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What is the rig on Blue Gold (formerly White Gull)?

Discussion in 'General Sailing Discussion' started by Timbo59, Oct 28, 2012.

  1. Timbo59

    Timbo59 New Member

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    I like perusing yacht sites selling boats to get an idea of something I can buy for my family in the near future, and I usually end off each session by glancing at the mega yachts for sale to see how the other half lives! I recently saw a 160' yacht by name of Blue Gold that had a confusing rig I've never seen before - at least on modern boats. A list of large yachts currently on the internet has her listed as a 'flybridge staysail auxiliary ketch'. What is this? I mean, I've never seen a ketch where the foremast didn't have a boom/mainsail configuration. And why would you choose this over a traditional ketch rig? I can see where you can probably get more square footage of sail up between the two masts, but surely this is only an advantage when you're sailing across the wind?

    http://www.4yacht.com/en/component/content/article/237-yachts-for-sale-benetti.html
  2. Fishtigua

    Fishtigua Senior Member

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    White Gull is an old favourite of mine since she was launched in the early '80s. When Laurent Giles designed her, hydraulic sail handling was not as advanced as it is today, moved forward by Perini Navi yachts.

    As you can see, there is no large boom swinging over the bridge and it gives a better view from there. Many older large yachts used staysail rigs for ease of handling with less crew.

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  3. Timbo59

    Timbo59 New Member

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    Hi again,
    Okay, I'm still a bit confused. The two other yachts you showed both had booms on the main mast, so they're essentially traditional staysail ketches. So what variant would you call Blue Gold without the boom, or is she simply just a yacht outside the box where convention is concerned? As I mentioned, I've never seen a ketch before that didn't have a boom on the foremast.

    Reflecting your own interest in Blue Gold (White Gull) I kind of feel sorry for the boat. She seems an interesting yacht for her time and probably helped lay the groundwork, I would guess, for the bigger yachts that came along after her from the likes of Perini Navi, but these days her lines and layout look a bit creaky and she's had a patchy history in recent years, culminating in her coming adrift from her moorings during a hurricane in the Sth. Pacific a couple of years ago and suffering some hull damage as a result. Over the last couple of years her asking price has been dropping quicker than shares in Radioshack, starting at around 19 million and incrementing down and down until last I saw she was going for just under 4 million. According to the literature she's in desperate need of a major refit (go figure) from the bottom up, and I hope whoever eventually buys her has the grease and the motivation to give the yacht the TLC she so obviously needs.

    Curiously, given your own point about more modern sailing rigs and furling systems, I wonder if a new owner refitting the boat would consider installing a new foremast/boom configuration in line with more modern designs?
  4. K1W1

    K1W1 Senior Member

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    Hi,

    You have to ask yourself that given the age and pedigree of this old girl if it is really worth spending much on it.

    I knew a few of the crew on it when it was a couple of years old, it was beset with problems back then so can't imagine much has been changed that would have improved it overall very much.
  5. Timbo59

    Timbo59 New Member

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    Oh really? Yeah, I've picked up bits and pieces that she was a pain to deal with sail-wise and needed quite a few hands on deck as a result, but of course given her age that may well have been before more modern furling systems came along so maybe she's easier to deal with on that score now. As you say though, given her age and all, the unusual rig that would cost a great deal to reconfigure, plus the checkered history, added together it might go some way to explaining why she's had no buyers and why the price has dropped so dramatically.

    I'd still be interested to get an answer on her peculiar rig, because as I mentioned, I've never seen it in use before. It was actually while I was clicking around on the net, trying to find out about the rig, that I started picking up details here and there on Blue Gold's background - but nothing about her sail setup! If you look at the bottom picture of Fishtigua's set, now that makes sense to me - the sail setup is almost identical to Blue Gold's, except that the orientation of the two central sails is mirrored, with a main in place on a foremast boom. I'm no expert on the matter, but to me that gives the same area of sail, with what I would think are upwind/downwind advantages. Am I wrong?
  6. AMG

    AMG YF Moderator

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    Without a boom, White Gull has more sail area as you can see on this old picture;

    Attached Files:

  7. K1W1

    K1W1 Senior Member

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    Hi,

    I was looking for an old picture of her earlier today.

    I am not sure she has always been rigged as a ketch, I have a photo or two of her somewhere at home but I am not there at the moment to look and see if I am correct.
  8. davidwb

    davidwb Senior Member

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    A Dutch businessman owned her for quite some years, I think she is still his and still for sale? Has been for sale for ages, he could't get rid of the thing.
    (Years ago he was a celebrated and popular person in Holland, now in trouble with the law, for many complicated shady financial dealings....)
  9. Timbo59

    Timbo59 New Member

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    @AMG. I saw that myself, but I figured that it's only going to come into its own in a fairly narrow corridor, and that the sail in question would throw up a pretty hefty and disruptive wind shadow on the genoa, given their near identical shapes, and that overall the more conventional approach with a boom would offer greater flexibility over a wider range of wind direction. The experts on here would know more on the matter than I do. Have to admit though, she does look nice in that shot - first picture I've seen of the boat with the all white hull from her earlier days. Suits the boat better I think.

