Appendices -- Useful Supplemental Information


A distinguishing feature of the loose-footed (boomless) sprit or lug sail is that it can be fitted out for brailing up -- i.e., be gathered loosely up against the mast to facilitate 1) rowing in a calm 2) launching or beaching. Using a boom might make the sail more efficient, but eliminates the possibility of brailing.

The geometry of rigging a sprit or lugs’l for brailing is straightforward: a reinforced grommet is let into the leech at a point down from the peak the same distance as the length of the head of the sail. A very light, smooth, supple line is belayed at the throat, passed around the sail through that grommet and back to the throat, where it turns (through either a grommet, thimble, or a tiny block fixed to the sail) and is led down the luff through fairleads to another grommet, thimble or block at the tack, then aft to where the helmsman or crew can reach it. A pull on the brailing line, while releasing the sheet, will gather the sail up to the mast.

Getting the boat off the beach or ramp, and perhaps rowing into deep water so the board can be lowered, will be much easier with the sail brailed up out of the way. Brailing up to row when the wind quits keeps the boat clear of spars for free use of the oars.

Brailing is not to be confused with reefing -- bunts of the loosely gathered sail might flog in a strong wind, and even make the boat unmanageable. At the approach of a squall on onset of strong wind, the usual tactic is to pluck out the mast, sail, sprit, and all and lay it in the boat.

If properly engineered, brailing up should work smoothly -- but UNbrailing so the sail is completely redeployed, without the leech being distorted, depends on the lightness and slipperiness of the line, grommets/thimbles/blocks and fairleads. If the sail has been brailed up in a calm to row, for example, and the line is cast off to resume sailing when a little breeze springs up, there may not be enough wind to completely fill the sail and drag the line up and through all the turns. It might be necessary to give the sheet a smart pull, or lower the sail enough to reach up and give the brailing line a tug.

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