Free standing masts

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by Gvidon, Dec 2, 2020.

  1. Blueknarr
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    Blueknarr Senior Member

    I had a 30 ft full heavy keel with a stayed mast. Lots of stays jumpers and running backs. All where slack while docked. Tuning was about limiting last flop. While sailing the mast head would be as far as a yard off of column. Truly a vertical noodle.

    I think many proponents of freestanding haven't thought thru it's primarily quoted advantage. "Automatically self adjustments to wind velocity changes ". Many I have talked to think they will maintain optimum performance in ALL wind speeds without changing the boat's healing angle. Where can I get such a magic contraption? My experience with them is they will depower at a less than optimal rate and their host boat lacks alternative sail shaping rigging.

    There use on dingies. Simple rigs for simple boats.

    Their use on yachts. Simple rigs for simple minds.
     
  2. Will Gilmore
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    Will Gilmore Senior Member

    There are still Downhauls, Outhauls, Halyard, Cunninghams, Vangs and Sheet with traveler. My expriencing is that cruisers expend a lot less concern over such fine tuning than racers and may never adjust more than the traveler position and sheer tension, maybe the bang as well. Teaching is a different mind set and efficiency is a relative term based on desired outcomes. This includes the desire for relaxation and reduced hassle.

    -Will (Dragonfly)
     
  3. skaraborgcraft
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    skaraborgcraft Junior Member

    This is what i was referring to in my first post. Its not just racers who need to go to windward. A cruiser trying to make upwind into a port in the Azores, reefed down with the best sail set he could muster, was still getting sails losing power due to mast bend. I often feel the "must be able to claw off a lee shore in a gale" is an overused quote, but even a fat Colin Archer could achieve that with boats under tow; the question remains how much sea room you have between tacks. Close winded boats are usually stayed and high aspect.

    My old Koster had 10 stays, and my Folkboat only 3 and a flexible backstay, i have never heard anyone suggest a Folkboat can not go upwind. I would consider a 3 stay rig if it can be engineered right, only the individual concerned can decide if the performance gain is worthwhile.
     
  4. Will Gilmore
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    Will Gilmore Senior Member

    When on a hard beat, depowering is desirable. If the concern is about mast flex when beating to windward, mast flex is often induced to depower and lessen heeling. Too much heel takes the drive force outboard to leeward and the drag to windward. The result is more weather helm and more heeling. This also means more rudder drag and less overall forward movement. Depowering the sails and reducing heel improves VMG to weather.
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2020
  5. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    I am not sure what your disagreement is. A free standing mast is a cantilever beam, while a stayed mast is a beam supported at several points.
     
  6. CT249
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    CT249 Senior Member

    But any reduction in windage is clearly not as important as the other advantages a stayed rig gives in sail racing dinghies. Stayed rigs allow for lighter, narrower spars, and generally better gust response because you can adjust the rigging to tune the boat.

    Look at Moths, International Canoes and other high-performance racing dinghies - they use stays because stays allow for a faster rig. The European Moths used to have freestanding rigs but they moved to stayed rigs because stayed rigs are faster.

    That's not to say that stayed rigs are better because unstayed rigs have their own advantages - but the Mothies and Int Canoe sailors and others are not stupid or ignorant - they use the faster rigs.
     
  7. CT249
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    CT249 Senior Member

    Be aware that much of the stuff in the article of his that Sponberg links to is just completely and utterly wrong. It's just utterly wrong, for example, for him to claim you can't twist a mainsail leach to windward - it's so easy to do that many people do it too much. It's complete bollox for him to imply that stayed rigs need a backstay - in fact one has to wonder how anyone who was a boat designer can be so amazingly ignorant of fractional rigs and their operation. It's utterly untrue that he says "sailboat design rating rules that, for no good aerodynamic reasons, require the wires in the rigs". God knows how anyone who was a designer can claim something that any reasonable person would have checked and found to be utterly untrue - rating rules do NOT require wires and it's bizarre that a designer could not know that.

    Even at a deeper level, the fact that Sponberg believes that rating rules restricted all sailboat rig design is just amazingly small-minded. He managed to ignore skiffs, multis, shorthanded racers, sportsboats, and all the other performance sailcraft that are not restricted by the rules he mentioned, but still use stayed masts.

    Not only is that not good information, it shows that some proponents of freestanding rigs are either amazingly ignorant or biased to the point of dishonesty.
     
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  8. Doug Lord
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    Doug Lord Flight Ready

    Absolute BS as applied to Eric Sponberg, whose real life contributions to the use of unstayed rigs is extraordinary.
     
  9. CT249
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    CT249 Senior Member

    The plain and simple truth is that many of the claims in that article are untrue. That's a fact.

    The plain and simple truth is also that the article insults many (probably most) designers and sailors on false grounds. Anyone who throws insults around like that would be a hypocrite if they complained about receiving comments in return.

    I don't quite understand how you manage to respect foiler designers as you do and also agree with someone who insults their professional ability.
     
  10. CT249
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    CT249 Senior Member

    I agree with a lot of what you say, but freestanding rigs on yachts can be great for some people, even those who are clearly not simple minded.
     
  11. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    I used to own a 34 foot sharpie with a cat schooner rig. An advantage of it was to be able to depower downwind. Also, I could hoist or take down the sails at any wind angle. It is hard to beat two pine logs for simplicity.
     
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  12. bajansailor
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    bajansailor Marine Surveyor

    Gonzo, could your masts rotate, to allow the sails to feather into the wind, even when running downwind?
     
  13. Will Gilmore
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    Will Gilmore Senior Member

    Why do you want to depower downwind? Is that a wind strength thing or something else?
     
  14. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    Sometimes to control speed. For example, when coming into a dock or mooring.
     

  15. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    No, they were fixed masts. The sails were laced and the boom had jaws.
     
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