Measure it, rig it, lash it.

An Inanda projects post.

In a recent post i kicked around the idea of using soft synthetic (rope) standing rigging for Inanda’s new shrouds and then went rapidly off the idea when i compared the prices of 5mm galvanised wire and 6mm vectran which have about the same breaking load.  Just as a recap that’s 65 pence a metre for the wire and somewhere around £4.60 a metre for the rope.                             I might still use Vectran or a high-end Dyneema for her new runners/preventer stays but the new shrouds will be plain old wire.  The cost of 100 metres of wire only comes to £65…obviously,  and it’s not much more when i include a dozen or so new galvanised thimbles.  The cost increases if i have the shrouds made professionally but that job is only a matter of measuring the existing wire, adding a bit to that  and either swaging a soft eye loop or a swaged hard-eye with a thimble.  That’s all simple work that i used to do every day as a rigger.   What i didn’t realise is that i could buy a hand-hydraulic swaging press for around £80 and that’s not much more than the work cost of having the shrouds made for me.


In this project post i am going to set out the total project for Inanda’s rig after a session i did down at Wareham when i had a really good look at the rig from the river bank with my binoculars and then sent up the end of a measuring tape to get heights off each critical point.  Where Inanda is right now is almost next to the bank in the river Frome and at low water the cabin top is about level with the bank.  Because she lays between buoys it creates a really good side-on view of the whole rig and i can study it with the bino’s without having to go aloft.   The main reason for doing the rig ‘survey’ is that i want to replace some blocks and halyards before the next stage of the trip and work out the lengths and arrangements for new parts of the rig such as the runners and lazy-jacks.   At home i then worked out what i need in terms of new rope to completely replace both main halyards (throat and peak) plus those blocks, the jib and staysail halyards and their blocks too.  Being a gaffer the actual hoist heights are small but each halyard is at least 50% longer because it will be a 2:1 and have a fall as well….the peak is actually a 3:1 plus fall so that’s the hoist height X 4….nearly a hundred feet of new rope just for the peak halyard.  I used one of my early morning planning sessions at work with a pre-work coffee to then calculate the actual halyard lengths plus a bit for the planned modifications.

While i am here i will briefly mention the rope specs that i have chosen and that’s because the first order of new rope just arrived as well.  The mains’l throat and peak are going to be 8mm Marlowbraid, i have always liked Marlow’s own brand braid for that kind of job because the mains’l hoists don’t need to be super hard and low stretch (no vang).  The throat halyard is 2:1 and red fleck on white, the peak is 3:1 plus it’s fall and black fleck on white so that i can instantly see which one is which.    The jib and stays’l halyards are much higher spec Dyneema because they need to be much firmer and lower stretch hoists. Although expensive stuff neither hoist is very long even with the new 2:1 hoist.  The jib will be all white and the stays’l nearly all black.  I have bought a load of new blocks to play around with as well, not particularly high-tec ones at this stage and only ‘simple’ bearing….Lewmar’s slightly older ‘Synchro’ blocks in 60mm for halyards and runner tackles and then 50mm blocks for the lazy-jacks. I haven’t ordered the material for the super-dooper bobstay yet or the line for the runners as i am still working out which of the modern ropes will be best.

New rope….oooh yes !


My previous boats all got a jobs page next to a day page  in the logbook….Inanda gets an entire project book.


Some of the work is stuff that clearly needs doing….like replacing all the shroud lacings before i left Ipswich after one went ‘ping’ as i heaved on it.  The essential jobs now are to replace the critical halyards and get a new staysail halyard rove after losing the original during an epic fight with the WM on the foredeck. I will delay replacing the rusty shrouds now until i am back at base because i might add some spreaders for those aft shrouds…but that’s jumping ahead of myself a bit.


At this stage i have done several things all at the same time : surveyed and measured the rig, worked out the normal maintenance jobs, had a long think and some research about the rig proportions and lastly looked at a rig that might give me an overall direction for this one.  I did seriously consider altering the rig proportions to much closer to a high aspect gaff rig as seen on many Dutch boats. I happen to think that rig is an excellent one for small boats having had the short-gaff, high-aspect Dutch rig on my Wharram catamaran.   The advantage with the ‘Dutch’ rig is that the luff length is mainly gained by the mast height and not by the very long gaff on the traditional English rig. The short gaff is much easier to handle in my limited experience of gaff rigs although the Dutch rig always needs and usually gets much bigger headsails as seen below.  Inanda’s rig has a relatively short mast, very long gaff and boom, therefore a huge barn-door mainsail and very small headsails that have to be out on a very long bowsprit to regain balance.  Inanda’s rig has been further messed about with an extended gaff and boom….wrongly in my view as it has, i think, spoiled the balance.  After doing my rig survey and measurements i think that i can’t convert Inanda to a Dutch style rig because i can’t bring the mast further aft…the Dutch rig looks a lot more modern with that longer ‘J’ measurement.


