cheap and simple rig

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by sailor305, May 23, 2012.

  1. sailor305
    Joined: May 2012
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    sailor305 future cat builder

    I'm looking for a cheap and simple rig.
    My idea is to use a reinforced fiberglass flag pole, a simple aluminium tube or even a bamboo pole as a mast of about 40' length for a smaller catamaran with two masts.
    Bi-plane, schooner , ketch or gaff/wing rig with sails wrapped around the mast.
    Any recommendations?
  2. CutOnce

    CutOnce Previous Member

    Huh? No disrespect but ....

    At twin 40' mast length your catamaran isn't small or simple. A 40' spar need serious rigging to stay in column, unless it is engineered by professionals using very expensive materials - or - if it is cut from a large enough tree making it so heavy it will need an oil rig platform underneath it.

    Two masts like this on a catamaran gives the impression the size of the boat isn't small at all. First glance here indicates you are talking about a catamaran that could be from 35' to 50'' in length, if the twin 40' masts are any indication. You are talking serious money here.

    Pocket luff designs work for sailboards, Moths and the like because the boats are either dry-rigged on their sides or the mast is rigged on shore and stepped later. There is no way you could use a pocket luff on a 40' spar.

    Rather than continue discussing your proposed mast, how about you tell people more about the boat underneath it, as that will define the problem a lot better than defining your solution to an unknown boat.

  3. daiquiri
    Joined: May 2004
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    daiquiri Engineering and Design

    Right so.
  4. sailor305
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    sailor305 future cat builder

    but there are examples which ware working

    James Wharram is using his wing sail rig even on his 63' Pahi and it is wrapped around the mast!

    Sorry - but I think there is something like a Bermuda lobby to protect mast builders and riggers or whatever.
  5. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
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    gonzo Senior Member

    Wharram has decades of experience from experimenting. Many of the experiments failed. I think that you are rather arrogant to compare yourself to Wharram. If you like his designs, you can simply copy them. However, his boats are all moderately rigged for cruising.
  6. CutOnce

    CutOnce Previous Member

    I doubt anyone here is promoting a rigging price fix scheme. A few thoughts come to mind:

    1) The mast(s) and rigging are the key components to the main drive system on a sail boat. If you are using the boat to get out of sight of the launch ramp, this is the last place to focus cost-saving experimentation.

    2) Right now you can buy used, but professionally designed and manufactured masts, rigs and even complete boats cheaper than you can build substandard quality parts.If you do want to save money consult a professional rigger who knows what is available and where. That way you don't compromise on quality, but do save a lot of money.

    3) The best financial investment you can make is engaging a professional who can define your needs clearly, quickly and find solutions that fit those needs. A few hours of time from someone in the business can reduce your costs dramatically. There are people on this forum who have walked though and mentally catalogued every rigging boneyard in their markets.

    Please feel free to ignore this advice and proceed with your project. You most likely will be engaging a professional at some point in time, even if it is your insurance underwriter forcing the issue. The earlier in the process you engage professional help, the cheaper it is in the long run.

  7. sailor305
    Joined: May 2012
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    sailor305 future cat builder


    Gonzo, I'm afraid you misunderstood.
    I'm not comparing my self with Wharram at all, I contacted them regarding their rig.
    The last thing I want to have on my cat is a Bermuda rig with all the required efforts to make it efficient.
    Its usually far away from the KISS principle.

    That's why I'm asking about alternate solutions and experience with them.
  8. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    If you like Wharram and his simplicity he used sprit rigs too. They are some of the lowest tech rigs for the sail area. That is the cheapest, least stressed rig you can have. Bermuda rigs, at 2:1 ratio are very low stressed too with the large beam of a multihull. The low angle of the shrouds causes very little compression. The later Wharram rigs got away from the low cost and simplicity of the originals. It was mainly a marketing decision to satisfy the more modern look buyers are looking for.
  9. Eric Sponberg
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    Eric Sponberg Senior Member

    Having designed and tested A LOT of fiberglass flagpoles, and designed A LOT of carbon fiber masts, I can tell you that fiberglass won't be stiff enough, and probably won't be strong enough. Aluminum is a much better choice because it is at least 5 times stiffer than fiberglass, comparable to carbon fiber. It isn't very strong, however, which means you need generous wall thickness, and that makes it heavy.

