Skerry lug rig refinements

I had my new Skerry out for a second trial on a local lake last Sunday.  I pulled up just as another Skerry owner was launching his (sprit rigged).  The week before I was at the same lake and ran into a Northeaster dory.  Pretty cool.

 It was very gusty all over Maryland, and on the lake, narrow with a lot of trees, the conditions would go from nil to 15+ knots and back in seconds then flip bearing by 90 to 180 degrees.  Fun and frustrating.

I started out by tying in the reef at the shore.  I'd be interested in pictures of luggers' reefing solutions.  I want to keep it simple, and don't have any cleats, etc. on the boom yet, but may go that way.  It seems that the reef will need both an outhaul at the clew, and a downhaul to the boom, because it didn't look great, with a big diagonal crease.  I only had it tied at an angle, down to the clew at the boom end.  The tack was more straightforward, but using lengths of line to tie it at tack and clew will be awkward if done on the water.  I'm more used to big boats, with tack and clew downhauls and fairleads or blocks on the mast to get the right angle.

Also, has anyone used parrel beads or a loop to restrain the yard close to the mast?  When hoisting or dropping with the wind trying to blow the sail off to the port side, that yard really flaps around.


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RE: Skerry lug rig refinements

   My only concession to comfort on my lug rigged dory is the use  3/8" line for my main sheet. It's a bit easier to hold in strong winds.

You might try sailing with no reefs at all. My sail (last year's model) has no reef points and I don't think I need them. The 62 sq ft sail is easy enough to handle in breezes up to  20 mph. I have been out when the gusts were even stronger, but in those conditions I usually think about heading for home.

RE: Skerry lug rig refinements

I used craft store wooden beads on a piece of 1/8" AmSteel for parrel beads on my lug-rigged EP.  It's a small loop captured by the same snap that attaches to the pad eye on the yard.  It's just large enough to go over the mast and both horn cleats for ease of install.  It's made a HUGE difference.

RE: Skerry lug rig refinements

You want simple to build or simple to use? The cleats on the boom let you set up a jiffy reefing system that let you do most of the work in reefing in a matter of seconds - round up into the wind, tighten the lazy jacks, loosen the halyard, pull the tack line, cleat it, pull the clew line, cleat it, tighten the halyard, release the lazy jacks and you're done with everything you need for safety. Now you can secure the reef points to the boom and make it pretty at your leisure.

The parrel holding the yard to the mast is definitely a done thing and it's especially good for when you're reefed and there's a long length of halyard between the yard and halyard block. At John's suggestion I'm putting one onto my Faering Cruiser (in the process of turning the beads).

If you click on the picture below, you can see the yard flying away from the mast while it's double-reefed. On the other hand, the sail has a reasonably nice shape with just the jiffy reef line holding the clew, no separate outhaul.

Have fun,

Laszlo

RE: Skerry lug rig refinements

For my NE Dory (same lug rig) I settled on the following reefing rig:

- On the boom, drill a 1/4" hole about 4 inches inboard of each the holes that hold the permanently mounted tack and clew respectively

- tie a stopper not in the bitter end of each 3/16" reefing line.  Reeve the line through the hole.  That secures it to the boom.  On the other side of the spar, attach a small cheek block. I used these  http://www.harken.com/productdetail.aspx?id=4387&taxid=410

Lead the reefing line through the sail, down through block and then back to a cleat you attach to the boom about 6-10" aft of the mast.  x2, 1 for each reefing line.  You need those cleats to be easily reachable while you are standing on the centerline near the mast, and while the boat is bouncing around wildly (because that's the kind of seas that will likely be present if you need to reef).    This is important, because you need to be able to reef on the fly while underway, not just before you head out. (I found that out when my initial reefing setup proved undoable on the water).

To reef, slack the main sheet, lower the halyard a few feet, and haul in tight and cleat each reefing line.  It's essentially a jiffy reef. Tie up the reef points as needed but that is mostly cosmetics, and it may be impossible to tie the outboard points because you can't reach them. Without using a sea anchor or bucket, I have not figured out how to keep the dory head to wind while I reef if I am sailing singlehanded.  It wants to lie beam-to the wind, which means the sail is over the water to leeward. 

RE: Skerry lug rig refinements

Funny thing - I too was on a Maryland lake and ran into a skerry, except that mine is sprit rigged and the other one was lug rigged.   

Given the increased sightings of CLC boats on this lake, perhaps organizing a regular regatta might be in order.  First one around the lake buys the beers :)

RE: Skerry lug rig refinements

   Mihai,

Well, if that lake was Little Seneca Lake last Sunday, then, yes, it was you I met!  It was indeed good to have the reef down by the dam, the gusts were kicking.

I've found a couple of ideas on lug rig reefs, and it'll need at least a couple of fairleads, but maybe not much more.  I agree with the input about restraining the yard and can try that with just some line before making something fancier.

Because I was used to singlehanding a larger boat, I developed an appreciation for the wisdom to reef for the gusts.  And on a small boat, i'm even more inclined to that. My keelboat was often happier and faster with a reef in breezes just a bit above average. It stayed on its feet better and the helm was lighter.

