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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
just a curious question. in the world of today, the water is inundated with the ubiquitous bermuda sail. bermuda sloops, yawls, ketches, even schooners. i was wondering if there are any cruisers on this site using other types of sails?

i am sure there must be a gaff rigger or two here but, what about junk sails or lug rigs? i think i saw a thread on another site a while back where a guy built a lug rigged cruiser. i am just curious. 'traditional' sails have become quite popular with a lot of smaller daysailers but, i don't see much about their use on cruisers. i am sure a lot of this has to do with the fact that most cruisers are sailing mass produced boats but, there are some people that convert their rigs. junk rigs have a following and i don't see why lug rigs might not, too, since i have seen lug rigs made with furler reefing.

anyhow, just wondering.
 

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Last season I saw a couple of junk rigged cruising boats in the West Indies. I believe they were Colvin designed metal boats, not real Asian junks, though. There are many gaff rigged cruising boats; they're hardly unusual. I did see a large three masted Lugger in Jolly Harbor with a large family aboard, but whether they were cruising, I don't know.
I'm not sure if these new full headed mains that are becoming popular on the cats and racers could be called Marconi sails. Perhaps they are more a throw back to the spritsails of the 16th-century Dutch barges.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Last season I saw a couple of junk rigged cruising boats in the West Indies. I believe they were Colvin designed metal boats, not real Asian junks, though. There are many gaff rigged cruising boats; they're hardly unusual. I did see a large three masted Lugger in Jolly Harbor with a large family aboard, but whether they were cruising, I don't know.
I'm not sure if these new full headed mains that are becoming popular on the cats and racers could be called Marconi sails. Perhaps they are more a throw back to the spritsails of the 16th-century Dutch barges.
not sure i'd call that a sprit rig. no sprit. i have a sprit rig on my sailing dinghy. awesome sail. my favorite, actually. i don't know what you'd call them. almost like a cross between a high aspect bermuda sail and the large headboard type bermuda sail used on traditional abaco dinghies.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
There are still some people who swear by junk rigs, Ming Ming and Teleport come to mind. Not sure if either one hangs around here.
it's something i have tossed around as a possible future modification for my cal 27. they are great for single handing. at least that's what i read. never sailed one.........yet.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Last season I saw a couple of junk rigged cruising boats in the West Indies. I believe they were Colvin designed metal boats, not real Asian junks, though.
that's my thought, actually. not necessarily antique boats but cruising boats using more traditional sails.

There are many gaff rigged cruising boats; they're hardly unusual. I did see a large three masted Lugger in Jolly Harbor with a large family aboard, but whether they were cruising, I don't know.
that's cool. do you happen to have pictures?
 

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Here is a picture of the Cornish lugger Greyhound taken during Classic Week in Antigua this year.



The build story of this boat is worth reading. The Build - Grayhound Lugger SailingThe Build - Grayhound Lugger Sailing

The planking is fastened with 'treenails' a traditional technique which has the advantage of longevity.

In the last 6 years cruising from the USVI to Trinidad I have seen only two junk rigged boats.
 

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In five years we saw two junk rigs - one in the San Blas Islands in Panama and one in French Polynesia. The certainly look easy to use but I guess don't sail very well in the real world or they would be more common. It is not surprising that rig design is converging on what seems to work well. For long distance cruisers i think it will be a sloop with a Solent stay and a removable inner stay for a storm jib. To me something like that just makes a great deal of sense.
 

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Here is a picture of the Cornish lugger Greyhound taken during Classic Week in Antigua this year.



The build story of this boat is worth reading. The Build - Grayhound Lugger SailingThe Build - Grayhound Lugger Sailing

The planking is fastened with 'treenails' a traditional technique which has the advantage of longevity.

In the last 6 years cruising from the USVI to Trinidad I have seen only two junk rigged boats.
Atta boy. At least somebody got a picture of her. Thanks for posting, John.
 
