Biplane rigs

Discussion in 'Multihulls' started by cutawaycafe, May 15, 2013.

  1. groper
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    groper Senior Member

    Yes, but everything here in australia costs about double the rest of the world, so figure about $35K if your in the US and probably something like 30keuro...

    There was also a bit of a weight penalty with the twin carbon masts and booms on the above wilderness, he went about 250kgs heavier than it would have been with a typical bermuda rig - according to the owner builder. I think the main advantage is just simpler sail handling.
     
  2. rob denney
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    rob denney Senior Member

    Where did you get that number from? And do you have a comparison price for a conventional rig, inlcuding all the deck fittings required?

    The guys bought the idea of unstayed masts based pretty much on the success of the rig in http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8chR6DAFjGA That was a while ago and it has taken a few years to get a competent and reliable builder up and running, however, this is now in place.

    The original idea was the same tube mast rig, without the jib and boom. This morphed over time into wing masts which then became stub mounted wing masts, which then became folding stub mounted wing masts. The costs at each stage went up.

    The tube masts about were ~$11,000, the wing masts ~$17,000, the stubs ~$2,000 and the folding another $2,000. The price was a few years ago and based on 6 masts, so making moulds became worthwhile. We have just taken an order for a pair of slightly larger, one piece tube masts, without the stubs or folding for $16,000 each. These are going on a schooner rigged version of the boat in the video.

    These prices do not include bearings or paint. We made some very nice self aligning bearings for the Schionnings, but on the boat in the video, they are simple plastic, cost about $200 each.

    Any questions, let me know.

    rob denney
    www.harryproa.com
     
  3. rob denney
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    rob denney Senior Member

    Maybe, but I doubt it. We won the job of building the spars for the Toro catamaran against all the major mast manufacturers, despite the (then) strength of the Aussie dollar and the shipping costs to Canada.

    Simpler sail handling,
    lower centre of gravity,
    no maintenance (nothing to break or replace),
    automatic fist reef (due to the flexible mast),
    no standing rigging for the sails to chafe against, crash into in a gybe or to prevent the mains being eased to 90 degrees for downwind sailing,
    the ability to raise, lower and reef the sails in any wind strength or direction without having to point the boat into the wind
    the ability to ease the sail to 180 degrees to control speed on any point of sail.

    Downsides are the extra weight although once you include the chain plates, dolphin striker, fore beam, compression structure under the mast, traveller, headsails and their fittings (tracks, furlers winches, sheets), plus all the additional beefing up these things require, the overall weight is usually lower. Removing these from the equation also makes the costs look better.

    rob
     
  4. T0x1c
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    T0x1c Junior Member

    Rob, the number comes from Michael O'Neil blog: "I don't know what a conventional rig would have cost but the bi rig has cost about 70k all up
    not counting the relatively small amount of hardware and the months it took making the booms and fairing and fitting out the masts.
    "

    A complete conventional aluminium rig costs around 9000 USD (boom included, no fairing !). Composite chainplates as per Schionning designs. The savings for other fittings are minor (they still need winches, don't they?)

    Edit: I do not deny there are many theoretical advantages to a biplane rig, however is it worth seven times the cost ?
     
  5. T0x1c
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    T0x1c Junior Member

    I doubt the bow down trim is due to remaining building gear. The only changes from the standard Wilderness are forward masts (650kg) and bulkhead + additional bridgedeck reinforcements, so it would be logical that the trim changes.
    Modifying the hulls design/Duflex nesting to change longitudinal CG is indeed a big job, but no questions it should have been done if this is deemed to be an alternative production design. Now let's hope a heavy dinghy will do the trick.
     
  6. OZONE
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    OZONE New Member

    Greetings
    Being the builder of the Schionning bi rig in question I can clarify some of the facts
    The $ 70k figure I quoted for the rig included the two fully battened mainsails and all the hardware, battens and cars that involved. The cost of the whole bi rig setup is more than a conventional rig but not multiple times more and in the total boat cost, not a major consideration.

    I went short on the fuel and water onboard equal to about the extra weight of the rig so Idon't think the bow down trim is a result of the heavier rig. It looks like the Wilderness 12m design has a bow down trim. A photo on the designers webpage for the design even shows a conventional rig example with a distinct bow down trim and we know of a couple of others that look the same.