I realise here that i need to explain the normal methods of describing rig proportions and most of that comes from racing boats and sailmaking, unfortunately it doesn’t translate well to gaff rig as the total hoist height of a traditional gaff rig is determined by the gaff spar length and not the mast height.  Just for reference the key dimensions i am talking about are the ‘J’ length (mast to forestay fitting) the ‘E’ length (mainsail foot), the ‘I’ measurement (height of forestay fitting above deck and so on as below.  The traditional English gaff rig has a short ‘J’ measurement which, with the inner forestay height determines the luff and foot of the staysail….but then has a very long ‘E’ measurement.  The Dutch rig by comparison has a longer J much more like modern boats and usually a much shorter ‘E’.  Of course being a cutter Inanda has 2 ‘I’ measurements ….the inner forestay height and the outer forestay which doesn’t really relate to jib luff length anyway because the jib is hoisted lower than that point.  Inanda’s ‘TPS’ is of course very long.


What does that all mean though ?, well basically this : big mainsail and small jibs.

Clare Thomas photograph

Inanda Ipswich

To my eye the jibs look ‘weak’ by which i mean lacking in luff length, overlap and sheer lack of effective area.  Both are very short in the hoist compared with how they could be…i could easily gain more than a foot in hoist in both sails and i can’t help but think they both need more area and overlap.  The current reason for the small jibs i guess is that she was designed that way and has no mechanical advantage in the jib handling ie no purchases and no winches. Any increase in area would really need the addition of either sheet doublers or ideally a pair of winches.  As she is even those small jobs are a real heave to sheet-in and i am pretty strong !.  During my rig survey i noticed that i can increase the ‘I’ length of the inner forestay because there is a fitting there that would balance the inner forestay loads nicely against the mid-shrouds.  I could also gain length in the stays’l luff by just persuading a sailmaker to use the available hoist and maybe adding some foot overlap.  Once again and in my limited experience of cutters the stays’l can be a total powerhouse in the rig and further that the boat might actually rotate around that sail.  I really think that i want longer luffs in those 2 sails and then maybe some decent overlap…..and inevitably some winches. I am very tempted to have a free-flying ‘big-jib’ , essentially a light weather genoa/reacher on a low-torsion luff and running on the proposed gennaker/jib furler.

Anyway look…lets go off in a different direction and try to show you the inspiration for Inanda’s rig modifications based on this boat i saw in Poole harbour.  This whole boat just looks totally sorted…great looking boat and powerful i would think.  There’s a hell of a lot to pick up on just with this one boat and that rig.

Nomad. ( i have just found out that she is an Ed Burnett design)


Now that might be a carbon stick to start with but its clearly got the height and the proportions look good, those jib luffs look decently long enough and i like the fact that the end of the boom is inside the deck line…that would allow me to hang a windpilot over the stern.  I like those deep bulwarks which seem to hide the coachroof and that pilot house just looks right.  Very very nice and i never thought i would say that about a gaffer.

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I said that this post would be about the total list of rigging jobs, although a bit dry here it is.

Re-rake mast and re-align shrouds to suit.

Change staysail hoist point and inner forestay attachment point to higher on mast.

Unstep mast, repair surface and re-varnish.  Glass and epoxy-coat each saddle position.

Re-leather gaff saddle.

Add spreaders to increase staying angle aloft at upper and mid shrouds.

Replace all shrouds over time, increase shroud length and reduce lacing length.

Stage 1…move gooseneck band up mast slightly to improve cockpit clearance and permanently use first reef. Long term : reduce boom and gaff to original dimensions and re-cut main. Replace mainsheet, add jammer.

Change all blocks aloft and replace all halyards

Change jib halyard and stays’l halyard to 2:1 on ‘hard’ halyards

Add better cleats to mast for above.

Run VHF/GPS cable up shrouds and add arial.

Add navigation lights.

Add lazy jacks

Add running backstays.

Add hard gantline for solo mast climbing rig, build mast climbing rig.

Replace Wykeham-Martin with gennaker furler.

Improve mains’l reefing gear on boom.

Make new jib (jibs) and staysail with more area and better shape.

Build and fit boom gallows aft.

Fit sheet winches/runner winches.

Rebuild and replace king-post and alter bowsprit so that it can be run-in or steeved-up.

Make new running bobstay arrangement.

Have coffee break !

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