Neither VOR, VG, Minis, Open 40, AC nor any radical modern class (Moth, skiffs, etc) use this rig. They are not limited by cost. If it were faster, they would have used it in racing. Because racing is all about speed.
Stayed rigs are rule
driven (mainly sail area, but also mast height) and have hundreds of years and millions of dollars of research
into them. Check out Wylie cats in San Francisco
for an example of an unstayed rig that is quick. The proa in the video is also pretty quick, I don't know of any other videos of a cruising boat costing less than half a million bucks with similar accommodation sailing at windspeed in 15 knots of breeze under plain sails
. The ballestron rig is a cruisers rig. It outperforms other cruising rigs. It does not outperform a racing rig sailed by experts. One of a few racing boats to use an unstyayed rig was Kyote 2. It was banned after it won it's first race
I do not see how this rig can be efficient reaching - the jib travels to the windward of the main and keeps the slot narrow (too narrow). I believe to some extent this can be made up for (actually perhaps even bettered out) by managing the rig's angle, so that the pull is directed with more forward vector (converting some heel into forward pull).
Reaching, they are superb. The jib works without being barber hauled down or out and is easily adjusted to every puff if required. The heeling force acting straight ahead instead of sideways is a large advantage. In the boat on boat tests I have read (Sigma 36 and Hirondelle catamaran
, plus some wind tunnel tests at Southampton), reaching (and ease of handling) were the ballestron's relative strong points.
Broad reaching and downwind, the rig is limited by by the limited size of the jib. I believe this rig would have to be huge to match a classic rig with a kite, downwind.
It could be much larger than a stayed rig. The boat with the spinnaker
has had to drop his jib to allow the spi to fly. The actual sail area flying is not that different. Many cruisers drop their main when they raise the spinnaker
making ot even smaller. The ease of use difference is enormous. I have flown a spi on a ballestron. Works well.
The issue of compression forces versus breaking forces is better left to engineers - in any case since they use the classic rig rather than the aero in 99.9% of the designs, it seems that it is easier to manage (engineer for) compression. This particular rig has no give and its stiffness combined with the inherit stiffness of the cat's hull
characteristics may further worsen the situation.
See my previous post about loads and costs. Unstayed rigs have enormous "give". It is one of their safety
features. An stayed rig has up to 100 individual parts
, any one of which can fail and the mast falls down. An unstayed rig has none. Designing an unstayed rig and the structure to support it is simple, compared to a stayed rig. Our engineer
charges $1,000 for the unstayed, from $3-10,000 for the stayed, depending on how racy you want it to be. Most designers just copy other boats' rigs. Hence their popularity from their point of view.
I disagree with the statement that this rig is nearly always hard on the wind. Perhaps on a racing cat this would be the case, however on a cruising cat or a mono this rig will work exactly like its classic counterpart. Thus, the advantage of being always hard on is not feasible.
I think that what was meant was that the rig can be rotated so it sees the breeze at 35-40 degrees (until it is running square), rather than that the boat is going fast enough to move the apparent forward.
The pseudo-argument on plane vs. boat construction cannot not be addressed other than by pointing to the fact that water
is somewhat denser than air and airplanes seem not to be anchored in this denser enviro by having a foil (a.k.a. keel
or daggerboard) seriously limiting the hull's freedom of movement and so creating huge forces on the hull-rigg joints.
Does your boat have a stayed keel or rudder
? Ever thought why?
I also disagree (again) with the aesthetics issue - to me this rig looks great, I simply do not see it as the better/best rig around.
It isn't if you are in the sail, mast or rigging
business which is where most rigging
advice comes from. It is also not the best if you have a hot shot crew that likes to spend all day tweaking strings. It certainly isn't if you are a typical conservative boat owner, more worried about looks and resale value than ease of sailing, safety
and cruising speed. Where do you live? I may be able to get you a ride on one.