NE Dory Sloop rig capsize question?

In the process of building my NE Dory and still undecided on which rig to go with, the Lug or Sloop.  I have seen a video of the lug rig swamped [see below] and read a few forum post about swamping the Lug rigged version, but I cannot find out any information about anyone's experience swamping, other on purpose to test how difficult it is to right or by accident a sloop rigged version.  From the video below the owner felt it was a lot easier to remove the mast/sail.  Wondering how this would affect any swamping with a sloop rig, and whether based on WC McBuske's experience whether it would be feasible at all with a sloop?

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RE: NE Dory Sloop rig capsize question?


Most small boats can swamp or capsize. Unless one knows how to self-rescue then one could be at extreme danger of not suviving. Every year there is at least one death on Lake Michigan from a a sailboat or motor boat sinking at night and the boaters not understanding how to self rescue or stay safe until found, that is stay with the boat. The boat is always found. This might not be true on oceans and seas where evven boats can not be found.

As for this not being discussed, I would think that is a persnal embarassment. Ask any racing small boat sailor about capsizing. It happens and that is why race committees have a staffed rescue boat during the race.

A small boat like the dory can be righted with the sail up or down. It is just slower with the sail up and could result in the boat starting to sail upon righting. If the sail is left set, then one has to wait as the water drains from the surace of the sail. That also means one is lifting against the force of the water on the sail. It looked like there was some lose gear in the boat during the exercise. It was not clear what happened to that. It was also a calm and clear day. One needs this exercise for when the water is rough and it is foggy. This means the chance of rescue is low. If you think you and your crew could swim to shore 100 or more yards away fully clothed, good luck.





RE: NE Dory Sloop rig capsize question?

 Thanks George, I completly agree and have been boating offshore and near shore my entire life and safety has always been paramount.   Once the NED is built you can bet I am going to intentonally swamp her to determine how best to right her, get back on board, a clear the water etc.   My question, after viewing the video that i included in my link was more as to the differences, if any between the lug and sloop in a capsizing situation.  Obviously, one cannot take the mast out of its step with the sloop. 

RE: NE Dory Sloop rig capsize question?

Looks like the mast was still attahced. The sail, boom, and yard were removed. One can losen the sial halyard and pull the sail to the boom, re-cleat the sail halyard and accomplish the same result. One has just reduced the amount of sail surface exposed to the wate and wind.   It looks like the sail halyaard and cleat are what keeps the mast attached to the hull.

RE: NE Dory Sloop rig capsize question?

I have NE Dory that I built about a year ago.  I selected the sloop rig for a variety of reasons.  I know many folks enjoy using the lug rig and I understand the benefits and logic in selecting this setup – it is a well designed sail rig.  However, for me the biggest reason to choose the sloop rig is overall performance, especially sailing into a head wind. 

The sloop rig performs much better from my experience.  I have a friend who has the NE Dory lug rig.  He is a more experienced sailor then me, but the performance difference between our boats is significant, especially into the wind.

I have made improvements over the standard sloop rig provided by CLC: the upgrade kit (well worth the investment), reef points, a lazy jack system to raise the boom and collapse the mainsail, and the Harken furling system for the jib.  I can easily handle this rig sailing single handedly.

My wife and I did have the experience of capsizing in rough weather.  This was due to my sailing inexperience and failure to reef in time.  After the capsize, we took the extra time to unstep the mast before righting the boat.  I think it could have been righted with the mast rigged, but with rough water and high winds it would have been more difficult to handle the boat.

Unclipping and removing the sloop rig is not difficult.  I think it really depends upon conditions if you should attempt righting with the mast stepped or removed (for either the lug or sloop rig)

Lessons we learned from this experience include the importance of having everything lashed to the boat.  Chasing loose gear in the water is not a good scenario.  I also beefed up my flotation to make it easier to bail the boat in rough water.




RE: NE Dory Sloop rig capsize question?

   I wonder how many people have accidentally capsized the lug rig. The sail -- even without reef points -- is not huge. Intentionally, I have not created any way to cleat the main sheet. In a big gust I can always let go of the main sheet and have the boat settle down immediately. I suppose it is possible for the line to get tangled around something and cause a capsize before I could head up. So maybe there is a chance of capsizing, But realistically? It's hard for me to imagine a safer open boat configuration than the NE Dory with the standard lug sail.

