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Old 29-07-2015, 16:16   #1
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Sailboats with Free Standing Masts

Howdy Sailors!

One of the most important boat design decisions is "What kind of Rig?"

For many years I have been interested in the simplicity of the "Free Standing Mast" rigs seen on a variety of boat brands and types. Some of these boats are traditional "cat boats," some are "junk rig boats," and some are high tech boats.

I am starting this thread in order to put together some materials and videos and information and discussion on Free Standing Masts (rigs).

This is an open discussion thread. Of course you may post your own photos, videos, links, comments etc.
__________________

To get it started, I am going to post some video clips and photos from I have in my notes regarding various boats I have seen using Free Standing Masts. This will include many different kinds of boats and different sizes and even different types of sails.

Let me emphasize that last point. This will include different types of sails and very different designs and sail plans. You see, boats with Free Standing Masts may be:

1. Sloop
2. Ketch
3. Junk
4. Catboat
5. Sprit
6. Lateen

________________

The first example I will post is a Wyliecat Cat Boat. But, you will also see a 65 foot Cat Ketch in the videos.

These use the distinctive Free Standing Mast, with a wishbone boom. Remember, they are not the only boat maker (brand) to use this combination, and I will post photos and videos of the others as soon as possible.
___________

Key Points for Discusson:

1. Simplicity of Rig (and easy maintenance)

2. Simplicity of Operation (using the sails)

When watching these videos, the key thing to see is the ease and simplicity of the tacking maneuver. Unlike boats that have a foresail on a stay (the typical jib or genoa on a forestay) and that require quick sheeting and winch work on jib sheet winches, a catboat simply tacks over the helm.

Consequently, a sailor with a cat boat (for example) can do a lot of "short tacking" very easily, just by moving the tiller or turning his wheel, with NO need to adjust the sails or to sheet or to grind on any winch.

This makes this kind of rig especially appealing to single handing sailors or shorthanded sailing crews (e.g. a couple).

Other brands of boats have a similar "Free Standing Mast" and rig. A few noteworthy ones are some of the Freedom Yachts boats, and the Nonsuch boats. I will post photos and videos about them soon. I will also post photos of other boats (including custom boats and one-offs) and homebuilt boats too. Anything that has a Free Standing Mast is open for posting or discussion in this thread.

We should also discuss the relative merits or shortcomings of this type of rig. More on that later.

_________________________

The most important point about a Free Standing Mast:

No Shrouds or Stays

Now, consider the parts of a typical stayed mast that must be in perfect condition to be safe and seaworthy:

1. Stays
2. Shrouds
3. Spreaders
4. Chainplates
5. All connecting fittings
6. Boom Vang

Each of those requires maintenance, and occasional replacement. Replacing the "standing rigging" during a yacht's refit can be expensive, and with typical stainless wire shrouds, it is generally suggested to replace them completely every 10 years. Replacing chainplates can be a big hassle, if they are embedded in the hull (not external).

In contrast, the Free Standing Mast generally lasts the life of the boat. Some will require some maintenance, depending upon their materials (e.g. wood needs varnishing or painting).
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Free Standing Masts have been made from a variety of materials including the following:

Solid Wood Spars (tree trunks)

Hollow Wood Spars (square, octagonal, rounded, hollow masts)

Aluminum (e.g. Aluminum light poles have been used)

Fiberglass

Carbon Fiber

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NOTE: I have NO financial connection to the boats or manufacturers or sellers of any of the boats I post here. I am posting this information for discussion purposes so CF members can discuss the merits of different boat designs.
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Old 29-07-2015, 16:22   #2
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Re: Sailboats with Free Standing Masts

I think it's pretty interesting also. I was satisfied with the ability of a catamaran to go to weather, hard to imagine a mono with freestanding rig being any worse. I'm just surprised they aren't more popular.. catamarans are popular now, so why haven't freestanding rigs become just as popular on monos?
No rigging to worry about
No chainplates to pull or recaulk
Self dumping wind pressure in the puffs...
I really liked my Tanton 44 cutter. (basically a long waterline canoe) I would imagine the Cat Ketch version is a rocket ship off the wind:
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Old 29-07-2015, 16:41   #3
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Re: Sailboats with Free Standing Masts

Wyliecat Boats

Wyliecat
Wyliecat Performance Yachts: Homepage

I first saw Wyliecat boats while I was racing on San Francisco Bay. They are eye-catching because of their Free Standing Masts and wishbone booms.

Here is a quote from Naval Architect Robert H. Perry (Quoted in Sailing Magazine):
"I watched this boat sail up and down the Oakland estuary, and I was very impressed. It's the ultimate single hander. I kept thinking, "That's the boat for me."
WylieCat 30
Several Wyliecat 30 boats tacking together on San Francisco Bay


Wyliecat 65 Expedition cruiser
a long-range expedition cruiser with amazing efficiency and the ability to sail at speed with a reduced crew.



