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Gaff topsail question

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I’m getting ready to rig a fishing schooner and have a question about the gaff topsail.  When coming about was the topsail tack lifted over the gaff halyard lines or was it left to windward?  In pictures the tack is usually to the lee of the gaff halyard lines but in some pictures the fore topsail tack will be on one side and the main topsail tack will be on the other.  When rigging should there be a second tack line going up over the gaff halyard lines so the tack can be moved from one side to the other?





Edited by Cap'n'Bob
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You can find plenty of pic's to support any way you want to set it. My view is that when on fishing trips the boat would be tacked and then the topsails and the staysail too, for that matter would be attended to after thing on deck had been coiled down and sorted out. When really racing men would be stationed at the mastheads to take care of all of this as quickly as possible

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I thought it was simply left as set - that's what I did, but I was making relatively short tacks and usually single-handing.


The topsail looks much better and certainly works more efficiently when it's set to leeward of the halyard since its shape isn't being distorted by the halyard, so it makes sense to try to shift it to leeward on certain tacks. I just don't know how it would be rigged or carried out.



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On Lettie there are two tacks, and when going about one is cast off and the other is taken up and made fast. Incidentaly, Lettie G Howard is now back in New York and fully rigged for the first time in many years. She is being operated by the South Street Seaport Museum but she is also heavily involved in the Harbor School on Governors Island- Her master is a founder of the Harbor School and has folded Lettie into the curriculum there, a role for which she is very well suited.

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