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Old 16-12-2011, 23:40   #1
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Why is the Marconi Rig so Popular?

This rig is more complicated to operate and cost more than other rigs…why has it been growing sins the 1940s?
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Old 17-12-2011, 01:09   #2
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Re: Why is the Marconi rig so popular…?

That's a really good question..
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Old 17-12-2011, 01:33   #3
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Re: Why is the Marconi rig so popular…?

More complicated and expensive than which rigs, exactly? I'm not sure this is true, actually. A gaff rig has another spar and associated rigging, plus a sprit and so forth (because the rig is shorter and so must be longer). That would have been the main alternative to the Marconi or Bermuda rig for pleasure boats. No one used square rigs on small boats for centuries -- they are certainly not less expensive or complicated. Junk rig -- I don't know; that's outside of my experience. Cat rig? Maybe simpler but not really acceptable performance except maybe on a really small boat, unless you have two masts, and then you've already started to defeat the purpose . . . No, I don't know of anything better -- that is, a better balance of cheap, simple and good performance -- than the Bermuda rig for a pleasure sailing boat.

The Bermuda rig is very cheap and simple. Only two spars (assuming we are not talking about ketches or yawls), no sprit necessary, and higher aspect ratio than other rigs. This rig came into its own when mankind discovered ballasted keels, as this allowed the single mast to be taller; the resulting long leech gives better and better performance upwind. Gaff rigs became obsolete exactly when we discovered ballasted keels.
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Old 17-12-2011, 01:54   #4
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Re: Why is the Marconi rig so popular…?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
Gaff rigs became obsolete exactly when we discovered ballasted keels.
And why then it was allmost hundred years (since the birth of ballasted keel) before marconi took some wind?
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Old 17-12-2011, 02:24   #5
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Re: Why is the Marconi rig so popular…?

For going upwind you want to maximize lift to drag ratio. Lift is perpendicular to the apparent wind and drag is in the same direction that the apparent wind is going to. Sailing upwind the drag is pretty much in the direction to pull the boat backwards. Best lift to drag ratios are made with high aspect ratio sails, look at a glider wing as an example. A sailboat's slowest point of sail is trying to make progress into the wind. If you have to sail the same distance upwind and down you spend a lot more time upwind, so optimizing the boat to go upwind results in the most progress in the least amount of time. Same distance upwind and downwind trips happen more on a race course than in other forms of sailing. Many forms of transportation mimic to a certain degree what is found on the race course, so one reason we have Marconi rigs is due to racing.

I spend a lot of time sailing upwind, if I had a boat that performed poorly to weather I'd have to do a lot of motoring.

Some people never sail to weather, they would probably go faster with a gaff rig than a Marconi. The Dashews report on their around the world sail on the milk run spending 20% of their time sailing upwind. I don't think that I'm the type to wait days or weeks in port waiting for a change of wind so I'll stay with the Marconi, besides hoisting up a gaff and having to balance pulling the peak and throat halyards sounds like more work and complication to me.

I have a bit of racing background, so I might not find sailing upwind is quite as evil as some do.

John
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Old 17-12-2011, 03:24   #6
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Re: Why is the Marconi rig so popular…?

Living & sailing in Holland the majority of my courses are upwind. To be on the lee shore means that you have to deal with all the winds from the western half when winds vary from NW to SW dominantly. John says it all.

The sloop-rig or whatever name you give it (Bermuda, Marconi) is the best rig to sail upwind. The today' s hullforms are fashioned after the racers that sail under different conditions, therefore the older designs are much better in upwind sailing. And thus for us upwinders.
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Old 17-12-2011, 05:43   #7
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You also have to remember that the popularity of yawls and ketches, stemmed from their use in racing. Mizzensails were unrated and hence spurred their use and popularity. Like lots of things this trickled down to cruising boats, even though here the mizzen is far less effective.