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it's something i have tossed around as a possible future modification for my cal 27. they are great for single handing. at least that's what i read. never sailed one.........yet.
Bermuda rigs are pretty decent for singlehanding, as well... That's probably why about 99% of solo sailors are using them... :)

In general, I don't like the idea of messing around too much with the original designer's choice of a rig. With a boat with a pedigree like yours, a design by Bill Lapworth, seems to be the odds of 'improving' upon it to any great degree, by swapping out to an entirely different type of sailplan, are likely rather slim...

killarney sailor makes a good point, you lose a lot of options when moving away from a conventional Bermuda rig. For example, I think some of the most fun one can have sailing is with free-flying sails, spinnakers and such... you miss out on some of that going with some thing as 'simple' as free standing or junk-type rigs...

Annie Hill has always been a big proponent of the junk rig... GOOD OLD BOAT had a piece by her not too long ago, on the conversion of her little boat to a junk rig, you might try to track it down...
 

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There is a pretty good argument that modern square headed mains are really gaff rigged not slooped.

The problem with Junk rigs is that they are substantially less efficient than a Bermuda. Not that they can work, but you give up a lot. And at the same time are no better off the wind.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
Bermuda rigs are pretty decent for singlehanding, as well... That's probably why about 99% of solo sailors are using them... :)
availability. most commercially made fiberglass boats come with bermuda rigs. most people sail commercially made fiberglass boats. in order to get a different type sail, serious modifications would need to be made and most people don't do that sort of thing.
In general, I don't like the idea of messing around too much with the original designer's choice of a rig. With a boat with a pedigree like yours, a design by Bill Lapworth, seems to be the odds of 'improving' upon it to any great degree, by swapping out to an entirely different type of sailplan, are likely rather slim...
that's kind of like saying that factory built motorcycles souldn't be altered because they were designed by skilled engineers. most of us who build choppers would strongly disagree with that. a designer has one thing in mind when he designs his product. that doesn't mean it's going to be the same thing that everyone that ends up with one of his products (especially used) has in mind. as it's said in the chopper world: mass production breeds compromise.

companies, and their designers, build their products to appeal and fit the widest possible group of buyers. so, for instance, the stock foot peg position on any given bike will fit the average rider but will be cramped for tall people or too widely spaced for short people. compromise.

so, if everyone is buying bermuda rigs there is no reason to branch out into another type of sail unless there is a trend towards that. and, since bermuda rig people are always claiming that no other sail can go to weather, you are not going to see that in the mass production market. people in that market want to go out, buy something 'off the shelf', and sail it. they generally aren't going to be interested in the research, design, and construction process associated with converting a 'stock' sailboat to some other rig.

now, in the wooden boat world, especially home built ones, you see a much larger use of traditional sails. sprit rigs and lug rigs are much more common, there.

people converting to junk rigs in their cruisers are kind of like the sailing world's chopper riders or hot rodders. they don't want a 'turn key' compromise. they want what they want and so they have to modify what they have access to so that it fits their own desires and needs.

killarney sailor makes a good point, you lose a lot of options when moving away from a conventional Bermuda rig. For example, I think some of the most fun one can have sailing is with free-flying sails, spinnakers and such... you miss out on some of that going with some thing as 'simple' as free standing or junk-type rigs...
liking complexity over simplicity is a personal taste issue. simplicity has a lot to offer for someone wanting to enjoy a nice sail or cruise without a lot of extra hassle or work. it also has a lot to offer in the area of safety.

simplicity has less that can go wrong, less to complicate an emergency situation, and usually costs less in repairs. notice how power windows tend to cost car owners a lot more in repairs, once a car gets some age to it, that manual window winders.

complexity adds a challenge, which is what some people are after. but some people just want to enjoy sailing.
Annie Hill has always been a big proponent of the junk rig... GOOD OLD BOAT had a piece by her not too long ago, on the conversion of her little boat to a junk rig, you might try to track it down...
i have that issue. i have also read some of her blog. i've actually done a good deal of research into junk rigs. in her blog, she makes some of the points about simplicity as i did above. i think it's really all in what you are looking for. just like anything in life, there really is no one answer that fits everyone. and it's the variations that make life interesting. the world would be too boring if every bike was an harley softtail or if every boat was the standard run of the mill fin keel bermuda rig sloop.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
There is a pretty good argument that modern square headed mains are really gaff rigged not slooped.
you mean not bermuda rigged. sloop refers to a single mast vessel with a headsail and a mainsail. there are gaff rigged sloops. however, i agree with that argument.

