Raising/retractable bowsprit

I am a UK based propective BCC owner and have spent some time sailing the falmouth working boats from which Lyle Hess seems to have drawn inspiration for the BCC and other similar designs. Most of the originals have bowsprits which eithe pivot from the bitts or have a removable pin which allows the bowsprit to be retracted through the gammon iron. I would like to know if anyone has modified a bcc in this way and any problems which have resulted. I would guess that the forestay (stays’l stay?) would have to be beefed up a bit to compensate for having a movable jibstay. A block & tackle bobstay should be able to provide sufficient tension in the jibstay - any thoughts.

Many thanks


good question Dan – id like to know as well… i have a feeling some folks have “shipped” there sprits to cut cost or to fit in a smaller slip etc… I’d certainly like to cut dockage cost if i can while i live aboard for the non-sailing winter months.


We did have our bowsprit off for a couple of months, and it was handy, as we were in a slip that was a bit short. However,…

most of the cruising BCCs have used the bowsprit to mount anchor brackets, and that convenience alone outweighs, in my mind, the benefits of being able to “telescope” the sprit. And, if you’ve got a furling jib, well then, it’s nearly impossible. So, it would have to come out the front. Finally, I would have to think about depending on a block and tackle in the bobstay. It’s the largest diameter wire in the rig, and I’m glad to know that it is when we’re beating to windward in a seaway.

Removing the sprit was at least a couple of hours job, and that was without a furler. Setting it all up again, and tuning the rig, takes me at least half a day, but I’m not real fast at these things. At any rate, it’s not something I’d want to do on a regular basis.

SV Galatea

getting the fore and aft tune of the rig correct would be t

Thanks Tom, good points there.

As has been said already, most cruising BCC’s mount anchor rollers on the sprit or have other reasons for making ‘reefing’ the sprit back onto the deck impractical.

That said it still is not too bad a job to unship it forward if the largest dimentions at the butt end are kept to the inside measurements of the gammon iron. By taking it forward there is no problem with bow rollers or having to remove the crans iron on the end of the sprit.

We do this by using a halyard and the spinnaker pole as a gin-pole to support the weight of the sprit as it comes come clear of the gammon iron. Still the necessity of disconnecting the whisker stays, bobstay and headstay do not make this a practical method of reducing the boats length just to pay a smaller slip charge.