Bluenose Canadian Schooner

Main Gaff Rigging

November 27, 2017

Day 605.

Moving on to rigging the gaffs.  I started with the main gaff, which is located on the rear of the ship, aft of the main mast.  Gaffs are similar to booms, except they hang higher up on the masts.

The rigging for the main gaff was a little tricky to figure out.  The drawings in the plans got me most of the way there, but I did end up consulting some additional resources.

Main Throat Halliard



The main throat halliard holds the main gaff up, right at the mast.  It is a fairly complex run.

To start, there is a triple block attached to the main mast’s crane.  I had installed this back when I rigged the main mast.

On the main gaff itself, a double block is seized to two long links.  The links are attached to two eyebolts on the jaws of the gaff.

Rigging line will be run between these two blocks, allowing this end of the gaff to be raised and lowered.  This 0.018″ tan line needs to be really long, as it will run down both sides of the ship, and both sides have additional blocks involved.


The throat halliard starts with two blocks that will support the end of the gaff that rests on the main mast.

One side of the ship, the halliard line comes about halfway down, where it is seized to a double block.  This double block has another line seized to the bottom, which will run down to a block on the main rail.


One end of the halliard line runs to a block.

The double block on the main rail is hooked to an eyebolt.  The line runs between the two blocks a few times, and the free end is tied off to a nearby belaying pin.


The block is laced to another block on the rail, and tied off.

On the other side of the ship, the halliard line runs down to the deck, right next to the main mast.  A single block is hooked to an eyebolt on the deck, and the line passes through the block and gets tied off to a belaying pin on the fife rail.


The other end of the halliard runs to a block on the deck.

Main Peak Halliard



The main peak halliard is tasked with holding the gaff at the correct angle.  It has a lot of pieces.

There are four single blocks attached to bands on the main mast.  These were installed back when main mast was being rigged off-ship.

On the gaff itself, there are three blocks attached with 0.018″ black rigging line.  The lines  have loops end the ends that wrap around the gaff, and the cleats on the gaff keep them from sliding.  The blocks are seized to these lines, and can move freely on the lines.


The peak halliard runs between several blocks on the main mast and gaff.

The peak halliard line is run with 0.018″ tan rigging line.  I found it best to run it through the blocks on the mast and gaff first, then deal with the loose ends after.

The line starts by running up through the lowest block on the mast.  It then runs out to the lowest block on the gaff, and back to the second block on the mast.  This repeats in a zig-zag pattern until all the blocks have been used.

The other loose end should come out of the top block on the mast.

So what about the loose ends?

Both loose ends pass through the eyebolts on the spreaders.  From there, it is basically identical to the main throat halliard.  One side runs to a double block, which is laced up with another double block hooked to the rail.  The other side runs to a block on the deck right next to the mast.  The only difference is that the sides are reversed – the block on the deck is on the opposite side of the mast from the one used by the throat halliard.  The lower rigging for the peak and throat halliards mirror each other.

Parrel Beads

Like the main boom, the main gaff is secured to the mast with parrel beads.


A few parrel beads hold the gaff to the mast.