The Sail Catcher

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  • 14 Jan 2020 06:33
    Reply # 8567104 on 8564080
    Graeme Kenyon wrote:


    So, your mast lift is a 2-part sling. In that respect it is identical in principle to the McGalliard sail catcher, except that yours is entirely (both lifts) on the port side of the mast. That is the part I don't understand. How do you run the starboard of the two lifts which make the two-part sling? (in relation to batten parrels etc)



    Both parts of the forward sling are attached to the original mast lift fitting which is slightly to the port side of the mast. The batten parrels are attached to the very forward end of the battens and so the starboard part of the sling runs down between the parrels and the sail.

    I should point out that these are not lazy jacks, or a topping lift in the usual sense. The forward sling, and aft lazy jacks are permanently tied off. To get the sail to the hoist/sailing position there is a line which pulls the forward end of the boom aft-wards, and in doing so lifts the after end of the boom upward and off the boom gallows. When the sail is dropped the same line is released which allows the whole sail bundle to move forward across the mast, with the aft end of the boom dropping down onto the boom gallows. It is a very simple system which works well. Thank you David Tyler

    Last modified: 14 Jan 2020 06:37 | Anonymous member
  • 13 Jan 2020 22:52
    Reply # 8564080 on 8279483

    David Th: Sorry, I mixed up "port" and "starboard" for some reason.

    So, your mast lift is a 2-part sling. In that respect it is identical in principle to the McGalliard sail catcher, except that yours is entirely (both lifts) on the port side of the mast. That is the part I don't understand. How do you run the starboard of the two lifts which make the two-part sling? (in relation to batten parrels etc)



    Last modified: 13 Jan 2020 23:18 | Anonymous member
  • 13 Jan 2020 22:07
    Reply # 8563752 on 8558367
    Graeme wrote:



    Above is the sail catcher referred to by David Th., supported by lifts and lazyjacks. Economical and stylish. Does not act as a sail cover. It is curious to me that the forward flap is on the starboard side of the mast and I can't see the "mast lift" in that photo. Perhaps one of the Davids can elucidate.


    I probably oversimplified my explanation, for the sake of brevity. It is not a mast lift in the traditional sense, rather a two part sling from the masthead which supports the fore part of the sail bundle. So both parts of the forward sail catcher are on the port side of the mast.
    Last modified: 13 Jan 2020 22:09 | Anonymous member
  • 13 Jan 2020 08:18
    Reply # 8558367 on 8279483

    I can see the advantage of David T's system and concede that it is somewhat more elegant. I like mine better and also enjoy not having to have lazy jacks. It does seem now that there is a harmony between SJR and the McGalliard sail catcher which may not carry over to other sail types. Its been worthwhile to thrash this out.



    Above is the sail catcher referred to by David Th., supported by lifts and lazyjacks. Economical and stylish. Does not act as a sail cover. It is curious to me that the forward flap is on the [edit] port side of the mast and I can't see the "mast lift" in that photo. Perhaps one of the Davids can elucidate.


    Marcus says "what's wrong with just standard lazyjacks as per Hasler McLeod?"


    McGalliard sail catcher supported by just two pairs of lifts, the forward lifts at each side of the mast. No lazyjacks. Not so pretty, but can incorporate a  built-in sail cover, and also act as an envelope for slinging the entire bundle with all its running gear confined and untangled, in and out of the trailer boat. Evidently more suitable for SJR.


    Last modified: 13 Jan 2020 22:59 | Anonymous member
  • 13 Jan 2020 08:10
    Reply # 8558324 on 8279483

    Well, the sail catcher system we had on "Footprints' sail and as designed by David Tyler worked absolutely fantastically. It was simple, incorporated into the lazy jack, mast lift lines and caught and bundled the sail perfectly every time. A sail cover was still needed, but for everyday sailing and ease of catching the sail when lowering I would have to say it was about as perfect as you can get. It probably shows up in the sail photos on my profile page.

  • 13 Jan 2020 06:44
    Reply # 8557782 on 8279483

    I may have to concede that Annie’s comments in a previous post should be taken note of.  I believe Annie’s analysis was not quite right (ie there can not be a force pressing the [edit]port frame tube against the mast, and the slot in a SJR plays no part in the working of the sail catcher). However, Annie’s analysis was based only on a recollection and with hindsight, I think maybe her conclusion was correct and ought to have been given more consideration. It is possible the sail catcher will not work so well on a contiguous sail, even when set up correctly with the mast in between the two support tubes.

    What led me to reconsider was a conversation with Marcus at the recent junket. He too had seen (and I think had been involved with) a sail catcher which did not work at all well, and he repeated Annie’s analysis – maybe it was the same boat, we do not know. Anyway it was a contiguous sail and the sail catcher was fitted entirely on one side of the mast. (If the sail were standard, that would have been the [edit]port side.) Not surprisingly, this arrangement did not work at all. However according to Marcus it was then modified and fitted again in the proper manner with the mast between the two tubular frames – and still the battens would stack up on top and not drop down into the sail catcher.

    (It must have been quite a failure. Marcus was in a particularly frank frame of mind at the time he spoke to me, and he told me in no uncertain terms that he thought the sail catcher was a hopeless idea, couldn’t see any benefit and wouldn’t have one himself!)  


    So, just for the record, I have given some thought as to how it could be that the sail catcher works so brilliantly well on my boat (and Edward’s) – and may not work well with a conventional sail – and here is my theory:

    There is no great force pressing the [edit]port tubular frame against the mast. There can not be. The ONLY force on that tube is the tension in the lifts, and the angle between the lifts and the mast is very small. This means the horizontal component of it (that sideways "pressing" force) has to be almost negligible. In fact on my boat there only needs to be a little bit of sail cloth in the catcher and it literally falls open. Even with nothing between the support tubes to hold them apart, the sail catcher is always open to receive panels and battens.

