Learning to sail a Balance Lug

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by Borneogoat, Mar 10, 2010.

  1. Borneogoat
    Joined: Nov 2009
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    Location: Hobart, TAS

    Borneogoat Junior Member

    I will be embarking on a boat building project soon. Although all my limited sailing experience has been on Bermudian sloops, I'm leaning towards a balance lug for this boat. The plans are made for it and from what I've read it sounds good for a 15' daysailor that will be used solo often. Although I've found much about the pro's & con's of balance lugs vs other sail plans, I haven't had much luck finding info on the basics of sailing a BL. When the big launch day comes (months & months away yet), it would be nice to have a clue of what I'm supposed to do! Don't have any friends with one, so hands-on learning might be limited.

    Any suggestions on books, web-sites, etc?
  2. Milan
    Joined: Apr 2005
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    Location: The Netherlands

    Milan Senior Member

    John Leather's book Spritsails & lugsails.
  3. daiquiri
    Joined: May 2004
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    Location: Italy (Garda Lake) and Croatia (Istria)

    daiquiri Engineering and Design

    If you don't get the answer here, try www.woodenboat.com forum. You'll find some guys over there who use lugsails on regular basis - they will surely be able to give you some good hints.
  4. ancient kayaker
    Joined: Aug 2006
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    ancient kayaker aka Terry Haines

    Try googling "balanced lug rig"

    It is one of the easiest rigs to handle.
  5. bistros

    bistros Previous Member

    Time on the water!

    Like most things, theory is great but practice is one hell of a lot better. Just do it.

    It really helps if you develop simple metrics for measuring your progress - timing a known course etc. Seeing how changing rig setup affects actual Velocity Made Good (VMG) by comparing results to previous efforts makes a huge difference.

    It really helps to log your settings and results so you can review things over time and see what works. The problem with theory is that your particular boat has it's own "sweet spot", and doing what works for someone else may not be the right thing for you.

    Enjoy your boat and learn what makes it go fast the fun way. Turn off the computer and get on the water!

  6. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
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    gonzo Senior Member

    They are OK. I have sailed plenty of small boats and canoes with them. You have a good and a bad tack. The bad being the one the sail lays on the mast.
  7. Timothy
    Joined: Oct 2004
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    Location: canada

    Timothy Senior Member

    Google Goat Island Skiff. There are instructions on how to tune a balanced lug.

    Attached Files:

  8. sharpii2
    Joined: May 2004
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    Location: Michigan, USA

    sharpii2 Senior Member

    It should be no different than sailing a Bermudan rig. In fact it should be easier.

    Check out to see a lot of boats rigged with that type of sail.

    The Balance Lug is one of the two most popular sail types in the Puddle Duck fleet. It is runing neck and neck in popularity with the Bermuda like Leg-o-Mutton rig. The trick is to not have the boom and yard extend too far past the mast, and to have a hold down line attached to the boom right next to the mast to keep the boom from rising.

    A lot of these sails were built by the skippers, who have never built a sail before, and used successfully, even though they have never sailed before.
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