I do believe that it won't sail upwind as well as the sloop rig. And I believe that more sail area might allow the boat to go faster. But the lug rig can make its way upwind quite nicely, and the sail area is ample to get it moving very well in all normal conditions. (Granted, I'm an inland lake sailor and don't face ocean conditions.)

RE: NE Dory Sloop rig capsize question?

   Timber cruiser, thanks for sharing your first-hand experience.  I would love to see some photos of your upgrades and how and where you increased the floatation.  Birch I will be sailing primarily in the ocan, near-shore and large bays.  I like the simplicity of the lug but also like the performance of the sloop so it may come down to a coin-toss at some point. 

RE: NE Dory Sloop rig capsize question?

Oceanluvr,  I am in the middle of another project now, so it might be a while before I can share any pics.

But a quick description of the floation... 

1) Added foam pieces to fill the empty space under the stern seat.

2) Added a layer of closed cell polyethylene foam to all foam block faces under the seats.  This is more cosmetic.  I kept kicking holes and dents into the epoxy covered foam blocks.  The closed cell foam is more durable and does add some flotation.

3)  Epoxied a series of carbon eye straps along the inside chine.  I use these to secure dry bags and other flotation to the bottom of the boat.

I usually carry two 5 x 22" boat bumpers in the boat.  When not using them at the dock,  I secure them to the chine contour with straps & clips.

The carbon eye straps are a new addition to the CLC gear supply list.  They provide a strong tie down to secure gear inside the NE Dory.


RE: NE Dory Sloop rig capsize question?

Hey oceanluvr,

All sloop rigged dinghies capsize.  All you have to do is release the mainsheet to make sure it doesn't catch water and if it's easy to capsize, then it's easy to right.  Unfortunately, when my EP was righted, the new waterline was just above the gunwales so I couldn't self-rescue.  That's the price for having such nice spring to the shear line.  It's unnecessary to remove the sail from the mast and/or the mast itself.  I have since added additional flotation.

If you're a novice sailor, I might tend toward the lug rig.  It's simpler to rig and self-tacking.  I'm assuming it's also unstayed.  The trade-off is upwind performance.  My lug rigged EP points very poorly.

A sloop rig will have all of the complementary trade-offs, stayed mast more difficult to rig.  If you go with a jib, more expense in sails, have to tack the jib, more cleats to buy/install, etc.  But that's part of the fun of sailing is doing three things at the same time and making it look easy.  Sloop will point better.  If you're a novice sailor and want to improve your skills rapidly, then a sloop rig will be less of a "training wheels" approach.  If you're more of an experienced sailor, the sloop rig will be more fun/challenging for you in the long run.  

My understanding is that the mast step/partners are in different places, so the choice is unfortunately more complicated/permanent than just building two different sets of spars & sails.

Now that I think about it, I have yet to see a discussion about reefing a lug vs. sloop.  I know in a sloop, when reefed, your sail shape goes to cap, but you're reducing the efficacy of your sail on purpose already anyway.  While I sewed the reef points on my lug sail, I never rigged them.  With the size/location of the belly of the lug and the geometry of the sail, I would think that a lug might have a bit better sail shape when reefed.  Interesting...

So to summarize, I'm happy with the ease of my lug rigged EP, but my PM will be gunter sloop rigged.

RE: NE Dory Sloop rig capsize question?


   Not only should one wary about capsizing but there is a real danger if rougher water of being swamped by a wave over the bow, side or stern and one is left sitting a boat full of water. In this case it is best to stay low and centered and start bailing the water out. Make sure all free running lines are not tangled and let the sails luff if possible. One might even be able to sail with a swamped boat. It is best to stay with the boat as trying to swim fully clothed and rough water can quickly sap one's energy and if it is cold weather one has other issues to deal with.

Alway file a float plan with a 3rd party not on the water and have a copy in your car at the launch site for any emergency crew that might be called or come upon your car. They should not open it unless the launch site is closed or they are concerned about your safety.

The cost of an envelope and a sheet of paper is pretty cheap compared to not being saved in a timely manner.


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