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· baDumbumbum
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I've read the claim that a fractional rig is not a masthead rig with a short jib; it is a masthead rig with a tall main. That is, think of the hoist above the forestay tang as free mainsail area. Plus, the taller rig buys you more roach area ahead of the backstay, all the way down. The stick on our Albin Ballad looks stumpy compared to many of today's frac-rigged boats -- because it is.;)

I wonder if having the top of the main operating in clean air isn't an advantage, too, close-hauled. Esp. in light to medium winds, the mainsail needs to be twisted off quite a lot to keep the angle of attack the same from bottom to top, when the wind at your Airex may be twice what it is at deck level and AWA is maybe 10 degrees farther abeam. The top of the main can be twisted off more than the top of the jib; on a masthead rig, that may choke the slot & cause lots of drag. Just speculating.
 
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