A bigger, inexpensive sail for John Lizardi’s CLC NorthEaster Dory

Lots more performance at modest price – that’s what RSS can bring to many boats using our stock sails.

John Lizardi is very happy he matched his Chesapeake Light Craft (CLC) NorthEaster Dory  with the RSS 89 sq ft sail.

John Lizardi's NorthEaster Dory wanted a bigger lug sail - RSS sails - Simple inexpensive quality sails.

John and I discussed if the 89sq ft Oz sail would be best or the 105sq ft GIS balance lug sail.

Dories can have limited stability, but the NorthEaster has a very rounded bilge and reasonable beam so gains a great deal of stability as she heels.  The conservative route was to go for the 89sq ft balance lug.  This is a sizeable jump in sail area, but will reef to smaller than the reefed original sail.  Dories have quite low wetted surface, so while 89sq ft might not look like a lot on a 17ft boat, it should promote light weather speed substantially.

bigger sail for NorthEaster dory by clc - rss sails

The NorthEaster Dory with the 89sq ft lugsail outline in green/blue.  Notice that there are two deep reefs.  The fully reefed sail is in red, smaller than the original sail when it is reefed.  This means the boat will be suitable for both stronger and lighter winds.  Original sail is in grey.

So … report from John Lizardi

Finally was able to sail my northeaster dory with the 89 sq foot sail….I must say i am really impressed with the performance of the sail and the quality construction and material of the sail itself.

John’s NorthEaster Dory designed by CLC

I was very anxious that the sail would overpower the boat and make it unstable and corky but the opposite was the case…I was was sailing comfortably in 10 to 15 mph winds and never considered having to reef one time though i know if winds picked up to 20 mph i would reef accordingly.

Also i was able to come about very easily. The sail because its centroid is further back than my previous sail lines up perfectly with the centerboard and its slanted angle making pivoting a breeze.

The greatest surprise was to find out that i could sail close hauled with a much greater degree of pointing into the wind…At Newport beach in the marina i did not have to tack once in a area that i normally have to tack several times upwind with my old sail. Of coarse i mainly bought the sail because i wanted to increase my speed and it didn’t disappoint me. I knew i would be sailing fast in higher winds but even when the winds were light i was moving considerably faster than my previous sail of 62 sq ft.

I was sailing along side kids that had lasers and i was sailing on par with them…I could see the look of surprise in some of their faces when i was sailing with them because my boat was comparable to their speed. Anyways if you want this write up as a promotional advertisement you have my permission..

John Lizardi from California.

One of the misconceptions about small boats is that bigger sails require stronger spars.  The reality is that the load is put on the mast and other spars by the stability of the boat.  If a mast is strong enough to lever the boat over to 90 degrees then it is strong enough for most sailing.  This lug sail does require a longer mast, I would increase the cross section of the mast by 6mm or use the same diameters and make it a box section.

The yard and boom need to be 200mm longer than the edge of the sail they attach to

Please see our resources on setting up lug sails for best performance.

John Lizardi in his NorthEaster Dory by CLC - larger, inexpensive lug sail from RSS sails

18 thoughts on “A bigger, inexpensive sail for John Lizardi’s CLC NorthEaster Dory

  1. This looks like a great option for my Selway-Fisher Swampscott dory, which currently has a stayed sloop rig. Like the CLC Northeaster, it has a 162″ mast. How much longer should the mast be to accommodate the Oz sail?

    • Hi Eric,

      The nice swampscott dory by Selway Fisher might be able to use a simpler sail - reallysimplesails.com

      Read this carefully as it doesn’t take account of the total mast length, which will vary from boat to boat.

      The halyard block/sheave for the Oz sail is usually 139 inches (3500mm) above the deck or sheerline, whichever is higher. So you have to add extra length to take the mast down to the step.

      If your existing mast is longer than this just fit the halyard block to the mast at the required height without cutting the mast. Then there is potential to use both setups when you want.

      It will certainly improve the rigging and derigging times substantially and reefing a balance lug is very easy.


  2. Michael,

    I’d like to use the 89 sqft Oz sail on a Northeaster Dory I’m planning to build. I’m thinking about putting in a retractable centerboard as well instead of a fixed daggerboard for better control. Is the original daggerboard position ideally suited for the bigger sail? What centerboard dimensions are ideal for the 89 sqft Oz sail? Do you know of a good centerboard plan?

    • Hi Steve,

      the general rule of thumb I use is to put the middle of the leading edge of the part of the centreboard under the boat in the same position. We have seen the Northeaster Dory works well with the 89sq ft Oz sail – so different centreboard needs to replicate the existing centreboard position. As in the multiple centreboard positions in the image below.


    • Hi again Steve,

      The standard centreboard worked fine on John Lizardi’s Northeaster. If you want to change it, about the minimum size I ever recommend is for an area under the hull of around 2ft9″ and a width around 10 inches. This is a common size for boats from 8 to 16ft. Generally smaller boats need bigger boards relative to sail area because they are slower and the board will develop lift proportional to the square of the speed. So a 8ft boat at 3 knots will develop half the force of a 16ft boat going a bit over 4 knots.

      Not sure if you mean the pivot arrangement and all or the cross section shape. If after a nice cross sectional shape (applied to a daggerboard) the OzRacer one is available with hte plans for $20.

      Best wishes

  3. Thanks Michael. I’ll stick with the standard daggerboard for now. I’m going to go with a larger than standard sail but haven’t finalized my decision.

  4. […] 1/ Continue the steady growth in sales by documenting when the sails are successfully fitted to other boats – eg the CLC North Easter Dory. […]

  5. Hi, I’d like to know if you’d ever recommend the 105 sq ft sail for a North Easter Dory. Also where can I find the dimensions of the sails for spar planning purposes? I haven’t purchased the kit so I’m trying to determine if getting their sail parts package is worthwhile.

    • Hi Cornelius,

      The 89sq ft sail is quite a big upgrade in area. Unless you like fast and crazy boats I would stick with 89.

      If you look at the page for that sail the spar advice is there.

      Hope that helps


    • Thanks for the reply! Are the reef sizes available for these two sails (105&89sqft)? I’m sure I like fast boats… What is the down side of reefing often?

      • Hi Cornelius,

        The standard reefing points in the sail give you options. Which is nice.

        The tradition of sailing workboats was generally they had very large sail areas for light winds (they still had to make money) but reefs for reducing sail in moderate and stronger conditions.

        This meant that they sailed reefed a lot of the time.

        There is no disadvantage. But it does mean there is more sail available when the conditions are light and you need to get somewhere.

        Best wishes

  6. Cornelius Griggs says:

    Hi, I saw in a comment on another post that you would check on the possibility of tanbark sails. How can I find out how to order these sails?

  7. […] One example is the article on Oz 89sq ft sail on John Lizardi’s North Easter sailing dory. […]

Leave a Reply