Rig Analysis


The choice of a sail rig for long range offshore cruising is not simple and because of the intense effort that has gone into the development and refinement of the "Bermudian" rig, also known as the Marconi, most folks are under the impression that this rig is the way to go. What is also true is that because of this follow the leader kind of mentality, the majority of boats come equipped with this style of rig. In case you aren't totally familiar with some of these terms, keep in mind that the bulk of all the sailboats you will ever see, are of this type; ketch, yawl, sloop, cutter. The so called old style rigs would be Junk/Lug rig and Schooner. The simple reason for all this attention to the Bermudian rig is stark: the quest for speed and upwind at that.

As a practical matter a case can be made that the older style rigs are not THAT much slower upwind and the cost in terms of rigging, sails, winches and stressed rigging is considerable. None of these disadvantages is necessarily of any advantage to someone out to do long range cruising. Read the materials about Junk rigs and you will see what I mean.

Michael Kasten is much in favor of Junk/Lug rigs or Schooner for long range cruising. See his web site for the details.

If this all seems a little vague, then sink your teeth into this. The Junk rig is inexpensive to make and maintain. It requires very little rigging and if it is slower going to windward, well then, put the money into your diesel engine and it's fuel. Because, what you will save on one hand you can have available to spend on the other, if you want. The Junk rig is safer, much easier to handle and if it rips, well you can just keep on sailing until you have time to mend it.

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