Tuesday, October 29, 2013

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 leeway...no 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.


  1. any chance you can fix up the pictures on this thread again Clint, I've come across it a few times while looking into sailing rigs for my Ian Oughtred Macgregor sailing canoe, i'm building it as the traditional lapstrake style. You can see some details of the build over at the wooden boat forum: http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthread.php?167594-Macgregor-Canoe

    So I'd be very interested to see any photos of your rig and details of how you sailed it and had it setup. I have seen a few people talking about how they managed to get it setup so that the sail could be reefed to the bare bones with just the one line too. I know the Macgregor is a little different to the boats you are talking about above, but I am at this stage still strongly in favour of something along the lines of a lug rig and mizzen mast. That will I hope let me sit down in the cockpit of the Macgregor without needing to duck down for the boom etc when tacking...


  2. thanks for this summary - very helpful indeed


Thanks for reading and please comment away!