Author Topic: Fitting the Topsail  (Read 2009 times)

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Fitting the Topsail
« on: April 07, 2014, 02:13:19 PM »
George Billington
Username: George_billington

Registered: 12-2009
   
Posted on Sunday, May 16, 2010 - 09:25 pm:      
O Good People, please advise.

I bought Mortimer(WB58) at the end of last season. Having discovered a topsail - looks new and unused, I am trying to set it up. My simple mind (and few are simpler!) says that I should be able to raise the topsail with the gaff, having fastened the Clew to the Gaff outer edge, and a Lanyard to the Gaff Throat, with a Halyard from the centre of the Topsail Spar, through a sheave on the Mast, just above the Centre of the Topsail Spar. Is this the best option, which means if it blows up, then to remove the Topsail means dropping the Main i.e. Gaff. Has anyone worked out a better way as yet? All ideas welcomed

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Re: Fitting the Topsail
« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2014, 02:13:34 PM »

Roger Parish
Username: Roger_parish

Registered: 03-2007
   
Posted on Sunday, May 16, 2010 - 10:27 pm:      
There are three ways of flying the topsail and I think each method has been touched on in this forum.
1) The way the designer intended that is lace the sail to the topsail spar and then rig as shown in the "resources section/rigging"
2) Use a topmast extention as on "Partan" and now "Winkle". The topsail is then fixed to the gaff arm at tack and clew and then a halyard from the topmast raises the sail. The sail can then be released without the need to lower the gaff arm if the wind gets up. The topsail then drops down behind the mainsail. I leave the topsail attached most of the time.
3) Attach the topsail to the topsail spar as in (1) and then attach topsail to gaff arm at tack and clew. The topsail is then raised using the halyard as rigged in (1) If you then have to drop the topsail quickly then there is this rather heavy spar up aloft flapping around until you lower the main. For this method to be successful then you need to make a lightweight spar, carbon fibre perhaps?
There is another possibility of using a "Broads" integral topsail where they combine the main and topsail into a single sail and replace the gaff arm with a full batten. It is then a single sail with a very large roach. I would like to try this as it should give better windward performance. I think a Merlin Rocket mainsail may be about the right size. Does anybody have one?

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Re: Fitting the Topsail
« Reply #2 on: April 07, 2014, 02:13:49 PM »
Julian Swindell
Username: Julian_swindell

Registered: 03-2007
   
Posted on Monday, May 17, 2010 - 12:35 pm:      
I'm way out of the loop on this as I have no topsail now, but I did use it a lot on my old Winkle Brig. I would have been very unhappy with any system which left the sail and yard on top of the gaff. That would have been too much weight and windage just where you didn't want it just when you really didn't want it up there. I used the designed system of miles of rope to all three corners (well, two corners and the middle of the yard). It was a bit of a challenge to get it up (It has got to go up on the windward side of the main, which meant on a port tack in my case) but conditions where you would want it meant there was no rush or pressure to get it up. When you wanted it down, it was just a matter of seconds to get the whole lot on the deck, and then somewhat longer to deal with all that damned rope. I know the various arrangements for leaving it on top of the gaff make it easier to raise, but I wouldn't recommend it. I hadn't realised that on Roger's topmast arrangement, which I think is very neat, that he left the sail up there. It would be very easy to raise the sail from the deck with long ropes. The tricky part of the designed method is getting the yard up through the rigging without stabbing the gaff. With a topmast you would just pull two ropes and drag the sail into position.

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Re: Fitting the Topsail
« Reply #3 on: April 07, 2014, 02:14:07 PM »
George Billington
Username: George_billington

Registered: 12-2009
   
Posted on Tuesday, May 18, 2010 - 08:58 pm:      
Thank You kind Gents (Roger and Julian). Confirmed my thoughts - two or more heads are better than one - so I think I'll sail without it this season - when I eventually launch the boat (thanks to unexpected trailer problems!). I'll have a go at your ideas over the winter.

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Re: Fitting the Topsail
« Reply #4 on: April 07, 2014, 02:14:21 PM »
Julian Swindell
Username: Julian_swindell

Registered: 03-2007
   
Posted on Thursday, May 20, 2010 - 02:51 pm:      
Don't be timid! Try to get it up as soon as you have a gentle wind day. It isn't that complicated and there is a huge satisfaction when you get it set and pulling. And you'll get a lot of complimnets on how pretty your boat is!