Wyliecat 44
The Wyliecat 44 was the 2006 Sailing World Boat of the Year Award Winner for Best Innovation.


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There are several articles written about the Wyliecat boat line in different sailing magazines. Here are a few links to articles about the boats.

_________
Wyliecat Performance Yachts: One Cool Catboat
____________
Here is an excerpt about the Wyliecat 48 that was published in Sailing World magazine.
Wyliecat Performance Yachts: Wyliecat48

Notice how the sail handling is described, and the efficiency and the ease of dropping the mainsail when needed. Most importantly, notice that this boat is described as faster than a ULDB of comparable size and also easy to sail/manage in the windy conditions of San Francisco Bay.

Sail handling? What sail handling? This big cat boat has a halyard and a mainsheet. That's it. Okay, there's an outhaul, choker and boom lift, but once up you can leave these lines alone. There is no vang. There is no traveler. This is the epitome in self-tacking rigs.

Years ago I asked Lowell North what he thought the fastest rig was, and he said "a giant Laser rig." Even on San Francisco Bay there has been no need to reef the big cat, as the carbon-fiber mast falls off as the wind builds, easing pressure up top. The 48 can beat a Santa Cruz 50 upwind in 25 knots. The PHRF rating is 15. This boat moves and is very close winded.

I'm sure there are drawbacks to this rig, but I don't know what they are. Maybe downwind in light air you'd feel the lack of a chute. Perhaps you'd like to keep your crew busier with more strings to pull. If going the fastest for the leastest amount of effort is the key then we have to carefully consider this approach.

The SA/D is 26.28 without roach or luff round. Adding roach and luff round raises this number to 35! There is 1,300 actual square feet of sail in this big mainsail. I've seen this sail come down, and it comes down fast and falls neatly, self flaking into the web between the carbon fiber wishbone legs. You do not need sail ties.

___________

Here is an article from Sail Magazine.

Wyliecat Performance Yachts: Wyliecat 66 Convergence

This article is about the 65 boat recently launched. It has two Free Standing Masts and very large sails. It only needs four winches!

Here is a quote from the designer about the Free Standing Cat Rig:

"We’ve been doing catrigs for a dozen years now, and none of those boats havebeen rerigged, because the standing rigging doesn’t wear out.A cat rig is low maintenance."

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NOTE: I have NO financial connection to the boats or manufacturers or sellers of any of the boats I post here. I am posting this information for discussion purposes so CF members can discuss the merits of different boat designs.
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The photo you see below is of a contestant in the Singlehanded Transpac (a race from California to Hawaii) The photo shows a Wyliecat 30 arriving at Kauai's Hanalei Bay. Source: Latitude 38 magazine
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Old 29-07-2015, 16:47   #4
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Re: Sailboats with Free Standing Masts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
I think it's pretty interesting also. I was satisfied with the ability of a catamaran to go to weather, hard to imagine a mono with freestanding rig being any worse. I'm just surprised they aren't more popular.. catamarans are popular now, so why haven't freestanding rigs become just as popular on monos?
No rigging to worry about
No chainplates to pull or recaulk
Self dumping wind pressure in the puffs...
I really liked my Tanton 44 cutter. (basically a long waterline canoe) I would imagine the Cat Ketch version is a rocket ship off the wind:
Good to see your post! Thanks for adding to the discussion.

And, thanks for adding the illustration of the Tanton too.

I am going to edit my top (original) post as I get more time, there are several key points I did not have down when I posted earlier today. In a rush. I will add a few of your points too (we think alike).

The videos I embedded show some down wind running with spinnaker and with a wing/wing sailing too.
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Old 29-07-2015, 17:05   #5
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Re: Sailboats with Free Standing Masts

For small trailerable sailboats, It's hard to figure why they even make rigged spars!
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Old 29-07-2015, 17:14   #6
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Re: Sailboats with Free Standing Masts

For most sailors, the only experience they have with a Free Standing Mast might have been on a Laser dinghy or similar small craft.

Others will remember seeing a "tree trunk" on a Chinese Junk (or Junk Rig boat).

Just to show that the Free Standing Mast concept can be used on very high-tech and expensive and very large yachts, I present the following proof:

The Maltese Falcon

LOA = 289 feet!
Air Draft = 191 feet!
Sail Area = 2,400 m / 25,791 ft

Eyecandy!! Go to see the photos in the slideshow: Photos : Maltese Falcon

Design Concept of the Masts?

Design Concepts : Maltese Falcon

EXCERPT:
"The DynaRig is effectively a square rig, the mast is freestanding and the yards are connected rigidly to the mast, in this case each mast supports six yards. The yards, unlike a conventional square rigger, have built in camber of 12%. The sails set between the yards in such a way that when deployed there are no gaps to the sail plan enabling each spar's sail plan to work as a single sail. The sails, when not deployed, furl into the mast. The sail is trimmed to the wind direction by rotating the mast. As there is no rigging the yards have no restriction on rotation and this taken together with the curved (shaped) yards, low windage and effective single piece sail combine to give the rig improved aerodynamic efficiency compared to a traditional square rigger."
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Old 29-07-2015, 17:42   #7
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Re: Sailboats with Free Standing Masts

Here is another unusual boat that caught my eye.
Why?
Because recently I participated in a thread on the forum where the topic was "Which Boat" to buy for the Tampa and Tarpon Springs Florida area. In other words, which boats would be suitable where the water is "skinny" and the tide causes much of the shallow coastline to dry or get VERY shallow, preventing use of deeper draft boats.

