Yawl
Overview
 
A yawl is a two-masted sailing craft similar to a sloop
Sloop
A sloop is a sail boat with a fore-and-aft rig and a single mast farther forward than the mast of a cutter....

 or cutter but with an additional mast (mizzenmast or mizzen mast) located well aft of the main mast, often right on the transom
Transom (nautical)
In naval architecture, a transom is the surface that forms the stern of a vessel. Transoms may be flat or curved and they may be vertical, raked forward, also known as a retroussé or reverse transom, angling forward from the waterline to the deck, or raked aft, often simply called "raked", angling...

, specifically aft of the rudder post. (A vessel with the mizzenmast located forward of the rudderpost is called a ketch
Ketch
A ketch is a sailing craft with two masts: a main mast, and a shorter mizzen mast abaft of the main mast, but forward of the rudder post. Both masts are rigged mainly fore-and-aft. From one to three jibs may be carried forward of the main mast when going to windward...

. See further discussion below.) A mizzen sail
Sail
A sail is any type of surface intended to move a vessel, vehicle or rotor by being placed in a wind—in essence a propulsion wing. Sails are used in sailing.-History of sails:...

 (smaller than the mainsail
Mainsail
A mainsail is a sail located behind the main mast of a sailing vessel.On a square rigged vessel, it is the lowest and largest sail on the main mast....

) is hoisted on the mizzen mast.

The yawl was originally developed as a rig for commercial fishing boats, one good example of this being the Salcombe Yawl
Salcombe Yawl
The Salcombe Yawl is a small sailing dinghy restricted class native to Salcombe in South Devon. It is about the size of a Merlin Rocket, that is and about 180 have been built of which 80% are still in use. It is build traditionally by hand from mahogany, and is clinker built. The centre plate is...

 (a small traditional fishing boat built in Devon
Devon
Devon is a large county in southwestern England. The county is sometimes referred to as Devonshire, although the term is rarely used inside the county itself as the county has never been officially "shired", it often indicates a traditional or historical context.The county shares borders with...

).
Encyclopedia
A yawl is a two-masted sailing craft similar to a sloop
Sloop
A sloop is a sail boat with a fore-and-aft rig and a single mast farther forward than the mast of a cutter....

 or cutter but with an additional mast (mizzenmast or mizzen mast) located well aft of the main mast, often right on the transom
Transom (nautical)
In naval architecture, a transom is the surface that forms the stern of a vessel. Transoms may be flat or curved and they may be vertical, raked forward, also known as a retroussé or reverse transom, angling forward from the waterline to the deck, or raked aft, often simply called "raked", angling...

, specifically aft of the rudder post. (A vessel with the mizzenmast located forward of the rudderpost is called a ketch
Ketch
A ketch is a sailing craft with two masts: a main mast, and a shorter mizzen mast abaft of the main mast, but forward of the rudder post. Both masts are rigged mainly fore-and-aft. From one to three jibs may be carried forward of the main mast when going to windward...

. See further discussion below.) A mizzen sail
Sail
A sail is any type of surface intended to move a vessel, vehicle or rotor by being placed in a wind—in essence a propulsion wing. Sails are used in sailing.-History of sails:...

 (smaller than the mainsail
Mainsail
A mainsail is a sail located behind the main mast of a sailing vessel.On a square rigged vessel, it is the lowest and largest sail on the main mast....

) is hoisted on the mizzen mast.

The yawl was originally developed as a rig for commercial fishing boats, one good example of this being the Salcombe Yawl
Salcombe Yawl
The Salcombe Yawl is a small sailing dinghy restricted class native to Salcombe in South Devon. It is about the size of a Merlin Rocket, that is and about 180 have been built of which 80% are still in use. It is build traditionally by hand from mahogany, and is clinker built. The centre plate is...

 (a small traditional fishing boat built in Devon
Devon
Devon is a large county in southwestern England. The county is sometimes referred to as Devonshire, although the term is rarely used inside the county itself as the county has never been officially "shired", it often indicates a traditional or historical context.The county shares borders with...

). In its heyday, the rig was particularly popular with single-handed sailors, such as circumnavigators
Circumnavigation
Circumnavigation – literally, "navigation of a circumference" – refers to travelling all the way around an island, a continent, or the entire planet Earth.- Global circumnavigation :...

 Harry Pidgeon
Harry Pidgeon
Harry Clifford Pidgeon , was an American sailor, a noted photographer, and was the second person to sail single-handedly around the world , 23 years after Joshua Slocum. Pidgeon was the first person to do this via the Panama Canal, and the first person to solo circumnavigate the world twice...

 and Francis Chichester
Francis Chichester
Sir Francis Charles Chichester KBE , aviator and sailor, was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for becoming the first person to sail single-handed around the world by the clipper route, and the fastest circumnavigator, in nine months and one day overall.-Early life:Chichester was born in Barnstaple,...

. This was due to the ability of a yawl to be trimmed to sail without rudder input. Modern self-steering and navigation aids have made this less important, and the yawl has generally fallen out of favor.

In the 1950s and 60s yawls were developed for ocean racing to take advantage of the handicapping rule that did not penalize them for flying a mizzen staysail, which on long ocean races, often down wind, were a great advantage, the best example of this being Olin Stephens
Olin Stephens
Olin James Stephens II was an American yacht designer of the 20th century. Stephens was born in New York, but spent his summers with his brother Rod, learning to sail on the New England coast. He also attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for a term.Stephens' name had a long history...

' Finisterre.

Yawl vs. Ketch

The yawl is often confused with the ketch
Ketch
A ketch is a sailing craft with two masts: a main mast, and a shorter mizzen mast abaft of the main mast, but forward of the rudder post. Both masts are rigged mainly fore-and-aft. From one to three jibs may be carried forward of the main mast when going to windward...

