A Photo & Discussion Forum for Wharram Design Enthusiasts
Nev and I had Jeckell sails with heavy weight cruising sail material using the design sail plan. We always had trouble with those sails. It was not easy to raise or lower them and there was a lot of chafe and damage from the halyards rubbing inside the sleeve. Taking the halyards outa the sleeve improved things a lot, but finally the zipper broke! So then we could do nothing with the sail and it had so many holes in the sleeve we decided to just have the sailmaker cut off the sleeve and put in grommets for rope lacings. That turns out to be best for us.
With rope lacings, it is essential to get the lacings done properly. We used the exact method in the John Leather book about gaff rigs. Using some old rope we had on hand, we did the lacing in just a couple minutes and the sails go up and down easily now with no chafe, and good shape too. There is no problem with bunching now and no "wet tee shirt" type of problem with the material binding on rainy days.
I suppose there is no easy decision re boats. Our lacings are good for the kind of sailing we do which is all cruising and almost no racing. The sleeve makes a fantastic shape there at the mast, but we could not use it because of the heavy loading it left us with. As elderly cruisers who do not race, we were interested in safety and easy sail handling and that is what we have with rope lacing. If you have racing in you, the sleeve might be better.
Brian, The book Ann is referring to is called The Gaff Rig by John Leather. David