    HOWEVER, the tube on the [edit]starboard side does press a little against the mast, and once there is weight in the sail catcher the mast is squeezed a little between the bundle and the [edit] starboard tubular frame. This has no effect on the way it works with SJR, not because of the slot, but because the sail batten parrels are of the running type and not very thick. Either they still manage to slip down between the mast and the support tube on the [edit]starboard side, or they simply unreeve sufficiently to allow the sail panel and its batten to drop down into the sail catcher anyway. (I only thought this through properly on the way home from the Tall Ships junket and have not yet been able to have a look at the [edit]starboard side and see what exactly is going on.) Not having experience with conventional standing parrels, the problem was not intuitive to me, but I am now thinking maybe with conventional standing parrels (possibly thicker and maybe with anti-chafe or padding deployed) the hang up is on the [edit]starboard side of the mast and maybe those standing parrels hang up there and prevent the battens, on the other side of the mast, from easily entering the sail catcher. Perhaps someone else can confirm this.

    I stand by my statement that the sail catcher is the best accessory I have ever had on a sail boat, and still recommend the sail catcher to Rudolf and others – for SJR. In fact SJR really does need something better than lazy jacks IMHO. 

    Thanks to Annie for raising doubts with regard to contiguous sails, and Marcus for independently doing the same thing. We do need to take on board the comments of experienced people.


    Last modified: 13 Jan 2020 23:17 | Anonymous member
  • 17 Dec 2019 19:56
    Reply # 8308353 on 8279483

    I couldn't remember, but l've got a couple of rather fuzzy photos of the boat in question.  It would appear that, indeed, the sail catcher is all on one side of the mast. That would explain the problem.  It certainly refused to catch the sail on the boat to which I refer.  Thank you for elucidating the whole thing. 

  • 16 Dec 2019 21:38
    Reply # 8299072 on 8279483

    Hi Annie.

    Its not my idea, I got it from Slieve and Edward.

    Edit Most of this post was redundant and uncalled for (apologies) so here is a rewrite with just the key points.

    I found that the only lines necessary are two pairs of lifts. Lazy jacks are replaced by the catcher itself.

    In practice the catcher does not press tightly to the mast, if anything it opens up a little as it starts to fill.

    A key factor is that the horizontal tubes go one each side of the mast - the mast comes up through the bottom of the catcher, as shown in Slieve's notes. This is not intuitive. However I don't think the catcher will work as well, if at all, if the catcher is entirely on one side of the mast, and perhaps this is the real reason why the boat you saw was having problems reefing? 

    It is possible to hold the sides of the catcher apart by means of a U-shaped tube, as seen in photographs of Amiina. This could have the advantage also of providing "stand-off" to the support lines so that they are less likely to interfere with camber in the sail, but my attempt at this failed and I found that it was not necessary, at least on the SJR rig, as the forward lifts can be placed to coincide with the slot.

    I think David's refinement of triangular flaps between the bottom of the sail and the support lines will certainly appeal to some people, rather more elegant and economical than a sail catcher. However I personally like the sail catcher very much. It needn't be as big and deep as the one I made, or the slightly oversized one which Edward carried forward from his previous rig, so the style of it could be improved I suppose. 


    Last modified: 13 Jan 2020 07:39 | Anonymous member
  • 16 Dec 2019 19:55
    Reply # 8298321 on 8289908
    Anonymous wrote:

    Sorry Annie - another potential myth.

    The split or lack of it has no effect, the battens have to drop in anyway, and do, they drop down into the bag with no problem regardless of whatever weight is already on the lifts. It might seem like an odd thing, but that's what happens.  

    The port support tube never seems to press against the mast except perhaps to brush or tap against it at times. It’s a loose and floppy arrangement and the pocket seems to stay open whether or not there is weight on the lifts. Its one of those “proof of the pudding” situations.  The battens come rattling down and anything in the way (such as a lift) gets shoved aside while guiding the sail into its resting place. Just the same as lazy jacks.

    I am delighted to hear how well it is working for you.  However, I have been on a boat with a similar arrangement and the sail refused to slide neatly into the catcher, possibly due to the way that it was rigged to/around the lazyjacks.  The way you have run the various lines isn't quite clear in your photographs: perhaps you could describe it?  That way, people following your idea wouldn't end up in the same situation as the boat I saw.
  • 16 Dec 2019 10:47
    Reply # 8293562 on 8279483

    I've been in contact with Edward and agree with him that my words, “ and the one on Amiina is rather over-kill, and rather over size for the Mk 2 rig” carry the wrong message. Oversize it is as it was built for the MK 1 rig which was bigger with longer battens, and has not been cut down since the smaller rig was fitted. “Over-kill” perhaps, purely as it was the first one built to try the concept of the batten bending round the front of the rig to help support the starboard side without having lazy jacks distorting the sheeted out cambered shape of the jibs, which develops the drive in the rig. For a Mk 2 I'm sure lighter materials could and would be used, but that is what experimenting is all about.

    Edward is very happy with his sail catcher, and says that he would not change it for any other design he has seen so far.

    I will admit that I was fully convinced that a sail catcher arrangement was the right way to go, and really only half-baked the idea on Poppy's rig. I was concerned about putting a full length tubular batten outside the mast, and was looking for a way to split and support the batten at the mast. Edward's answer worked well.

    Now it's great that Graeme has told us about his experience.

    Even long distance sailors spend a high percentage of their time in harbour or at anchor, and need to protect their sails from UV. A catcher with a built in cover can work well, and can result in a fully covered rig always ready to raise at a moments notice just by running a zip or undoing a couple of fastenings. A sail will be covered even for a half hour break if it is easy to do.

    Cheers, Slieve.

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