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Old 12-08-2009, 12:53   #1
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Best Rig for Small Inland Boats?

The Lateen rig is simple, cheap, and effective to a point. So far I can't get it to go to windward very well at all unless I have good wind, and then I have to ride the ragged edge to make decent progress upwind. Since I am mostly sailing to be sailing, that has been okay up to now.
The little bass boat I have converted to sail is going to need a rig of it's own now. The Snark rig is simply too light for it, and the mast is way too small to have that heavy and stable a hull under it. I am thinking a simple rig like the Lateen, only standing straighter up and not going past the mast at the tack. Instead of sliding up the mast, the sail would be socked onto a yard like the latten uses, but the yard would be pulled staight up and use a more normal shaped sail. The boom would still be joined to the yard as on the Lateen, but with that corner also attached to the mast by a collar. Only down side I see is no way to reef. Pulling the mast would still dismantle the rig for transport and it should take no longer to rig. The complete rig rolls up and slides into a tube for transport.

Being a beginner, I figure I am missing something! What, in your opinion, is the best simple unstayed rig for small inland sailing boats and why?
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Old 13-08-2009, 12:36   #2
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The two most common used for small boats are a lateen like a Sunfish and a marconi like the Laser. I find the Sunfish much easier to rig and a very simple design. It has 75 sq ft of sail. There is no special cut to the sail, it is flat. You can find parts and pieces of the rigs anywhere there are boats. Mast is 10 feet and the upper and lower booms are 14 feet each. Diagrams are available on line. The Laser has a two part mast that fits together and the mast fits inside a sleeve on the luff. The sail has a bit of draft so is more expensive and harder to duplicate.
With proper balance and size to fit your boat the lateen will point nearly as well as the Laser.
Once you start adding a headsail then you'll have to start adding a forestay and shrouds.
I think what you were describing as an alternative to the lateen was a sliding gunter rig.
There is a very good book that you might find in the library. "Small boat rigs" or something to that effect. Gives you a whole bunch of options.
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Old 13-08-2009, 14:35   #3
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small boat, best rig

cat rig - one sail, no standing rigging, perfect for any beginner
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Old 13-08-2009, 17:12   #4
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I thought one sail was a given on an unstayed free standing mast.
A sliding Gunter only with no real first stage lift. Just the halyard lifting the yard like it does on the Sunfish. The 14 foot sunfish yard straight up the backside of the mast. The mounting flange on the boom being on the end where that corner is at the back side of the mast, not in front of it. Triangular sail instead of Lateen.
The use of the yard to hoist the sail rather than a taller mast is a nod to the inexpensive Sunfish type rig. The new setup can be done using the same spars with a simple sail and mast bracket change. No bolt rope channel needed, or even hoops. I have the ability to make a sail for it. Maybe not a perfect pro quality sail, but I have a ZigZag metal gear sewing machine and the Sailmakers Apprentice. Pretty sure I can make a usable shaped sail with a 12 foot luff using the same pattern that I have a sample of from the 40's or 50's. Doing a socked sail that small with no special fittings should be a good first project! Guess I could do a straight sock on, but that takes a longer mast.
If I go that way, would you leave the sail the same length on each side, or would you shorten the boom? A 12 x 12 with a straight cut edge is 72 Sq. Ft. The boat is 9 feet and 46 inches wide.
The sail I have used on it is the same as the Sunfish design, only smaller. 10 foot spars. It is capable of moving the boat around pretty good, but the mast, a 1 1/8th inch tube is not up to holding the sail on a boat that doesn't heel pretty easy. A good wind would snap or bend the mast I am afraid. An honest 20 mph wind would fold it right up. I may go get a closet rod and epoxy a wood core inside the tube to continue to experiment for a while.
A Sunfish rig on it might make things really interesting.
I sailed a Sunfish last weekend, but I did not really pay that much attention to how high you could point it. I had good wind in spurts and was running back and forth across it playing. I liked it a lot for playing!
You think the Lateen sails upwind as well as a Marconi?
Still getting more leeway than I wanted to see, so a bigger leeboard is in the works also!
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Old 13-08-2009, 17:26   #5
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Not quite as good as marconi, but very close. What you propose is more complicated than the Sunfish rig in my opinion. The Sunfish mast is 2 1/4" OD and the booms are 1 1/2" OD. The Sunfish rig diagram calls for a 14ft upper boom with no fittings and a 14 foot lower boom with two blocks. The end plugs are plastic. The sail clips hold the sail to the booms and are very much like shower curtain hangers. You could use electrical ties but I'd get the non degradable by the sun kind (black). The gooseneck if bought on eBay is about $40 but you could just as well use spliced line. The halyard goes through a plastic eye at the top of the most plug and you could easily use anything for that fitting. Go to the internet and you can price each piece separately.
If you want to try a Sunfish rig let me know because I have some extra heavy cut Sunfish sails and could let you "borrow" one for the cost of mailing. It might have some rust stains but would definitely get you from one end of the lake to another.
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Old 13-08-2009, 17:44   #6
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I might take you up on your kind offer!
Gonna have to find out what a set of the Sunfish spars will run. I could piece them and then fill them with foam, but I don't think anyone in town is going to have anything except chainlink toprail that is 14 feet.
The only set I have seen posted for sale had a 160$ price tag on them and were about 100 miles away.
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Old 14-08-2009, 13:06   #7
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Try to find a metal merchant that carries aluminum pipe. Don't use steel (too heavy) you are trying to keep the weight down. I've used hang glider rigging for Sunfish boom projects in the past so maybe there is an airport around that might have scrap? Go back to the club where you sailed the Sunfish and talk with their maintenance guys. See if they have some suggestions. I know 14 feet is an odd length. I'd even considered using bamboo poles or closet rods from Home Depot.
Good luck friend.
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Old 14-08-2009, 15:04   #8
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The boom and yard would be 63$ each for the tubes locally in the sunfish sizes. I did not price the mast.
I did not find much of a better price anywhere online since they have to be cut from 24 or 25 foot pieces.
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Old 14-08-2009, 16:16   #9
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I visited a metal scrap yard in Alameda, CA and one in Salem, OR. Both had aluminum extrusions plus all kinds of stainless tubing and plate. You pay by the lb and it was cheap.
Hope you can dig something up.
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Old 15-08-2009, 06:58   #10
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Have not been to the scrap yard yet!
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