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I am into my third or fourth summer of sailing my Weekender.- "boom boom"

Some problems I experience are -

the gaff jaws tangling the shrouds

the main will not come down without much exertion

(I am using the plastic pipe rings as per plans)

this situation is complicated if the shrouds are caught in the gaff

I do point up to take the load off the rings.

When coming into dock - would it be the norm to drop the main and come in on the jib alone if there was a blow on ?? I have a furler on the jib.

The sailing is good but man do we have a performance leaving and returning to the dock - amazing convolutions the Missus and I undertake for the entertainment of the general public !!

cheers

Bill in Melbourne

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It's not only inconvenient, but it can be downright dangerous when the gaff jaws tangle with the shrouds. Here's what I did to solve the problem.

54100_0844small.jpg

I made the jaws out of ply per Bolger's design for the tiny catboat. The jaws are longer than the Stevenson plans call for to accommodate the cross piece on the end. Note that the ends of the cross piece are rounded, and because they are attached with bolts, they can be easily undone to remove the gaff from the mast. Once the ends of the jaws are enclosed they can't snag the shrouds.

Here's another view:

54waconia7.jpg

Note that the mainsail is laced to the mast with a very soft, pliable line. This makes raising and lowering the sail very easy.

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Closing the ends looks like the right way to address it. I extended the mast up about a foot on my Weekender, and never had the problem.

Another option for a closed end is to use line and parrel beads as shown here:

gaffmast.jpg

Others have tried to make spreaders for the shrouds, but it seems to me there's been a few failures of those ... maybe some of them will chime in on their spreaders and how they have fared.

On the problem of the mast hoops getting stuck, I also used ABS coupling pieces. I found that they would bind up, and as you looked up at them looking at the side on the forward side of the mast, one would be angled down, the next one angled up, etc. A "distance line" solved that problem for me:

sailmst2.jpg

One warning ... I used "small stuff" ... like 1/16" colored line. I drilled a hole in the ABS mast hoops and then led the line through that, wrapping it around. But the hole in the hoop weakened them, caused breakage. So I would recommend doing it like in the picture, tying the "distance line" on the mast hoops using just the small stuff.

I still had to help the hoops down over my mast tabernacle, but that was not too much of an issue.

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Alas, I was the fool that split his mast trying to add a spreader - though it was due to the stupid way that I implemented it, rather than any particular problem with the spreader concept.

here is the thread talking about the failure:

http://www.messing-about.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2066

I still have the spreaders on the boat, though modified to do more reasonable force transferal - and they have been solid as a rock since then - and zero interference of the gaff jaws with the shrouds. To modify I added a steel band just below the spreader (after glueing the mast back together) and a steel band around the top, which the top bolt goes through. I then added turnbuckles from the outside of the spreader to the top steel band so that the turning moment from the shroud forces is significantly reduced. I don't think I have a picture of the final setup, but it is still going strong and has been out in some fairly strong winds.

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The simple little triangluar stainless spreader that Phil Gowens fabricated solves the problem with style and is easy to install.

http://www.pragdata.com/philboat/PlanSpreader.html

It can be fabricated from thin steel stock and painted with a durable rustproof paint or stainless. The painted version is easier to fabricate than thru Stainless stock.

It places the shrouds just far enough outboard to eliminate the gaff jaws from hanging up on the shrouds.

As long as you aren't thru bolting with the grain but rather thru it you won't have any splitting issues. If it is necessary to go with the grain then just put a narrow strap above and below the spreader to help contain the wood so it won't split along the grain which is the problem Wayne had with his.

Lots of these in use or simple variations of the same theme.

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I have had the same problem. In my case some of it, I confess, is that I really did not do an adequate job of rounding the mast up where the jaws sit. That's the first problem. In order to compensate, I cut my jaws a bit short, more like a saddle, which, in turn, increased their tendency to slide around and get tangled in shrouds.

I altered the set of the shrouds slightly by making sure that the eye bolt on the mast was oriented horizontally rather than vertically. That seems small, but it actually made a difference in the set of the shrouds. I also tightened my parrells to keep the jaws snubbed up againts the mast a little better at max angle.

Adla has a very simple and strong spreader on Morgaine. I attempted a similar one on shoestring. It failed. I will go back to something like hers or Phil's before next season.

DocFrog

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sincere thanks for your interest and information.

I will digest all these ideas and make a start on some mods this

weekend - if i am not fighting bush fires

cheers

Bill

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I used that simple triangular spreader. I was going to round the mast more than I did, but I used a 3/4" radius roundover bit instead. All is working totaly fine. I did start out with parel beads and had a problem with them hanging up while raising and lowering the mast. I made wooden hoops last winter and they work great.

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What I've done to avoid this issue is two things: I made a shroud spreader and I use a gaff saddle instead of jaws. Both work great. See pictures below:

The gaff saddle is made from strips of 1/2" ply molded over a form with 3 layers of 9 oz glass on each side. The tangs for the gaff are 6 layers of 9 oz cloth each, built up with resin. It took a while to build and no doubt many could have done a much nicer job with steam bent wood, but this one is super strong and maintenance free.

The shroud spreader is two pieces of flat stock from the hardware store hammered around a wooden form and bolted together. It is very strong and won't split out the mast if stressed on one side as a bolt on spreader might.

post-805-129497655862_thumb.jpg

post-805-129497655865_thumb.jpg

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Man, I like that spreader. That I think I may try. I like the saddle too; I'm still thinking about ways to do a saddle. Thanks for the pictures.

DocA

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