As I recall, the OP in that thread was looking for a smaller boat (about 25 feet) for daysailing or weekend sailing and cruising. The other key desire was low cost (under $10K) and the ability to use it in shallow waters.

The discussion mentioned some boats, usually centerboard boats from Catalina etc..

I personally have found Catboats to be attractive, because they are generally designed with a shallow draft (usually for the Chesapeake Bay area) and yet can have surprisingly comfortable cabins due to broad beam and often have big cockpits. I also like the Sharpie hull designs of other boats. And I like simple rigs.

So, when I came across this boat below, I was surprised. I was not previously aware of this brand or boat. It is a Cat Ketch and it was designed and built in that Tampa Florida area for those waters.

It is unusual. It is a Cat Ketch and has two wishbone booms (like a Nonsuch) with furling sails on each boom.

I will bold a few of the items or features below. Notice that when the centerboard is UP, the draft of the boat is minimal (16 inches).

NOTE: I am going to post a few photos of this model or type of boat. These are photos of a sister ship that was sold earlier. I am adding them here so you can see what this TYPE of boat looks like.

Beachcomber 25


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NOTE: I posted some information about this boat for discussion purposes only. I do NOT have any financial ties to this boat or the seller. I do NOT have personal experience on this boat.
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Old 29-07-2015, 17:45   #8
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Re: Sailboats with Free Standing Masts

I've sailed a Freedom 45 before. Good boat. Never had a chance to push it in heavy conditions, but sailed well in 15-20 knots of wind and modest seas.

Sloop rig with camber spar jib. Very easy to handle.
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Old 29-07-2015, 17:47   #9
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Re: Sailboats with Free Standing Masts

Nonsuch and Freedoms were production boats with free-standing masts.

In that MF picture, is that Gunboat flying past it, or the opposite?

Mark
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Old 29-07-2015, 17:48   #10
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Re: Sailboats with Free Standing Masts

wish bones of contention/

Wish bone rigs are not necessarily better than conventional booms fitted with a beefy vang system because...

#1 With a wishbone - if the mast bends in a gust or strong winds the leech goes loose - the clew end of the wishbone moves down and the distance between the clew and tack is reduced. The end result is that camber in the foot can increase excessively - right when you want it nice and flat.

#2 They also mean that the wishbone or sprit has to be pushed out forward of the mast when reefing - a bit fiddly compared to just pulling the sail down to a conventional boom.

Courtesy of some one called BOATMIK from boatdesign.net

Looks better than wishbone to me.
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Old 29-07-2015, 17:48   #11
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Re: Sailboats with Free Standing Masts

Back in the hippie days some kooky guys named Jim Brown, Dick Newick, and Chris White worked on a project intended to bring the benefits of modern mutlihull design to indigenous fisherman and thereby liberate the fisherman from a dependency on expensive outboard engines and their resultant pollution.

The boat was called SIB (Small Is Beautiful) which took inspiration from the book https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Small_is_beautiful by EF Schumacher.

The construction of the boat was based on the Constant Camber method as a way to build compound curves efficiently using cheap and sustainable veneer instead of large timber. The boat featured a stayless ketch rig.

I don't think much ever came of it and I don't know why. Probably too much trouble. I applaud the effort though, at least they tried to make a difference.

Maybe someday people will think differently although I doubt there will be many fish or much oil by the time they do.
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Old 29-07-2015, 18:00   #12
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Re: Sailboats with Free Standing Masts

This was my neighbor in Convict Bay Yacht Anchorage last month in Bermuda. Here she is headed through the cut on her way to the east coast of the U.S..
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Old 29-07-2015, 18:09   #13
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Re: Sailboats with Free Standing Masts

Blondie Haslers's "Jester" from the 1960 OSTAR, a modified Folkboat.
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Old 29-07-2015, 18:21   #14
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Re: Sailboats with Free Standing Masts

Great thread, Steady. (I'm just posting this so I'll get alerts to all new info posted here.) I like the concept, whether junk rig, "lateen rig" (!?!), or modern, but I'll keep quiet as I have no knowledge to add. (Well, maybe a few questions.)

You mention Wyliecat, Freedom, Nonsuch, someone added Tanton - I've also noticed a Nat Herreshoff design and hope to hear of others. I dunno why there aren't lots more!
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Old 29-07-2015, 18:23   #15
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Re: Sailboats with Free Standing Masts

To All: good posts! Good contributions to the topic.
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