Das Boot – pesky issues

Typical of me – I have below here a rig in which each part works in its own optimum conditions [if interested, click on pic until it embiggens]:

[By the way, that clipboard goes everywhere with me when building, far easier than A2 sized blueprints.]

The trouble with that design is not whether it works or not – yes it does, it’s an excellent rig – the trouble is otherwise:

1.  There’s something not quite right in having that rig on a 41 foot multihull.

Perfect for a ship of 100 feet plus, perfect for any long monohull … but there’s just something a bit pretentious about it for a sailing platform, which is what a catamaran is – a sailing platform.

A very good sailing platform but still a sailing platform.

It was Ted Brewer’s comment in the States, posted here before, that putting round portholes in a sailing vessel under twenty feet is a bit silly, like a tugboat trying to be an ocean liner – which did stop me and made me think.

2.  The major negative with square sails is that they need many crew and they can’t point upwind.

For a start, I’m not going out singlehanded, ever – there will always be two or three crew or else I don’t go.

As for pointing upwind, the cat has an advantage in that the sidestays can be brought closer in and the sail hangs outside them, such that it forms a similar curve to a genoa jib or dipping lug – in short, she points when two foot battens are inserted on the lower trailing edge.  We’re voyaging, not racing.

But that’s academic anyway because the intention is minimal upwind and maximum following the trades.

3.  Squares do not require a round mast – they can have an octagonal if desired.  This makes construction much easier.  Plus the nature of the same side facing the wind at all times and the rotation around the front of the mast means that the tack or trailing edge never interferes with the back of the mast.

Voila – all the cables for radio, lights, burgees, all of it, can go up the back of the two masts from the battery locker.

4.  The reefing is far easier because the sails are not reefed. There are two masts, the third mast point still sits there.

When the wind gets up, the N1 square comes down to the crossbeams between hulls and straps there, N2 goes up in its place, N3 goes up on the mizzen aft.

In stronger winds, N3 becomes mainsail and N4 becomes mizzen.  The stormsail is used after that, using a tripod system strapped to the crossbeams.

Finally the masts are lowered, pivoting on their tabernacles, strapped to the forebeam and aftbeam respectively.

5.  Lastly for now, as a rule, square sails do not chafe as much as they do not rub on mast or stays on most points of sail, they swing round between tacks.  This becomes a crucial factor with age and dampness of the sail, which is tan canvas, treated.  Replacing the N1 is £150, the N3 £50.  Brails help prevent blowouts but do increase chafe.

I’m not too proud to patch.

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