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  Topic Review (Newest First)
01-29-2010 09:08 PM
Jaywalker Boatpoker, thanks. You have a nice website, BTW - I can learn a lot from your articles.

Barry, I'd been unable to find any acceptable fractional rigs myself; thus, my question searching for suggestions. Apparently, there aren't very many in North America, so if I want a boat it'll likely be a masthead sloop. It's not a tragedy, but I'd have regretted not asking.
01-29-2010 04:03 PM
BarryL Hello,

I believe that the J-34 comes with volvo power and has a masthead rig. There were only about 35 J-35C's make, and the standard keel is 6.5', which is not so great for the gulf. Also, the cockpit looks real uncomfortable.

I think a Tartan 37 or 34 would be a good choice. Shoal draft, fractional rig, excellent build quality and reputation.

If you want a much newer boat, look at Hunter. You can get a 37.5, which has an excellent reputation. That would be from the mid 90's.

You should also think about what features you want in a boat. For example, do you want a swim platform, and walk through transom? Do you want propane in the galley for cooking? Do you want a centerboard for better windward performance?

Lastly, IMHO you should think long and hard about your requirement for a fractional rig. I read Jeff's post and I respect his opinion. However, I really don't think that a large headsail on a medium sized (35') boat is that difficult to deal with. With modern self tailing winches and roller furling gear, it just isn't that hard to tack a genoa. I have a 140 genoa on my O'day 35, and two speed winches and it is not hard to tack the boat or trim the headsail when going upwind. Everything is a trade off, and boats with small headsails typically have larger mains. So that makes the main more difficult to raise and to lower (and to trim going upwind). You don't get something for free.

If you are willing to consider a mast head rig there are some great boats like Sabre (34 and 36) and CS. And don't discount the Catalina, Beneteau, Jeanneau, etc. if you plan on spending time along the coast. That is what those boats were designed for.

Good luck,
01-29-2010 01:38 PM
boatpoker Beware of J-boats, Your statement of "likely pretty beat up" is a good one.
J's have balsa cored bottoms that can cost more to repair than the price you pay for the boat. Get a really, really good surveyor if you decide to look at one of these.
01-29-2010 01:29 PM
Jaywalker Thanks, COOL, that's a good, solid suggestion. I hadn't considered J-Boats, believing them to exclusively race boats, and likely pretty beat up in my budget range, but that model looks pretty good. Also, after opening my mind to J, the J-34c and J-35c are more cruiser-oriented, and some might well be in range of my budget. Thanks.

Jeff, I'd say my desire to buy a boat with a fractional rig stems from your argument that I've read several times in my research. I suppose my "it's easier to handle" is my simple take-away from your more reasoned argument. I still think fractionals are better looking, too.

blt2ski, I've looked at Beneteau First models and they might work, except for the Volvo engines. I've read enough hate threads not to want one of those engines.

Any other models I've overlooked?
01-29-2010 11:53 AM
COOL I think a J32 would meet your requirements.
01-29-2010 11:42 AM
Jeff_H The big advantage of a fractional rig is the ease in shifting gears in changeable conditions and one thing about sailing in the Gulf of Mexico, is how rapidly changeable the conditions really are. When I lived there the running gag was "If you don't like the conditions wait a minute".

Here is a piece that I wrote for some other purpose that talks about the advantages of a fraction vs mast head rig.

The terms Masthead or Fractional both derive from the point at which the forestay hits the mast. On a masthead rig the forestay hits the mast at the masthead (top of the mast). Until recently masthead rigs were far and away the more common of the two rigs. It came about as a rule beating method for racing sailboats. Under the CCA and IOR racing rating rules, jib size was under penalized. This promoted small mainsails and big jibs.

On a fractional rig, the forestay hits the mast somewhere below the masthead (or a fraction of the overall height of the mast. It is not unusual to see fractional rigs referred to as a 2/3 (Folkboats), 3/4 (J-24) or 7/8th’s (Triton) rig. Fractional rigs were the preferred tradtional rig in the absense of a racing rule that artifically promotes a masthead rig and is the preferred rig for performance oriented boats and for small sloop-rigged offshore cruisers.

While each rig has it advantages and disadvantages, there are some big advantages to a fractional rig for cruising and racing. For cruising you are dealing with smaller and easier to handle headsails Not only are the headsails smaller because of the shorter headstay length and foot length but, because the headsails represent a smaller percentage of the overall sail area, you may not need to have overlapping jibs. The majority of the sail area is made up in the mainsail.

Fractional rigs often are often purposely designed with flexible masts and, when this is combined with a backstay adjuster, it permits quick, on the fly, depowering of both sails. >>

Fractional rigs are easier to adjust to changing and heavy conditions than masthead rigs. On a fractional rig, shifting gears by depowering (rather than reefing or changing sails) is quicker and since fractional rig headsails represent a smaller percentage of the overall sail area, they generally work across a much wider wind range. As a result fractional rigs generally require fewer headsail changes. While it is true that roller furling extends the range of a larger headsail some, sails can only be roller furled 10-15% before their shape becomes so poor that they are causing more heeling than drive. Mainsails are easier to reef in a manner that results in an efficiently shaped sail for heavier conditions.

