View Full Version : sailing rig opinions??

11-26-2000, 07:52 AM
I'm looking for opinions about sail rigs and learning to sail...

I'm had the itch to build a boat for 20+ years. My kids are almost out-of-the house (youngest graduates this coming June) and my long range goal is a live-aboard size sail boat that my wife and I can spend a month or two at a time.

I haven't sailed in more that 20 years, so my first project will be a smaller craft that I can spend the day learning to sail. I started teaching myself woodworking about 2 years ago building cabinets for 2 kitchens and loads of other furnature, all in preparation for boatbuilding.

My question here is a simple one...
**What type of sail rig should I be learning to sail on given above???***

I have it in my poor little brain that I MUST learn on a marconi rigged sloop, as that is the most common config for the boats I aspire to sail... Am I nutts??? I look at 14-18' boat plans searching for my first project and reject cat-boats, lug-rigs etc... and for no other reason than I think it will somehow impair my sailing learning experience...

What do YOU think???

Thanks - Mark

Ian McColgin
11-26-2000, 11:03 AM
It's best to be learning on as many different rigs as you can. The seamanship lesson of the Beatle Cat, for example, are not to be underrated. Or if you can find an energetic group like our Cotuit Skiffs, that race a good traditional boat, the learning curve will be wonderous.

If you can't have everything in one package, make the boat you build something that will work with your future. A dory like 'Leeward' from John Gardiner's book - a chamberlain gunning dory - or any of the swampscott shapes available from Gardiner's books and others - is hard to beat. You'll learn a lot and the boat will be a nice tow along tender for whatever you end up owning.

I also recommend that you get into small boat and larger boat racing. You'll learn a huge amount about how the boats actually work and have the objective prooving ground to test your learning. Beg borrow crew or whatever it takes to get out there on lots of other boats and rigs.


11-30-2000, 03:23 PM
As a kid I learned--not very much--about sailing in skiffs and prams, both marconi and sprit rigs as I recall. After not sailing much (how did I do THAT?) for years, my wife and I wanted to sail. She had never sailed. While it may sound like baptism by fire, we bought a used Soling and got instruction from a delivery-skipper friend with loads of Soling experience. It's a little like learning to drive in a Maserati. It works just fine. You don't have to learn everything about a racing boat in order to make it go. Between learning on the Soling (with no motor) and then crewing on a Hobie 33 (I know they're both plastic, and I sincerely apologize), I learned a lot real fast. Get lots of experience whenever you can with a variety of boats. I really enjoy being able to go aboard anything from dingies to ships, take a look around, and then make myself useful. Sail small, sail large, sail often.

Ross Faneuf
11-30-2000, 04:34 PM
I don't think the type of rig actually matters very much, as long as it's not ridiculously different from your final plans. you might not learn much about sailing a traditional schooner rig from driving a sailboard, but I bet virtually any kind of rig you are apt to find on a 14-18' daysailer would teach you much the same lessons.

You'll learn a lot about how sails and wind work on a small boat, and the same lessons apply. A big boat won't teach you those lessons as quickly or as precisely. When you move up, the main things you'll have to learn will be involved in the way things happen slower, but the forces involved are much larger and have to be granted more respect. Small boats are great; enjoy.

12-02-2000, 08:39 AM
Sail with other people in different boats and try out the various rigs for free. It's great fun and each sailor will extoll the virtues of their rig !

12-04-2000, 08:03 PM
I agree that the type of sailing rig doesn't matter much. What you really are learning is the balance between the wind and the water. Lessons learned about wind and sail angle on a lug will help you in trimming a marconi. There will be a small adjustment as you go from rig to rig.

If you are looking for a good boat plan to introduce you into boatbuilding and reintroduce you to sailing you might consider one of the Stevenson's designs at http://www.stevproj.com . They are very easy to follow and build a good looking boat from. The boats themselves have very good sailing characteristics that will give you a good re-education. If you build the Weekender or Pocket Cruiser you can even introduce yourself to overnighting on the water! Best yet, there is a strong builder group to help you through the building process and go sailing with you when you are done. http://byyb.homepage.com

Here is the webpage for my boat: http://gozips.uakron.edu/~widmier/boat.html and for a regatta of stevenson boats http://gozips.uakron.edu/~widmier/regatta.html