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  #1  
Old 03-06-2008
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Hoyt Balanced Rig

Anyone here have any experience with Garry Hoyt's latest invention, The Hoyt Balanced Rig, or HBR as he calls it?

At the beginning of last season, I observed Garry testing what first appeared to be a very strange looking contraption, and eventually learned it to be the rig prototype. He slipped the boat at the very beginning of my dock at NEB in Portsmouth, RI, so I walked by it almost daily.

Since the prototype hull had no engine, one day my yacht broker and I even helped him in after one of his test sails - when the wind turned to dead calm. From this, I had a chance to talk with him and witness the rig up close, but have yet to go out in it.

As most know, Garry Hoyt's sailing entrepreneurial experiences include designs for Freedom Yachts and Alerion Express. His innovations also include: single line reefing, carbon fiber spars, Hoyt jib boom and now the HBR.

In September of 2007, his ownership of Alerion was transferred to Pearson Composites - as reported HERE. His new company is promoting his popular jib boom and this unorthodox, strange looking rig. Here's a VIDEO showing him sailing the prototype just over 2 months ago at my marina. My old boat has been sold and is on the hard there right now - awaiting warmer weather for the sea trial with her new owner.

My interest in this rig is mainly out of curiosity, since I have been researching which boat to buy as a day-sailer - until another cruising boat is found by my wife and I. I have no financial connection with this at all and also have limited experience with sailing as well - just trying to learn from others.

What does everyone think about the future success, or failure, of this new rig?
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Last edited by TrueBlue; 03-06-2008 at 12:06 PM.
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Old 03-06-2008
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Fascinating. It seems like an innovative variation on the lateen and standing lug rigs.
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Old 03-06-2008
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Well, I don't know how well it'd work for a cruising boat, given that the spar across the top doesn't move up or down from what I can see. It also seems to add a fair bit of weight aloft compared to a standard bermudan rig and requires a free-standing mast. I'm wondering how well this thing would reef as well.

I can definitely see it having benefits, especially running downwind. Not so sure how well it'd perform close-hauled.
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Old 03-06-2008
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This is weird..I have mixed feelings. But generally I like it..However its going to be tough for him to take off with this in an idustry that is so driven by tarditonal values... who will laugh at it...who will like it??

In one hand I like the invation and the fact it may be simple to operate, and with a nice modern hull design it may become aesthetically nice.....

on the other hand, how reasonable will it be with a latger scale rig? On a larger boat, sailing in stronger winds, where the stiffness of the mast will have to be higher, since there are no shrouds? Is mast tech and materials up to par for such an application?? I don't think it is yet...what thickness and weight would it be??

The problem I see is that no matter how nice it works or not, it will not go because we're all biased by the triangle.
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Old 03-06-2008
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Very interesting. I wonder if it does perform as he says? If so, it could have considerable advantages.

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Old 03-06-2008
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I see this as anotherfine example of, shall he be so immodest as to call it, 'Hoyt Hype'. It seemed to me that the video is full of mistatements and seemingly strange nonsequitor extrapolations.

It might work reasonably well on a small scale, but like many historic and regional small craft rigs used through out the world, there are a lot of issues that get extremely difficult to address on a larger scale, such as reefing and twist.

At the heart of it, this is a high tech version of a lug rig. If it is going to work on a larger scale, there needs to be way to control the relative angle of attack at the top of the sail independent of the bottom of the sail at a wide range of windspeeds. Controlling the head independent of the foot means that you not only have a freestanding mast but one that is exposed to a point loading right at the masthead equal to nearly half the force on the sail, plus an enormous amount of torsion.

Reefing brings up a range of issues, none the least of which is the geometry problem between the mast sleeve and the forestay but perhaps more significntly in order to work on a larger scale, the rig would need to have similar torsion resistance when reefed.

The mast pocket is a minor detail, but anyone who ever sailed on one of Hoyt's Freedoms with the wrap around sail can tell you how violently the leeward side of the mast pocket flapped in any kind of stiff breeze.

I guess the way I look at this, I am truely in favor of anyone who can produce an innovation that improves the sport, and some of Hoyt's ideas have been pretty clever, but like many of his ideas this one strikes me as being half baked and oversold.
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Old 03-06-2008
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It is certainly interesting. With the rig off-set to one side of the mast, I wonder if he could achieve the same performance on both tacks?? In the video it looked like the sail was pressed against the mast while on Port tack. I can't help but think that has to have some affect on the airflow. Any thoughts?
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Old 03-06-2008
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For some reason it makes me think of the mega yaght 'Maltese Falcon" With it's square rig. The old square rigs were a pig to windward for a number of reasons but flat sails of modern sail cloth and a tight luff seems to solve a lot of that. It seems to be merely evolutionary refinement of an unbalanced square sail. You never know what kind of a seed will grow into a tree.

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Old 03-06-2008
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It is interesting to note that, of all the times I've seen GH taking his prototype out for test sailing - just beyond the marina's entrance, the winds have been calm. He also seemed to express some disapointment that during that December day of video shooting, winds were very light. Perhaps it was planned that way?

My reaction when first inspecting this rig and watching the video, was how off-balanced the boom is from the boat's centerline. This must have some impact on weight distribution, especially higher up, affecting center of balance.

As Jeff noted, how does this boat behave in moderate to high winds, even when reefed? I would expect some serious heeling issues.
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Old 03-06-2008
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Even if it worked as well as he would like to believe it could, there is still the non-traditional "look" of it. In this respect alone, I think it would only be a niche market at best.

What I do like about it though, is that Hoyt continues to try to draw outside the lines. And I think it's good that someone does.
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