Monday, March 14, 2011

Harbinger and the High-Peaked Gaff

It is with direct relevance to two of my recent postings (High-peaked Gaffs and Building Phil Bolger's Harbinger) that I show the picture below.

This shot is of Harbinger just moments after pushing-off from the launching. It may appear that the motor is dragging, but in fact it is just ticking over (Honda 2hp Air-cooled 4-stroke) so as to be ready for emergency use in getting out of the marina. That is me you can see standing at the tiller, concentrating intensely - both of the owners were on-board and I was unfamiliar with the boat's handling characteristics.

The point is that the photo shows two things - Harbinger is a beautiful design, and more importantly, you can see how the combination of a short hoist (luff) and a long, high-peaked head gives one a really versatile rig. Even in the light conditions, it is apparent that the gaff is bending nicely under the tension of the peak halyard. I guess that it could have been released a little to get more draft into the sail, but we didn't know what conditions would be like outside, and the sail and lacing were all brand-new and unstretched. For the record, we didn't need the engine, and the boat sailed superbly - just look at the curl of water coming off the forefoot!

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