Goat Island Skiff – one sail or two – ketch/yawl vs cat rig

Most Goat Island Skiffs are built as single sail boats. A few use the Clint Chase drawings to make a version with a mizzen.

Which is right for you? We had a discussion on the GIS Facebook group. Recommend joining the group to get the value of different perspectives from very knowledgeable people who really do stuff 🙂

Each reply comes from a small boat sailor with thousands of hours of sailing experience in small boats in widely different conditions. The information on the group is of the highest level. Please consider joining if you use FB.

Christophe, Clint and Paul at the Small Reach Regatta.

Goat Island Skiff Messabout - storer boat plans

And a very nice video that shows off both rigs – Christophe and Clint. You can hear at the end from the skipper of the camera boat “What can you do?”.

Bob Choderker‎ to Goat Island Skiff

News and a question from the central Willamette Valley GIS build.

One of my boat building mentors is predicting a Fall launch. Most of the hull pieces and components stand sorted and ready to assemble except for the inwales, outwales, mast and spars; these will be cut next weekend. Everything has been moved out of the shop and into a tent, lower to the ground for inside-the-hull work.

It’s gratifying how boat building attracts good will, something I’ve read about as well as experienced. Two mentors are motivated to help me by woodworking alone. Someone provided clear grain vertical fir for the mast. Boat builders are a fraternity.

My question concerns the mizzenmast. What are the pros and cons of installing one? It seems like the entre to an interesting debate.

David R LaFontaine

Bob, you are quite right that the mizzen topic will almost always attract discussion. If you’re inclined to spend your remaining time on earth reading, there has been a long (and now aged) discussion thread on the Storerboats Forum.

In a nutshell, the yawl configuration will add complexity to the build, weight to the hull, and additional cost to the project. In return, you get an even broader envelope of functionality and flexibility. Most everyone who has built the yawl has done so for good reason and hence no negative feedback. (I’m speculating a little, but I haven’t read any…)

Most builders who don’t understand the need or desire generally don’t build yawl and also don’t complain because the GIS was well sorted out to begin with.

I personally prepared my hull for yawl rig but have never taken the final steps of building the rig and getting a sail. I have the all the weight and complexity and cost without the benefits of sailing backwards or heaving to in a blow. I’m lazy.

Simon Lew

I daysail our GIS 99% of the time. As such I like the simplicity of the single sail. If I was using the boat for longer, expedition type sailing I’d be more inclined to add the mizzen for it’s heaving to and reefing under way advantages.

John Goodman

So far David & Simon have compressed a lengthy discussion into a short one and hit all the bullet points.

I sail the first yawl rigged GIS and enjoy long distant sailing. My best single day is 72 miles. My longest trip was 400 miles. My longest solo trip 200 miles. Longest row was 109 miles with the mizzen but no main mast.

I know the Clinton B Chase has adjusted the drawings over the years to make it lighter and easier to build the yawl version however I know my hull is 142 pounds including paint and hardware. It’s not the lightest GIS but it a good average weight.

Here is a link to my unorganized flicka pictures

Paul Swanson

I have had lots of fun toys over the years. I haven’t built my Goat yet but I did build a Farrier f-22. I don’t recall ever thinking, I wish this thing was more complicated. Many times I’ve wished it was simpler!

Bob Choderker

Bob Choderker So it seems to be a subject of sailing style, not of controversy. Speaking of style, the OGA gaffers of Western Australia seem to have plenty of it. Examining their Youtube videos, one sees those guys making all kinds of interesting crossings without batting an eye. There are a few Goats in their mix as well…

Designer’s Note

The Goat Island Skiff was designed to be the simplest possible and most versatile boat for inexperienced boatbuilders to make while offering the highest possible performance.

Sailing boats with nice performance is fun, and the Goat can do it with one aboard or four adults.

The boats have been used for a much wider range of activities than I first envisioned, and I am delighted that most have found it to be a great deal of fun too.

The yawl/ketch version (don’t get me started – if you want to argue you can see my article about the ancient derivation of these rig names 🙂 ) was drawn up by Clint Chase a fellow designer who also built and owns a goat and makes kits.

His drawings are available from the “Files” section of the Goat Island Skiff Facebook Page.

I do know two people who have joined facebook just to be part of the Goat Island Skiff group and they have ended up being active.  Which shows just how nice (and truly useful) the group is!


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