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Old 29-01-2011, 10:03   #1
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From Masthead to Fractional Rig

I always liked fractional Rig Boats. Smaller head sails seem like a better way to go. I had this idea the other day about increasing the size of my Mainsail. My boat is a Sceptre 41 and sails very well for a cruising boat but I was wondering is it possible to add say five or ten feet to the top of my mast so that I had good sail area for light winds by only using a 100% jib. If the wind picked up I could reef down to the normal mast height and then from there the boat would sail like it did before the added mast height. This would be very costly so I don't know how I could afford it but I sure like the idea. Is it feasible?
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Old 29-01-2011, 10:08   #2
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If you add to the mast height without adding ballast to the keel, you're going to screw up the boat's balance. I think a better plan would be to get a sailmaker to build you a square-top main with tons of roach. Much less penalty for that in terms of weight aloft.
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Old 29-01-2011, 11:42   #3
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Assuming this is for a closehaul or reach.

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Originally Posted by Bash View Post
If you add to the mast height without adding ballast to the keel, you're going to screw up the boat's balance. I think a better plan would be to get a sailmaker to build you a square-top main with tons of roach. Much less penalty for that in terms of weight aloft.
Ditto!!! More mast, more trouble.

Have you considered adding a baby stay or a solent stay to give you more head sail area in light winds. Also they are good for when the wind gets above 25-30 kt too.
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Old 29-01-2011, 11:52   #4
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A Scepter 41 Turbo, very doable. And expensive. Don't really need more ballast unless she is already tender. You'll simply reef earlier. Cheaper option would be a full size genoa. But then there's the headsail roller reeding problem.
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Old 29-01-2011, 12:38   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bash View Post
If you add to the mast height without adding ballast to the keel, you're going to screw up the boat's balance. I think a better plan would be to get a sailmaker to build you a square-top main with tons of roach. Much less penalty for that in terms of weight aloft.
I like that idea of adding Roach I also have a longer boom so between extra roach and the longer Boom I might be able to make this work w/o as much $$$



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Ditto!!! More mast, more trouble.

Have you considered adding a baby stay or a solent stay to give you more head sail area in light winds. Also they are good for when the wind gets above 25-30 kt too.
Adding mast would complicate the boat meaning I would have to add running back stays. They would only be used in light winds say under 15 knots. After that I could put a reef point in to the height of the original mast and then the boat would have the same sailing characteristics in heavy air. It is now a true cutter rig but I have never flown the staysail and the jib at the same time. Maybe I should try that but I want to simplify my tacks. and the sheets going around the staysail won't do that.


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A Scepter 41 Turbo, very doable. And expensive. Don't really need more ballast unless she is already tender. You'll simply reef earlier. Cheaper option would be a full size genoa. But then there's the headsail roller reeding problem.
She's not a tender boat at all. I wouldn't be moving the Center of Effort fore and aft but vertically I would be. As I said above the first reef would take the boat back to original conditions and with the small jib I am good till about 25 knots. Then I have the choice of a second reef or rolling up the jib and setting the staysail.

I think it is a good idea but the cost would be a killer. I'm going to look at the longer boom and an extended roach first but if anyone has more Ideas I'd love to here from them.
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Old 29-01-2011, 13:20   #6
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Talking from nothing but seat of the pants/gut feeling...so beware of opinions offered below...however have sailed fractional
rigged boat for many years.
See if you can have a conversation with your designer or if not
a designer...
Fractional rig main has much longer foot than masthead rig.
Fractional rig has mast positioned forward of masthead rig
and with swept back spreaders.
Center of effort vs Center of lateral resistance changes, which
will effect balance of helm...weather/lee helm.
Seems that you would be making a tall rig version, not fractional rig.
You might want to explore a new boom and mainsail with
longer foot (and larger roach as suggested by Bash) my
30' fractional rig main has a foot of 13', this is larger than
usual masthead main, about the size of a 34-35' boat.
But this is serious design territory, not to be done without
proper designer scrutiny.
My suggestion if proved out before hand is to explore larger
foot and roach on main with current mast height and see what
that does to reduce headsail to 100 % you were looking for.
Does your boat currently have weather/ lee helm tendencies?
Haven't even thought about engineering involved in extending
mast!
We have an accomplished designer who is a member of the forum, perhaps around he might weigh in.
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Old 29-01-2011, 13:33   #7
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Charlie, just read your last post ..."you already have longer boom and extended roach" sounds good... far less adventure and boatbucks! Let us know how you go.
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Old 29-01-2011, 13:33   #8
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Why not just get a jib made with a shorter luff. You would basically be the same as a fractional rig, and still be able to fly your regular sails without expensive modifications...
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Old 29-01-2011, 13:42   #9
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G'Day Charlie,

If as I remember the Sceptre has in-line spreaders, things would be a bit dicey with your suggested setup: the runners would be required at all times (no useful and supportive standing backstay) and fluffing the runners when tacking with the full main would threaten the mast significantly. Once reefed you can leave both runners set (if your new big roach clears them).

On Insatiable II with swept back spreaders the mast is fairly well supported without the runners and I still worry about things when tacking in more than 15 knots or so!!

I reckon that the longer boom might work out, but that does move the CE aft and would exacerbate any weather helm issues you might have. A big roach wouldn't likely do as much...

All sounds like fun, though!

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Old 29-01-2011, 14:25   #10
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I think there is enough play in the mast to where I can adjust the rake to compensate for weather helm. Right now the boat is neutral helmed. It tracks really well upwind and downwind. The whole idea is to get more sail area in the main in order to not need an overlapping jib which is a pain to tack. If I were designing a boat I would specify that the sail area was sufficient to sail the boat in light winds say under 12 knots with a 100% jib and then I would reef down when it got over 12 knots. I like the idea of just having a 100% jib and a storm sail for headsails. I'll talk to a designer about extending the boom length and adding roach. I don't think that those things would be nearly as aexpensive when it is time for a new main.
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Old 29-01-2011, 14:54   #11
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I've owned fractionals and mastheads. Racing. It's all about headsail luff length. Fractionals are not optimal in light conditions all else being equal. That said, self tacking or easy tacking headsails are nice. The ideas above are all good. Going to swept spreaders would be a serious change. Going turbo would imply moving the standing backstay up and using runners. That's no big deal in itself. Runners are not as big a pain as a roach that hangs up on the backstay. I've had that too. Makes one regret every tack in light conditions... Unless one has a full race crew.
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Old 29-01-2011, 15:08   #12
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Perhaps just having new sails built out of exotic materials available today with modern design will help enough that other hardware changes won't be needed.
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Old 29-01-2011, 15:35   #13
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I've gone from masthead to fractional and then back to masthead. I prefer a masthead rig because I can balance the sails through a greater range of conditions.
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Old 29-01-2011, 15:42   #14
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Perhaps just having new sails built out of exotic materials available today with modern design will help enough that other hardware changes won't be needed.
Agreed. If it's more power you want, you'd be better off throwing your money at a sailmaker than a sparbuilder.
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Old 29-01-2011, 18:35   #15
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IMHO the best rig for normal sailing conditions is a fractional rig with a self tacking jib plus a light-air sail on a furler in front of the jib. You see this rig on the new Tartans, on the Seawind cats and in quite a few other places.

As for sails, yes there are exotic materials but doesn't high quality dacron outlast everything else?
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