    Michael
     

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  7. T0x1c
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    T0x1c Junior Member

    Hi Ozone, good to have you here, I think we are many here following biplane rigs development on the three Wilderness to come.

    That would raise the figure for conventional rig to around 20 kUSD (incl. furling Genoa and Gennaker), hence still a 3.5x difference. But hey, what'd you expect with two carbon rigs?

    Here, Kelsall says: "I have particularly enjoyed sailing on the free standing twin wings rig on Cool Change. On this catamaran, it has everything in its favour, except its cost. All carbon weight means dollar." And I believe most of us will concur.

    If you speak about this one, then yes it is very strange: the cat is not trimmed at its design line. Suspect additional tanks in front of BH3? In any case, assuming the design CG is at 7000mm from bow and the biplane masts have been put forward by 1.5m, additional moment for biplane masts is 650kg@3m - 300kg@1.5m = 1.5 T.m, quite a lot ! Saving 200kg water at mast only saves you 0.3 T.m.

    It will be interesting to see how the two other biplane cats come out. Especially Mahna Mahna, with light outboards instead of diesels at the back.
     
  8. T0x1c
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    T0x1c Junior Member

    By the way, between Rob Denney original estimate of 17 kAUD, and final cost of 60 kAUD (estimating sails and fittings to 10 kAUD), it is a huge step ?!?
     
  9. tomas
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    tomas Senior Member

    Congratulations on the build, it looks great.
    Has it met your expectations?
     
  10. rob denney
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    rob denney Senior Member

    Mike,
    Boat looks great, look forward to hearing how it sails.

    Massive. But then you read what I wrote in post #17 and you see that there was also a stub for $2k and a hinge (I think) for another $2k to add to the $17k for the mast, making $21k.
    Then you add on a sail at $9k (please let us know who will build one for less than this) and you have $30K.
    Then the cost of the track, ropes, fittings and paint and I daresay the answer will be $5k making a total of $35k. If it doesn't, then add on the cost of shipping them from Adelaide to Melbourne, or ask Mike what I have missed.
    Two masts, $70k.
    Whether this is a huge premium vs a stayed alloy mast and the hassles, maintenance and drama associated with it, I don't know, but we are turning clients away until we get our backlog cleared so obviously not everyone thinks the way you do.

    Please post details of the supplier and what is included in your $9,000 rig (presumably fitted out spars, jib, mainsail, and standing rigging), plus $11k for furler, genoa and gennaker for a 12m, 8 tonne cat with 95 sqm of working sails as there are plenty of people who aren't ready for unstayed rigs yet who will be interested.

    Please also list the cost of the other fittings (traveller, fore beam/seagull striker, headsail gear, extra beams and bulkheads, etc) and their installation, which you describe as "minor".

    Re winches, the harryproa in the video has 2 x ST40 winches ($1,350 total), the schooner will probably have one. The bi rigged cats have all the halyards, reefing lines etc lead back to the steering position, so could also get by with two winches. The stayed Wilderness has 8 winches (4 x ST40,2 x ST56, 2 x ST46 ~$9,000 total).

    Building your own chainplates is a tiny money saver compared to building your own carbon mast (almost as easy, just as critical).

    Re carbon costs. The material in a 120 kg unstayed tube mast suitable for the biplane rig mast is roughly: resin 40 kgs ($600), glass 20 kgs ($100), carbon uni 60 kgs ($2,400), total $3,100. Carbon is less than half the price it was a couple of years ago and still dropping. Buy it as tow and it is half the price of the uni, cost becomes $1,900.

    Which of these advantages do you consider "theoretical"? And why? Roughly how much do you think they are worth (in dollar terms) on a ~$400,000 12m cruising catamaran sailed mostly singlehanded with your family?

