Skip to main content

Alternative Rigs Page 4

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

Hoyt Offset Rig

Garry Hoyt recently added the Offset Rig to his quiver of innovative ideas. The carbon-fiber rig features a gaff that runs parallel to the boom, with both spars permanently offset from the mast on short horizontal struts. This allows the sail to have a clean leading edge free of windage interference from the mast; also, the spars can extend forward of the mast, creating a semibalanced rig. About 25 percent of the rig’s sail area projects forward of the mast, acting as a brake as the boom swings through the wind during a gybe.

The low-aspect quadrilateral sail is hoisted on two halyards, one at each end of the boom and gaff. The boom and gaff are connected by two stays. The forestay supports the sail’s luff hanks during hoisting, lowering, and reefing, while the backstay ensures that the boom and gaff remain parallel to each other, avoiding the “twist-off” that affects conventional gaff rigs. The sail is controlled with an end-boom mainsheet, a cunningham (situated at the deck-level offset arm), and a boomvang tackle. With single-line reefing, the sail is easy to manage for a solo sailor.

To further increase aerodynamic efficiency, the large-diameter freestanding mast is enclosed in a lightweight wing sleeve that reportedly reduces mast windage by 75 percent. Hoyt claims that the square-headed sail is much more efficient than a triangular sail. He says there is no aerodynamic penalty resulting from the sail being offset. The wind does not recognize a centerline, he says.

Wharram Wingsail

An interesting variant on the gaff is the Wharram Wingsail, which catamaran designer James Wharram chose for his own boat, Spirit of Gaia .

Wharram Wingsails have a higher aspect ratio than most traditional gaff rigs. More important, the Wingsail’s luff wraps around the mast and the sail is “soft” (without battens), eliminating turbulence from both rigging and sails. When the sail is lowered, its short gaff is easy to handle. Some of these sails are set on booms, but often they are completely loose-footed. The sails are trimmed with a pair of powerful sheet purchases. These are necessary to get enough tension to flatten the sail when required, and the windward one can be used to haul the clew inboard for close-hauled sailing.

A masthead forestay and a pair of shrouds keep the rig upright; the wide shroud base on a catamaran makes both spreaders and running backstays superfluous. All components can be replaced cheaply and easily almost anywhere on the planet, making this a good globe-girdling option.

Cogito

The Cogito (COntrle de GITe Optimis) rig features a canting mast linked to twin canting keels that limit the heeling of the hull. The system is integral to a boat’s design and construction and depends on a partially exposed stainless-steel ring that encircles the hull in a dedicated groove. Stainless-steel thrust blocks, port and starboard, limit the ring’s range of motion (35 degrees is the farthest to leeward that the rig will cant); adjustable, constant-force gas springs control the ring’s rotation (one spring end is attached to the hull, the other to a block, with a steel cable attached to the ring).

The mast is stepped on the ring atop the rounded cabintop, and the shrouds attach to the ring port and starboard; opposite are the twin keels, which are bolted to the ring and are splayed outward. Stainless-steel ball bearings carry the load on the ring and help it rotate. A fractional forestay and a backstay are attached to the hull fore and aft and support the rig as it cants. Once under way, pressure on the sail cants the rig to leeward; the keels meanwhile rotate to windward, generating a righting moment that opposes the rig’s heeling moment. As with a normal boat, the sails spill air as they heel (or cant) and the center of effort is lowered. The designers say the boat will heel no more than 10 degrees. Unlike “standard” canting-keel designs, the Cogito requires no hull apertures. The system is being used on a production boat, the Fan Class 32.

Related

00-LEAD-210918_11HR_AZIMUT48HRS_AMO_00411

11th Hour Racing Team's Green Mission

“I’ll admit, it’s still hard to watch the boat leave the dock sometimes,” says former Volvo Ocean Race sailor Mark Towill. Since meeting during a Transpac campaign over 15 years ago, he and his teammate Charlie Enright have sailed thousands of miles together aboard two Volvo ...read more

D61_JKELAGOPIAN-3

Boat Review: Dufour 61

Dufour, long one of France’s most well-respected builders, has been producing sailboats in La Rochelle since the dawn of fiberglass boatbuilding. Having recently merged with another La Rochelle-based builder, Fountaine Pajot, Dufour has now joined other European mass-production ...read more

m138123_14_00_210609_TORE02_SE_2152_2504-2048x

The Ocean Race to be “Climate Positive”

The 2023 Ocean Race intends to be one of the world’s first climate positive sporting events, offsetting more greenhouse gasses than are produced. The two-fold effort means cutting emissions by 75 percent and investing in ocean projects that sequester carbon and restore ocean ...read more

01-LEAD-Ancients-3-2048x

Cruising Lake Superior

Almost anywhere a sailor drops the hook someone else has been there before. We are hardly ever the first. That remote Maine harbor without a soul in sight: there’s a lobster trap. The south coast of Newfoundland: the crumbling remains of a fisherman’s cabin lie hidden among the ...read more

01-LEAD-Tablet-Holder-4

Fabricating a Tablet Holder

During the pandemic, I was stuck aboard Guiding Light, a Lagoon 410, in St. Lucia for over a month. During that time, as I worked on the boat, I started by doing a spring cleaning in my spares locker and finding some parts and material that I forgot I had. As soon as I saw them, ...read more

00-LEAD-AdobeStock_486335954

A Catamaran for a New Era

Anacortes, Washington, is an unassuming sea-salty town near the San Juan Islands of Puget Sound, and the Betts Boats yard is easy for a passerby to miss. But within Betts’ facilities, the dawn of an era in Pacific Northwest production boatbuilding could be breaking with the ...read more

X5_plus_slide-01

Boat Review: Xquisite X5 Plus

The Xquisite X5 Plus is a major update of the boat that SAIL awarded Best Large Multihull and Best Systems titles in 2017. The changes were not just cosmetic, but genuine improvements to an already fine boat, making it lighter, faster and less dependent on fuel. The builder’s ...read more

01-LEAD-AdobeStock_40632434

Cruising: Offshore Prep Talk

When I began preparing Minx, my 1987 Pearson 39-2, for extended Caribbean cruising, I had to balance my champagne wish list against my beer budget. Every buck spent on the boat before leaving would be one less frosty can of Carib down in the islands. On the other hand, I had to ...read more