    I'll ask it one final time though - is there an actual name for this type of boom-less configuration on the main mast?

    @K1w1. It's funny you should say that. At one point I thought I'd seen pictures of the yacht set up as a schooner, but when I tried finding the pictures again I figured I must have confused it with another vessel.

    @Davidwb. Last report she was based in Vanuatu and still for sale - the way the price is going down they'll probably be offering her for free soon, plus a set of steak knives! Here's the article from a year ago regarding the damage she suffered in the cyclone -

    Vt1 billion damage | Vanuatu Daily Post
  10. K1W1

    K1W1 Senior Member

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    Hi,

    In 1997 I was in the drydock at Wilton Feyjnord (Not 100% on the spelling) and she was at a yard directly opposite us with her stern the most visible.

    It was the first time I had seen it in blue. I had previously seen it in 1985/86.
  11. AMG

    AMG YF Moderator

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    It is called a staysail schooner and the main mast is aft. However, judging from the pictures, this boat have got the fore mast higher than the aft at some point, perhaps an hull extension too. But in general it is still a staysail schooner rig.
  12. Timbo59

    Timbo59 New Member

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    @AMG. Okay, maybe this is where the confusion is coming in, because as I said earlier, I thought I'd seen pictures of the boat in what looked like a schooner setup. Would explain why I haven't been able to get anywhere researching the rig on the net, because since this came up, I've been keying in searches under 'ketch' as per her listing here -

    List of large sailing yachts - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Have to go and look under 'schooner' now to see if I can now find a matching rig on another boat just to satisfy my curiosity. Thanks for the clarification.

    @K1w1. That might have been when the Dutch owner had her stern extended to accommodate a 6 meter RIB he wanted to keep on the yacht.
  13. Mark029

    Mark029 New Member

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    Hi I worked on White Gull in 1989 to 91 she was a staysail schooner.
    I worked on her with two Kiwis deck crew, french chef, dutch steward and Kiwi steward and Larry was Master. Owner was a dutch business man. I have photos of her world trip from Lizard Island in the Great Barrier Reef, Columbo harbour Sri Lankia.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Apr 8, 2015
  14. weto

    weto Senior Member

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    Thanks for sharing Mark and please post any other photos you may have as she's a very interesting yacht to me .
  15. Lizec

    Lizec New Member

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    blue gold at hammo.jpg under way 1.jpg under way 2.jpg working on blue gold.jpg Hi guys,

    I worked on Blue Gold for the first half of 2001, she was in Australia so the owner had a place to stay during the Sydney Olympics in 2000. I jumped on at Hamilton Island after the owner did a tour of the Whitsunday's. After that we only did a bit of care and maintenance. We eventually ended up in Cairns where I jumped off. I never met the owner in that time or did a Charter. As stated above the owner was Dutch, he owned a yard where he built submarines for various developing navies around the would, among other things. He also had a 'nice' boat in at Hong Kong that never really went anywhere. Blue Gold was his ocean going vessel and was pretty solid but as others have said, run down and dated. As far as I know the rigging hasn't significantly changed apart from the back stays which were moved when 1.5m were added to her length. This was, as correctly started above, to fit a larger tender on the back deck however even though a RIB was more recently used, the original plan was to fit a Riva Aquarama. It has had a few issues, one time the huge swinging keel hit the bottom and bent the hydraulic ram that lifts it - major surgery to every level was needed to remove it.

    Despite all this, when all of those sails were up and you were quietly slipping past the Great Barrier Reef - it was a sight...

    I guess you've read the specs, Aluminium superstructure on steel hull, twin screw, adjustable pitch props. Even had the big TV behind a slide away painting in the master, pretty flash for the day since it wasn't a flat screen TV.

    I have a few photos.
  16. discokachina

    discokachina Senior Member

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    Mark029 and Lizec how did she sail and handle? What kind of speed could she do under sail? Were there any problems either under sail or power as some people have mentioned? Any more pics you can post?
  17. Ian Grimwood

    Ian Grimwood New Member

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    Hey,

    That's me in image 0012.

    I was the other Aussie deckhand on the boat.
  18. Chriss

    Chriss New Member

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    I have been on Blue Gold in Vanuatu 2010... It was a bit rundown but super nice boat. IMG_2029.JPG . But nice boat! 2 Girls were working on there and we managed to get on board and got a tour. Took some nice interior shots too.
  19. Ian Grimwood

    Ian Grimwood New Member

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    What a shame, all that hard work.
  20. opdeopdeopde

    opdeopdeopde New Member

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    I worked on that boat as well, sailed very nice, surly a sight to behold. especially those day's..