    The fact that this is for a catamaran means that the loads on the mast are going to be really high--masts are designed to the maximum righting moment of the boat, no matter what type of boat it is, and catamaran maximum righting moments are very high. This means, again, that the mast section would have to be big and heavy, and so might not be the best fit for your boat.

    I don't have any direct experience with bamboo, but my guess would be that it suffers from deficiencies of both strength and stiffness for use as a mast.

    Finally, I have never been a fan of wrap-around or sleeved sails. They are just too complicated to make and have set well. And even with the wrap-around effect, you are still left with a round leading edge on the mast, and airflow simply does not like round--it separates early from mast and still has to re-attach. The streamlining effect of the wrap-around is really over-rated. I don't buy it. You would do better to affix a sailtrack on the mast and use full-battened sails so that you can get a really nice elliptical or square-top planform shape AND have better control over the camber of the sails. That will have so much more power and better airflow that it will make up for the fact that the mast is round.

    I hope that helps.

    1 person likes this.
  10. messabout
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    messabout Senior Member

    305; Take Erics advice as the gospel. He is one of the most knowledgeable, and practical, advisors that you will find. Gonzo and Cut Once are no dummies either.

    I happen to like sleeve luffs, but only on my Laser dinghy or sailboard. I like them for simplicity, not for all out efficiency. A big rig, like that with a 40 foot mast will need a practical reefing system. Not easy with any sort of sleeve luff sail.

    Bottom line; do not choose to save money with a cheap rig because the rig is the very thing that makes the boat go. Find economies elsewhere.
  11. masalai
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    masalai masalai

    I agree with the advice given and will add 'GET PROFESSIONAL ADVICE' as the loads can be quite significant. I had the services of an aircraft engineer in designing the mast step - having sought loading advice from the designer (Bob Oram) and rigger/sailmaker/designer... Chainplates are built in and each has a load capacity exceeding 4500kg... The mast-step can accept a compressive load of 6500kg and all these stresses and other loads revelant to catamaran design, are distributed effectively and efficiently about the hulls... - Well beyond my capabilities in 'number-crunching' - that is why others who I trust and have confidence in did the number crunching...

    The boat is 40ft by 21.5ft and the stick design is a tad shorter than 40ft... The rig is "hitch-hiker" with a pair of flat cut genoa, one to each bow, and each sail has 2 sheets (to each stern) and is designed for easy reaching and tacking downwind - winds greater than 20knots over the deck will see the sails lowered and engines turned on...

    Under power the boat has surfed nicely at 19knots - - - with a good following sea (7M swell)...
  12. philSweet
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    philSweet Senior Member

    Drive to Miami and talk to Sailing Services.
  13. sailor305
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    sailor305 future cat builder

    Thanks to all for your input, however I still don't know which rig is cheap and simple beside the common Bermuda rig which isn't simple nor cheap
  14. Richard Woods
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    Richard Woods Woods Designs

    I am curious as to your practical experience. What boats have you sailed that prove to you how difficult and expensive a bermudian rig is? Or is it just heresay?

    I'd agree with the other posters. Every builder is looking for something cheap. Every sailor is looking for something simple to handle. As a general rule two masts will cost more than one, and the more sails the harder to get them to work in harmony.

    I have also used sleeved luff sails on Lasers and Moths. Both are boats rigged on shore and aren't reefed. You will find the friction from a wet sail under load makes it very hard to lower at sea (think wet T shirt). Many Wharram sailors lower their mainsail completely to tie in reef points. That's OK offshore but not in crowded sailing areas.

    And I would never have a boomless sail. Think of the eye damage if you get caught by a flailing block. You can reef a conventional mainsail on a 35ft catamaran singlehanded in a minute if you have a proper singleline reefing system set up. And see here for a mainsail being lowered downwind on a 38ft catamaran.

    Richard Woods of Woods Designs

  15. goodwilltoall
    Joined: Jul 2010
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    goodwilltoall Senior Member

    Talk to Boatsmith, he went from the Wharram gaff to typical bermuda.
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