|Split Junk Rig Ketch|
Still, no one goes 'down to the sea in their proud simulators!'
From Down Periscope
Rig o' Morale
One of the downsides of sailing in SE Alaska is that its kinda lonely, cruiser-wise.
Despite numerous friends from many walks of life, our sailing friends are few and far between. One consequence is falling behind the times.
Our beloved junk rig has undergone some changes in the last couple of decades we've 'been away'.
First, Arne Kverneland's experience and writings inspired many to build camber (airfoil shape) into junk sail panels. Camber allows the ususally flat-cut junk rig - notoriously 'inefficient' to windward, though comparable to most workboats from the age of sail - to overtake the mid-range of bermudan rigged racer-cruisers.
|Steve McGalliard's POPPY under SJR|
To assess the rig, Slieve has been racing POPPY, a middle aged cruiser, against the big boys and girls of Great Britain. And finishing in the top 10% in a field of hundreds!
In other words, a sail with all the advantages of junk rig has achieved excellent windward performance!
Of course, one can't just run with a successful formula...
The rig Anke and I are likely to mount puts a crab-claw panel up top - we like its behavior as the last sail standing. The next panel down is 'transitional' purely for vanity... we like the looks. The rest drops straight down like venetian blinds. The leech has been slanted, a bit, to provide positive, aft 'stagger' (overlap) so the sheets don't foul one another.
That crab-claw serves another function... coming to a universal (rope) joint at the forward apex, the lower 'limb' acts as a strut to the yard. Normally, the pull of the halyard high on the yard would depress its forward end, spoiling sail shape. But with the strut, it's position fixed at the mast by a rope hoop, prevents it from dropping and therefore forcing the aft end up (good for sail set). This eliminates a 'yard hauling parrel' (don't ask), leaving one halyard and one sheet per sail.
Playing with someone else's genius calls for caution... we built a scale model (1:6), which works perfectly. But proof will be in the field, if anywhere. As far as I'm aware, it will be the first, full-size multi-masted rig with two SJR sails.
So we get to mount a LOT of sail on masts of manageable height, each with good bury (support). The foresail provides beautiful balance on and off the wind (without adjusting position), and the aft sail is in good position to manipulate the stern via backwinding. SJR helps fill the space over the big mid-deck without introducing long-boom weather helm.
The layout shown is a big rig totalling roughly 800ft2 (57m2). Both are extremely powerful, so we'll have a learning curve, especially since each sail generates power toward the ends of the hull. We may find ourselves accelerating into abrupt turns until we get the hang of things.
But junk rig is docile, and the large balance of both sails makes it even more so than usual. Speed generally gives good control. But we'll start slow and small, just to be sure!
And the payoff may be some true, windward sailing; not just the plodding we're used to. Our flat-cut sails have surprised more than a few folks on the water; these may astound!
Fire up them morale boosters, Matey!