Gallows and  Shelter on MIST

We had the gallows fabricated in aluminum in 2005 as the first step to building an enclosure. The structure consists of two pipes supporting an aluminum box which runs across the boat.  We covered the box in teak. The main sheet runs up the starboard post, through a turning block and across to two double blocks (picture 1).

The bottoms of the posts are welded to plates which are through bolted to the hull. The posts are cut into half lap sections about 4 inches above the deck and screwed together with machine screws. This allows you to remove the gallows without unbolting the bases (Picture 2, blue arrow).

The structure gets stability from two stays on each side, one running forward and one running aft (Picture 2, red arrow), with a turnbuckle on each side. Originally one of these on each side went to the curved support of a stanchion base but one broke so they all go to through bolted diamond pad eyes.


In the first and second photos you can see the old aft hatch dodger under the bimini which springs forward from the gallows. That dodger is gone now. The forward dodger now connects with a top and two side panels to the forward part of the bimini.

The fourth picture shows the aft part of the bimini and the side curtains. All removable or all can be rolled up.

Rhode’s design with the side companion way offers some challenges but with the help of some talented craftsmen it all came together over three years, in time for our 2008 trip to Newfoundland.

We find it delightful and, perhaps post rationalizing, like its appearance all right. With the side curtains off it isn’t too visible. With the side curtains down it is dry in the rain and in the Cabot Straight we frequently had green water as high as the upper hand rail and winds up to 30 kts on the nose. There was some water in the cockpit so we wore foul weather pants to keep our bottoms dry but no jackets. With the curtains down it is surprisingly warm inside … condensation on the windows can be a problem. I grew up thinking it was manly to take green water in the face but my wife doesn’t care for being wet and cold and I can’t say I miss the water in the face. We wouldn’t go back. It is like having a new room, rain or shine.

You want to tighten the stays tightly; once tight, the gallows is stiff and the load from the sheet isn’t a problem, even jibing. Of course, being a yawl, we tend to lower the main rather than reef when it is really rough but we have had the main up in strong, gusty winds. As you can see in photo 4, the post and stays hit the deck aft of the main winches, between the cleats … not a place where anyone can walk easily ….. if walking there I walk outside of the lifelines.  The gallows are very useful handholds at sea …. surprisingly handy that way. I have thought of mounting a traveler on the forward side of the gallows, or perhaps on top, but haven’t yet…..I’m not convinced the added performance would be worth it on Mist … would either of you have opinions on that? The double blocks are fine for the load in any wind we have experienced.  There is a cleat welded onto the starboard post for the sheet – the coiled sheet is hanging on it in photo 2. It is easy to reach from the helm. The man welding it up wanted the diagonals to be straight (stronger he said) but we said make them pretty and curved, if they break we’ll do them over but so far, no problem.

In picture 1 you can see a canvas strip running across the gallows just below the block. It is a rain deflector and the bimini zips on below it. The block lies on the canvas when the boom is shetted all the way in. Has worked fine for the last five years. Picture 5 below shows the window over the helm for watching the sails, as well as the curtains down.

Something of a ramble but I hope I covered what you wanted to hear. If you want more detailed photos of fittings, please let me know.