Best rig for singlehandling? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 13 Old 06-23-2004 Thread Starter
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Best rig for singlehandling?

Just curious what the conventional wisdom is regarding the best rig for a singlehanded boat in the 32-34'' range?

Seems to me that on one hand a marconi is simple but there is the large sail area to contend with. On the other hand a Ketch/Yawl breaks the sail area down into multiple smaller sails but that means more sails, rigging, hardware, etc. to work/maintain. Cutter rigs seem to be a compromise but means more sails to deal with on the foredeck.

Note my ''conclusions'' above are not based on experience. I only have experience with a marconi rig so I could be totally off base.

Thus my posing the question to those with actual experience with other rigs.
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post #2 of 13 Old 06-23-2004
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Best rig for singlehandling?

I am not sure that there is ''conventional wisdom'' on that topic as the answer seems to be evolving. As hardware and boat design has evolved, so has the ''conventional wisdom''. 75 years ago the answer would have been a gaff ketch. 50 years ago the answer would have been a Marconi ketch. 25 years ago the answer would have been a Marconi cutter. These days the most advanced thinking leans towards fractionally rigged, Marconi sloops with assymetrical spinackers. Of course the answer also depends on where you plan to single-hand. If you are going offshore the fractional rig becomes even more compelling in a boat this size.

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post #3 of 13 Old 06-23-2004
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Best rig for singlehandling?

If "best rig for singlehanded" means simplest or easiest to use, my vote would have to be for the catboat - one sail, one set of sheets, simplicity itself.
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post #4 of 13 Old 06-24-2004
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Best rig for singlehandling?

Remember this is a 31 to 35 footer. In that size range a large cat rig does not make an especially good single-hander.

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post #5 of 13 Old 06-24-2004
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Best rig for singlehandling?

I have sailed only a small amount on a Junk Rig (Tom Colvin Gazelle) but IMO one of their few virtues is ease of sail handling. Regards, George
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post #6 of 13 Old 06-24-2004
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Best rig for singlehandling?

I have spent quite a bit of time wrestling with junk rigs and the one thing that they don''t offer in changing conditions is ease of sail handling.

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post #7 of 13 Old 06-24-2004
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Best rig for singlehandling?

Jeff
Was there a particular difficulty in handling the Junk Rig or did you find it just generally onery? Raising and lowering/reefing sails on the boat I was on seemed particulary easy but then it wasn''t blowing very hard either.
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post #8 of 13 Old 06-25-2004
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Best rig for singlehandling?

The problem with the junk style lug rig is twist. The upper part of the sail wants to twist off to leeward in a strong breeze. There is is very little to control that twist except the halyard and mainsheet and they are ineffectual. At the wind builds the sails rather quickly power up and the center of effort moves aft. This means a rapid build up in weather helm and heeling in the gusts on anything above a deep broad reach. On a deep broad reach or a run, this means excitation rolling. This means reefing frequently. While the reefing system can be as easy as a one line or two line system, you are doing it often.

To get around it, many junk rigged boats are undercanvassed and so sacrifice the lower end of the performance range for less of a problem in the higher end of a moderate breeze.

The absense of tools to control sail shape does not really make a boat easier to single-hand. The ability to alter sail shape quickly and easily as conditions change without going through a sail area reduction is much more important to a single-hander and that (more than having fewer lines to adjust)is what makes for a more managable single handling rig.

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post #9 of 13 Old 06-25-2004
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Best rig for singlehandling?

Jeff

That being said we have in Nova Scotia a club member who built his own two masted junk rigged (gaff rigged?) boat.

He has single handed to carribean twice now and I have watched him sail right up to his mooring in a narrow channel with current. He can drop those two sails while underway very quickly and then catch his mooring.

There must be something to say about this rig....

Oh ... and the first trip was not really solo. He had his dog with him.

Respectfully

Mike
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post #10 of 13 Old 06-25-2004
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Best rig for singlehandling?

A couple quick points here and I mean you or your fellow club member no disrespect:

-Just for the record, a Junk rig is a type of a standing lug rig (vs a dipping lug) and is not a gaff rig. Having sailed both lug and gaffs, gaff rigs are actually easier to single-hand but not by much.

-It sounds like your acquaintance is a good sailor who knows his boat. That said, anecdotal evidence that an aquaintance has single-handed a junk to the Carribean and back does not make a junk the easiest rig to single-hand. Alain Gerbalt single-handed a 20 year old, wooden, racing, gaff riiged cutter across the Atlantic with blown out cotton sails and leaking planking and not enough food or water, but that does not make that an ideal singlehanding set up either. By the same token, observing that my boat was single-handed into the States from South Africa, and that I routinely beat up our narrow channel, and single-hand her into and out of her slip without using the engine, in and of itself does not prove that a fractionally rigged sloop is the best single-handing rig either.

IMHO of all of the rigs that I have sailed on (lanteen, Bermuda, gaff, lug, and gunter, catboat, cutters, sloops, ketches, yawls and schooners) a fractionally rigged, Bermuda sloop with non-overlapping headsails and proper hardware is the easiest rig to singlehand especially in the size boat that the original poster was asking about.

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Jeff
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