How to Sail the Lug Yawl: REPOSTED

My friend and fellow boatbuilder in the Northwest, James McMullen, created a very useful set of drawings to help people learn how to use our favorite sailing rig, the Lug-Yawl. For sail & oar boats you cannot have a more versatile and fun rig for your boat. Clint draws these rigs into most of his designs, such as the

Calendar Islands Yawl

or the

Goat Island Skiff with a mizzen

. Please look at these drawings and imagine how this rig could fit into your own sailing.

Now that you have seen these diagrams you can also see how useful the mizzen would be for switching from sailing to rowing and vice versa. While the mizzen is hauled in, the boat will keep herself pointing into the wind so the sail can be raised and lowered without filling and causing the boat to fall off one way or the other. I have found the mizzen useful for stopping and taking a break or for restowing gear or for dealing with safety matters. In these cases, it is best to learn to "heave-to" so that your boat doesn't lose too much ground. That is one drawback of lying head-to-wind under mizzen: you need to have plenty of boats, rocks or land to get blown down upon. The advantage of heaving-to is that you don't lose too much ground at all. We make light, strong

Birdsmouth masts and spars

and have intimate knowledge of the Lug-Yawl.

Mast making at Shaw and Tenney

The second iconic work spot of the summer was 2-weeks of mast building at Shaw & Tenney. Shaw and Tenney has been in business since 1858 making gorgeous paddles and oars as well as masts, boat hooks, etc for boats. Sometimes they get interesting orders like for this project building four 8" diameter laminated, Douglas Fir masts for a high-end playground in NYC. They asked me to come up and help them take on this project and I was happy to do it.

The masts were all cut, rounded, and sanded by hand. They weight a few hundred pounds in the rough and were a challenge to put through the planer. Their dimensions had to be very accurate. Like any mast, once the piece is 4-sided and tapered, we can start 8-siding as we are doing above with a small skilsaw. After 8-siding this way, the mast was brought to 128-siding with nothing but patience and my favorite power planer. After two days plus of the power planer, when I that machine down for good, I can recall my hand vibrating for several hours.

The final rounding was done with custom shaped foam blocks, a trick from boat school that I use on a lot of projects. This was followed by finish sanding with the Festool. The result was some very nice masts! It was a wonderful place to work and watch the masters do their trade. One of the guys has been making oars and paddles for 25 years. To watch him work was quite impressive. I look forward to doing more business with S & T. Recently, they chose Clint Chase Boatbuilder as their official builder of their beautiful Whitehall.

After this project it was back to Portland for an overnight to see the family and pack for the next iconic week: Wooden Boat in Brooklin, Maine. I was to make my teaching debut at the Wooden Boat School.

Goat Island Skiff Boat Kits Available

Our first kit offering at Clint Chase Boatbuilder is a plywood and timber kit for the Michael Storer designed Goat Island Skiff (GIS). Why buy a kit? Folks are sometimes offended when I suggest this, feeling that it is thought they don't have the skills to make the parts themselves, but that is not it at all. We build all of our boats in the shop from kits!!! Even professionals do it and the reason is that it makes the build process quicker and smoother and the result is more professional. In the case of the GIS, we have made parts and built the hull of the boat, making all the small tweaks that professionals with a good eye make to the lines of the boat to make them look eye-sweet. Any design, no matter how well drawn, will need some eyes on it in 3D to make final tweaks. We also have checked bevels and made some adjustments for a rabbeted gunwale, which covers the end grain exposed at the top of the gunwale. Our kit captures all these professional practices so you can get a better boat. Currently, kits are cut per order, but we may move to CNC when volume increases.

We were attracted to this design initially because of the sail plan, a beautifully proportioned Balanced Lug. Upon further reflection we noticed something was missing for RAID sailors and for others who might use the boat as a sail & oar craft. It needed a mizzen. A small mizzen gives great control of a small boat, allowing one to lie head-to-wind for reefing at sea or for heaving-to. It allows you to back off a beach or a dock, with practice. It is useful for trimming the sail plan, adjusting weather helm to create "feel" in the tiller. A mizzen makes single handing much easier, especially for switching between oars and sail, because the boat will tend itself and stay head-to-wind while you stow oars and fidget with things at the mast. For a useful diagram showing How to Sail a Lug-Yawl, by James McMullen.

We can supply a kit for the GIS as well as the mast and spars. Masts are round, hollow using the Birdsmouth technique. Yard and boom for the GIS are solid, laminated Northern White Spruce. Laminated spars stay straighter over time with changes in moisture content in the wood. We can make custom 9' oars specifically designed for the GIS. Rowing in the Goat Island Skiff is quite enjoyable, whether it is from the dock to a local area with wind, or coming back when the wind has petered out. Products for the Goat Island Skiff can be seen in the GIS Flyer on our website Goat Island Skiff Page.