, which also has two masts with the main mast foremost. The common view is that a ketch has the mizzen mast forward of the rudder post whereas the mizzen on a yawl is aft of the rudder post. This definition is a relatively recent definition and the historical definition is likely to be quite different.

In practice, on a ketch the principal purpose of the mizzen sail is to help propel the vessel, while on a yawl it is mainly used for the purposes of trim and balance. In consequence the mizzen sail of a yawl tends to be smaller, and the mainsail larger, when compared to a ketch of similar size. Yawls tend to have mainsails similar in size to those of sloops of comparable sizes and proportions.

Derivation of "yawl"

The above is an accepted modern definition, but it may not be correct within a historical context.

YAWL, n. A small ships boat, usually rowed by four or six oars. (Webster's dictionary
Webster's Dictionary
Webster's Dictionary refers to the line of dictionaries first developed by Noah Webster in the early 19th century, and also to numerous unrelated dictionaries that added Webster's name just to share his prestige. The term is a genericized trademark in the U.S.A...

 1828)



The seminal American Yacht Designer of the first half of last century, Francis Herreshoff, reflected this traditional definition of a Yawl was as "a ship's boat resembling the pinnace" set up to be primarily rowed.

To add a sailing rig to a rowboat the masts must not interfere with the rowers. The Mainmast is placed well forward and the mizzen as far back as possible. The mizzen has to be small in size to keep the sail area balanced around the hull's centre of lateral resistance to ensure the boat will sail in a straight line without excessive correction.

According to Herreshoff "yawl" had nothing to do with rudder placement relative to the mizzen - a yawl rig is the sail and mast configuration that suits a yawlboat.

A review of "The L. Francis Herreshof Collection"

would seem to indicate that he had no objection to the forward vs. aft of the rudder post definition, since he consistently used it in his own work.

Derivation of "ketch"

Ketch was a "catch" or fishing boat. (Ketch from Middle English cache, from cacchen, to catch; see catch. http://www.thefreedictionary.com/ketch)
The mizzen is bigger to hold the bow (front) of a boat toward the wind and oncoming waves. The mainsail at the front of the boat would have been dropped and the mizzen trimmed tight on the centreline. Set up this way most boats will point directly into the wind in a reliable way. It is also possible to ease the mizzen slightly to allow the boat to move slowly forward.

In a fishing boat this attitude allows the nets to be handled without the boat becoming "broadside" to the waves allowing them to break over the sides of the boat. Fishnets can then be handled without putting the boat at risk.

For enough sail area to propel a fishing boat the mizzen mast has to move forward toward the middle of the boat which allows its sail to be bigger without upsetting the sail balance or distribution.

A "Ketch Rig" is simply the rig that matches the function of a "Ketch" or "Catch" or fishing boat.

Rudder oriented definitions

The common definition of Yawl and Ketch using the rudder post does not reflect the nautical tradition and was created by much more recent developments of a handicap system for racing yachts.

The CCA (Cruising Club of America
Cruising Club of America
-History:It was launched in the winter of 1921-1922 by a handful of experienced offshore sailors interested in cruising and the development of the cruising type of yacht....

) rating rule was developed following World War II to allow different styles of boats to race against each other with a handicap calculated from measurements of each boat. It was later combined with the RORC (Royal Ocean Racing Club
Royal Ocean Racing Club
The Royal Ocean Racing Club also called RORC was established in 1925 as a result of a race to the Fastnet rock from Cowes and finishing in Plymouth. The RORC is the principal organiser of offshore yacht races in the UK, including the Fastnet race, the Admirals Cup and the Commodore's Cup...

) rule to become the IOR (International Offshore Rule
International Offshore Rule
The International Offshore Rule was a measurement rule for racing sailboats. The IOR evolved from the Cruising Club of America rule for racer/cruisers and the Royal Ocean Racing Club rule.-Rule context - past and present rating systems:...

) rule in the late 50s which was used to handicap international racing until the late 1980s.

The CCA and the following rules used the rudder post definitions of ketch and yawl so they had a cut and dried definition for measuring sail so boats could be handicapped with boats fulfilling their new and arbitrary definition of Yawl and Ketch receiving slightly different handicaps.

Humber Yawl Club

The Humber Yawl Club was created in England on the Humber Estuary in the late 19th century. Its fleet of "Canoe Yawls" were primarily sailing boats that could be rowed effectively.

The purpose of the boats and the group was for recreational cruises along the coast of England over several days, camping on beaches and riverbanks. Some of the boats were small enough to be taken to Europe by commercial steamer and then used for travelling the canal, lake and river systems of Europe.

"Canoe Yawls" had a pointed stern similar to a canoe. Rudders were usually placed on the back of the boat which allows the rudder to be raised to allow the boat to be landed on a beach.It is 12 inches long.

Despite the mizzen sail being ahead of the rudder the boats were termed Yawls because of their size and their good rowing capability.

Famous yawls

  • Islander
  • Rozinante
  • Spray
    Spray (sailing vessel)
    The S.V. Spray was a oyster sloop rebuilt by Joshua Slocum and used by him to sail single-handed around the world, the first voyage of its kind...

  • Concordia yawls
    Concordia yawls
    The Concordia yawl was designed in 1938 by naval architect C. Raymond Hunt with input from Llewellyn and Waldo Howland, Clinton Crane, Fenwick Williams and Frank Paine....

  • Drascombe Lugger and derivatives
    Drascombe
    The word Drascombe is a trademark that was first registered by who applied it to a series of sailing boats which he designed and built in the period 1965-79 and sold in the United Kingdom ....


External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
x
OK