Number 142 / March 2003

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Published by the Open Canoe Sailing Group

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Jibs - Are They Worth The Bother? (RoyB)

Following on from the reported discussion of jibs in last month's GOSSIP, the editor has had a word with a couple of members who have used them.

Jenny and KevinL used to sail a Grumman with Bermudan main and a jib of about 12 sq. ft. Kevin said that the sail did give significant power but was limited, however, by the narrow beam of the canoe. The jib would have been more effective had the fairlead through which the sheet ran been further away from the boat's centreline. As it was the sail was almost always close-hauled apart from when running, when Jenny used a whisker pole to push out the tack, enabling them to goosewing very successfully. Otherwise it was pretty useless on a run but when backed assisted going about. The sail was attached by rope to the prow and mast. The mizzen of the ketch rig, which they now have, has proved to be more useful.

KeithM has brought the sheet of his jib back to the leeboard thwart at the widest part of the canoe to minimize Kevin's problem. Furthermore the tack is attached to the boat 18" astern of the prow. His mast is 'sturdy', enabling him to tighten the built in Kevlar cord; but if it's very tight the canoe itself flexes! Kevin's Grumman was metal, perhaps better suited to being 'jibbed'. Of course, Keith's rig includes Bermudan main and a mizzen (some 70 sq. ft. all told) so he can 'reef by dispensing with the main, giving him a very low aspect rig with reduced heeling moment. In order to stiffen the mast he can then use the main halyard as a backstay. And that's not all - he has two foresails: a genoa (25 sq. ft. I think he said) and a more modest 12 sq. ft. jib. It all works, although visibility is a problem, so be careful if you find yourself to leeward of him!


Jibs (DaveP)

To work in anything but the lightest wind a jib has to be set on a stayed mast otherwise it pulls the top of the mast forward and it loses its luff tension. It also affects the shape of the main. It's an unnecessary complication to put shrouds on a canoe. If nothing else, rigging and unrigging the boat is going to take longer. Also it isn't clear that a plastic boat is stiff enough to stay a mast effectively. I'm sure this could be got round but its unlikely that the benefits, if any, would outweigh the complication and hence cost.

"Drascombe type" rigs, ketch with head sails (like Keith's - Ed.) have been used quite successfully on canoes. They have the advantage that the mast stays in the same position for the single-masted racing rig i.e. the extra area of the mizzen is balanced by the jib. Also mizzen and jib alone are said to make a very snug heavy weather rig. We tend to think that one of the advantages of this rig - namely that the mainsail stays in the same place whether one or two masts are used - is in fact a disadvantage. We want to move the mainsail forward out of the way and it's only racing that makes us want a single mast. The most efficient use of a given sail area is to put it all in one sail as long as you can handle it. The limit on sail area for the OCSG is 44 sq. ft.,

Keith's "Drascombe"-style rig.

small enough to manage in one sail. So if we want to win a race we have to have a single sail. For everything else we prefer two. A large amount of personal preference comes into this as some people cruise quite happily with a single Bermudan, but on the whole they tend towards the younger and more athletic.


Roller Furling Your Jib (ChristopherW)

I used a spar that is roughly square in section. To each end is attached a metal box with a bolt welded on one end. The top end of the spar then slides into the pipe attached to the top of the mast. The bottom end goes in a hole in a metal plate attached to the front of the canoe. The spar is kept in place with a rope tied to the top of the mast and secured to the front of the canoe. The sail is sleeved to fit snugly over the spar. The spar makes the mast more secure when there is a strong wind from behind. Turn a rope once round the bottom of the spar and you can furl or unfurl the sail from the middle of the boat. The metal for the box

bits comes from the back of a discarded cooker. The bit at the top of the mast used to be part of a bike (I think it was the bit the saddle post slides into. The small tube was already welded to it and must have been part of the rear fork).

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