What's wrong with Lug Rigs?

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by bergwerk, Aug 7, 2016.

  1. bergwerk
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    bergwerk Junior Member

    After watching a ~30ft mono double ender with a balanced lug rig tack the ICW singlehanded in windy conditions, I'm left wondering why this rig isn't seen on more boats.
    All the guy had to do was push the tiller over. I mean how much simpler can you make sailing?

    The two of us worked up a sweat on a borrowed Catalina 30 and we heeled quite a bit while he was almost flat.

    Call me impressed.
     
  2. upchurchmr
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    upchurchmr Senior Member

    They look ugly - IMHO :p

    Actually the only thing I have heard is that they don't go to weather as well as a Marconi rig.
    The performance on opposite tacks should be different.

    Someone who likes them will be along shortly, there are a lot of them on this forum.
     
  3. TeddyDiver
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    TeddyDiver Gollywobbler

    That's not a problem with dipping lug, and it's better than Marconi close hauled.
     
  4. bergwerk
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    bergwerk Junior Member

    The dipping lug would be more work though.
    That boat pointed as high as we were and looked better doing it. Factor the cost advantage of his rig and it's a winner in my book.
     
  5. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    The amount of heel on the boats is not directly related to the type of rig. Maybe you guys were overpowering the Catalina 30. The main doesn't need to be touched when you tack, and the sheets are not that much work either. One person cranks the winches and the other tails the sheet.
     
  6. upchurchmr
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    upchurchmr Senior Member

    Its my understanding that a lug rig is significantly lower than a Bermudian.
    That should have an effect on heel.
    Of course you can let the main twist off till the top is not really doing anything.

    Never sailed a lug, somebody explain.
     
  7. CT249
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    CT249 Senior Member

    Teddy, where is the evidence that lug is faster upwind? If it's faster, why did thousands of racing sailors shift from lug to gunter and then marconi? Were they all stupid??? If the boats that stuck with lug rig went faster, how could all the racing sailors somehow miss seeing it?

    The change from lug to gaff, gunter and bermudan in the late 1800s and early 1900s was driven by many people in many different classes, from canoes to yachts. What are the chances that they ALL got it wrong, and that no one ever noticed that the marconi boats were going slower?

    Bergwerk, where's the evidence that the lug is cheaper, all else being equal?

    As Gonzo says, the heel (and speed) of two boats is affected by many things other than the rig type.
     
  8. Richard Woods
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    Richard Woods Woods Designs

    I agree, if alternative rigs were better then racing boats would use them. Race boat designers and sailors are skilled people and are aware of what goes on in the rest of the sailing world

    I have sailed a dipping lug schooner. I would compare tacking one to dip pole gybing a conventional spinnaker. Ie its hard work and not something a fore deck crew wants to do every few minutes (and yes we did short tack it, and yes I was "foredeck"). I have also sailed balanced lugs like Caledonia yawl and Goat Island Skiff. Their owners said they were not as fast to windward as a "conventional" rig

    The offset mast definitely slows the boat on one tack. That became obvious to me over the winter when I raced a Sunfish, which also has an offset mast. One tack was much quicker than the other

    The cost of a sail is in part the area, in part the time it takes to do the edges and corners. So logically a less efficient-over-all lug sail has to be bigger than a bermudian rig. And it has 4 sides, not 3. So 4 edges and 4 corners.

    The only way a lugsail can be cheaper is by using cheaper cloth

    Richard Woods
     
  9. bergwerk
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    bergwerk Junior Member

    No headsail present, doesn't that cost money? How fast is a Marconi under main alone?

    For outright speed there is no doubt in my mind that the Marconi is the state of the art while the balanced lug and it's cousin the junk rig are from another age when hulls were the primary limiting factor.

    It is the simplicity of the rig that I find attractive but I'm also weary of shortcomings such as heave-to etc. For general knocking about singlehanded it is however in my opinion a much easier jump aboard and go than a Marconi.

    Less heeling could be a function of the shorter height and balance of the sail, no?
     
