help sailing the Skerry with sprit rig

Had some difficulties reefing the sail and maneuvering to dock when wind suddenly increased unexpectedly (a common occurence in Oklahoma).  "Scandalizing" reduces sail area by about half, but still had plenty of power.  As we approached dock, I had to unstep and lower the mast.  I had to stand up in the boat to do this--not very prudent in these conditions.

Any advice would be welcome.

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RE: help sailing the Skerry with sprit rig

Do you have a brailing line rigged?



RE: help sailing the Skerry with sprit rig

No, that's a good idea though.  If I understand it the brailing line would help me control the head of the sail after the sprit is released and keep it from flapping around.

I'd still have half a sail up though.  The only way I have found to reef the sail entirely is to fold the boom up and gather up the sail, then unstep the mast.  I can't figure a way to do this without standing up.  Maybe if I was a weightlifter in my 20's, but at age 70 I can't quite manage it sitting down.  :-)

That gives me an idea, though.  Perhaps if I had a line attached to the clew end of the boom and passing through a block at the head of the mast, I could use it to pull the boom up to vertical, then maybe wrap it around the sail. 

Maybe something like this a variation of a brailing line I was not aware of?

RE: help sailing the Skerry with sprit rig

The ability to brail up the Skerry's sail is one of the attractions of that particular rig.  The brail line is 1/4-inch;  it is knotted to an eyestrap on the starboard side of the masthead.  The line passes through a grommet placed halfway up the leech of the sail, back through a cheek-block on the port side of the mast, then down to a cleat.  

The big problem is that it doesn't work with a boom!  The diagram below shows how it works with a loose-footed sprit sail.  (A number of Skerry builders have gone boomless for all the given reasons.  Skerry #1 was rigged that way for awhile.  You give up a little offwind performance.)  With a boom, there's no reason that you couldn't just rig a normal halyard on a Skerry, and lower the sail completely when maneuvering.

Skerry Brailing

RE: help sailing the Skerry with sprit rig

OK, I think I get it.  I can rig something like that during the winter.  As I understand it, I need to mount a cheek block at the top of the mast and attach a halyard to the throat of the sail, reeve it through the cheek block and back down  to a cleat at the foot of the mast.  Then after I release the snotter I can just lower the sail to a full reef or anywhere in between.  This would make raising and lowering the sail much easier.

Please let me know if I'm missing something.

RE: help sailing the Skerry with sprit rig

I have installed a cheek block at the head of the mast and run a halyard to it to raise and lower the sail.  The lashings had to be loosened a bit to clear the snotter's fairlead, but otherwise it seems to work very well (on dry land, that is). 

I don't know why this is not the preferred way to rig the sail or at least mentioned in the manual, but maybe I'll find out when I'm able to try it out on the water.  The boom drops with the sail, but this does not appear to me to be a problem.  I suppose I could install a gallows, but that would necessitate structural changes I don't feel qualified to tackle.

RE: help sailing the Skerry with sprit rig

Boom drop - lazy jacks

RE: help sailing the Skerry with sprit rig


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