Basic Principles of Sails and Rigging


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  • Pub No.: 5532
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 Sails, sails, sails--small wonder that the average beginner is a little at sea. Well he knows that a sail is nothing more or less than a piece of cloth used in propelling a boat through the water, but of the wide variety of types and of the various strings which control these different sails, his knowledge is painfully scant--so limited that a Ketch is often pointed out as a Yawl, a Knock-about is invariably given its family name of Sloop, and a Bermudian is off-times described in a manner which is not at all salt as, that sassy looking tub with the tipsy mast. In looking at some of these different types of sail, we will consider the location and shape only, for therein lies the key, in most cases, as to which class the boat belongs. First of all, that typical snub-nosed American, the Cat-rig, or rather Catboat, since the hull used with this type of sail is, half-consciously perhaps, always considered as part of the whole. You will notice that there is a single mast, set well forward, with a boom attached to the lower end and a gaff to the top or upper end. The sail is fastened to these three--mast, boom and gaff--and, being single, is naturally the mainsail; also, since the top or head of the sail is supported by a gaff, we have gaff-headed. Thus, a Cat-rig might be roughly described as a single, gaff-headed sail set on a mast well forward without any additions in the shape of either headsails or topsails or added spars. With the addition of a jib sail forward, and a change in the mast location, the Catboat becomes a Sloop, (from the Dutch Sloep). The Sloop rig is the commonest one-masted rig in America, being changed to suit various localities. Some of these changes have been unimportant; others have merited a new name for the rig thus evolved.

24 pages, 4 plate(s)


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