Gig Sailing ( not rowing )

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Our gig came with a sailing rig, which has not yet been used by us. Would like to speak to anyone experienced at helming a CPG under sail.

Only 2 boats I believe in the 2013 championship, we would like to be in a position to enter the class in 2014.

probaly looking for help on actually setting the rig up…main sheet work how ? Mast shrouds and halliards and then

Need advise on safe wind speed limit, upwind sailing,( or must it be rowed )? Stability. Can it be tacked ? What about down wind sailing – is a gybe just stupid ?

Can you reef ?

Any help gratefully received.

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3 Comments on "Gig Sailing ( not rowing )"

  1. Colin

    We at Devoran Gig Club sail our gig Fear Not every now and then, and have raced at the Scillies for the last few years. We have a couple of competent gig sailors in the club and if you pass on your email address I shall forward your message on to them for advice.
    What club are you?

  2. Bob

    Sailing gigs is great fun so its excellent news that there will be another competitor in 2014. Gigs sail very fast in a straight line with the wind free but they are not very weatherly or maneuverable so it takes skill and teamwork to get the best out of them.

    They are “dipping lug” rigged which means the yard & mainsail have to be moved from the old leeward side to the new leeward side of the mast at each tack or gybe. This makes these maneuvers two-stage processes so gybing is a gentler evolution than it sometimes is with gaff or bermudan rigs.

    Gigs do sail up wind but they are not close-winded. The dipping lug effectively prevents sailing through a tack. To tack, the boat begins to turn into the wind but usually loses all way well before it is luffed up. The crew then dip the main and while this is being done, the No.1 oar rows the bow through the wind until it is aligned with the next leg of the beat. Only the No.1 should row (on either side as appropriate) since the purpose is only to turn the boat, not give it forward movement. Likewise, you can only row during a tack.

    We’ve just bought a GRP gig “Frayed Knot” for training (rowing) and are rigging it for sailing to relieve the strain on “Fear Not”. The rig is simple enough but it would take too long to explain in writing. Why not come over to Devoran and see it in action – bring your own gig to try out alongside ours.

    Also, don’t forget gigs can sail in the Falmouth Classics Regatta in mid-June.

  3. Andrew

    Hi again,

    Thanks for those two replies, both helpful.

    I am Andrewberry57 at gmail dot com

    We are Langstone Cutters Gig Club, based on Hayling Island, Hampshire, and we have ‘Porthminster’ ex St Ives, and now named ‘ Heart of Hayling’

    We have moved on since my original posting, in that we have actually got the fittings and sails out of store and tried to rig them, so all has become a bit clearer.

    We are missing the sailing tiller and perhaps more importantly both sets of sheets, mizzen and main.

    Thanks for confirming she is sailed dipping lug fashion, and the tip about rowing through the wind is good too.

    A few questions please.

    Our mizzen does not have a halliard, it looks as if should be permanently laced to the mast, and lashed at head and tack – is that correct.

    Ditto the clew – is that permanently lashed on ?

    We have no mizzen sheet at all. How many parts should it be ? We have nu provision for a bumkin either, so main sheet must be lashed to boom in a position so as to be over the transom id boom is fore and aft ? Correct

    Must be a turning block on the transom somewhere ? A photo showing mizzen sheet details would be appreciated.


    Am I right in saying the only shroud is the redundant end of the main halyard, which has to be set up on each tack and cleated to the thwart…..where a thole pin passed through.

    Main sheet – i give up – how many tails one or two ? How many blocks and how many parts, how is it cleated.

    I’m sure there will me more Qs, but just some photos of sheeting and cleating would be could. Also the tiller or is it just straight ?

    Many thanks to all, AB

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