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More thoughts on junk rig advantages

Jan 1, 2003

To the editor:The author of the correspondence "Voyager drops gaff rig for freestanding junk" (Issue 103, January/February 2000) cites The Chinese Sailing Rig by Derek van Loan as a source that is "marvelous for the inexperienced." Fortunately, he had an experienced sailmaker who obviously drew his design from Practical Junk Rig, for which no credit was given. If there is a "masterpiece" in junk rig literature, it is Practical Junk Rig by J.K. McLeod and the late H.G. (Blondie) Hasler. Tom Colvin has also written extensively on them. Annie Hill's Voyaging on a Small Income is a fine book on cruising, lifestyle, and junk-rigged cruising boat design. My sail, designed by Blondie Hasler, is virtually identical to two of his. However, I am in the process of dividing its upper part into three triangular panels instead of two and adding a sheet.

Years ago, the then owner of my boat had the misfortune of getting the freestanding aluminum mast in the water and bending it to starboard (if it had been wood, it would have undoubtedly shattered). Perhaps the boat then had the only junk rig where the sail averaged being on the centerline of the hull. Although she sailed well, I decided to eliminate this novel feature. While considering alternatives, I checked on the price of a new mast. It came to about $4,000 for one 42 feet high. This quote included anodizing, lugs welded on, etc. The modest figure was due to the fact that it is simply a custom flagpole, and priced as such (Larry Bolanger, Bolanger Flagpoles, 800-434-5611).

What I did instead was unstep the mast and cut off the base with a Skilsaw. After taking the opportunity to install a race and pull new wires, the base was then welded back on at a 90° rotation to the original position. Cost: $60 (Carston Gravsik, Svendson's, 510-864-7208). The keel-stepped mast now bent aft and was then wedged forward to the near vertical. In retrospect, I wish it had been rotated in the opposite direction, so that it could be raked significantly forward. Then preventers would not be needed in light airs, sloppy seas, etc.


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