Wharram Builders and Friends

A Photo & Discussion Forum for Wharram Design Enthusiasts

 After numerous trips on Sandy, my Tiki 21, I am just not sold on the Wharram wingsail. Trying to reef singlehanded on a rough sea is quite an event. A wet mast sleeve is difficult to lower in 18 knots while dodging a swinging wooden gaff. I think that any gain in efficiency by the mast sleeve, is lost by the extra windage aloft of the gaff and associated rigging. I'm thinking of removing the sleeve and gaff and creating a fat headed full battened main that is laced to the mast. Thoughts anyone?

Views: 2544

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Perhaps you should speak to Rory McDougal with your issues. . .
The square top full batten main sounds ok, but might need to be taller for more power. I'm not too enthused by the lacing idea. If you were going to keep the same mast, perhaps old fashioned hoops would be better. or a sail track. Best option might be a rotating mast. Only my opinion.
The Clements changed their sails to laced on sails with gaffs and booms. they are much happier with them now. The luff pocket wingsail does have a nice shape going to weather. I find the straps that take the sail load bind some and make raising and lowering somewhat difficult. I like a big roach full battened mainsail with a boom and lazy jacks myself. There is a product called Strongtrack that can be attached to your mast and then you can use slides with or without full battens. Some folks really like the luff pocket wing sail. David
don't know personally in a tiki 21, but in tiki 26 and tiki 38, the original soft wing sail is perfect for me to reef in bad conditions. this boomless sail results for me very friendly as i don't have any concern with a dangerous boom and to lower it is easy.
On my tiki 30 I experienced the same problem with trying to lower the mainsail in wet and windy conditions, especially on any point downwind. You just can't get a grip on the wet dacron to pull it down. I "solved" it simply by having a line running from the top front edge of the mainsail knotted to 3 D rings sewn into the front of the sleeve.

I also learnt another important lesson when reefing.... "do it when it first enters your mind"... and as an added bonus i found that my tiki 30 goes just as fast, if not faster when reefed and is way more comfortable and manageable once the reef is in during windy days. I usually judged when to reef by windspeeds >12 knots or so, or when i couldn't pull the mainsheet tight by hand. Avoid the swinging gaff by only lowering it as far as you need.. it should still be way above your head. Also having a shortish line to clip to the clew block, and then pass up onto the first reef point ( on the leach) and back helps keep control of the flapping leech so you don't get whacked in the face by the flapping mainsheet block as you try to transfer the mainsheet attachment to the reef point. Remember you don't need to unclip the mainsheet, just tighten up your handy detachable reefing line until you are happy with the set and position of the sail, tie it off on itself, and away you go.... with a little practice this method worked great for me on all points of sail, even downwind in very windy conditions.

Hope this helps explain my way of reefing and don't give up as its a great sail once you get the hang of it.
Hi Nok,
Nev and I also had a line along the forward part of our old wing sails and knotted to D rings but it did not work out well for us. Perhaps the larger boats and larger sails make a difference or else we are just old (that's true). I agree the boats do best when you reef them as the wind increases and speeds do not fall off much at all. Ann and Nev
Fortunately I have had no problems on Dragon (T38) with her wingsails. Whether wet and windy or not, they go up and down like they are sposed to. I think its very important that the gaff jaws slide easily. Mine are lined with ptfe and work a treat. Secondly the halyards must not interfere with each other at the mast head. They must have a clear run otherwise friction here could be a problem.

Battened mains can be tricky when running downwind with the battens pinned hard against the shrouds. The sail may not drop. Chafe is another major issue. The only sail damage we had across the Atlantic and Pacific was chafe to the batten pockets.

Good point about the gaff jaws... i usually make sure that i have eased the peak halliard so that the gaff is nearly horizontal before trying to put in a reef.
Thanks, everyone for responding with helpful ideas.
rick -- this is not from a great deal of experience but it seems to work well on my tangaroa. i think the lacing would probably bind more. coating the inside of the sleeve or sock and the yoke with sailcoat (spray on racing sail stuff) every once in a while seems to over come most raising and lowering problems. i also have a light downhaul line tied to the gaff which is inside the sail. with that line, the lubricant and a little fiddling it all work. dan
Ann and Nev,

Having just completed the first part of the delivery of my new ( well to me anyway!) tiki 46, i can most definitely agree that for some reason the bigger sails are way way harder to reef than my tiki 30... We had 30knots from the rear quarter and it took 2 of us tugging and pulling for all we were worth to get the main down, it wasn't pretty...and this was when it was already double reefed with no mainsheet tension at all and only the very top of the sail was full.. Not sure what was going on but something somewhere was stuck for sure... I'll be investigating this as soon as i get back onboard towards the end of this week. I suspect that the halliards are the culprit as they run through a roller type arrangement a few inches astern of the jaws, ( i think my tiki 30 was like this originally but i can't remember...) . I think that this arrangement is jamming the jaws hard against the mast when they are under any kind of tension or somehow jamming the halliards, thus preventing the gaff from sliding. On My tiki 30 the halliards run between the "V" and either side of the central block that runs against the mast so can't get jammed as there is always a gap for them to run through no matter the angle of the gaff.

I am also thinking of maybe attaching the bitter end of the throat halliard to the underside of the gaff throat so that i could use the brute force of a winch to pull the throat of the gaff down( similar idea suggested by Dan) Not sure if this will work in a practical situation, but just throwing ideas around in my head. It does need some thought as there would be no way 1 person could reef the sails in strong winds with the current setup.

Dave, is the ptfe material you used the same sort of stuff that the plastic chopping boards are made of? or where would i source some ptfe plastic that would be suitable?


Nev and I are quite pleased with our laced on sails following the plan in John Leather's book The Gaff Rig. The sails go up easily and go down easily. We are no longer strong and we sail a lot, so it needs to be easy for us. Lacings work fine. Ann and Nev

Reply to Discussion


© 2021   Created by Budget Boater.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service