Monday 21 August 2023

Fitting Out | Gaff

I turned my attention to the gaff and of course immediately realised that it should really have a flat surface on its lower face, to seat the sail track.

I had spent ages giving it beautifully rounded top and bottom edges, and I wondered why the build manual told me to do this.

A closer look at the manual revealed the answer. CLC tells us to use an "external T track". In other words, the sail slides go around the outside rather than inside the track. The T track will sit on a rounded surface.

My sail track works in the opposite way. The slides go inside the channel, so it is wide and needs a flat surface to bed down on.

Not a huge setback, but an annoying one. So I first had to restore a flat surface to the bottom of the gaff.

I decided not to take it back to a completely flat face, but to take off just enough to provide a good seating for the sail track.

First I used the cutting gauge and a pencil to provide parallel lines to guide the plane. Like this.

This shows me exactly how much material should be removed.

Then I used the block plane to reinstate a flat surface, as here.

This is what it now looked like.

Next I drilled a hole for lashing the sail to the peak of the gaff, and countersunk it. This is it.

And then I fitted the peak halyard block attachment. As here.

The gooseneck was next. Inspection of the holes in the straps revealed that they were too big for M4 and too small for M5 machine screws, which I intended to use for through spar fastenings.

So I drilled the holes out to 5mm, using a cobalt drill bit and cutting fluid. Like this.

Next I drilled 5mm holes through the gaff, to fit the gooseneck. I used the drill guide to get perpendicular holes, like this.

The resulting holes looked like this.

Thus far I have been been pleased with the quality of the fittings, but this gooseneck was the exception. It's from Racelite, and very poorly made.

The outer cage had been squashed to accept a short pin, and the inner cage had been very roughly ground to allow it to pivot freely. This left a very rough, jagged and razor sharp edge which would very easily slice through a halyard or remove a finger tip.

So I took it apart and filed the inner cage to a smooth edge. As here.

This is the gooseneck after final fit with clear sealant.

It was while fitting the gooseneck that I realised I had fixed the peak halyard block at the wrong end of the gaff. So I plugged the first screw holes and marked up in the correct place, like this.

Finally here is the re-sited block attachment in place.

That's the gaff finished!

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