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Old 17-12-2011, 06:15   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TeddyDiver
And why then it was allmost hundred years (since the birth of ballasted keel) before marconi took some wind?
I can guess at a few things. Waiting for high quality, strong, inexpesive aluminum spar technology which allows a taller rig (higher l/d), with less weight aloft compared to similar wood spar.

The aluminum spar of course being replaced by composite technology further pushing masts into space.
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Old 17-12-2011, 06:41   #9
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Re: Why is the Marconi rig so popular…?

The use of carbon spar(s) is limited to the on-edge sailor - it will never be my choice of material. Stay away from carbon as carbon can desintegrate w/o any previous warning.

Good for ATW racers, not good for the regular sailor. Carbon is also highly conductive but that is alu too.

@ Ex-calif : the wooden mast is not that much more heavy than the alu one. Problem is mainly the material cost and find the good quality Oregon.
Modern wooden mast are hollow and glued. So weight is a ver relative subject. The process of making is more expensive and qualified mastbuilders are not that easy found.
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Old 17-12-2011, 07:09   #10
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Re: Why is the Marconi rig so popular…?

Sailed a gaffer for years ;lotsa advantages,but marconi is best with wind forward of the beam which is more than 50% of the time when you consider that apparent wind always moves forward once boat is underway.(sorry ,Hogan)

I got many compliments on my tanbark gaff sails, but there was more motoring to windward.
My marconi rigged sloop can be sailed up a waterfall if necessary, and so has become my favorite point of sail (passages excepted).

Admittedly hull form compliments this windward ability,but I no longer have to fear the dreaded LEE SHORE.

I realize that I'm inviting some thread drift here, but it's a slow grey morning here in the N.E.
so I thought might liven things up.
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Old 17-12-2011, 07:15   #11
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Re: Why is the Marconi rig so popular…?

Fewer Crew required. and cheaper.

Probably find that popularity progressed at the same time as sail, mast and rigging technology did......I think it's always primarily been a rig for the recreational sailor - rather than a working rig......as one market declined (ended!) the other got bigger. You build for the market - whether the market is right or wrong don't really matter.

I love the look of Gaff Rig, but would probably never buy one.......(too much string ).
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Old 17-12-2011, 07:22   #12
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Re: Why is the Marconi rig so popular…?

A quick look at modern sailplanes confirms that high aspect ratio is better [upwind], and new materials allow designers to push this envelope.

Also, if you've ever jibed a large gaff-rigged mainsail in more than 20 knots of breeze, then you appreciate another advantage of the Marconi / Bermuda rig.

BTW, racing masts are lighter and more prone to failure, regardless of the material. You can build a strong, long-lasting cruising mast of carbon. If you're skeptical I recommend you avoid flying on modern airliners ; )
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Old 17-12-2011, 07:37   #13
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Re: Why is the Marconi rig so popular…?

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Originally Posted by cfarrar View Post
A quick look at modern sailplanes confirms that high aspect ratio is better [upwind], and new materials allow designers to push this envelope.

Also, if you've ever jibed a large gaff-rigged mainsail in more than 20 knots of breeze, then you appreciate another advantage of the Marconi / Bermuda rig.

BTW, racing masts are lighter and more prone to failure, regardless of the material. You can build a strong, long-lasting cruising mast of carbon. If you're skeptical I recommend you avoid flying on modern airliners ; )
That's exactly what I do ......

The mistake you make is that the fabrics contain carbon but also other fibers as well.

In mast building technology pure carbon is used for their weight/strength vario, the less flex the faster the yacht can go - same for airwings: the stiffer the faster = more economic. Here, in airwings, carbon is interwoven with other fabrics.
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Old 17-12-2011, 08:11   #14
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Re: Why is the Marconi rig so popular…?

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This rig is more complicated to operate and cost more than other rigs…why has it been growing sins the 1940s?
The radio reception?
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Old 17-12-2011, 09:22   #15
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Re: Why is the Marconi rig so popular…?

Nothing goes to weather better than a marconi-rigged sloop.
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