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Old 19-02-2009, 13:11   #1
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Aerorig on a cruising cat ?

Hi !

I am looking to buy a cruising Cat...

Would it be worthwhile considering one with an Aerorig?
(easily singlehanded ?)

In another thread I already found :
Quote:
Originally Posted by rob denney View Post
The Carbospars aerorigs were not cheap, or light.
Advantages are:
A single lightly loaded sheet can be dumped to completely depower the rig and stop the boat in any conditions, on any point of sail.
Because the rig is unstayed, it flexes in gusts, hugely increasing the safety factor and reducing the need to reef.
The headsail is clear of the deck, allowing visibility forward and to leeward.
The sails can be hoisted, reefed and lowered on any point of sail, any wind speed. Bat cars and rcb track are not required.
Gybing is far easier (pull in then release the lightly loaded sheet), far safer (no traveller, no boom crashing across, no stays to stop the boom) and in really bad conditions you can granny the rig all the way round the front of the boat.
There is much less maintenance, and what there is is at deck level. If anything does break, the mast won't fall down.
Running square, you ease the boom to 90 degrees or more, the jib poles out to windward automatically.
Reaching, the jib does not need barberhauling
Apart from local reinforcing of the deck and mast step, the layout of a cat is not compromised with local strengthening for chainplates, fore beams, strikers, travellers, mast bulkheads and sheet winches. Not having all these is also a considerable weight saving.

Disadvantages are:
If a round mast is used, there may be more windage, depending on what rig configuration is chosen. If a wing section is used, the drag is way less.
The jib cannot easily be backed during a tack.
Forestay tension can be hard to get, which affects the jib for heavy air upwind and racing. Easy enough to put runners from the hounds to the end of the boom if required for these situations.
I would like to get some feedback as obviously the selling broker will tell me this rig is just ideal for me

Thanks for any ideas on this one !
Djeeke.
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Old 19-02-2009, 22:17   #2
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Kurt Hughes 56' AeroRig catamaran

Kurt Hughes reviews his design, the 56' AeroRig cruising catamaran Sarabi in Multihulls Magazine, January/February 2008, pp 66-71.

Kurt Hughes strongly emphasizes the AeroRig's ease of use:

"It is so easy to operate that it's almost like driving a car. The only winches are the halyard winch and the balestron control winch, which is very lightly loaded. To tack you just turn the steering wheel; the rig takes care of the rest automatically."
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Old 19-02-2009, 22:42   #3
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Two Hirondelle 24s were sailed against each other, one had the aerorig the other a standard rig. Can't remember where I saw it, but Google turned up a hit that says it was in 94 in Practical Sailor.

If I remember right the rig worked OK. The standard rig was faster on some points of sail, but the aerorig was about 10% smaller than the standard rig.

John
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Old 20-02-2009, 01:40   #4
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sailed on an aero rig

I had a sail on an aero rig version of my cat at the southampton boatshow in 97 . Solaris Sunstar, 13 people on board so a little overloaded , but the way it sailed was outstanding . the skipper controlled the whole sailplan with a 10mm sheet held between his forefinger and thumb ! with just a jamcleat for sheeting off . the loads on the sailplan are so well balanced it needs no winches . it was impressive . I would have ordered that version had there not been such a heavy price premium . we matched windspeed most of the time . Iused to watch David Trotter, from Hirondelle cats , doing sail demos sailing the aero rig H24 , backwards ! just to show how versatile it was ! downwind is easy you just swing the rig across the boat ., no kites or preventers . the rig is built with a tapered flexible mast to spill any gusts , and roller reefing too . downsides ? IMHO , no stays to grab hold of and a forward boom that arcs across the foredeck / trampoline . and the extra cost . but still very well worth considering
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Old 20-02-2009, 13:40   #5
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I have done 3 catamarans with Aerorigs, and sailed one over 2000 miles. You can see my comments on them on the FAQ's page of my website

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Old 20-02-2009, 13:52   #6
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Thanks once again Richard !!!!!

I read your info carefully...

The main concern I would think of is that this rig is heavier than a normal setup. The boat I am lookin at was reinforced to have the rig installed so this also means additional weight...

You might know the particular boat, I am talking about purrfection, this is an Iroquois (easily googled off course). This is is probably a 'stay away' as the Iroquois is already weight sensitive !

Do you have an idea on the additional weight of this rig ?

Djeeke.
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Old 21-02-2009, 20:14   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djeeke View Post
Thanks once again Richard !!!!!

I read your info carefully...

The main concern I would think of is that this rig is heavier than a normal setup. The boat I am lookin at was reinforced to have the rig installed so this also means additional weight...