RE: Skerry lug rig refinements

Yep - that was me!  I've been out with the sprit rig in pretty windy conditions and I now trust the boat more but could definitely do with a way to reef the sail.  I'm pondering building a lug rig and making my own bird's mouth hollow mast.  Not sure when I'll find the time, though....

RE: Skerry lug rig refinements

 

Mihai,

We met at Little Seneca a year or so ago. I was in a white Lugged Dory. I adopted your system of running lines between bulkheads the following day.

Good to see you’re getting out. I pretty much gave up on sailing that lake but I’d break that rule if you and Sawdust want to meet up some weekend. Seems like the wind is always blowing downward after rising over the surrounding hills. Funny thing is, now I live in on lake Audobon in Reston and it’s Worse!

I have two reef points. The boom got 4 new drill/fill/drill holes that line up with Tack/Clew grommets. Guess you’d call them dumb sheaves or fairleads? Lines pass through their corresponding holes and are tied together under the boom with a truckers hitch. When I want to reef I slip the hitch and –geze how do I describe this – pull working end of clew line through bowline in tack line until both cringles are cinched down tight to the boom and make off with a slipped half hitch. There is considerable line to tuck up into the reef bundle but once in there stays out of the way. Saw this technique somewhere, maybe Moonchaser? It does away with cleats in the middle of the boom and leaves you with only one string to pull.

The yard gets just a simple ¼ line tied near the halyard with a boom hitch. The other end gets a clove hitch after passing around the mast. It's really helpful. Haven't found parrel beads necessary - yet.

Haven’t sorted a satisfactory lazy jack system. Too many strings getting tangled all the time.

Cheers,

ev 

RE: Skerry lug rig refinements

   I was wondering if you were the dory that sawdust had seen.  Lake Seneca is not great for sailing but it's fairly kid friendly. 

I'm tempted to go back on the Potomac (there's a great ramp at Gravelly Point), though I've never had good luck sailing around there.  One time in a flying Scott I hit bottom in the very middle of the river, and another time with the skerry I mis-judged the current (pretty high due to storms upstream) and couldn't make it back to the ramp. Fortunately I bailed out downstream at the sailing marina and had my wife come rescue me :)

In the right kind of weather, it would probably be great fun to sail up an down the river, watch planes land, and maybe even challenge some of the Flying Scott sailors to a race...

 

 

RE: Skerry lug rig refinements

   Well, I set up the lug rig with jiffy reefing this evening.  I'm using small Forespar Marelon fairleads on the boom rather than drilling through the boom, much like I was used to on the big boat.  I was tempted by some nice Harken cheek blocks, but at $16 each instead of $3 each, I punted.  I bring them together in the middle of the boom on a common 3" horn cleat.  The reef lines are stoppered at the holes on the ends of the boom, up and through the reef cringles, down to the fairleads on the boom and to the cleat in the middle.  Using 3/16" line, it's small enough to get both on one cleat.

Right now I just have a length of line tied around the yard and mast, not too tightly, and I think I'll try that before trying to make a nice, spliced round.

I'm glad to have met so many other CLC builder/sailors at Little Seneca Lake, but I'm taking this down to the Bay where the wind isn't so screwy!  I have friends down on the Magothy, and can probably just soft launch from their waterfront.  Also, Truxtun Park in Annapolis has a nice launch, though it costs $8, which puts you on Spa Creek, for a nice jaunt down the creek, past the megayachts, and to the dinghy dock right at City Dock.

RE: Skerry lug rig refinements

Sawdust, you might like Galesville, MD on the West River a few miles south of Annapolis. I unhook my traler and hand launch from the dingy beach at the public pier - although there are ramps in town. It's free until someone tells me I cant' do it! If you stay out of the Rhode River ther's plenty of water under your daggerboard.

Mihai, Gravelly Point get's insane this time of year. We spent the day at Pohick Bay/Masons Neck today. It's down around Lorton, VA area. There's plenty of room to sail in spite of heavy powerboat trafic. We haven't found a free ramp down that way yet though.

Cheers,

ev   

RE: Skerry lug rig refinements

If any of you guys end up on the South River, you may run into a Faering Cruiser. Come on over and say "Hi".

There's also the kayak beach on the Severn in Jonas Green Park under the 450 bridge. I've done like Silver Salt (is that a nome de plume for a photographer, BTW?) and cartopped my brand-X skiff there and launched it using a dolly with no one complaining. That's where the NE Dory video with John standing up in the boat was shot. last time I was there there was no charge.

Laszlo

 

RE: Skerry lug rig refinements

   Laszlo,

As far as I know, you are the only person to get the reference. Good on ya!

RE: Skerry lug rig refinements

   Priceless photo, Silver Salt. It appears as though you are wearing a very unique costume -- perhaps to stalk a group of robots engaged in beachside frolicking.

RE: Skerry lug rig refinements

   Priceless photo, Silver Salt. It appears as though you are wearing a very unique costume -- perhaps to stalk a group of robots engaged in beachside frolicking.

