Repair and Maintenance of a Drascombe Lugger

Removing & Replacing the Galvanised Sheet Horse
(page 1 of 3)

This page outlines the various types of sheet horse arrangement used on the Lugger. On Sospiri the galvanised steel pole used for the sheet horse was in poor condition. Most of the galvanising had worn off and the steel was rusting badly. It was decided to remove the pole and replace it with one made out of stainless steel. The options, risks and costs for replacement are discussed and then the method of removal and replacement is described.


So what is a sheet horse?
The evolution of the Lugger sheet horse
Options for Replacing or Repairing Sospiri's galvanised sheet horse
So which option was chosen for Sospiri's galvanised sheet horse?
Step 1 Removal of the old Sheet Horse
Step by Step Instructions
Obtaining a replacement pole
What should the replacement pole be made out of?
Preparing the replacement pole
Fitting the replacement pole

So what is a sheet horse?

The sheet horse on the Drascombe Lugger is the equivalent of a mainsheet track on other sailing craft. Where fitted on conventional yachts it consists of a track with a traveller which, with the aid of a system of blocks and cleats, can change the position of the mainsheet. This will, for example, allow the mainsail to be sheeted in tightly enabling better sailing performance when going to windward.

In comparison with a traveller, the sheet horse on the Lugger is very unsophisticated. It is positioned towards the aft end of the boat immediately in front of the mizzen mast and is fixed across the boat. The mainsheet block is attached to the horse and can run freely across it allowing some control over the shape of the mainsail.

The evolution of the Lugger sheet horse

On early Lugger's the horse consisted of a rope positioned across the boat with the mainsheet attached my means of a block. On later boats the rope horse was replaced with wire. This in turn was replaced by a horizontal galvanised tube or pole with the mainsheet attached by means of a block shackled to a stainless ring sliding along the tube from side to side. This pole arrangement was latterly supplemented with blocks on the stern quarters of the boat to give more control and to keep the mainsheet block more to the centre of the boat.

Overall these arrangements are crude but certainly in line with the boat's design heritage taken from traditional UK East Coast working craft.

The latest Lugger's made by Churchouse Boats now sport an aluminium mainsheet track with lines to control the position of the mainsheet block. Current Honnor Marine Luggers sport a splendid curved bronze pole instead of the straight galvanised iron pole.

Options for Replacing or Repairing Sospiri's galvanised sheet horse

As noted above, the galvanising had worn off the pole and it was rusting badly. This is shown in the photograph below which also shows details of how the pole is secured on either side of the aft deck moulding.

Photo and sketch showing sheet horse attachment on Mk 2 Lugger Photograph and sketch showing the arrangement of the Sheet Horse pole on a Mk 2 Lugger

The ends of the pole are secured in two tight fitting holes made in two GRP mouldings either side of the deck. The pole must have been inserted into these holes before the deck was attached and secured to the hull moulding. Note that the ends of the pole do not abut directly against the hull moulding. The pole is held in position by two self tapping screws which pass through the top of the GRP and into corresponding holes on the pole.

(Click picture for larger view)

There are several options for dealing with a rusted pole:

So which option was chosen for Sospiri's galvanised sheet horse?

It was decided to go for option 2, removal and replacement of the pole either with bronze or with stainless steel.


[Forward to page 2, Extracting the old pole]