Extend heel end of timber mast?

  • 12 Mar 2020 22:02
    Reply # 8824172 on 8760417

    Hi Annie, sorry, a delayed reaction! I'm not on here as often as I'd like. But that's a very nice way of putting it, and so true. The scales just fall from the eyes, and we can see clearly... It's taken a while for me to see the light. After all it was the 90's when I first me you, Pete and Badger. Then I read your amazing "Voyaging". Then Roger Taylor, and all of a sudden it was 2014. A sail with Dan and Charlotte on their beautiful Badger called Hestur, followed by an electrifying sail with Edward Hooper on Amiina (jousting with the chain ferry), and I knew what I had to do. I have never enjoyed sailing so much. 

    All the very best, Pol.

  • 27 Feb 2020 07:29
    Reply # 8775762 on 8760417

    I'm so pleased to hear that you are enjoying your junk rig, Pol.  The way I see it is that there are two types of sailors: those who dislike junk rig and those who have experienced it :-)

  • 26 Feb 2020 12:31
    Reply # 8771245 on 8760417

    Hi Arne,

    It's funny to me that the very sailors who, when propping up the club bar will discuss the windward performance of their amazing (usually bermudan) yacht with all comers, is the same guy I see motoring to windward with an unhappy and nervous family on board, his mainsail on the boom (or in the mast, or wherever), and half his genoa set! So while I really see your point about flat sails and their lack of windward ability, the same geyser, even with a flat cut sail, could be happily motor-sailing and getting some benefit from his canvas, while cracking the sheets will bring him total JOY! And he won't believe how easy, cheap and simple it all is to do!

    A discussion that must be going on in junk circles all round the World ;)



  • 26 Feb 2020 10:12
    Reply # 8771105 on 8760417
    Anonymous member (Administrator)


    my armchair guess is that the bad performance of the flat junksails over three decades (at least) has given the rig a seriously bad reputation in the West. I bet that well over half of today’s junkrigs still have flat sails.

    In Stavanger, apart from one summer in 1990, there have only been well-performing junks around, and nobody question if our junks can sail to windward. If one has met Ketil Greve’s Marie G on the fjord, one will never forget it.


  • 25 Feb 2020 22:22
    Reply # 8770376 on 8760417

    Lovely to read your last one, Arne!

    This comment is probably for the yacht Club Bar, but while we are at it: In my two years of sailing a junk, after being brought up with and sailing gaff rigged boats (and the very odd bermudan), I am completely mystified as to why there are so few JRs about. And with such VARIETY both in style and appearance, as well as simplicity and safety for actually cruising and enjoying it and not having too much work to do!!! Simply,   a worldwide conservatism in sailors and yachts designers alike are keeping this wonderful rig from the majority. . Smugly, I look forward to another season and hope that for all of us there will be many many more into our old, old age with lovely simple, easily controlled JUNK rigs to enjoy!!



  • 21 Feb 2020 15:05
    Reply # 8761779 on 8760417
    Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Low stress in a junk sail

    I have had three convincing experiences of the low stress in my junksails:

    1.      In 1990, I received the first, flat sail for Malena from England. All the four corners, including the tack and clew had been beefed up as if the sail were a gaff sail. There were at least 3-4 strengthening patches at each corner, and then there was the BIG hydraulic grommets. Even this early, I thought it looked odd, so just for fun, I tied the clew to the boom with only one single whipping twine. That held just fine, all summer. What a contrast between that twine and the stout grommet.

    2.      In 1994 I could hoist my first home-made cambered panel junksail. It soon turned out that I had given the top panel too much camber, as it started luffing before the rest of the sail. To put it right quickly, I kind of brailed away most of the (10cm) round in the top panel along the yard, using twine stops every 20 cm. This was of course just meant to be a quick fix. However, it did the job, and when the sail was scrapped in 2012, the ‘quick fix’ was still there.

    3.      Btw. that sail was made with seven panels although I only had a ‘6-panel mast’ at the time, so again, the lowest panels was rolled up and held with twine stops until a taller mast could be stepped, the year after. No problem  (See JRA NL 30).



