Junk rig vs balanced lug

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by Resnova, Aug 11, 2015.

  1. Resnova
    Joined: Aug 2015
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    Location: London

    Resnova New Member

    Please bare with the long intro to my request for advice. My boat is an Alan Pape Ebbtide rigged as a junk-rigged schooner. I may not be as evangelical as some junk rig owners, but I like the rig and feel its compromises work for me and the cruising I do, currently along the south coast of France. I have however found some of the supposed benefits of the junk rig are not quite as I expected as a sort of solo sailor (my wife is no sailor, nor ever pretended to be so offers little or sometimes no help). The sails are heavy and even with the 4-1 purchase they are a real bugger to get up from the cockpit. Possible, but I don't ever really want to try very often and even then the heaving necessary, even in the confines of the cockpit are dangerous. Standing by the masts and then tweaking them in the cockpit with a winch works fine, but wasn't what I expected. Also the idea of reefing from the cockpit. When I did this reaching in a bit of a blow the sail shape was horrible. The bottom batten didn't sit on the boom and other battens, but lifted with the wind and introduced a lot of twist. Thinking about it (as I hadn't done before) I had lost the tension in the tack and therefore any ability to shape the sail. There are other things as well.
    So finally coming to my question. The main advantage the junk has over the balanced lug seems to be control of twist and ease of reefing, all from the comfort of the cockpit. I am more than willing to accept that my own skills may well exacerbate any problems, but having read about improvements in balanced lug sails through racing, reducing twist and pointing, I wonder if I should convert my boat to a balanced lug schooner. Lighter sails, easier to raise albeit with heavier cloth and a massive reduction of rope in the cockpit. She is 36' long and weighs in around 9.5 tons. Could I simply draw up a sail plan based on the existing mast positions?
    All comments welcome though I am not sure I have the energy to read many bermudan rig good, junk rig bad arguments. There are already enough of them on the internet without me clogging up the ether.
    Thanks in advance,
    Dermot
     
  2. Rurudyne
    Joined: Mar 2014
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    Location: North Texas

    Rurudyne Senior Member

    Hi,

    A (probably dumb) question: have you investigated lighter junk rig sails?

    What, for example, are your battens made from? Or what weight of cloth is being used? Are you using the cambered variety (it seems to me like these are possibly slightly heavier than flat) and if so could you get by with less camber if that would lighten them?
     
  3. gggGuest
    Joined: Feb 2005
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    Location: UK

    gggGuest ...

    The question, I suppose, is whether your problems are intrinsic to junk rigs in general, so that one is never going to suit you, or just that the implementation on your boat is very poor, maybe lots of friction in the halyard arrangements and the like, which is making for unnecessary effort.

    Before spending any money it might be worth finding someone with a really well set up junk rig and going for a sail on their boat. If might turn out that you could make the rig satisfactory by spending a moderate amount of cash on detailed setup rather than a large amount on a whole new rig.
     
  4. Resnova
    Joined: Aug 2015
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    Location: London

    Resnova New Member

    Hi and thanks for the answers,
    The rig is pretty much straight out of Practical Junk Rig as far as I can tell. The sails are flat cut and the battens are all timber except for three GRP poles donated by another junk sailor when I had to replace three broken ones. The sail cloth is certainly light, though I couldn't say what weight exactly.
    gggGuest: I am sure I could improve on the halyard arrangement to some extent with larger pullies when I can find/afford them, but that is only one of the problems. I have sailed on two other junks, one single masted and one schooner though both were shorter, lighter and with smaller sails than mine. Don't get me wrong, I am happy with the rig. She sails very well off the wind, better than I expected even in light winds and I also like the aesthetics of the junk rig. I was really only wondering about the pros and cons of the junk vs balanced lug since the twist and pointing ability of the lug seems to have been improved, the sails are lighter and with infinitely less rope to get caught up in every time I tack or jibe. I can assure you, I won't be sorry to leave her as she is, albeit with whatever improvements I can achieve, if I can get no firm advice on balanced lugs, good or bad. I could go into more detail of the minor problems I have had, but that may be for another forum.
    Thanks again for the interest,
    Dermot
     

  5. Rurudyne
    Joined: Mar 2014
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    Location: North Texas

    Rurudyne Senior Member

    Cool, you've got battens to compare with battens, not oranges.

    I've no advice to figuring out cloth weight -- I suppose you could approach a local sewing club or what have you for actual help estimating that -- but I guess, as you know, it shouldn't be too hard to put one of each on a scale. Have you done that yet? That would give you an idea how much total weight you'd save on new battens without spending a dime (I do recall reading that timber makes for heavy battens).
     
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