Why do people keep on claiming that sailors are conservative about rigs?

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by CT249, Oct 16, 2016.

  1. CT249
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    CT249 Senior Member

    Time and time again we see claims that sailors prefer the bermudan sloop because of conservatism. However, we also know what classes are the most popular ones, and they show the opposite. Here's the list of the most popular international racing classes in order of current sales volume, with brief rig descriptions;

    Optimist - freestanding sprit cat short batten
    Laser - pocket luff freestanding cat short batten, two part mast
    Sunfish - freestanding lateen short batten
    RS Aero - freestanding carbon spar fathead, part short/part full batten, two part mast
    Hobie 16 - stayed rotating-mast full batten sloop
    RS Feva - Assymetric spin sloop, low-tension stays, two part mast, part short/full battens -
    Int 420 - conventional sloop
    RS Tera - pocket luff unstayed cat
    Topper - pocket luff unstayed cat
    Finn 1000 - wing-masted unstayed cat
    J/70 - stayed assymetric sloop, full battens
    470 - conventional sloop
    Formula 18 - wing masted square top assymetric spi sloop
    29er - Assymetric spi square top full batten sloop
    49er/FX - Assymetric spi square top full batten sloop
    Moth - pocket luff stayed squaretop full batten cat
    Byte CII - pocket luff freestanding squaretop full batten
    RS 100 - Cat, semi-stayed, assy
    A Class - wing mast stayed squaretop full batten
    Snipe 384 - conventional

    So only 3 of the top 20 selling boat classes internationally have "conventional" rigs. If we look at the most popular national classes in major sailing nations, we see the following sort of rigs;

    * Stayed full-batten cat (Solo)
    * Stayed short/full batten cat (Sabre, Aust)
    * Wing mast full-batten stayed sloop (Tasar, Aust)
    * Conventional sloop with sym spinnaker (Thistle, Lightning, Flying Scot, USA)
    * Stayed full-battened assy sloop (RS 400/200, UK)
    * Stayed gaff cat rig (12' Italy/Netherlands)
    * Stayed full-batten sloop with symm spinnaker (Sharpie, Aust)
    * Stayed short batten cat (M16 etc, USA)

    Surely this enormous variety of rigs among the most popular of classes indicates that the many and varied claims that sailors are "conservative" or "prejudiced" are complete rubbish. When rigs that are as disparate as the Formula 18, Opti, 420 and Sunfish are in the top 20 out of the hundreds of classes that are sold around the world, it's apparent that sailors are actually very willing to adopt any rig that really works for them.
     
  2. gggGuest
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    gggGuest ...

    Perhaps a bigger mystery is why folk who, for whatever reason, favour a radically different rig for recreational craft, feel the need to make a performance comparison with racing rigs which they are bound to lose. There are advantages and disadvantages to just about every style of rig for different uses and circumstances, and to me it would make more sense to say "if this is what you are doing with your craft, then this rig has these major virtues".

    After all "it works adequately and I think it looks really good on my boat" is a perfectly reasonable justification for a choice, but one you rarely see made...
     
  3. MikeJohns
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    MikeJohns Senior Member



    Small unballasted craft have a myriad of rigs and onedesign classes have the advantage of encouraging different rigs .

    But for larger ballasted monohulls the rig design is a quite different paradigm. Factors in race boat design such as driving force to weight, and rated sail area trickle down into fashion for production cruisers. For the factories there's also the cost factor where a lighter and cheaper sloop is a more profitable option.
     
  4. Petros
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    Petros Senior Member

    it has nothing to do with conservatism, the fastest sailing craft in the world, the ones that set all the records, uses a sloop or cutter rig, even if the hull is totally unconventional.

    that is becasue the optimized bermudan rig is the most efficient rig yet devised.

    The Oracle American's cup tri is anything but conservative, as are all its competitors, yet all have a bermudan rig.

    There may be an optimized cat rig that can out perform an optimized modern slope on some points of sail, but in overall performance over long distances in varying conditions, the sloop rig is tough to beat.
     
  5. mydauphin
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    mydauphin Senior Member

    IT is about money... do you want to invest in something that works or something that doesn't. Boat stuff ain't cheap. So unless you are a billionaire you try to keep within the laws of physics, that is unless you are a inexperience noob that thinks his solar sailer will hydrofoil and cross the Atlantic, becuase you think it should....
     
  6. MikeJohns
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    MikeJohns Senior Member


    The fastest sailboats in the world are always sailing to windward when they have enough wind to sail well. They will always have the best upwind rig.

    With the wind fwd the closest you can get to that single wing with elliptical loading the better. That's the critical angle of attack for the racing boat when pointing high. Bearing off a bit and anything reasonable will do well enough.
     
  7. Richard Woods
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    Richard Woods Woods Designs

  8. MikeJohns
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    MikeJohns Senior Member

    Richard

    I've seen Kestrel before (although I think the swept area should be the rating area not the blade area). I have Brabazon's autobiography it's a good read.

    The current fleet has precisely the rig we'd expect for a round the buoys racer with the best L/D to windward.
     
  9. Richard Woods
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    Richard Woods Woods Designs

    Agreed. The "sail area" of a propeller is its swept area. Interesting that, despite the "no spinnaker" rule, all boats are high aspect Bermudian, not gaffers or junk rigs

    RW
     
  10. brian eiland
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    brian eiland Senior Member

    I will see if 'High Tacker' wants to join this conversation. He experimented with several unusual sailing rigs, including a propeller driven one.

    Here is one posting of his:
     
  11. brian eiland
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    brian eiland Senior Member

    Explanation Of A Boat Rotary Sailing Directly To Windward

    Ah ha, here is one posting he made on the subject

     
  12. backyardbil
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    backyardbil Junior Member

    High Tacker just mounted a conventional land based turbine on a catamaran. Not the best way to do it. He created a monster. It worked but was hideously expensive and impractical. As indeed was the effort by Rob Denney (he would be the first to acknowledge that)
    If you look at this page: http://www.sailwings.net/rotaryhome.html
    This is Peter Worsley's website. There you can see the extensive research he did into it, including videos of model testing and a fullsize boat.
     
  13. gggGuest
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    gggGuest ...

    Note that the Brabazon Redwing was an autogiro, not a turbine/propellor boat. That means it sailed "conventionally" and couldn't, unlike the turbine/prop craft, sail directly into the wind.
     
  14. Richard Woods
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    Richard Woods Woods Designs

    IIRC in one race he crossed the start line at full speed on starboard tack, but going backwards

    RW
     

  15. CT249
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    CT249 Senior Member

    Good posts! Like ggggGGuest, I'm almost mystified by the number of people who insist on claiming that the rig they personally favour is faster. It tastes as if their basic motivation is often more about trying to demonstrate that they are smarter/more innovative/less prejudiced than "the common herd" than anything to do with sailing per se.

    While rating rules are a factor that affects the detail design of bermudan rigs, their effect on wider choices would seem to be a complex issue. Split rigs, cutters etc are normally allowed plenty of "free" unrated area or a reduced rating. If the extra area or reduced rating is not enough to make such boats completely competitive on all courses, is that "discrimination" against split rigs and cutters? If the system is changed so that boats with split rigs are completely competitive, doesn't the giving away of free area or a rating reduction amount to discrimination against bermudan rigs, when all the factors are considered?

    Basically, when people claim that the bermudan is favoured by rating rules, exactly what do they mean by that and how do they want rigs to be rated?
     
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