  • 21 Feb 2020 14:34
    Reply # 8761710 on 8760417

    Hi David and Arne,

    Thank you very much for your quick replies, and your reassurance. I had considered "brailing up" a bit of panel 7 last year, Arne, by stitching a strip of cloth on one side and some 25mm webbing on the other and banging some little grommets in, but from what you say most of that is completely unnecessary! Old habits die hard - I keep forgetting how low stress the whole thing is ;) I'll carry out your non woodworking option if I run out of time.

    I hope all is well in Ravenglass and Stavanger. I'm glad to say ANNIE's mast is out, considering the stormy weather that has arrived at last..

    Thanks again and all the best,


  • 21 Feb 2020 13:04
    Reply # 8761635 on 8760417
    Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Hi Pol,
    I am sure you will be able to lengthen the mast 40cm, as you describe. If your mast is off the boat now, and you are keen on doing some woodwork, then go ahead.

    However, if the mast is still on the boat and you have no other reasons for unstepping it, there is another possibility  -  shortening the lowest panel by 30-40cm. This is not risky, as there is no scissors involved. You will only lose about two square-meters, and these can easily be brought back in use, later. All you need is a yardstick, a thin felt-tip pen plus needle and some whipping twine. If the sail is still rigged on the boat, the job can be done within two calm hours, without taking the bundle down:

    ·         Hoist the sail to get access to the lower edge of the lowest panel.

    ·         Open the lashings holding the foot to the boom.

    ·         Measure and mark up a new foot, 40(?)cm above the original (keep that round).

    ·         Stitch on a simple twine hoop at the new clew and tack position (as on photo below)

    ·         Lower the sail a little to let you lash the new tack and clew to the boom.

    ·         Roll up the excess sailcloth and secure it with twine stops at , say, every foot.

    ·         Secure this rolled up bundle to the boom with similar stops.

    Job done.

    If you later for some reason are to take the mast down, and then want to lengthen it, the lowest panel can be brought back to full size in just  two minutes.

    Just a thought.



    Last modified: 21 Feb 2020 13:05 | Anonymous member (Administrator)
  • 21 Feb 2020 08:06
    Reply # 8761233 on 8760417

    Hello Pol,

    If i've understood correctly, the new cheeks to be laminated on are actually forming a long scarph from somewhere up near the partners right down to the heel. If that is so, it seems like a sound plan to me.

  • 20 Feb 2020 22:23
    Message # 8760417

    Hi all,

    I know the saying 'measure twice, cut once' all too well. Somehow, when it came to making the mast for the conversion of our Cornish Crabber ANNIE to JR it slipped my mind.  I went a little off piste with my tape measure and hand saw. One or two observant and seasoned junkies have commented and of course I'm feeling the pinch, with the halyard being at risk of wringing the masthead. I need more room up there.

    I want to keep the (intentionall) 300mm or so that is above the mast band for aesthetics (it is yet to get it's nice capping piece), and at less than 100mm diameter at the truck I'm thinking it won't be up for the job of moving the mast band up anyway.. However there's a lot of meat (285mm square at partners, about 175mm square at the heel) that lengthening it by 400mm or so should be doable. The mast is laminated, solid, out of 60mm+ Doug fir slabs - full width - with MAS epoxy. 

    Will I be ok to mortice and tenon a central piece into the 175mm square heel, and laminate some cheeks onto that from the top of the taper, replicating the shape down to a new heel 400mm further from the truck? As long as I've still got a healthy section of squared mast above and below the partners, which I believe I will (at present there's quite a bit more squared below the partners than above). In this way I don't think I'll be building any unhealthy stress points into the stick.

    I am reassured that after two seasons the mast and partners have shown absolutely no sign of work. The Doug fir wedges, never needing a second tap after sailing, look as though they are just out of the box. The heel in its snug socket of polyurethane resin has been everything I hoped it would be.

    I would be really grateful for any comments on my plan.

    All the best, Pol.

       " ...there is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in junk-rigged boats" 
                                                               - the Chinese Water Rat

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