Who is making freestanding rigs today,

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by videorov, Apr 22, 2011.

  1. videorov
    Joined: Dec 2006
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    Location: Bradenton, Fla

    videorov Junior Member

    I have found the new Presto 30 looks cool for coastal crusing and can run it
    right up to the beach. I rememeber there where a few in the 80's I would
    see at my local Bradenton Yacht Club. I have been out of touch with what has been going in that world. Im thinking of sumething that I could get into
    shallow water like the Presto 30 and beach it too but would maybe want it
    to be a little larger if there is something out there like that.
  2. whitepointer23

    whitepointer23 Previous Member

    look up norwalk island sharpies. very nice boats with unstayed rigs ,
  3. Eric Sponberg
    Joined: Dec 2001
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    Eric Sponberg Senior Member

    There are very few. I believe that the Presto 30 rig is built by Composite Engineering in Concord, MA. They have built a few of my rigs. They also build the masts for Wylie Cats, and they build replacement carbon fiber masts for some of the Nonsuch models which originally had aluminum masts. Rob Denney at Harry Proa in Australia, a regular contributor to this forum, also builds free-standing rigs, both for his boats and for outside customers.

    Back in the late 1970s and 1980s, free-standing rigs were much more prevalent, but gradually those designs ceased production for one reason or another. Yet many of the boats were and continue to be very popular. Try to find a free-standing rigged boat on the used market today, and they are extremely rare. When they come up for sale, they are snatched up very quickly. The Freedoms are an example, as are the Herreschoff and Sparhawk cat-ketches for whom I designed their masts. TPI, who built the original Freedoms, built their own carbon fiber masts. Cat Ketch Corp (Herreshoff and Sparhawk) built their own carbon fiber masts. Offshore Yachts cat ketches, designed by Yves Tanton, also built their own carbon fiber masts.

    My yacht designs are usually custom (I'd welcome a production design, but I haven't had any inquiries that way in years), and I generally go to Composite Engineering for the masts. There are other builders who are capable of building such rigs, however. Composite Solutions in Hingham, MA, and GMT Composites in Bristol, RI, come to mind. Hall Spars, also in Bristol, RI, could build them as well. The builder for the GT80 sloop, being built now in Holland to an Arthur Peltzer hull design, will also build the rotating, free-standing carbon fiber wingmast rig to my design later this year. The Presto 30 is the first new production sailboat design to come along in a long time that sports a free-standing carbon fiber cat ketch rig--the best cruising sailboat rig ever, in my opinion.

  4. Vincent DePilli
    Joined: Apr 2006
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    Vincent DePilli Junior Member

    Hi Eric-- What do you think of the new Presto design? I like it a lot, but I wonder how you balance the boat when reefed. Seems like to stay balanced, you have to reef both sails, which is a lot of work, and results in very low profile inefficient sails. I assume the boat would not sail well at all with just one sail set...

  5. Eric Sponberg
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    Eric Sponberg Senior Member

    I think the Presto 30 is a breath of fresh air--FINALLY, someone is bringing out a new free-standing rig design, and a cat-ketch no less. It looks to be ideally suited for its intended purpose which is gunk-holing and short cruising or weekend trips. It is not necessarily a liveaboard boat for extended periods--it does not have the accommodation, stowage and weight for that. It's a nice looking boat; I like Rodger Martin's designs a lot. Good show.

    As for reefing, you do it in stages: start with the first reef in the mizzen, then take the next one in the main. The third will be in the mizzen again, and the last will be in the main again. After that, you go under bare poles.

    There are two major factors that people forget about reefing in high winds. The first applies directly to free-standing rigged boats: The mastheads bend off to leeward during gusts to spill the wind. This is a natural shock absorber that negates the need for reefing until it is really serious to do so. The second is this, and it applies to all boats: Generally, as the wind builds up, the boat heels more and develops more weather helm. To reduce weather helm, and heel, without reefing, pull up on the topping lift--you need a topping lift, and if you don't have one, put one on. Pulling up on the topping lift, raising the clew slightly, will twist the top of the sail off, thereby spilling the wind, reducing heel, and easing the weather helm back to proper balance. This is exactly what the free-standing rig does naturally by the masts bending off to spill the wind. You will not go slower--there is generally too much wind for that. You'll have less proper sailing power because your sail shape (on a stayed rig) has gone all to hell, but you will also have less drag because you are sailing more upright. This is how we balanced our boat crossing the Atlantic--it relieved the weather helm enough to keep the wind vane steering gear operating properly, and if the wind vane steering balances well, then you know you are sailing pretty comfortablly with low loads and easy movement.

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  6. Vincent DePilli
    Joined: Apr 2006
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    Vincent DePilli Junior Member

    Following is Rodger Martin's reply to my direct inquiry as to his experience sailing the Presto in strong winds, with specific reference to helm balance:


    Thanks for your email. The photos you refer to might be those on our website that sow Presto! sailing in Biscayne Bay last year in 30-35 knots. Definitely sails well in that condition (upwind/close-reaching) with just the fully reefed foresail. After a tack there is a moment of lee helm that disappears as soon as you accelerate on the new tack.

    My wife & I have just returned from a couple of months in Florida and the Bahamas and I can’t find enough praise for the way Presto! handles and eats up miles. We sailed her everywhere, on & off the hook while we only saw 3 sloops sailing in 32 days in the Bahamas! They motorsail upwind with the main up and motorsail downwind with the jib unrolled.

    We sailed where others couldn’t go and where you’d be a fool to take a keel boat where they could go. The rig has proven simple, safe and chafe free. We don’t even look up when we jibe anymore. We made 10.2 knots while towing the dinghy and always make 6, 7, 8 knots when there’s any breeze. We are very happy with her.

    The second boat, Thorfinn is headed your way as we speak, giving demonstration sails! Please get in touch with Belle Ryder belle@unionriverboat.com or Thor Emory at thore32@aol.com to see and possible sail the boat.

    Many thanks for your interest,

    All the best,

  7. Fastandoutside
    Joined: May 2011
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    Fastandoutside New Member

    In Thorfinn, the rig is very easy to adjust and balance to most conditions. You can reef the fore from the cockpit in about 30 seconds, as well as adjust snotter and topping lift. I've been reaching at 11 knots with main reefed and then with both reefed.
  8. rob denney
    Joined: Feb 2005
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    rob denney Senior Member

    We are. Current projects include a couple of unstayed telescoping wing masts (13m and 19m) which should be interesting. Apart from lower centre of gravity and windage when telescoped, they will fit in a container, making freight much cheaper. Also got some structurally interesting multihull beams on the go.

    Most of our stuff starts as infused flat panels which are bent to shape. Quicker and cheaper than mandrels and moulds, excellent quality and scope to do a lot more in respect of laminate optimisation, fittings and local reinforcement.

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  9. BenSchionning
    Joined: Jun 2011
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    Location: Hawks Nest, NSW

    BenSchionning Junior Member

    Schionning Designs just released a 31ft trailer sailor/cruiser monohull (yes, a mono!), it features two unstayed rigs. Might be of interest! :D

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