # 6316758 on 6316399

    I concur with Annie, the halyard seems to be attached to the yard quite a long way back from the mast. I have looked at some photos of Footprints with the sail raised and the halyard is quite close to parallel with the mast. So, it would seem that your halyard is trying to pull the mast head back towards the halyard attachment point on the yard, whereas the yard should sort of be hanging vertically under the mast head, if that makes sense. 

    Have a look at the photo below, this is with the sail reefed down by one panel. But even with the full sail up the halyard attachment point on the mast is sitting almost right up against the mast.(Photo by Roger Scott). 

    Don't pay any attention to the span I have set up to the top of the yard. That is just my way of moving the effective sling point further up the yard without having to cut a hole in the sleeve on the top of the sail which the yard sits in, and which was done for a 50% sling point. You should have the halyard attached to a single sling point on the yard, and these days a lot of people are using a lashing around the yard rather than a heavy metal sling fitting. I also do not think I can see a Yard Hauling Parrel in your photo. This is used to pull the sling point of the yard in towards the mast, although I only need to tension that if the sail is well reefed down, normally the halyard attachment point just naturally sits in against the mast when the sail is raised.

    Last modified: 17 Jun 2018 06:40 | Anonymous member
  • 17 Jun 2018 01:46
    Reply # 6316476 on 6316399

    Hi Pol

    There seems to be an awful lot of string around at the top of the mast and to my aged eyes, it looked like you have a gaff style purchase to the yard.  If so, that would explain the bend.  If not it's a hmmm moment ... but Graham is right about the loads coming down with the sail.  And what bends don't break ...

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