Skip to main content

Alternative Rigs Page 3

Sailors are a conservative lot. The sea takes no prisoners, and most people don’t care to experiment when the cost of failure is potentially great. That’s why both futuristic and some older traditional sailing rigs struggle for acceptance and often receive little more than patronizing smiles from so-called modern mariners.Ironically, the conventional marconi rig that now dominates sailing

Swing Rig

This rig is new and relatively untried. Designed by Van de Stadt and built by Dutch composite-structures specialist Johan Vels, it features a single full-batten sail set on a boom and an unstayed carbon wing mast that can pivot through 360 degrees. This enables the sail to be correctly sheeted on the broadest of reaches while still functioning as an airfoil and generating lift. It can also be gybed by letting it swing forward of the mast and taking it around on a lazy sheet led from the other side.

Because the mast swivels as the sheet is eased or trimmed, the relationship between the mast’s foil section and the sail is constant, creating what is effectively a flowing wing profile on all points of sail. Just below the deck bearing, the mast is tilted forward roughly 5 or 6 degrees. This means that as the sheet is eased, the above-deck portion of the spar angles itself to windward of the conventional vertical plane relative to the deck. This carries the sail’s center of effort closer to the boat’s centerline, which helps balance the helm. This also has a marked influence on sheet loads, which are reportedly light.

To date, use of these rigs has mostly been confined to extreme raceboats, but some useful passages have already been made and Vels has constructed at least one large swing-rig cruiser.

Freedom Rig

The Freedom Rig was developed in the mid-1970s by former Olympic Finn sailor Garry Hoyt. The early Freedoms featured a cat-ketch rig with freestanding spars and two-ply wraparound sails set on wishbone booms; they were among the first production boats to use carbon-fiber masts. The sails required no vang and were satisfyingly efficient. As with any unstayed rig, the need to reef is minimized because the top of the mast twists off and depowers the rig as the wind increases. Downwind, the sail can be winged out square to the wind. Hoyt’s original boat was the Freedom 40, which had a distinctive hull well-suited to the rig. Various other versions followed, including the Freedom 33, designed by SAIL’s technical consultant, Jay E. Paris.

Over time the Freedom rig evolved, sprouting full-batten sails with conventional booms and tracks and slides on freestanding carbon spars. In 1987, the concept was taken on by Gary Mull with the cat-sloop Freedom 30 and larger versions. More-modern Freedoms feature standard booms and a single mast, but the unstayed carbon-fiber spar has remained, headed up by an unconventional self-tacking jib.

The early boats had only adequate upwind performance, but went like rockets downwind. As with all unstayed rigs, chafe is eliminated, making Freedom rigs attractive for long downwind passages. Successful variations of the original wishbone-boom rig have also been seen over the years on Nonsuchs and Wyliecats.

Related

thumbnail_Jump-1

The Marblehead-to-Halifax Ocean Race Returns

It’s been four years since racers last sailed the cold North Atlantic in the venerable Marblehead-to-Halifax race—and finally, the wait is over. The Boston Yacht Club and the Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron have announced the 39th Marblehead-to-Halifax Ocean Race set for this ...read more

Wendy-2048px

Meet Wendy Mitman Clarke, Editor-in-Chief of SAIL magazine

Learn more about how she and the magazine’s team are committed to building on SAIL’s legacy of more than 50 years as an authentic voice about the sport and the sailing life, delivering stories that educate, inspire and inform. ...read more

maintenance-02

Cruising: Old Sailors Never Die

“Old sailors never die, they just get a little dinghy.” It may be a hoary old joke, but one of my problems at age 79 is I can no longer get easily in and out of a little dinghy, and neither can my (several years younger than me) wife. For this, and various other reasons I will ...read more

01-LEAD-DSC_0953

The Mighty Compass

Here’s to the humble magnetic compass, without a doubt the sailor’s most reliable instrument onboard. It’s always there for you and with the rarest of exceptions, always operational. Yes, I love my chartplotter, autopilot, radar, and AIS. They help me be a safer and more ...read more

02-En-route-Jost-Van-D

Chartering: Swan Song in the BVI

Joseph Conrad once wrote, “The sea never changes.” And while this may or not be true, something most definitely not open for debate is the fact we sailors, “wrapped in mystery,” as Conrad put it, are continually changing—whether we like it or not. I found myself thinking these ...read more

220307FP51_1JML0332

Boat Review: Fountaine-Pajot Aura 51

If you can sell more than 150 catamarans off-plan before the resin has even hit the fiberglass, you must be doing something right. Despite costing around $1.1 million once fitted out and on the water, Fountaine-Pajot’s new 51 has done just that. The French yard has been at it ...read more

00LEAD-IMG-9035

Ready to Fly a New Sail

It’s a typical humid, southern Chesapeake Bay summer day when I show up on the doorstep of Latell & Ailsworth Sailmakers in the one-stoplight, one-lane-roadway, rural tidewater town of Deltaville, Virginia. I’m late getting here to work on a new jib for my 29-foot, Bill ...read more

m5702_RACE-AREA-6

Dates for the 2024 America’s Cup Announced

Ever since making the controversial decision to hold the next America’s Cup in Barcelona, Spain, instead of in home waters, Defender Emirates Team New Zealand has been hard at work organizing logistics for the event.  The Racing Area for the Challenger Selection Series and the ...read more