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As rigged on Wharrams' in particular and on beach cat size range such as the Maui, Hitia 14 & 17, Tiki 21, Hinemoa or Tiki 26.

Since these can be beached or brought right up close to beach and sailed right close to beach nicely.

The Wingsail can have some performance advantages over the Spirit Rig, but from what I understand, the Spirit Rig has some nice aspects such as far as brailing and dousing the main quickly when coming into the beach or other close quarters etc...

Curious about the strong points of the Spirit Rig in this particular application.

Cheers, Allen

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You do not want sprit rig on a seagoing vessel. I have a spritsail barge with a sixty foot sprit - see attached pics. Too much weight aloft and inefficient to windward. Wingsail is best on wharrams.


My experience of sprit rig (Hitia17) :

- short mast

- very powerful rig

- easy tuning by applying tension to the sprit

- tacks are different (port tack better ?)

- reefing is difficult. Easier on starboard tack (with sprit on starboard). You need to manipulate the sprit to take a reef.

conclusion : wonderful rig as long as sprit is light and as you don't need to reef (better for dinghy)

For a low cost rig on a small double canoe, this has got to be a good option.

I have sailed with a sprit sail offshore, and in a smaller manageable size, cannot see any problems with handling -- when the sprit is 60 ft long, as on a Thames Barge, then sure, one of the above messages is valid.

So what would be worth trying for the cost of polytarp, some line and a few bamboo's, is the following ------ set the sprit heel up by means of a snotter to a hulls connecting beam, a little way back/aft of the mast step. This will allow the clew to pass between the now more open lower space of the V where the spars meet (more open than a conventional sprit), and for the sail to always be set on the lee side of the sprit...... sheets now pass through the V gap when tacking, just the same as they would pass around the mast with an overlapping genoa.

Use vangs taken from the sprit peak to the stern end of each hull, as a means of controlling sail twist at the same time as being a kind of back-stay support system.

Add a jib (scrounged dinghy item) to the sail plan if the mast is made beefier. 

With a sprit being "identical" to a gaff  there is no point in having a sprit....it will not be possible to set up the snotter while it is way up the mast.

Wharram used to have a sprit'sl with a sprit similar to what I am talking about......this rig has a shorter mast with a much greater span of sail at the head than a short gaff, such as on the wing type sails.

Martin Phillips has apparently also been confused by this 'gaff/sprit' mentioned..........perhaps it should really be SPIRIT rig, as shown in the thread title ??

These were my thoughts on sprit vs gaff for the Hitia 17 on a previous discussion, in case they are of use here....

"I built my Hitia 17 last summer, initially for some cruising on the Baltic. I went for the wing (gaff) option and am very happy I did. I have only very briefly sailed a Hitia with the sprit option. From my experience, some of the pros and cos of the wing sail are:


No long spar to handle out on the water if you want to reef / drop the main

Flexibility on reef points (I added another one in, so I can reduce the main more than the designed set up would allow, which proved useful and wouldn't be possible with the sprit)

Maybe a bit more control over the set and shape of the sail


Longer mast

More fiddly to set up when initially rigging the boat

And a little warning: I broke quite a bit of nice ash and douglas fir trying to bend it into the shape called for to make the gaff jaws as shown in the wharram designs, and then ended up reworking the design myself. Don't know if this was down to my choice of timber, poor technique or the design not being ideal.  Anyway, my revised one seems to have worked out fine. "

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