You might know the particular boat, I am talking about purrfection, this is an Iroquois (easily googled off course). This is is probably a 'stay away' as the Iroquois is already weight sensitive !

Do you have an idea on the additional weight of this rig ?

Djeeke.
G'day,

I completed an Iroquois hull and decks and sailed it to Greece and back. Great boats. The mast and rigging weighed about 70-80 kgs, the centre of gravity is half way up. Check what the aerorig weighs (only reliable way is to pull it out and weigh it) and see where the cog is by balancing it on a saw horse. It will be lower than the alloy stayed mast. Iroquois pitch a bit, so this would be a benefit, especially as someone else has already paid the Carbospars cost premium. Presumably they have removed the steel A frame, chain plates and seagull striker which would more than make up the weight difference. If they haven't, you can. Have a look at the waterline of the boats you are considering, particularly at the transom. This will give a good guide as to the relative weights.

My two cents worth would be to go for a sail on the ballestron rigged boat and a conventional one. With no help hoist, lower and reef the sails upwind and down, tack, gybe and heave to. Compare speeds reaching, running and beating. Unless you are a masochist, the ballestron will be your choice for short handing.

Read Unstayed masts or stayed masts? for more information

An amusing story:

Richard and I had a discussion about unstayed masts and ballestron rigs on the boat design forum discussing the best rig for a small cat. I am not allowed to give you the address on this forum, but it is an interesting read. At this time, his web page FAQ's stated "it would be better to say the (aero)rig works to 95% efficiency all the time. A conventional rig may work to 100% if you're an expert, but only 70% if you're not" I pointed out that most cruising boats weren't expertly sailed so he was saying the balestron rig was more than 20% better for cruising, a sentiment I agree with.

He has now changed his FAQ to "A conventional rig may work to 100% if you're an expert, but less if you're not." How much less Rich, and when and why did it get easier or harder?

I also asked Richard half a dozen yes/no/no idea questions about unstayed masts in that thread, at which time he stopped contributing, without answering them.

Richard's FAQ 's refer to Aerorigs and Carbospars, despite them ceasing business 5 years ago. My comments below refer to ballestron rigs in general. He would be doing his clients a service by updating his FAQ.

From his FAQs
The disadvantages are:
The rig is very heavy, leading to more pitching and less load carrying.


We put an easyrig on a 15m/50' harryproa with 18 tonne metre righting moment. The mast weighed 130 kgs/286 lbs, the boom about another 70. See it sailing at

According to Allyachts, Australia's biggest alloy mast builder "The shell weight of a Wilderness 1230 (12m/40' cat, similar righting moment to the proa) is 140KG. The all up weight is approx 260kg including furler, rigging (standing and running) boom, light package TV aerial, VHF and cable (12mm) and provision for a radar on lower spreader."

Not only lighter, but with a lower centre of gravity, so the boat pitches less.


You probably need to modify the cabin. The minimum "immersion" of mast into cabin is about 1 in 7 ie a 35' high mast needs 5' of bury. Also the cabin has to be wide enough to spread the load. Its usually OK with a conventional bridgedeck cabin (although you may need to add a nacelle). Impossible to fit on an open boat and a bit awkward on a boat with a cuddy like the Savannah.

We fitted one to Taywun, a 3 tonne 35' open deck cat. harryproa / masts / Taywun The mast is 12m long, the bury/immersion is 750mm/30", 1 in 16. It sails extremely well with the easy rig and has had no problems.


A smaller sail area, especially in light winds and certainly when sailing downwind. That's because the jib is very small (only 20% of the total area) to maintain the correct balance.


20% may be the figure for pin head mainsails. We use fully battened, big roach mainsails and jibs up to 50% the size of the main.
Because the mast flexes in a gust, and because there is little added weight or windage from a higher mast, the mast can be much taller than a stayed rig. Area up high is of far more value than area at deck level in winds under 6 knots. If you are really keen, the sail area can be easily increased with a bigger headsail for light air. It is attached to a boom extension and needs a brace to the front of the boom, but is way more efficient on a reach than a headsail attached to the bow.


You can't motorsail safely to windward with both sails unfurled.


This is nonsense. Cleat the rig amidships and it behaves the same as a conventional rig with a self tacking jib. How can it not?


When reefing the jib must be furled first or the rig unbalances.

The unstayed mast bends in a gust and provides the first reef automatically. The second reef is usually just to drop the jib. This increases the sheet loads, but they are still much lower than on a conventional rig as the main is permanently vanged, so the mainsheet only alters the angle of attack, not the leech tension. If you do want to sail with the reefed main and jib, they should both be reefed or move the unreefed jib sheet forward so the top of the sail twists off.

