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post #1 of 10 Old 03-27-2019 Thread Starter
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Question about junk rigs

Hello,
Newbie here, so I'm not sure I'm in the right Thread/Community at all, but "Sailnet" seems to be a good place to start...
I have a question about Junk rigs. Mainly, the sail. I have Van Loan's book "The Chinese Sailing Rig - Design and Build Your Own Junk Rig", and I have also looked at some designs out there. They seem to have the sail as one single piece of cloth. But I also seem to recall (maybe from Annie Hill's book? I don't remember) that an advantage of the Junk is that it's easily fixed if the sail rips, one could just exchange the damaged part/section in question, and a rip would not continue into neighboring sail sections. Which to me means that every "section" is its own piece of cloth, separately lashed to its respective battens. So... which one is it? Has anyone sailed and/or built a junk?
Please note that this is not a question to the "validity", or usability, or usefulness, or sense of a junk, merely a technical request for input.
Thank you. Please let me know if this was not the right forum to post a question like this.
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post #2 of 10 Old 03-27-2019
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Re: Question about junk rigs

I had a Benford 34 years ago with a junk rig - similar to the one in the book - mine was one piece cloth not sections stitched together - but still think it would be an easy fix if there was a problem - biggest issue - getting sails up was a bear - the sails are attached via line with rollers - but still lots of binding going up - not an easy rig to go out for a short daysail - the boat was slow but seaworthy - sold it to a young guy who took it to the Caribbean - always wondered what happen to it - Moondancer was the name and had a red hull - good boat for a passage - just wasn't a good daysailor or weekend boat
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post #3 of 10 Old 03-27-2019
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Re: Question about junk rigs

The junks rigs that I have sailed had a sail that was made as a single cross cut sail from the yard to the boom, with the panels stitched together horizontally like any other cross-cut sail. Most have had full length batten pockets that were stitched onto the face of the sail, and which held the battens. Because these were cross cut sails and because the batten pocket limited the amount that a tear could spread vertically, Anne Hill is correct that a repair would be constrained to a single panel of fabric between the batten pockets. But because the big loads are largely perpendicular to the battens, a small tear could easily spread fore and aft.

I also sailed on a boat that had loops of webbing stitched to the sail instead of actual batten pockets. But that sail was also a cross cut sail with horizontal panels. That sail had decent shape when the battens were on the leeward side of the sail but looked awful when they were on the windward side with pouches and hard-spots between the loops and battens. A torn sail on that boat would probably behave like any other sail.

I will also note since your question is about maintenance. There is a huge amount of maintenance on a junk rig. There is a lot of chafe and a lot of small lines that wear out pretty frequently. While sail shaping is a little less critical on a junk rig (since windward ability is not their string suit) Its hard to find good references for broad seaming the sail so that a reasonable flying shape results. The one boat owner mentioned a prolonged trial and error process before ending up with a sail that set well. In that regard, sail repairs may actually be harder to do on a junk rig.

As cdy noted, junk rigs are a pain in the butt to sail, and do not sail very well except in a narrow range of reaching.

Jeff


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post #4 of 10 Old 03-27-2019
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Re: Question about junk rigs

I'm really curious about why you think ripping a sail is something common enough to be a factor in your rig choice.
I doubt there are many of us who have torn a sail in good condition and in normal sailing situations. It's most often the stitching that goes first, long before the cloth.
I had to let a headsail flog itself to death (I wasn't going out or sending anybody else out the bowsprit in a hurricane, so we just cut the sheets), and the sail took better than 20 minutes to destroy itself in over 100 knots of wind!
I'd suggest a more conventional rig with double or triple stitched seams if you are worried about the sail holding up.

"Any idiot can make a boat go; it takes a sailor to stop one." Spike Africa aboard the schooner Wanderer in Sausalito, Ca. 1964.
“Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.” ― Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows

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post #5 of 10 Old 03-27-2019
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Re: Question about junk rigs

Only advantage of separate panels is that the sail can be made of rice bags gleaned at the local village market Around here most junk sails are made from large blue tarps from Tool Town.
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post #6 of 10 Old 03-27-2019
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Re: Question about junk rigs

Most Junk Rig sail panels are sewn together to make a single sail, either flat or broad seamed for camber. The advantage is not so much easy repair but that, if one or more panel is damaged, the remaining panels continue to work. Because the stress on the sail is more evenly distributed, they tend to be made of lighter material and can be more easily damaged.

But well known solo sailor Roger Taylor made the sails for Mingming II from separate panels. See The Making of Mingming II on youtube - I think it is episode 6.

The Junkrig Association is the best place to find out about junk sails. Traditional and new thinking. They are a nice bunch of people as well.

If you think junk sails can't work, read the tech articles by Arne Kvernland and Slieve Mc Galliard.

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Last edited by Geoff54; 03-27-2019 at 09:16 PM.
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post #7 of 10 Old 03-28-2019 Thread Starter
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Re: Question about junk rigs

Thanks everyone for your inputs. Interesting insights. I wasn't expecting an endorsement of Junks here. It seems that this forum/website is more for cruisers with "big" boats, and I see how such folks would stick to tried-and-true solutions, and for all the right reasons. My thought is more of a small coastal/weekend cruiser, single-handed, and I have heard of the virtues of Junks for such an application, namely, the very quick and easy reefing which can be done from the cockpit without getting up. And, as mentioned, the (alleged) easier fixing of the sail, should rips occur. The chafing seems to be an issue, as is setup and dis/assembly. And I'm not saying it is the best solution, I merely wanted to find out about the specific question, since I had disagreeing infos on this. Again, thanks all for your inputs, glad I came here!
@Geoff54 , I'm calling you out on your quote, I believe it was Plato who said that...
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Re: Question about junk rigs

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Originally Posted by Mattokun View Post
I have heard of the virtues of Junks for such an application, namely, the very quick and easy reefing which can be done from the cockpit without getting up.
One quick point here, having reefed both a junk rig and a conventional Bermuda rig, there is no difference between reefing a Junk rig and a Bermuda rig if the Bermuda rig uses a conventional slab reefing with two-line reefing system, except that there are fewer moving parts, less chafe, less friction, and less line to haul on the Bermuda rig. Both can be run to the cockpit if you so choose and be trimmed while sitting in the cockpit.

Jeff


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post #9 of 10 Old 03-28-2019 Thread Starter
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Re: Question about junk rigs

I kinda heard that too, what the "junk salesmen" keep telling is that a) it's easier to reef a junk because all you do is loose the halyard and it drops into the lazy jacks (may have to add downhauls at the parrels), and b) that it allows for "continuous" reefing, as you can drop as much sail as you deem suitable for the situation at hand.
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Re: Question about junk rigs

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Originally Posted by Mattokun View Post
a) it's easier to reef a junk because all you do is loose the halyard and it drops into the lazy jacks (may have to add downhauls at the parrels),
Bermuda rigs can have lazy jacks as well, and the reef tack line on a Bermuda rig acts as the downhaul bringing down the mainsail to the reef point. That does not work as well on a Junk since the lead from the reef tack line is forward of the mast and so the parrel beads can and do hang up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mattokun View Post
b) that it allows for "continuous" reefing, as you can drop as much sail as you deem suitable for the situation at hand.
Reefing on a junk works the same as a conventional slab reef on Bermuda Rig with multiple reef points. Each reef point has its own tack and clew line on both rigs. In the case of a junk you typically will have a reef point at or just below the batten. It gets pulled all the way down to the boom to reef. It won't set properly when partially reefed. Just like a modern rig, you can have as many reef points as you want but most have more modern junk rigs three sets of reef points and that is the same as on a modern offshore sail.

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