  10. CT249
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    CT249 Senior Member

    Berg, you're completely right when you note that the hulls and the rigs must match each other. I'm interested because I'm actually writing a blog post about the world's most popular lug racing boat - the International 12. It's a very important boat in the history of dinghy development and I found it charming to sail, but as far as I can see it just underlines how some rigs suit some boats and people and others don't. The lug on the Int 12 I sailed suited the owner/builder's way of just hopping on board and going, but it wouldn't suit me because of the way I like to stow my sails and where I like to keep my boat.

    Until I saw Richard's post I'd never realised the extra expense involved in making a lug sail, but it's interesting to see that if you compare like to like, the lug doesn't seem to be any cheaper. After reading his post I looked up the price list for one sailmaker in the Netherlands, where the world's most popular lugsail boat, the Int 12, is very popular. The prices for sails of comparable areas are;

    Int 12 (lug, approx 9m2) = 808 euros cruising cloth, 962 euros racing cloth
    470 mainsail = 776/924
    Finn = 623/1297
    O Jolle (11.5m) = 834/993
    Piraat mainsail (approx 8m) = 410/488
    Sharpie mainsail (gaff, approx 9m) = 762/908
    Yngling = 777/925

    So interestingly (and ignoring the Finn racing sail which is a string laminate sail) the lug is the most expensive for its area and the gaff the second most expensive for its area.

    It's also interesting to see that where the rules allow it and the competition of a big fleet demands it (as in the Italian version of the International 12) the boats are set up to be as high-tech as a bermudan rig, with Harken ratchet blocks, spectra lines, Stay-lok adjusters, multi-purchase vang, outhaul and downhaul lead back to the skipper, a pre-bent yard and that sort of thing. It's a fun rig to use and for what it's used for it's brilliant, as is the boat. But faster? Definitely not usually. Cheaper? Perhaps not, if you compare like to like.

    In the short tacking in a breeze that you were doing a fractionally-rigged marconi rig with a short-overlap or self-tacking headsail, a fractional rig just using the mainsail, or even a masthead rig with a good #3 headsail could possibly have gone well and stayed flat.
     
  11. TeddyDiver
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    TeddyDiver Gollywobbler

    Lug, as Richard says is quite labour insentive, and that is the the crux. More time and crew needed for tacking.. Aerodynamically it's (dipping lug) superior compared to most sails, given the sails are made equal materials etc..

    BR Teddy
     
  12. CT249
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    CT249 Senior Member

    Sorry, Teddy, but where is the evidence that the lug is superior aerodynamically? We have America's Cup-winning aerodynamic experts and Finnish sailmaking CFD experts on this very forum who tell us that the bermudan rig's mast doesn't harm airflow as we used to think, so why would the dipping lug be superior?

    Where's the evidence that crew and cost were the issue that lead the lug to be dropped? I'm very interested in the history of that time so I'd love to find some sources. The lug was dropped in the UK Raters, for example, at a time when they had widely-varying numbers of crew, and were noticeably cheap by the standards of their owners. I can't find any explanation that mentions cost or crew as the reason for dumping the lug.

    Do you really think that the Mothies, the 18 Foot Skiff sailors, the shorthanded racers and other people rejected the dipping lug because of cost or crew reasons? Why do you think people who are innovative enough to create foilers would ignore a rig if it was faster?

    Did Nigel Irens, who designs lug cruisers, really use carbon fibre tube and wing masts on his offshore racing tris instead of lug rigs, because the lug rigs were too costly and complex? In that case why do people claim they are cheap and why did fishermen use them?

    Why would Nigel put a fast but expensive and complex rig on his cruisers, and put a cheaper and less complex rigs on the boats he created for pro racers?
     
  13. Richard Woods
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    Richard Woods Woods Designs

    You should also check the Lymington Scow if you want to see how sophisticated and expensive a lug sail boat can be

    FWIW this year I have sailed boats with the following rigs: Freedom 45, unstayed mainsail only: Bahamian class A sloop, huge headboarded gaffmainsail and ultralong boom; Sunfish, lateen rig: 23ft traditional 18C dipping lug schooner: Laser, unstayed single sail: Catalina 36, AWB: 1949 traditional wood sloop: 35ft racing catamaran, rotating mast, square top mainsail: plus a few others...