The problem with Junk rigs is that they are substantially less efficient than a Bermuda. Not that they can't work, but you give up a lot. And at the same time are no better off the wind.
there are a lot of folks that would argue against that point. the modern cambered junk rig is better to wind that it's flat ancestor. as far as off wind performance, the only way a bermuda could perform as well as a more 'traditional' sail would be to use a spinnaker, which overcomes the bermuda sail's poorer off wind performance.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
In five years we saw two junk rigs - one in the San Blas Islands in Panama and one in French Polynesia. The certainly look easy to use but I guess don't sail very well in the real world or they would be more common.
not necessarily an accurate assessment. mass production companies, as i mentioned above, are not going to be eager to move away from the old stand-by. just look at how the industry and community first reacted to the idea of fin keel cruisers.

people see bermuda rigs everywhere and everyone wants what their neighbor has. plus, production boat builders are building bermuda rigs. so, that's what they are trying to convince you to buy. so, that's what most people will be sailing.

masthead, jib driven rigs are not the most efficient but notice how many were produced, and for how long they were produced (tons and tons of them out there), because of race rule influenced trends. now, you are starting to see racing boats with blade jibs and powerful mains. much more efficient. still, it will probably take a bit before you see that reflected in the cruising boats being offered.

It is not surprising that rig design is converging on what seems to work well. For long distance cruisers i think it will be a sloop with a Solent stay and a removable inner stay for a storm jib. To me something like that just makes a great deal of sense.
on the other hand, a rig that requires only a halyard and a single sheet to work, one that can be reefed or have a reef shook out with the pull of only one line, without ever having to venture forth on the deck, also sounds pretty sensible for a cruising boat. different strokes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
since the discussion has, hopefully temporarily, taken a which sail type is better path, i thought the following link might prove to be of interest. it is lamentable that they didn't also test a lug rig; either a standing lug or a balanced lug. for looks, i prefer the western lug to the full batten chinese lug (junk rig). however, the junk rig has user friendly traits that recommend it over it's european cousin. there are, now, designs in the lug rig world that allow the lug to be roller reefed. i wonder how those designs work as compared to a modern junk rig.

http://bateaubois.free.fr/file/rigs.pdf
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)

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since the discussion has, hopefully temporarily, taken a which sail type is better path, i thought the following link might prove to be of interest.

http://bateaubois.free.fr/file/rigs.pdf
Hope you're not putting too much stock in some of the findings of this study:

The speeds of the boats were measured from shore by triangulation using theodolites...

The sprit sail rig... was closer winded and sailed faster, giving a sped made good to windward some 30% faster than the Bermudian rig.
If anyone draws from that the conclusion that a sprit rig will make their boat "30% faster", they're delusional... :)



this is the kind of thing i am curious about.
I'm curious what happens to that magnificent sail shape, after he flops over onto starboard tack...

:)
 

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just a curious question. in the world of today, the water is inundated with the ubiquitous bermuda sail. bermuda sloops, yawls, ketches, even schooners. i was wondering if there are any cruisers on this site using other types of sails?

i am sure there must be a gaff rigger or two here but, what about junk sails or lug rigs? i think i saw a thread on another site a while back where a guy built a lug rigged cruiser. i am just curious. 'traditional' sails have become quite popular with a lot of smaller daysailers but, i don't see much about their use on cruisers. i am sure a lot of this has to do with the fact that most cruisers are sailing mass produced boats but, there are some people that convert their rigs. junk rigs have a following and i don't see why lug rigs might not, too, since i have seen lug rigs made with furler reefing.

anyhow, just wondering.
Just curious, did you get your boat out this year? If not, when do you plan to?

One argument agains making endless mods is that it takes away from sailing time. Sometimes it's best to test out your boat as-is to determine which mods would actually be upgrades.
 
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