Sailing up to Number Four, The Right Rig

I’ve looked at three important considerations in choosing a sailboat design and things are narrowing down. Number four of our six stops on the way to choose a boat design brings us to the sails. As with the hull there is little question what materials will go into the sails.  Synthetic sail cloth long ago surpassed cotton.  Synthetics do not hold moisture and mold so easily.  Ease of maintenance is a big plus.

The sails are our main engine which is why if we hand an outboard on the transom it will be called the “auxiliary.”  We expect a lot from this ancient device.  We want lots of canvas hanging out in the breeze but we need it to go away as the wind increases.  for my mission profile I believe a well placed set of oarlocks is more important than another reason to burn money at the gas station.  A reasonably efficient sail plan that can be reefed easily  and will tack without fuss most of the time will do just fine.

A low aspect ratio rig will help in terms of stability and safety.  With grandkids on board I don’t want to capsize except as a training maneuver. Gaff rigs are always appealing but they take a bit more set up time at the launch ramp.  There is more hardware, thus, more expense. A sloop rig gives lots of strings to pull and having a jib will make the boat be inclined to sail closer to the wind.  Lug sails and sprit sails fill the bill.  The sprit has no boom to knock heads in a jibe,  The lug sail can be rigged with or without a boom.  I personally prefer to have a boom as without it you have to deal with excessive twist.

I had a standing lug rig on my San Francisco pelican and so I’m used to it and have no qualms about it.  I like the idea but will change it slightly by going for a balanced lug. This put’s a little more sail area forward of the mast.  There are more small details but they will be resolved by the designer or may be tweaked during building.

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