AskDefine | Define lugger

Dictionary Definition

lugger n : small fishing boat rigged with one or more lugsails

User Contributed Dictionary

English

Noun

  1. A small vessel having two or three masts, and a running bowsprit, and carrying lugsails.
  2. A conman.

Extensive Definition

A lugger is a type of small sailing vessel setting lugsails on two or more masts and perhaps lug topsails.

Defining the rig

The lugsail is an evolved version of the classical square sail. In both rigs, the upper side of the sail is attached to a spar, the yard, which is hoisted up the mast by a rope known as the halyard. The lower side of the sail is held in place by a separate set of ropes, the sheets.
The main difference between the lugsail and square is the location of the yard in relation to the mast. A square sail is lifted with the halyard in the middle of the yard, lifting the sail so it lies evenly on either side of the mast. In the lugger, the halyard is attached much closer to one end or the other of the yard, and when lifted the majority of the sail will lie fore or aft of the mast. Since the yard is only supported near one end, the "free" end hangs down and the "supported" end peaks up. This allows the mast to be shorter than the sail, the peaked yard making up the difference in height.
The lugsail is somewhat similar to the gaff rig as well, which also uses a spar, the gaff, which is hung at an angle to the mast. The difference is that the gaff is mounted such that it lies entirely behind the mast, as opposed to both in front and behind as in the lugger. While the gaff rig is "cleaner" in that the mast does not interfere with the sail, it requires more complex rigging and handling than the lugger.

Types of lugsail

There are three sorts of lugsail: the standing lug, in which the yard remains on one side of the mast and the tack is set close to the mast, the balance lug (often, incorrectly, balanced lug), which resembles the standing lug, but sets a boom, which continues as far forward of the mast as the leading edge of the yard, and the dipping lug in which the yard is dipped around the mast when going about so that the sail draws away from the mast on each tack.
The advantages of the dipping sail arise from the fact that the set of the sail is not deformed by pressing against the mast. This allows a more efficient air flow and reduces wear of the canvas. Its disadvantage is that with any but a very small sail, a downhaul is needed and the size of the sail which can be manipulated in this way is limited.
When going about, the moment during which it is possible to dip the lug is short and it is not easy to coordinate the efforts of the crew. Therefore lugsails are usually standing or balance lugs.
Another source of variation is in the extent to which the yard was designed to be peaked up. That is to say, how nearly vertical the yard was intended to be.
The accompanying picture of Fifies, (above right) a fairly late design in the evolution of the rig, shows one extreme, where the white-sailed boat looks at first glance almost to have a Bermudian rig (although on closer examination, it is clearly a Fifie on the opposite tack). The boat off-shore is a little more obviously a lugger and the others have not got their sails fully set.
The fore lug (main sail) on a Fifie is a dipping lugsail. The extreme size of the dipping lugsail showing in the picture was only possible with the introduction of steam powered capstans to facilitate with dipping.
This short extract explains the procedure:
"Imagine tacking in a fresh breeze with those tremendous forelugs flogging about. First they were lowered down to deck, then unhooked from the traveller, hooked on the burton, swung aft and then for'ard on the other side of the mast, unhooked and rehooked on the traveller, and hoisted again. During this time the mast stood foursquare on its reputation. being completely unstayed until the halyards were unhooked to the weather side and the burton set up. Smart handling was essential, and even with the fall of the haylard taken to the capstan, it was heavy work, but hoisting by hand was back-breaking, five to ten minutes' sweating to get the sail set and drawing properly for most of the old skippers were very particular about the cut and set of their sails." Page 266, Chapter 12 (Fifies and Zulus), Sailing Drifter by Edgar J. March

Local types

lugger in German: Logger (Segelschiff)
lugger in French: Lougre
lugger in Icelandic: Loggorta
lugger in Hungarian: Lugger
lugger in Dutch: Logger
lugger in Polish: Lugier
lugger in Slovak: Luger (plachetnica)
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