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Thread: Sailing and Bermudan Boomless?

  1. #1
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    Default Sailing and Bermudan Boomless?

    I have been thinking that I'd like to try sailing with my Bermudan rig without it's boom find out if it's still possible to sail efficiently on different points of the wind. I got thinking about this a bit more seriously after watching a film on the Hobie Island sailing canoes (a brilliant, albeit rather wet, piece of engineering). I have seen many other craft sailing very well indeed without booms.

    I know it would depend on having a perfectly positioned anchor point for the main sheet, but if it could be done at all it would have some benefits that would enhance my boat considering how I use it.

    Without going off course here telling me all the benefits of keeping the boom (I'm sure there are many) my question to anyone who has tried this or has experience of this on other sailing boats is - Can this be done and will I have a big reduction in sailing performance? Also - If it is possible to achieve, what modifications would need to be made.?

    ps. (I do have several reasons of my own for exploring this issue, but I'll go into that if there's any mileage in the above)

    Any sound advice would be appreciated.

    Thanks

    Steve

  2. #2
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    Hi Steve,

    I have tried this in an Enterprise after the gooseneck came away from the mast once!

    It was possible to sail back by cleating off the sheet which had been tied to the bottom aft corner of the mainsail, but at times the sail would resemble a spinnaker. I kind of managed to get close hauled by cleating off on the windward side of the hull to get it across the center line of the boat, but the shape of the sail was no where near as good and to be honest, it was more of an experiment for 15 or 20-minutes. In the end we lowered the main and got back using the jib.

    As you know, the great thing about having a boom is that that shape of the sail can be set perfectly and then you can position it at any angle to the wind. Without the boom you are limited to a few positions and the sail will want to do what it likes!


    Maybe others who have tried it will have had better results?

  3. #3
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    Very interesting to hear your experience with the dinghy.

    However, some boats are rigged with a boomless set up and sail beautifully. My question really is whether the existing Bermudan rig I have can be set up to perform well without the boom or whether it's completely the wrong sail for this.

    Steve

  4. #4
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    Default

    I've sailed a bermudan rig without a boom - and an ugly mess it was too - especially so off the wind.

    Things like the Dart 18 rig work well because:
    It has a fully battened sail
    Its traveller allows a large(ish) range of sheeting positions
    It's quick enough that it almost never sails deep downwind angles.

    You might be able to do all three of these things in an appropriate outrigger canoe.

  5. #5
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    I think that there are so many reasons why the boom is a good idea that you would have to be desperate to sail without one. It will not set very well on a narrow canoe except perhaps on a close haul upwind. Most of the time it will set with far too much curve in the sail which will reduce the drive forwards and increase the sideways force that is trying to capsize you, so generally you will go slower on most points of sail and be more likely to have an upset. Also it will be very difficult to spill the wind in a sudden gust.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveS View Post
    It will not set very well on a narrow canoe except perhaps on a close haul upwind. Most of the time it will set with far too much curve in the sail which will reduce the drive forwards and increase the sideways force that is trying to capsize you, so generally you will go slower on most points of sail and be more likely to have an upset. Also it will be very difficult to spill the wind in a sudden gust.
    Hi Dave

    I was quite interested to see the rig on the Hobie Island sailing kayak (I've only seen it on a film). Is that different in some way to our Bermudan rigs or does that sail have the problems that you describe?



    Steve

  7. #7
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    I have not seen the Hobie Adventure island sailing so i cannot comment on their set up, but maybe they think that the roller furling is worth not compromising by having a boom.

  8. #8

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    The Hobie Outback has a boomless sail.



    I think it works for a three of reasons,

    it's sail cloth is a very stiff mylar so supports itself much better than dacron, yet is roller furled around the mast so storage is very easy, thick mylar sails are a pig when dropped being very bulky and awkward to pack.

    the high angled batten is very clever. It creates the modern fat head shape yet will still roll up around the mast - pretty clever.

    The sail is quite small, just 20 sq ft, so the stiff material and high angle batten seem to combine to make it work much better than expected.

    There are 4 sailing canoes being made just now by a well known UK supplier boat builder which are planned to use these same design concepts for their roll up sails.

    Will be good to see how they get on.

    Brian

  9. #9
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    Another reason why these rigs seem to work on the Hobie is that he is peddling. If you peddle in light winds the wind will always appear close hauled due to the apparent wind shifting to head on. He is then paddle sailing which is effective, but doesn't prove how efficient the rig is alone, compared with one with a boom.

  10. #10

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    Those Mirage drives are very neat. Shame they are 350 a set. Could make an interesting miarge drive/dagger board cassette arrangement in a sailing canoe.

    Here's a better video



    Brian

  11. #11
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    Those Hobie sails are cut in a very different way with a very high clew. If you try setting a conventional bermudan without a boom it will be a mess, especially going downwind - hard to control and will induce much rolling and stress/chance of capsize in any kind of decent breeze.

  12. #12

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    Good point Keith. It does look like stiff cloth, high angle rolling batten, high clew might work for a 20 sq ft expedition type sail? You do have the length in a canoe to create decent sheeting angles. The Outback takes an outrigger too. With SD outriggers a wide sheeting angle might be possible for downwind runs much the same as your Mirror spinnaker.



    Brian

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by keyhavenpotterer View Post
    Those Mirage drives are very neat. Shame they are 350 a set. Could make an interesting miarge drive/dagger board cassette arrangement in a sailing canoe.

    Here's a better video

    Brian
    Interesting to see another Hobie in action Brian. Just got the sail going on my Hobie Sport and will post a YouTube report shortly.

  14. #14
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    Following this thread with interest as I am in the process of making a sailing kit for my Sea Eagle inflatable using an old mast & sail from a windsurf. I still have 3 boards + a few sails. One of my boards is a very old Sailboard (1980's vintage) so the sail is the old type made out of material the same a dinghy sail. My plan was to cut the mast down to about 2 metres & cut the sail into roughly a triangular shape (the sail has a batten at the top). I considered trying it without a boom but reading the comments I can see that it probably wouldn't work especially downwind. I think I will look for some lightweight tubing (probably plastic) to make the boom.
    Ed

  15. #15
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    The battens in my Enterprise sail are wooden and are quite stiff. Not sure how long the battens are in the sail you have, but if you cut the sail cloth just below a batten, it might offer enough rigidity to act a bit like a boom? Sure, it won't be as good, but it might be better than nothing. Just a thought.

  16. #16
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    Default loos foot sheting angel

    God morning,
    ther are a lot of traditional rigs that sail loos footed without a boom. to get the best sheeting angel, put the sail up. from a point 1/2 way up the mast andtake an emagenery line down whrough the outhall cringal of the sail, continue this down to the deck to determin a starting point for the sheet block. and position the block on a dridal between the gunwalls so it can work as a traveler , even make one end of the bridal fast and have ajustment for length on the other end to fine tune the trim of the sail.

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