The choice of a sail rig for long range
offshore cruising is not simple and because of the intense effort that has
gone into the development and refinement of the "Bermudian" rig, also known
as the Marconi, most folks are under the impression that this rig is the
way to go. What is also true is that because of this follow the leader kind
of mentality, the majority of boats come equipped with this style of rig.
In case you aren't totally familiar with some of these terms, keep in mind
that the bulk of all the sailboats you will ever see, are of this type; ketch,
yawl, sloop, cutter. The so called old style rigs would be Junk/Lug rig
and Schooner. The simple reason for all this attention to the Bermudian
rig is stark: the quest for speed and upwind at that.
As a practical matter a case can be made that the older style rigs are
not THAT much slower upwind and the cost in terms of rigging, sails, winches
and stressed rigging is considerable. None of these disadvantages is necessarily
of any advantage to someone out to do long range cruising. Read the materials
about Junk rigs and you will see what I mean.
Michael Kasten is much in favor of Junk/Lug rigs or Schooner for long
range cruising. See his web site for the details.
If this all seems a little vague, then sink your teeth into this. The Junk
rig is inexpensive to make and maintain. It requires very little rigging and
if it is slower going to windward, well then, put the money into your diesel
engine and it's fuel. Because, what you will save on one hand you can have
available to spend on the other, if you want. The Junk rig is safer, much
easier to handle and if it rips, well you can just keep on sailing until you
have time to mend it.
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Copyright 2003. Captain Michael
P. Maurice. All rights reserved.