A Photo & Discussion Forum for Wharram Design Enthusiasts
As you guys can see by the latest photos the masts are almost complete. I just had a visit to the yard from a guy that knows a lot about everything. He asked what kind of tracks I'm putting on them, I said none and explained that I'll be using a wingsail that incorporates a 4ft pocket that wraps around the mast. "Oh dear!" was his reply, when I asked why he said that due to surface tension they are almost impossible to reef in when they're wet as the sleeve just clings to the mast. In theory I can see where he's coming from. But I'm wondering if any of you wingsail rig owners have had any experience of this?
First off, I haven't sailed in driving rain, but I haven't heard of wingsails having such an issue. Using modern dacron cloth at any rate. Had this fellow sailed with Wharram wingsails?
No, I did ask and it wasn't a Wharram, some other wingsail rig with Dacron sails. He said they were hit by heavy rains, fearing a squall may follow they went to reef the sails and got the fright of their lives when they were "stuck" to the mast. They managed to lower them slowly with lots of flapping and the aid of a winch, something he said he wouldn't like to repeat in a state of emergency.
We never had problems in Thailand when it was raining (we train the reefing process regularly) , but also never had gale force winds. I thought of this issue too since the gaff does not come down alone when there is pressure in the mainsail. But we have in front of the mastpocket at the hight of each reef (I have 3) a stainless ring attached to the sailcloth with a "pulldown rope" and this works fine with this size of sail. (my mast makes a slight curve re. is in the middle thicker than at the top and the mastfoot).
There has been some comment on this before. Ann 'n Nev posted in "Sail Modifications" that they changed to lacing and find it better. Sept 16 2010.
I did a search on this site for "luff pocket" and got a lot of posts. All the sailors on smaller boats seem very happy but some well known sailors on the larger boats have not been. I knew that "Peace IV" had changed to lacing but was surprised at how many others had also. Well worth doing this search yourself - probably you already have ?
We've cruised our Tiki 38 "Kattu" from Victoria, Canada, to Banderas Bay on the Pacific coast of Mexico (where we arrived two weeks ago) and got LOTS of reefing practice on the way with an almost ridiculous amount of gales and worse! I never noticed any difference whether the sail was wet or dry when dousing/reefing. There is very little friction between the sleeve and the mast, assuming the mast is nice and smooth! Jacques is right on about the gaff pressing against the shrouds going downwind, and that is the same wet or dry. I find the gaffs need vangs....not really optional, otherwise there can be a lot of chafe where the gaffs rub against those shrouds. Not good for either!
It's handy to have one crew control the vang while the sail is being hoisted, reefed, or lowered, to keep the gaff clear of the standing rigging. And, there is a definite advantage to being able to haul that gaff to near centerline when going to windward. I just use a single 6mm line from the end of the gaff which is moved from one side of the boat to the other as needed. A bit of a nuisance short tacking, but hardly a problem offshore.
I never had any sticking problems with the main on Cookie. In fact more the opposite, I have been delighted how quick and easy the main is to drop. Sure it doesn't fall down by itself, but as long as I keep the two halyards neatly flaked and separated, 3 big pulls of sailcloth and the sail is down and tamed. I have loved the fact that the main can be dropped and raised pretty easily even with strong winds from astern - I don't know of any other mainsail system that can do that. Yes it did take some time to learn the ways of the gaff at first. I think your expert that knows everything must have had a different system to the Tikis. I'm sure if you add a boom to the equation and can't take all pressure off the luff, then it will give problems.
Well, I guess some folks can get on with the wing sail that wraps around the mast but we could not. When we launched, we had the complete and exact Wharram sail plan and Jeckells sails. The sails went up with a struggle and came down with a greater struggle. We had smoothe masts and all rigged as per plan. Jeckells came to check on things. Wharrams came, and so did our Wharram experienced surveyor. We struggled with the sails for two years and finally the foresail zipper failed and we had the leading edge of the sail modified for lacings. By this tme we had built a boom for each sail which we liked very much and lazy jacks too. We had to head up wind to lower and raise sails like all other boats do and it did not bother us that much. It was nice to be able to raise and lower sails easily at long last.
Rory, maybe on the smaller boats it is easy to just haul the sail down, but for us on the Tiki 46, the wrap around wing sail never worked at all. We like the lacings which we have now on both the fore and main and we like the lazy jacks and we like the booms. Each person is different and so each boat reflects that. It would not be hard for someone else to buy Peace IV and change back to the wrap around boomless wing sails.
Ann and Nev
The gaff-vang is a good idea....