    Simpler sail handling,
    lower centre of gravity (less pitching),
    no maintenance (nothing to break or replace),
    automatic first reef (due to the flexible mast),
    no standing rigging for the sails to chafe against, crash into in a gybe or to prevent the mains being eased to 90 degrees for downwind sailing,
    the ability to raise, lower and reef the sails in any wind strength or direction without having to point the boat into the wind
    the ability to ease the sail to 180 degrees to control speed on any point of sail.

    regards,

    rob
     
  11. T0x1c
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    T0x1c Junior Member

    Hi Rob,

    So the 17k price was for one mast only?! Apparently I was not the only one mistaken, as Whimsical wrote on his blog: "Cost:- Rob denny from Harry proa is talking about $20k for both masts and booms so not expensive compared to a normal mast and rigging". His construction budget sure went sky-rocketting. Also, I did not notice the hinges on Ozone masts, but I will concede that the pictures I saw are not really righ res.

    There are six winches on a conventional Wilderness, and it should be the same on a bi-mast designed to carry forward sails, dixit Ozone: "The masts are set up to carry a spinnaker, I'm thinking a 4 cornered down wind sail would be interesting.

    For catamarans aluminium rigs, ask quotations from e.g. Soromap, Z-spars or Sparcraft, all within prices I gave, including spars, standing rig, foot plate and boom (and lifelines if you negotiate well). I can PM a recent quote I received if you wish. By the way, the Wilderness 1250X is 6.5 tons total displacement.

    Any reasonable sailmaker will be able to make a 45m2 tri-radial mainsail well under £9kAUD. Try Elvström or Incidences.

    This said, good you have to turn clients away for your carbon masts, is that the reason why those three Wilderness builders bought Etamax?
    Let me know when I can see all those bi-plane rigs you make on the water.

    Edit: Agreed, all those "theoretical" advantages are great. But as Richard Woods wrote somewhere, if they were so great in real life, we would see may more biplane rigs (especially when, as you state, cost is not an issue).
     
  12. rob denney
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    rob denney Senior Member

    Sure did, but that is what happens when you change from a tube and simple boom to a wing mast on a stub that can be raised and lowered for going under bridges in a busy and often quite rough commercial port.


    Bipolar is a Wilderness 1230. The stayed version has 2 winches on the mast (halyards), 2 on the cabin top (jib), 2 for the traveller/mainsheet and 2 on the deck (reacher, spinnaker and daggerboards) makes 8. See sheet 22 of the plans.

    The 4 corner sail will be interesting, but after the first couple of times won't be used, in my opinion. The boat will sail ddw virtually as fast with the rigs wing and wing as with the added sail area. VMG will probably be better 10-20 degrees off ddw without the 4 corner sail.

    It is easier to sheet in a mainsail on a fixed boom with a flexible mast than on a conventional mast where the sheet is used to get leech tension.
    Both are easier than sheeting in a headsail which is easier again than a screecher. Screecher halyard (and fittings) loads are large so the halyard winch also needs to be bigger.
    The bi plane rig does not lose a large portion of it's sail area (the genoa) once the breeze is more than 30 degrees aft of the beam, so extras are for light air only, and hence will not require large winches.
    This is why the biplane rigs and the harrys have lower winch requirements.
    I am pretty sure the original pricing did not include spinnaker loads or reinforcing, so this was an extra cost.

    That does not include the main (57 sq m), jib (38 sq m), running rigging and deck gear which would presumably be required to make it comparable with the biplane rig?
    Nor does it include the ability to easily raise and lower the mast to go under bridges in a busy port.
    Or the freight and taxes to import it into Australia.
    Or the cost of replacing the rigging every 5 years and the cost of pulling the rig and checking it on a regular basis.
    Please send the quote. Address is harryproa@gmail.com
    You are correct about the weight, I added the payload. Sorry.
    Did you get the quote because you are building a Wilderness or similar 12m cat?

    For sure, but the actual sails are 57 sqm, 25% more than this. The mains on both rigs are 57 sqm, have Batt Car slides and I expect Mike also got covers.
    Your sailmakers are not in Australia. Include freight and duty into Australia and the cost of resolving any warranty issues.
    I have facilitated a number of export sails from Aus to Europe/USA as Aus prices are lower. I doubt that has changed.

    I am the marine sales division of Etamax, harryproa engineers for 10 years. The owner and I saw some opportunities to make carbon stuff cheaper/better so he set up the manufacturing entity. He knows engineering, I know boats, we both know carbon. Works pretty well.

