Skip, on a couple of occasions when I've been traveling around Indonesia
I've asked fishermen to take me out for an hour or so in their " trimaran" fishing
boats and paid them about $20 for the privilege
They are the small sailing only variety of fishing
boat which have large diameter bamboo outriggers on each side supported by flexible "cross beams" made from branches and lashings. The outriggers flex with the waves which is a necessary feature. The main hull
might be 20 /25' long carved from hollowed out log segments, just wide enough to sit inside. The rudder
is a long oar or sweep lashed to a stern post.
They have a short unstayed mast
about 6' high close to the bow with a large triangular lanteen style sail made from cheap
plastic tarpaulin material which extends forward of the mast
There is a long bamboo spar lashed to the top of the mast curving from low in front of the mast, high across the top with the sail lashed on. The front of the spar has a loop tied around the mast base. The spar is about the length of the boat and is tensioned by a topping lift
from the apex to the stern. The sail is loose footed. The clew has a single
line or "main sheet" also to the stern.
Sailing off the beach inside the coral lagoon
we tack just like a yacht sailing quite high in the fresh onshore breeze on the south coast. On one tack the sail bears on the mast. Once out in the ocean the technique is to gybe the boat sending the sail right around the front and paddling the stern around so the front of the sail doesn't bear on the mast on any tack. A long stick retrieves the "sheet" which has gone right around the front. Then hauling the sail back we sail away on the next tack going fairly high on the wind
Returning towards the coral
reef in quite large waves the sail is released and simply flaps in front of the boat which goes nowhere except up and down on the waves. Then when a suitable large wave comes from astern the fisherman pulls the sail back and we accelerate forward again catching the wave and surfing back over the coral reef.
This style of fishing boat must be hundreds of years old and is perfect for the conditions. They sail extremely well. They are stable for a fisherman to work his lines between the outriggers. The complete sail can easily be released forward or dropped down in strong wind
or when fishing. At night you can see their lanterns out at sea.
A stayed Marconi rig as we are used to would be hopeless as it couldn't be released forward to wait for a big wave to surf across the reef. The boat would simply crash onto the coral as it couldn't be stopped.
For some reason we seem to have evolved too complicated and expensive setups for our Western style yachts.