On a fractional rig, building conditions are generally dealt with by increasing backstay tension and so flattening both sails at one. By controlling mast bend and headstay sag, you can often avoid reefing as the winds build. In similar conditions a Masthead rig will often require a sail change or heel a lot more.

Masthead rigs typically have larger running sails (spinnakers) and so can typically point closer to dead down wind under spinnakers but under the modern racing rules it is becoming more common to see fractional rigs with masthead chutes. Fractional rigs are generally much faster a deep reaching angles and down wind without spinnakers.

Masthead rigs, within a narrow wind range of thier headsails are a little more forgiving. Because Fractional drigs permit such a large range of easy adjustment they can be trimmed through a range of adjustments that results in a bigger range of speed both slower or faster than a masthead rig of similar sail area. The limited adjustment of a masthead rig means that you more or less live with what you have. Therefore a masthead rig neither has the opportunity for going really faster and with less heel, or going much slower either.

Personally, beyond the difficulty in shifting gears, my biggest problem with masthead rigs is that you really need to carry a larger number of headsails and make more frequent headsail changes. This is partially a function of the primary responsibility of the jib for drive. If you take a Fractional Rig 100% jib on a 28-footer it might be 150 s.f. and its 150% ffice:smarttags" />lace w:st="on">Genoalace> would be 337 S.F. to 375 s.f. That is a really big sail to manhandle and then when you increase a sail by 125 S.F. vs. only 75 s.f. there is a much smaller wind range that the bigger sail can be carried in so you might end up also carrying a number 2 lace w:st="on">Genoalace> as well as a working jib and the 150% #1 Genoa.

For these reasons, today virtually all European manufacturers have gone to fractional rigs for their newest cruising designs and the larger American boat builders (Hunter and Catalina) either have shifted or are in the process od shifting to fractional rigs for the newer offerings.

I personally strongly prefer fractional rigs for coastal sailing, and to a lesser extent for offshore cruising, because the are so much easier to tack and jibe, you are not carrying around the big winches and as many large sails and not subjecting the boat to the much higher loads of a masthead rig.

01-29-2010 10:08 AM
blt2ski Jay,

Depending upon you budget, and "how" new you go, may of the newest Jeanneau's for example, while "fractional" are in the 7/8-15/16 fractional, I would place these as more masthead in orientation as the jib is still the larger sail. BUT< these boats Jib/genoa's by the way they are set up, is 120-130 in size. Easily handable by two folks. They also have in mast roller furling if that is your bag too. The SO/SF35 or 37 fall into this catagory. As would some of the next generation older SO 36.x, 34.x and 38 or 39 dot x's IIRC.

Also, I use a 135 when it is just the two of us on my 30' MH rig, as the 155 is just too big to tack, especially since I have a mini forestay that hangs up even the 135 upon occasion. The 155 is a PITA with 2, unless someone is forward to bring that sail around.

BUT, I will give you the reasons for wanting a fractional rig, as I am there with you. BUT, there are still some MH's that may be worth looking at.

01-29-2010 09:44 AM
Jaywalker BarryL, True, the size difference between the two extremes is pretty broad. Call it 34 - 36 as my preference, but if there's anything slightly out of that size range that might work, I'm game to check it out.

As to why a fractional rig, there are several reasons. First, for any given size boat the fractional jib should be easier to handle. Second, I like the larger mainsail. Third, I like the looks of the fractional rig better.

Mostly there will be two of us, with the boat in a marina slip when we aren't on it. I expect our overnights will be spent gunkholing.

boatpoker, Thanks for the link and idea - I hadn't considered CS. Most of them listed in YW don't show their rigs, but boatdata has them as masthead sloops - are there some rigged as fractionals?
01-29-2010 08:54 AM
Too many possibilities


Your requirements are pretty broad.

Why do you require a fractional rigged boat? The headsail of a 30' masthead rig will probably be much smaller than the headsail of a fractionally rigged 38' boat. Even for two similarly sized boats, you may have a factionally rigged boat with a larger headsail than a masthead boat.

IMHO, 30' to 38' is a HUGE size range. Typically, a 38' boat is almost TWICE as big as a 30' boat (use displacement instead of length because the width increases as the length increases).

How many people will be on board? How long will you / they be aboard? Do you plan on staying in marinas or out 'on the hook' by yourself?

With your budget I can't really think of too many boats you could NOT buy. You could get anything from an older premium boat (Morris, Sabre, etc.) to a brand new (or close to it) Hunter 31.

If you narrow down your requirements it will be a lot easier to make some suggestions.

Good luck,
01-28-2010 09:26 PM
boatpoker Try a CS30, CS33 or a CS35 like this one 1985 CS Traditional Sail Boat For Sale -
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