It's a very expensive rig.

Not at all, it has just been built by expensive companies for mug customers. The rig for the harryproa cost $AUS25,000/$US16,500 including paint, all fittings for the ballestron boom and jib and very light carbon rcb track.

From Allyachts: "The cost of a rig for this boat is $29,500.00 approx including furler and mast RCB cars and striker wire. Deck hardware and winches extra. Mast rigging should be checked by the owner constantly and by a rigger every year or so. Wires should be replaced depending on mileage every 7 or 8 years."

Apart from the halyards, there is nothing to check on an easyrig. Or to replace.

regards,


Rob
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Old 21-02-2009, 21:29   #8
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Djeeke really wants a rigid wing not this silly ballestron thing ! That will take his effort level to ZERO. I am sure to get it done cheaper than Allyacht and paint it fun colors too.

Similar deck loads, actually less than the Ballestron, 30% less tall so lower Center of Effort. Still has to build up the coach roof a little bit, but modest rework.

JT
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Old 21-02-2009, 21:32   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rob denney View Post
G'day,

I completed an Iroquois hull and decks and sailed it to Greece and back. Great boats. The mast and rigging weighed about 70-80 kgs, the centre of gravity is half way up. Check what the aerorig weighs (only reliable way is to pull it out and weigh it) and see where the cog is by balancing it on a saw horse. It will be lower than the alloy stayed mast. Iroquois pitch a bit, so this would be a benefit, especially as someone else has already paid the Carbospars cost premium. Presumably they have removed the steel A frame, chain plates and seagull striker which would more than make up the weight difference. If they haven't, you can. Have a look at the waterline of the boats you are considering, particularly at the transom. This will give a good guide as to the relative weights.

My two cents worth would be to go for a sail on the ballestron rigged boat and a conventional one. With no help hoist, lower and reef the sails upwind and down, tack, gybe and heave to. Compare speeds reaching, running and beating. Unless you are a masochist, the ballestron will be your choice for short handing.

Read Unstayed masts or stayed masts? for more information

An amusing story:

Richard and I had a discussion about unstayed masts and ballestron rigs on the boat design forum discussing the best rig for a small cat. I am not allowed to give you the address on this forum, but it is an interesting read. At this time, his web page FAQ's stated "it would be better to say the (aero)rig works to 95% efficiency all the time. A conventional rig may work to 100% if you're an expert, but only 70% if you're not" I pointed out that most cruising boats weren't expertly sailed so he was saying the balestron rig was more than 20% better for cruising, a sentiment I agree with.

He has now changed his FAQ to "A conventional rig may work to 100% if you're an expert, but less if you're not." How much less Rich, and when and why did it get easier or harder?

I also asked Richard half a dozen yes/no/no idea questions about unstayed masts in that thread, at which time he stopped contributing, without answering them.

Richard's FAQ 's refer to Aerorigs and Carbospars, despite them ceasing business 5 years ago. My comments below refer to ballestron rigs in general. He would be doing his clients a service by updating his FAQ.

From his FAQs
The disadvantages are:
The rig is very heavy, leading to more pitching and less load carrying.

We put an easyrig on a 15m/50' harryproa with 18 tonne metre righting moment. The mast weighed 130 kgs/286 lbs, the boom about another 70. See it sailing at

According to Allyachts, Australia's biggest alloy mast builder "The shell weight of a Wilderness 1230 (12m/40' cat, similar righting moment to the proa) is 140KG. The all up weight is approx 260kg including furler, rigging (standing and running) boom, light package TV aerial, VHF and cable (12mm) and provision for a radar on lower spreader."

Not only lighter, but with a lower centre of gravity, so the boat pitches less.


You probably need to modify the cabin. The minimum "immersion" of mast into cabin is about 1 in 7 ie a 35' high mast needs 5' of bury. Also the cabin has to be wide enough to spread the load. Its usually OK with a conventional bridgedeck cabin (although you may need to add a nacelle). Impossible to fit on an open boat and a bit awkward on a boat with a cuddy like the Savannah.

We fitted one to Taywun, a 3 tonne 35' open deck cat. harryproa / masts / Taywun The mast is 12m long, the bury/immersion is 750mm/30", 1 in 16. It sails extremely well with the easy rig and has had no problems.


A smaller sail area, especially in light winds and certainly when sailing downwind. That's because the jib is very small (only 20% of the total area) to maintain the correct balance.


