Mast Aft Rig Sailboats For Disability?

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by Barraqda, May 25, 2012.

  1. Barraqda
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    Barraqda New Member

    I am looking for day cruisers or family cruisers sailboats with mast aft rig. I hear the rig can be easily controlled from one place and as such it should be ideal for people with disabilities?

    I would appreciate any comments on this rig system from this perspective and if you can point me to any pictures, videos and plans of sailboats with this rig.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. Alik
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    Alik Senior Member

  3. Barraqda
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    Barraqda New Member

    I was hoping for more information then that from wikipedia. Is it possible there are no informations, plans and pictures for this kind of boats? :confused:
  4. Doug Lord
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    Doug Lord Flight Ready

  5. messabout
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    messabout Senior Member

    Why would an aft mast rig be any easier to control than a conventional unarig?

    The aft mast sail will need a boom because a handicapped person would not want to manipulate a whisker pole on an offwind leg. The sail will need a mainsheet, probably a vang, and a halyard. A conventional unarig would need no more lines than the aft masted one. I see no advantage in using an odd ball rig.
  6. masalai
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    masalai masalai

    The essence is the removal of a boom and using something in the style of a "hitch-Hiker" rig as developed by John Hitch and uses a pair of flat cut genoa on roller reefing, and a small blade sail in close to the mast to facilitate work in stronger winds when the genoa are completely furled (winds across the deck exceed 20 knots in my case)... Send John or his wife Wanda an email for more information... Only works on a cat as each sail is from either bow, not in the centre of the fore beam as most cats still rig as per monohull criteria...
  7. sharpii2
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    sharpii2 Senior Member

    I take it the mast aft rig is to eliminate the handicapped person from being thwacked by the boom.

    If so, there are other ways to accomplish this.

    Below is my 'Pencil' rig, which is for a small boat used for angling.

    Here is a description to go along with the picture:


    This proposed rig is a for a hybrid boat. In this case a boat that is part rowboat and part sailboat. Where the sailing is done mainly in stronger winds and rowing is done for lesser wind strengths. To be really successful it should be able to be rowed and sailed at the same time.

    For the purpose of recreational fishing, it would be nice to have a rig that doesn't foul your fishing pole every time you change tacks. It would also be nice to adjust your sail area easily to control your speed over the bottom.

    This is what this rig is all about.

    It has a total of three sails. Each is either fully set or completely struck.

    The first is the MAIN SAIL (1.). It is set below the BOOM (4.) and is lashed directly to to the BOOM and the MAST (8.).

    Above it and lashed only to the BOOM is the TOP SAIL (2.). A JACK LINE (not shown) keeps it's luff from fluttering too far on either side of the mast.

    In front of the MAST is the BALANCED JIB (3.). It's foot is lashed to the JIB BOOM (6.), which is attached to the boat with a TETHER (7.). It's top corner is held up with a halyard (not shown).

    Setting Sail

    First, the MAIN HALYARD (5.) raises the aft end of the boom. This sets the MAIN SAIL.

    Then, the BRAILE/DOWNHAUL (10.) is slacked and the TOP SAIL halyard pulled, raising the TOP SAIL.

    Finally. The jib halyard is pulled, raising the BALANCED JIB.

    Striking Sail

    The sails will usually be struck in reverse order, with the BALANCED JIB coming down first and the MAIN SAIL coming down last.

    Sometimes, when the skipper wishes to troll down wind, for example, the jib will be the only sail set.

    In really windy conditions, the MAIN SAIL will be left up to help the skipper make port against a headwind, as he rows as well.

    Once the main halyard is slacked, the MAINSAIL should collapse quite reliably. It should set quite reliably as well, as there are no sliding parts invloved.


    The biggest drawback with with this rig, is that the Horizontal Center of Area (HCA) shifts considerably when the BALANCED JIB is set or struck. This can be dealt with in a number of ways:

    1.) A long centerboard, or long side centerboard (sometimes called a lee board) can be swept further aft, once the BALANCED JIB is struck.

    2.) A fore and aft sliding dagger board, or side dagger board can be slid forward, when the BALANCED JIB is up and be slid aft when it is down, or

    3.) A smaller centerboard in the bow can be lowered when the BALANCED JIB is set and raised when it is struck.

    Another drawback is that the mast must be quite heavy and stiff for the amount of sail it actually sets. This is because it must stand the tension of the BALANCED JIB's halyard and must be free standing. This, in itself, will seriously limit the amount of sail area that can be carried, making this rig best as an auxiliary sail, not a main propulsion rig.

    Lastly, there is the inefficiency of having the MAIN SAIL divided up into two smaller, triangular sails, with the BOOM in the middle, instead of at the foot, where it would serve as an end plate.


    There are no expensive moving parts. Just about all the hardware is simple and straight forward

    The jib comes down into the cockpit, instead of sliding down a fore stay, far from the skipper.

    Shortening sail is easier than on just about any other simple rig, except a Chinese lug.

    Attached Files:

  8. rob denney
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    rob denney Senior Member

    Depending on the type of boat and disability a more suitable rig may be a ballestron. One sheet controls both the jib and the mainsail and the loads are very light. There is a video of a ballestron rig on a 15m boat at This is an 80 sqm rig with a single 2:1 sheet.

    If the crew cannot move from side to side, the best type of boat may be a proa which is sailed with the crew always sitting on the same side. To allow this to happen, the boat shunts rather than tacking which not only requires no crew movement, but is much safer and less likely to go wrong than a tack or a gybe.

    A sister ship of the boat in the first video was specifically designed for visually impaired people to go sailing in Holland. Requirements were a flat, enclosed deck, no need to go to the ends of the boat, a safe rig and most importantly, be fast and responsible enough for the crew to feel the speed.



  9. brian eiland
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    brian eiland Senior Member

    Perhaps you might have a look at this rig developed by an older navy guy with a disability.
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