I have been using sprit rigs for decades and currently have one for my Good Little Skiff and two of them for my Delaware ducker. Of late, sprit rigs seem to have become less popular for small boats than the lug, which is more easily reefed. But there is a lot to be said for a sprit rig, whether boomed or boomless. If set up the way fishermen and hunters once had them, they are ideal for trailerable boats. The sail is laced to the mast and can be dropped into the step, a sheet reeved, and off you go. My sprit rigs live in long, loose, and slippery bags of light fabric. To unpack a bag, I untie it, flick the rig vertical, and pull the bag down; I’m ready to step the mast with everything attached to it. To put the rig away, I lift up the foot and pull the bag on over it, then work it along the bundled sail and spars.The key to working with a sail, sprit, and mast—and boom if you have one—is to have it all in a bundle. To create this you need a brail line. As Pete Culler showed us in his book Skiffs and Schooners, a light, slippery line is fixed to the throat grommet, then run to a small brass thimble sewn to the leech and run back to another thimble on the opposite side of the throat, and then down the mast. I use a clove hitch to tie the brail in, a grommet punched to the leech, and a small block or ring at throat. The distance from the peak to the grommet is the same as that from the peak to the throat. If you have a boom, you need a little block of wood on the bottom with a bee hole in it, set at a distance from the boom jaws that’s equal to the length of the sail luff. For a boomed spritsail the brail is run through the bee hole on the boom, not a grommet on the leech, and gathers up both boom and sprit.
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