    Sure. Follow the forums and the blogs, or drop me a line every 6 months and I will update you. Not all of them are bi plane rigs, there are also unstayed una, schooner and telescoping masts, and some stayed ones. Plus the attendant booms, beams, prodders, rudders, boards, etc.

    Using that logic, everyone should sail a production mono.
    Cost effective unstayed rigs are new, boat owners are conservative. I don't know how many amateur built multis over 12m will be launched in Aus between 2011 and 2014, (suspect fewer than 20?) but there will be at least 11 unstayed carbon rigs on them.
    Why do you call the advantages "theoretical"? Which ones would not be "real"?
    Richard is convinced carbon masts "explode in a lightning strike, and razor sharp shards pierce the decks". As this has never happened, and for many reasons won't happen, I suggest he is not the best person to take advice from on the subject.
    I never said "cost is not an issue". My entire design philosophy is to reduce cost. Hence the unstayed rigs. Incidentally, a single mast and sail (which I have on my personal boats) is my rig of choice for cost effectiveness. The schooner on the proa and the bi rigs on the cats are a trade off between the advantages and the costs.

    You did not say how much you think the advantages are worth on a mostly solo sailed family cruiser?
    Or cost the "minor items" (traveller, fore beam/seagull striker, headsail gear, extra beams and bulkheads, etc) and their installation.

    regards,

    rob
     
  13. T0x1c
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    T0x1c Junior Member

    Hi Rob, when I quote 9 kAUD for the rig and 20 kAUD including cars, mast tracks, all sails and running sheets, believe me, you can have those quotes from the three suppliers I gave. Indeed they are in La Rochelle, France, as are Beneteau, Fountain Pajot and other big boat manufacturers; they supply 70% of European production, so I guess definitely the prices are lower than in Australia. But on the other hand, the Euro is not really favorable at present. And we Europeans have to import DuFlex, much more expensive, and a reason why here most prefer those cheap French polyester bathtubs.
    Would be worth enquiring these suppliers though, a sleeved mast in two parts can fit in a shared 40ft container, so cost reduced; it shouldn't be a stupid option for an Australian supplier.

    Whether you want two of four winches for the front sails is a "nice to have" item, maybe to gain that one second in a racing maneuver, otherwise not worth the cost.

    I definitely am interested by alternative rigs, I've read your stuff on your websites, but my opinion remains that carbon biplane rigs are not an affordable/reasonable option, even if they work well. Pity the stayed versions (like Parlier's Team Phillips) are not more common, although they lack some of the advantages and can be fitted only to very fast cats which create their own apparent wind most of the time.*

    Edit: The 45m2 figure comes from the builders blogs; didn't you add the wingmast to the sail area?

    * Edit 2: See Kelsall note on Cool Change design "We are working on projects which will make this facility more available and more competitive for cats -Freewing twins, where light stays replace a lot of the carbon of freestanding is one such project." See http://www.kelsall.com/TechnicalArticles/TheNewKelsallCatRig.pdf. This seems to be the way forward.
     
  14. groper
    Joined: Jun 2011
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    groper Senior Member

    First sail of Michaels biplane rigged cat, looks like it goes quite well...

     

  15. Corley
    Joined: Oct 2009
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    Corley epoxy coated

    From Sailing Scuttlebutt Europe:

    WMRT Ray Moxley has just brought his newly built 40' revolutionary catamaran RA into Cowes from Plymouth where it was recently launched. Not only has Ray drawn every inch of this remarkable boat and overseen its construction, but he will also be celebrating his 90th birthday just three weeks after this, its maiden race on Saturday. The Race organisers at the Island Sailing Club are fairly sure that he is the oldest competitor in this year's Race, and possibly in the history of the event.

    Ray, the Architect who designed London's Chelsea Harbour, has been working on catamaran designs for over fifty years. He has employed his architectural skills to produce a fast, comfortable boat with a striking modern interior. It is on deck however that it truly innovative. RA has two masts side by side (rather than one behind the other).

    For the sailing buffs RA is a lateral schooner with wrap-around sails on carbon masts without shrouds or spreaders. She is a blue water cruiser with a displacement of about 8.5 tonnes. Length 12m, Beam 5.5m.
     

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