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Old 08-28-2012, 10:05 PM   #1
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Steadying sail

The 34 ft Millkraft that I am in the process of buying is set up to run a steadying sail. The last owner just used the mast and boom to winch a 12 ft tinnie up onto the flybridge deck. I am guessing, as it was a commercial boat originally, it was not just for looks, and it would be worth refitting the rigging.
If nothing else I'm sure it could possibly get me out of trouble if the engine failed. I doubt if it would sail into the wind at all though. She is not the sleekest boat on the water.
Anyone have experience with sails on their trawler?
What type of conditions would you use a steadying sail?
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Old 08-28-2012, 10:26 PM   #2
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A steady sail won't sail your boat enough to bother with. It might make you drift faster but that's about it. If you actually want to have something you can propel the boat with in a direction you want to go you need at least a rig like Mark's Coot.

A steady sail has two functions. One, to keep the boat pointed into the wind, which generally means into the waves, while on a mooring or at anchor. Two, to reduce rolling in a beam sea.

A steady sail will do One quite well if the sail is aft of the boat's center of yaw, as it is on something like a Grand Banks.

From what I have heard from people who have steady sails on GBs, they don't do much of anythnig in terms of reducing roll. Part of the problem is the small size of the typical steady sail on boats like ours which is makes for a pretty ineffective roll damper. The other part of the problem is that if it's blowing hard, the strain on the mast, boom, and stay fasteners can easily be overcome and they will bend, break, pull out of the deck, or all three. The masts and booms of a typical production cruiser like a GB is not designed to support high sideways loads.

So while they look cool in some people's eyes, the reality is that on the typical production cruiser a steady sail doesn't have a lot of value. You can reduce the hunting at anchor or on a mooring with a stern anchor which is actually more effective at this than a steady sail according to people I've talked to who have used both.

And if damping roll is a high priority, a steady sail is a waste of time compared to active or passive stabilizers.
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Old 08-29-2012, 12:26 AM   #3
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The Coot's substantially-reinforced fore-and-aft-rig (unusual for a motorboat) can provide steerage way with winds over 10 knots within 200 to 220 degrees as well as adding a half-knot or so and reduce rolling depending on wind direction. Doubt "handkerchief" sails have much use beyond steadying while anchored.

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Old 08-29-2012, 12:55 AM   #4
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Looks like a beautiful boat Mark!

Sounds like I'd be best to leave my mast & boom as a handy lifting rig for the tender. Even for that I'll thoroughly check out the reinforcing of the mast as there is no forestay. I'm unsure if there was a forestay originally and it was removed to fit the bimini.
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Old 08-29-2012, 06:20 AM   #5
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If you reinforce the mast to take high loads ,

you can install flopper stoppers , which work 10X to 100X as well as a hankercheif.
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Old 08-29-2012, 10:09 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AusCan View Post
The 34 ft Millkraft that I am in the process of buying is set up to run a steadying sail. The last owner just used the mast and boom to winch a 12 ft tinnie up onto the flybridge deck. I am guessing, as it was a commercial boat originally, it was not just for looks, and it would be worth refitting the rigging.
If nothing else I'm sure it could possibly get me out of trouble if the engine failed. I doubt if it would sail into the wind at all though. She is not the sleekest boat on the water.
Anyone have experience with sails on their trawler?
What type of conditions would you use a steadying sail?
You mast looks to be a better rig than most trawlers for a steadying sail. They do work but there's a few "ifs" involved.

If your rig is strong enough and it looks to be if the mountings and rigging is in good shape...in beam seas...often the wind is still beam and a steadying sail can be quite effective. In beam rollers with very little wind...AND you can pull that sail flat and taught...it does help a little too..just like on a becalmed sailboat....the reports of mots trawler steadying sails not working well is because they are either too small or the aspect ratio in backwards and the center of effort is too low.
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Old 08-29-2012, 10:53 AM   #7
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We looked at adding a sail to Hobo. With the current boom and mast the sail area would be 110 sq feet. With our displacement, it wouldn't have much of an affect. We also looked at a riding sail. Our mast and boom are to far forward as they are on most trawlers to work effectively.
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Old 08-29-2012, 11:31 AM   #8
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Not only the dink but in an emergency the mast and boom will aid in recovery of a MOB

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Old 08-29-2012, 11:36 AM   #9
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Or WOB
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Old 08-30-2012, 08:52 AM   #10
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or a big fish!
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Old 08-31-2012, 01:33 AM   #11
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Aus can,
\If the mast has been set up right then there should be a substantial support under it.
A lot of Millcraft and other built Qld Trawler/Fishing boats had an aux sailing rig fitted.
Check out a copy of Classic Moreton Bay Cruisers.
www.classicmoretonbaycruisers.com/
Amity,Barcarolle, Flemingo,Kala Venturer, Rufred, Waverley etc
You will see what I mean
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Old 08-31-2012, 07:04 AM   #12
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In the archives is a discussion of how much sail is required by insurance CO to Qualify as a motor sailor for lower rates.

The required area will give steerage , not beet of the proverbial Lee Shore.
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Old 08-31-2012, 08:03 AM   #13
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FF we are talking Australia and those rules don't apply with our insurance companies.
Different size of markets I suppose.
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Old 08-31-2012, 10:07 AM   #14
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Thanks all, for your thoughts on it. When I get it hauled over here I'll have a good look at the supporting structure to see how beefy it is. By the sounds of it, The mast and boom will be handy, a sail perhaps might be worth it if I can pick up a bargain, but I'm not expecting miracles from it.
Tidahapah - That looks like a great book. I'll have to track down a copy.
Priorities now though- to organize insurance and trucking. The marina wants $20 million in public liability, and it looks like the trucking is going to cost me about $15K. Oh -the joy of throwing money in the hole.
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Old 10-05-2012, 10:21 PM   #15
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Here's a real trawler fitted with a rig from a sailboat anchored in Rodney Bay off Pigeon Island today.
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