by Churchouse Boats
SAILS & RIGGING
We have worked with an excellent sailmaker to produce a range of Drascombe sails under the Drascombe by Churchouse Boats logo that are as fine as any available anywhere in the world.
Standard patterns are held on our database for all the boats so, with limited dialogue between us, you can be certain of receiving the correct sails for your boat. They will be made of the best quality materials & with the finest skill & care. They will set well, look great & be extremely durable.
If you want to take the opportunity to deviate from the standard rig, we can either accommodate your particular requirements or help you with ideas from our growing font of knowledge. This includes:
This was an alternative introduced some years ago. It gives 15% more sail area & the centre of effort is higher. This is achieved by retaining the standard gunter yard & introducing a single full length batten along the line where a gaff yard would normally lie. These sails were usually tan 'main' with white 'topsail'. Ours are more usually cream over tan but striped 'topsails' can be supplied as easily.
The advantage of this sail is that it gives better performance in light airs. There are two downsides:
1. You can no longer use the 'harbour furl' (leaving the gunter high & rolling the sail around it's leech until it is rolled right up to the mast) as the batten leaves the topsail set.
2. It looks rather odd when the mainsail is reefed as you are still flying a topsail!
BOWSPRITS & EXTRA HEADSAILS
The neatest conversion we have done to provide a bowsprit is by fitting the Lugger/Longboat/Coaster hull with a Dabber stemhead. This needs some Teak cheeks & fairing blocks but looks as if it were part of the original design. It provides a bowsprit of Dabber proportions (up to 30" projection from the stemhead).
Another neat conversion has been to laminate a bowsprit that fits into the stemhead fitting, secured by a dropnose pin & using the anchor stowage block for the heel. It can be fitted or removed in one minute &, when removed, leaves no sign of ever having been there!
Both of these enable an additional headsail to be set flying.
We have also supplied spars & sails to suit longer bowsprits which have been supported in traditional gammon irons attached alongside the normal stemhead & a heel block on the mainmast.
The other use for a bowsprit is to fly an asymmetric cruising chute. Effectively, this is a spinnaker whose luff is drawn tight between masthead & bowsprit. Very good on a run, it will still work on a reach.
REVISIONS TO JIBS
One or two owners of original Drifters have added short bowsprits & claim that their boats point higher, which puzzled me for some time. Logic suggests that putting the centre of effort further forward should push her off the wind earlier. It took a sailmaker to suss out why. The improvement occurs not because of the bowsprit itself but because it changes the jibsheet angle, tightening the foot whilst increasing the curve in the leech. I tried this on one of my Coasters & even went to the extent of having a new jib made with that geometry in mind & it certainly seemed to improve things.
On the Dabber, the forestay is attached to the stemhead & the small jib set flying on the bowsprit without furling gear. A common complaint is that the jib hangs up on the forestay when tacking, particularly in light airs.
To kill two birds with one stone, we have converted several Dabbers by fitting Lugger type furling gear & a bobstay on the bowsprit, dispensing with the standard forestay.
(In fact, rather than removing the existing forestay, we sometimes fit a bullseye low on the mast to lash the forestay lanyard to. This keeps it out of the way but available if you ever want to strike the bowsprit & sail under main alone.)
Once an extra headsail is set, it is necessary to increase the area of the mizzen to retain the balance that is so much part of the pleasure of sailing the Drascombe yawl. (This doesn't apply to a cruising chute.)
The neatest way is to rig a mizzen gunter. This allows a Bermudian mizzen to be longer in the luff whilst retaining the standard mizzen mast. It will still furl easily &, if fitted with a set of reefing points, can be reefed down to the original area once the extra headsail is struck.
The other simply installed solution is to rig a lug mizzen set alongside the existing, furled mizzen.
To my eye, the lugsail is supreme & we have dimensions for some classic mizzen sail plans. I tried a lug mizzen option on my Coaster. It looked superb but took some time to get the halyard attachment point quite right.
I have also, in the past, played with gaff mizzens but they are too complicated for too little gain.
My own personal crusade!
In my opinion, the lugsail is superb for the Drascombe size boat. It can set a large sail area within the constraints of two masts. The yard presents the loose footed sail more satisfactorily than a similar Bermudian & it still only needs one halyard as the downhaul provides the dual function of both setting the yard angle & keeping a very tight luff. Neither does it need the taller mast of a similar area gaff mainsail.
Unfortunately (for a Coaster owner), the boats with lug mainsails (Scaffie, Dabber, Gig) have smaller jibs (or none at all). The leech on a Coaster jib is so far back that, try as I may, I have been unable to rake the mast & rig the lug yard to avoid the jib leech hanging up on the end of the yard at every tack. I didn't want to reduce the jib area & spoil the balance of the boat so an alternative route was followed.
Using a Scaffie mainsail laced to the existing yard, I used the existing halyard as a throat halyard & rigged a new peak halyard. This increased the mainsail area from 83 SqFt to 100 SqFt. This proved to be a very successful exercise which I adopted as a permanent rig with some variations:
Here are 2 pictures of Bolitho 3 with gaff rig. On the left we were heading for Cowes with the foot set a bit low rather than reef. The right hand picture was on another day of blustery F4 in the Solent.
The picture on the left was taken by Beken of Cowes They take stunning photographs. If you get the chance of them photographing your boat, take it!)
At one time I thought that in the future, just for playing in light airs, the 'topmast' might also provide support for a Cornish yard topsail (& a timminoggy!). However, in practice, I found the large mainsail plenty to handle on it's own.
This rig was great in light airs enabling me to out-sail similar boats with standard rigs. However, as soon as the wind got up into the top of F4, it became a different matter. Reefing the gaff sail down significantly reduced the luff length & the driving power of the sail whilst still leaving quite a lot of canvas high up, leading to a greater urge to heel beyond the point of comfort. The standard rig would perform better in those conditions.
A TOTALLY DIFFERENT RIG!
If you have an early Longboat, it may be possible to re-create one of John Watkinson's early alternatives, the Advanced Training Rig.
A much heavier mainmast is stepped further forward & carries a large yard for a dipping lug whose tack is sheeted direct onto the stemhead. The mizzen mast has an alternative step/thwart on the aft end of the centreplate casing & carries a standing lug sail.
I have a mizzen lugsail from this rig - too big & powerful when stepped in the usual location.
We are always interested in learning from other people's experiences. What have you tried?
For intelligent conversation & help, ring: 01256 896292
The Sail that becomes a Way of Life!