up the rig
Oughtred has designed two rigs for the Caledonia yawl, a lug rig and
a high peaked gaff rig. In both cases these have two masts, a main mast
forward and a mizzen mast aft. The lug rig is unstayed and carries no
jib. Crazybird carries the high peaked gaff rig (left).
The lug rig is simpler and quicker than the gaff to set up and dismantle.
Setting up the gaff rig on Crazybird, launching and fully preparing the
boat to sail takes us 30 to 45 minutes. Less to dismantle. Comparative
performance? We don't know. With the gaff rig Crazybird sails very well
in a variety of conditions and outperforms many comparably sized classic
and even more modern trailer yachts.
For the gaff rig the mainmast is supported by a forestay and two sidestays.
There are no backstays. The mizzen is unsupported. Running in very fresh
conditions we are sometimes a bit worried about the lack of backstay and
have thought of adding running backstays, but haven't yet. It seems to
add unnecessary complexity.
We have no topping lift or lazy jacks. They too seem like unnecessary
complexity. We are happy to just drop the mainsail onto the floor of the
The mizzen mast carries a sail about the same size as the larger jib,
with a light boom. It is sheeted to a removable bumpkin which protrudes
about 3ft aft of the stern. We stow the mizzen sail by wrapping it around
The foot of the mainsail is supported by a boom to which the sail is
not laced. The boom is located on the mast simply by a pair of leather
served wooden jaws. This simple arrangement enables the mainsail to be
removed from the mast (and centre of the boat) and stowed to one said
enabling the boat to be more easily rowed.
Forward, Crazybird carries a jib which is located on a bronze furler.
In winds of much over 12 knots this jib is best furled and replaced with
a much smaller (No 2) jib (at the same time as the mainsail is reefed,
see picture right.
tiller arrangement on a small ketch always presents problems. The traditional
arrangement is a short transverse bar on one side of the rudder stock,
attached to a long tiller forward to the helmsman. The rudder is then
turned by pushing and pulling the tiller forward and aft. This surely
provides a lot of convenience, freeing up the middle of the boat however
for myself, being rather conservative on these things, I prefer a traditional
tiller and have retained a laminated tiller made up by Nev, which loops
around the mast. It's always a talking point with visitors!
For towing and storage we stow the entire rig in two specially designed
cradles which straddle the boat athwartships, these cradles having the
double function of also securing the boat on the trailer. In specially
cut slots we stow from starboard to port; the mast, the tiller, a boathook,
the mizzen mast (with sail rolled around), the boom, the gaff (with the
mainsail flaked between it and the boom), the bumpkin and finally the
mizzen boom. Its a lot of spars. We carry a pair of oars on the floor
of the boat. We secure the spars using rubber bands (sliced inner car
tube) stretched between dowels on either side of each spar. (Each rubber
band covers two spars). This stowage arrangement works very well indeed
and is highly recommended. We cover the spars and whole top of the boat
with a silver coloured reflective waterproof cover which keeps road dust
and rain out whilst surely improving towing performance.
Copyright © 2002 Nick Grainger