RE: Skerry lug rig refinements

Silver Salt,  

 I know Galesville and the Rhode/West Rivers a bit.  I've cruised there in the big boat a few times and knew a couple of fellow sailors who lived there.  It looks like the launch beach you reference is the one just up the street from Pirates Cove?  We had several of our sailing club winter lunches there.  It's a bit longer drive for me than Magothy/Severn but one I need to keep in mind.  

 I also want to take the boat down to the Outer Banks.  The sounds are outstanding small boat sailing, and where I first learned to sail.  We are considering a fall trip to Ocracoke, after the summer crowds leave and the mosquitos die down a bit.  

RE: Skerry lug rig refinements

   OK, so here's my next try on the reefing.  With screwed on hardware, if it doesn't work, I can unscrew them and fill the holes.  If it works, I'll drill/fill/drill for more permanent mounts later.  The tack reef:

And similarly, the clew:

And for now, a single cleat in the middle:

And when they are pulled in, the tack looks like this (clew is similar):

Now to find time to go try it out!

RE: Skerry lug rig refinements

   OK, so I've had the boat out and the reefing system works.  I need to neaten it up a bit with more closely sized line lengths and maybe a shock cord to keep the extra string under control.

Now I have to work on the sail trim.  I'm used to keelboat sloops and am having to relearn the art of getting a dinghy moving so its center/daggerboard can work.  But, it seems that even as I get it moving and try to work up to closehauled, the lugsail's luff breaks and I lose way before I'd expect.  Do others use multipart downhauls to get more tension on the luff?  I'm just using a cleat as shown in the guide.  Also, have others played with the downhaul location?

I'm tacking through about 100 degrees in 5 knots of breeze, at best.  It seems happier  around 110 degrees.  Am I just looking for too much weatherliness, crack off and be happy?

With the wind aft of the beam, the boat just scoots.  I think I have either the skeg or rudder a little cocked, because it seems to be more responsive turning to port than starboard, but I'll have to live with that for now.

When the wind goes away, it does scull pretty well with the rudder, I've noticed.

RE: Skerry lug rig refinements

Sawdust -- Congratulations on the Skerry.  I also just launched this season, and have it out a couple of times so far, and have had the exact experience you describe.  I grew up with larger family-sized cruising sailboats, while knocking around in sloop-rigged dingies -- so deciding on the lug rig was a small leap of faith on my part.  I really love it, and wouldn't change my choice -- but there is a learning curve that I haven't quite gotten over.

I haven't had a need to reef it yet, but I find that even with a light wind, it seems very easy for the lug to dump out a lot of the wind, rather than giving the board and rudder a chance to cut in and drive the boat forward. Bringing in the main with a stif wind as a way to point higher, even in a modest breeze, only pushed me sideways.  It's at this point where I feel that the lug is dumping more air than catching, Easing up on the main to let it find its sweet spot then let's me point higher.  As an engineer, it make sense, but it just seem counter to all of the small craft sail I did years ago.  Kinda fun trying to figure it out, too!

I haven't adjusted the downhaul, as I just put the cleat on the mast where the manual suggested, but I may move it up some, as the boom knocks around quite a bit.

I was very quick to notice the preference on port as well, but I attributed that to the sail shape when it is either against the mast or not.  Glad I'm not the only one!

Matt

RE: Skerry lug rig refinements

Hey Sawdust,

Nice build!  May I suggest you consider a single reefing line configuration?  Instead of running the fore and aft lines to that single cleat in the middle of the boom, affic the line to the aft end of the boom, up through the aft clew cringle, down through the bullseye, all the forward to the other bullseye, up to the tack cringle and down to a cleat.  You will get a bit more friction from the extra turns, but hauling on the one line will reef both the tack and clew at the same time with the same tension.  My $0.02.

RE: Skerry lug rig refinements

After a year of sailing my Skerry, I thought I’d share some of the ways I’ve rigged her. In Lieu of spacered inwales I opted for 4” cleats mounted on the rails near each frame. They are great to hang fenders from, tie off an anchor line or secure misc items. I use them as part of my tiller-tamer and to cleat off the halyard and downhaul when singlehanded.

When singlehanded I run the halyard through the bow seat to a block mounted on the bulkhead and back to a cleat. The downhaul is secured to the cleat on the mast then run through a block on the boom, down though the seat to a block on the bulkhead then back to a cleat. This arrangement allows me to quickly adjust the downhaul or drop the sail without moving forward.  I changed the mainsheet tackle to 3:1 by moving the becket block to the boom and adding a fiddle block. 

For reefing one end of a short line is tied to the boom near the aft end then run through the leech cringle and tied off to the outhaul hole.

A second line is attached near the forward end of the boom and is run up through the Luff cringle then through the hole in the boom and aft to a lateral Clamcleat on the starboard side of the boom.

To improve the fit of the mast, I added a leather collar where it goes through the bow seat and wedges from an epoxy spreader at the mast step.

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