20% may be the figure for pin head mainsails. We use fully battened, big roach mainsails and jibs up to 50% the size of the main.
Because the mast flexes in a gust, and because there is little added weight or windage from a higher mast, the mast can be much taller than a stayed rig. Area up high is of far more value than area at deck level in winds under 6 knots. If you are really keen, the sail area can be easily increased with a bigger headsail for light air. It is attached to a boom extension and needs a brace to the front of the boom, but is way more efficient on a reach than a headsail attached to the bow.


You can't motorsail safely to windward with both sails unfurled.


This is nonsense. Cleat the rig amidships and it behaves the same as a conventional rig with a self tacking jib. How can it not?


When reefing the jib must be furled first or the rig unbalances.

The unstayed mast bends in a gust and provides the first reef automatically. The second reef is usually just to drop the jib. This increases the sheet loads, but they are still much lower than on a conventional rig as the main is permanently vanged, so the mainsheet only alters the angle of attack, not the leech tension. If you do want to sail with the reefed main and jib, they should both be reefed or move the unreefed jib sheet forward so the top of the sail twists off.

It's a very expensive rig.

Not at all, it has just been built by expensive companies for mug customers. The rig for the harryproa cost $AUS25,000/$US16,500 including paint, all fittings for the ballestron boom and jib and very light carbon rcb track.

From Allyachts: "The cost of a rig for this boat is $29,500.00 approx including furler and mast RCB cars and striker wire. Deck hardware and winches extra. Mast rigging should be checked by the owner constantly and by a rigger every year or so. Wires should be replaced depending on mileage every 7 or 8 years."

Apart from the halyards, there is nothing to check on an easyrig. Or to replace.

regards,


Rob
Nice one Rob. Looks like we've just cherry picked the original discussion.
Have you thought of just buying an add. Speaking of unstayed rigs have you got any bluewater miles up and gps data for your proa thingys.
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Old 22-02-2009, 04:59   #10
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G'day,

The original discussion was on another forum. This forum does not allow cross referencing, so I copied it.

If I was paid for all the free advice I give on forums I probably would buy an ad. The adminstrators (and most of the participants), seem to think they are getting a pretty good deal out of me the way things are.

What information do you want on the proas? Please start a new thread rather than hijack this one, unless you are just after information on the rigs.

regards,

rob
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Old 22-02-2009, 07:01   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cal40john View Post
Two Hirondelle 24s were sailed against each other, one had the aerorig the other a standard rig. Can't remember where I saw it, but Google turned up a hit that says it was in 94 in Practical Sailor.

If I remember right the rig worked OK. The standard rig was faster on some points of sail, but the aerorig was about 10% smaller than the standard rig.

John
We have one of those Hirondelle 24s with the aerorig in our marina. It's an unstayed rotating rig. The owner loves it and claims that it not only is faster, it's easier to use. This guy circumnavigated in a Prout and definately has the experience to compare the rigs.
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Old 22-02-2009, 12:47   #12
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Hi Catty,

Thanks for the feedback, I do not consider Rob's feedback as an add, I would not be buying from him He is only pointing out the fact that the Aerorig (or rigs alike) are not absolutely terrible rigs and might be considered. One just needs to know the positive and negative sides...

This is exactly why I launched this thread as one of the boats I saw advertised has an aerorig installed, so I'm not buying anything, I'm trying to find out if I need to keep this boat on my shortlist or run away from it .

I did learn that this seems to be a very good concept, allowing the non-expert sailor to achieve very good results as the rig does most of the trimming for him. You will only be able to get things equal (or do better) on a conventional rig by keeping a constant eye on the sails ad continuously adjust the trim. As I'm not a racer, it seems to me the concept of the aerorig might suit me.

Again it also might not as it will keep me away from improving on the trimming of a standard rig.

Rob,

Thanks for the feedback, much appreciated, you are right, the only way of knowing the weight of the aerorig of the boat I'm looking at is to lift it of the boat and weigh it ! This is something I might want to include if I decide to get the boat surveyed. (just because I know the boat is already very picky on putting on additional weight!)
But as a start looking at the waterline should also tell a lot !

Rick,

Do you happen to see that guy regularly ? One question I have is how the boat sails in light winds ? Does he use a spinaker on his hirondelle?


In general, and I will look myself as well if I decide to go and look at this specific boat myself, what would be weak points on an aerorig? What could fail and would one need to have as spare parts on the boat?

Thank you all for your contributions, much appreciated !

Djeeke
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Old 22-02-2009, 15:08   #13
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Rick,

Do you happen to see that guy regularly ? One question I have is how the boat sails in light winds ? Does he use a spinaker on his hirondelle?
Djeeke
I have no idea. I've never seen his boat under sail. I will ask him the next time I see him.
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