R 22

Rhodes 22


Gloucester Sailrig

Amen on the directional changes. I swear there are days when you could sail a full 360 degree circle around one particular little island near Big Water and never change tacks. It can get really weird at times.

Regarding the relative drive potential of main vs jib/genoa, my Gloucester has a conventional main and 110% jib of exactly equal sail area, 108 ft/sq each. Even so the jib provides about 70% of the drive. Regardless of type, the mainsail suffers from having the mast up its luff. The mast causes significant turbulence over the leading edge of the sail which reduces its efficiency. One of the main advantages of a sloop rig is that the overlapping jib/genoa smooths out this turbulence and accelerates the airflow on the lee side of the mainsail when everything is trimmed correctly, increasing the overall efficiency and drive of the main. This is the primary advantage of overlapping headsails up to about 135% or so. Larger genoas may actually make the boat slower to windward as they can't be trimmed as close and effectively as smaller ones. but the extra area has advantages downwind as long as the sail is light enough to fill properly.

Rigging upgrades for the Gloucester have been geared toward easier and better control of the mainsail. These include a luff feeder and vang tackle added last season, and a boomkicker , cunningham line, jiffy reefing lines, and lazyjacks added this season. Vang , cunningham, and backstay adjustments on a fractional rig like the Gloucester allow the mainsail shape to be adjusted to varying wind conditions without reefing until the wind gets close to a steady 20 knots or more. The difference with just the vang alone last year was an eye opener. In steady 13-15 knot winds, the vang could flatten the main enough to prevent the boat from being overpowered. Better shape allowed the main to provide more forward drive and less heeling in strong winds. The Cunningham provides downhaul tension on the luff and flattens the belly of the sail close to the boom, providing another shaping control. Learning to tweak all this stuff effectively should be interesting. I am hoping to find crew for some of the club races this year.

The luff feeder prevents the mainsail from jamming in the feed slot when raising sail. The main goes up much faster , with both hands on the halyard instead of one hand on the halyard and one feeding the luff rope into the slot.

The boomkicker is a fiberglass rod spring arrangement mounted behind the vang tackle that supports the weight of the boom and eliminates the topping lift. Boom height and tuning are controlled by the vang tackle and the boomkicker which together act like a rigid vang system does on larger boats, but at a lower cost. I can't wait to see how this arrangement works. The lazy jacks will control the mainsail and keep it contained on top of the boom when raising,lowering, or reefing. When sailing or when the sail cover is on they stow against the mast.

If I were to buy a Rhodes, the choice between an IMF or conventional rig would be tough. If bucks were no object I think I would pick a carbon fiber mast, Doyle stackpack mainsail, fully battened, a 110% jib on a fractional forestay, and a 185% asymetrical gennaker ( Doyle utility power sail) flown from the mast head on its own stay with a furler. Well I can dream can't I? The mast would probably cost more than my current boat!

29 May 2001

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