Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Annapolis, Md
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To weigh in on the fractional rig issue, if you look at early 20th century cruising boats right up until the time of the post WW II CCA/RORC racing rule changes, they were pretty much either double headsail sloops, ketches or cutters with comparatively large staysails or else all fractionally rigged. It was only with changes in the racing rules that masthead rigs became the norm.
These days, the ease of handling, the smaller sail inventory, and the ability to quickly change gears with changing conditions has pushed much of the design world towards fractional rigs. If you look at companies as diverse as Catalina, Beneteau, Morris, Hylas, or Hallberg Rassey, their newest models are all fractionally rigged. While fractional rigs are bit more expensive to build, their advantages are being seen as a major draw for buyers.
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Curmudgeon at Large- and rhinestone in the rough, sailing my Farr 11.6 on the Chesapeake Bay