    The dipping lug was physically the hardest to sail, the Bahamian sloop the trickiest. The Sunfish the weirdest, as the boat performed so differently on each tack. The catamaran was by far the fastest to windward and most fun to sail. The Freedom 45 the slowest and most boring.

    Richard Woods
     
  14. sharpii2
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    sharpii2 Senior Member

    First I will raise a defense for the ubiquitous Bermuda sail.

    It is ever bit as possible to make an inexpensive version of it as it is to make an inexpensive version of a Lug sail.

    Basically, you need a tall mast, a reasonably long Boom, a Vang to keep the clew end of the boom from rising, a Sheet line, and a Halyard. That's all there is to the basic Bermuda main. You can get more and more fancy, adding more and more subtle controls, and even change its profile shape from a triangle to just about any profile shape you fancy.

    Doing so probably improves the performance, but certainly magnifies the price.

    The Lug sail requires all the working parts of a basic Bermuda sail. Its Vang is a hold-down sometimes referred to as a down-haul. But it also requires a Yard, in exchange for a shorter mast.

    This yard can be an inconvenient spar which one with BR doesn't have to even think about.

    When things get interesting is when one has to reef the simple BR or a simple LR.

    What happens is the Center of Area (CA) of the BR moves quite far forward when the sail is shortened. So if the boat had good balance under full sail, it is very likely to develop a significant lee helm once the sail is shortened. This is especially true if the boat has just one sail.

    Depending on its design, a LR's CA can stay pretty much where it was under full sail, when its sail is shortened.

    This can be a major advantage on a cruising dinghy, where shortening sail is a way of life, as opposed to a racing dinghy where the sail is rarely ever shortened.

    Once one goes from one sail to two or more, another advantage of the BR over the LR pops up.

    Because all the Sail Area (SA) of a BR main is behind the mast, it is easy to add a jib in front of it. If the jib is the right proportion in size to the main, it can be dosed entirely without moving the the CA too far aft, eliminating one major objection to the simple BR.

    If you want to add more SA to a LR boat, you must either increase the size of the main, or add another mast.

    So now it may seem the BR has the LR beat hands down.

    Not so fast.

    With a cruising boat, a very tall mast can be a bit of a handicap, particularly if there are any bridges to get under, or if the mast has to be taken down frequently. With its relatively long Yard, the LR can have a much shorter mast. This shorter mast, even if its heavier than the taller BR one, can be much easier to take down. In many cases it may be shorter than the boat, a huge advantage if you have an open boat and trailer it every time you go sailing.

    A third advantage the LR has over the BR, is the mast on a single sail version can be placed a bit further aft. This can make it easier to get to on a small boat, where the crew weight affects the trim of the boat a great deal. That and the weight of the somewhat horizontal Yard, can shift the weight of the rig further aft, which can be a big help too.

    A forth advantage of the LR is the weight of the often inconvenient Yard itself. if the halyard is ever let go, the sail will come down immediately.
    Not so with the BR. It often has to pulled down, hand over hand. And, with its lung Luff, that can go on for some time.

    I've come to realize that most of the advantages of the BR are in performance, where as most of the advantages of the LR are in operations.

    While I was a member of the pdracer discussion group, I kept track of the various sail rigs chosen for the fleet. I did this until the fleet reached around 100 boats.

    The two most popular rigs at that time were the Leg-O-Mutton (LOM) (a very simple version of the BR, with no Vang or Halyard) and the Balanced Lug. At that time there were 29 boats with the LOM and 28 with the Balanced Lug. There were also 20 boats with the more conventional BR, with the same three basic sail control parts listed above. The fourth most popular rig was the Boom Lateen, with 10 boats.

    As the years have gone by, I've watched the LOM rig and the BL continue to slug it out to be the dominant rig in the fleet.

    Some pdracers have been used for raid style cruises (mostly down wind), when used for this purpose the LR is used almost exclusively.
     

  15. TeddyDiver
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    TeddyDiver Gollywobbler

    Lug sail has the same shape as square top (bermudan) main without a mast disturbing the suction side flow, period.. The snag with lug lies in other aspects as said in other posts including same as you also mentioned..

    BR Teddy
     
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