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Fair winds!

Dave and Anke
triloboats swirly gmail daughter com

Friday, October 15, 2021

Cat Ketch WAYWARD's Prototype Split Junk Rig



Photo by John Herschenrider

In theory, theory and practice are the same.

In practice, they are not.

— Benjamin Brewster

It may work in practice;

But does it work in theory??

— Unknown

Cat Ketch WAYWARD's Prototype Split Junk Rig

General Approach

WAYWARD ex T32ft x 8ft x 1.25ft, is our box barge / scow, sailing live-aboard home. My wife, Anke Wagner and I sail engine free, year round in the archipelagos of SE Alaska.

Oh. And we’re lazy sailors.

Our cruising grounds are haunted by williwaws (sudden, fierce, katabatic or downdraft winds that roll off snow and glacier fields), and strong tidal flows that often entail sailing at night. Short, steep seas with plenty of fetch are common, as are swathes of water which can erupt on short notice into ‘dancing water’ riptides. ‘Haystacks’, fortunately, are rare. 

Long, narrow straits and ‘canals’ generally align the wind and seas.  Thus, we are usually sailing directly into it or with it. We find ourselves mostly close-hauled or broad reaching (to comfortably quarter seas).

Ultra-shoal draft, enginelessness and proclivity have us frequently sailing the poorly drawn and often rocky fringes of the chart. In these places, maneuverability and flexibility are much more important than optimal windward ability.

To meet these conditions, we have come to prefer a rather snug, Cat Ketch Junk Rig, ‘dumbed down’ to its bare essentials. 

We like ketch rig for its handiness. Its large sails toward the ends of the hull have several practical advantages:

  • Each sail strongly affects its end of the vessel, both while drawing and backwinded... this lets us turn on a dime in our own length, adjust balance and total CE as we please and sail backwards with ease.

  • Sliding backwards with mizzen backed and rudder reversed, we can reliably come to our chosen tack... this is useful sailing off close quarters anchoring, tacking or drifting (bow on), in about half a boat length, in all winds. Greatly reduces pucker factor!

  • The mizzen can be sheeted close or flat to hold the bow toward or into the wind… this is useful for treading water for a break, maneuvering or allowing traffic to pass.

  • Main sheets are clear of the cockpit and companionway… neither are swept when tacking or jibing.

  • Both masts are clear of the interior… elbowroom, and the bunk to ourselves!

  • The rig is redundant... Should we lose a mast, we can sail under main or mizzen alone (proven by experience), and jury rigging possibilities are much improved.

  • Each mast can be used as a crane for raising / lowering the other… this is very handy for hoisting one’s own petard.

  • Two masts can load cargo or an MOB at either end of the vessel… and we have holds at each end to match.

  • Two masts give a great place to hang a hammock...  8)

For years, we’ve flown flat cut, modified Hassler/McCleod sails. If twist is controlled to allow more in light airs and less in heavier winds, they performed quite reasonably well. We do need to sail somewhat broad on the wind when close hauled in order to sail well.

In our last boat, we reduced the HM upper panels to a single, mostly triangular panel with a deeply hollowed leech, emulating one of the many Polynesian crab-claw styles. 

These flat cut sailforms develop camber from their conic section under press of wind.. 

Pronounced leech hollow brings that panel’s CE (Center of Effort) toward the mast, easing weather helm. As the last sail standing in heavy going, this is an important feature (this will be enhanced by SJR’s greater balance).

Since the two sails enable adjustment of their total CE, there is no need to reposition either. This has a number of simplifying consequences.

  • Standing yard and batten parrels are sufficient to hold and position each sail on its mast. 

  • Our only running lines are one sheet and halyard per sail. 

The benefit is that we eliminate running yard-, luff- and boom hauling parrels, tack and sail downhauls. This significantly reduces handling, and minimizes potential fouling from loops of slack line when reducing sail. 

Sheets are single, aft led running lines of 6 and 5 part. Both are led to the cockpit from forward (we can maintain our forward lookout while handling all lines). Good mechanical advantage means no sheet winches necessary.

We sometimes clip temporary downhauls to batten parrels during heavy winds or special situations. The forward lift is running - to lift the forward end of the sail for visibility or drip control - and tied off on the boom, but is seldom used and may be considered standing for normal use.

In considering SJR and/or cambered rig, we were primarily hoping to improve our performance to windward, while staying within the same profile and priority on handling simplicity.


Photo from Slieve McGalliard

Split Junk Rig

Slieve McGalliard developed the Split Junk Rig (SJR).

In his approach, the balance of a junk sail (area forward of the mast) is ‘split’ from the remainder by a vertical gap. Forward are the ‘jibs’, and aft are what I’ll call ‘after panels’.

Upper panels may or may not be split.


All panels are generally cambered for improved aerodynamic lift. Camber is designed with an eye to, “a large entry angle to help produce high lift and a low exit angle to produce low drag” [from C and SJ by Slieve McGalliard]. 

In particular, jib panels are shaped especially full at their leading edges, achievable with the ‘angled shelf method’. 

Additionally, each jib airfoil is shaped with a lofted in sheeting angle relative to battens and after panels. This emulates the set of Bermudan style jibs.

The yard is generally drawn at a low angle, reducing vortex drag near the peak and stresses throughout the rig. The halyard and uppermost batten parrel fixes the upper panels’ position on the mast, letting the lower sail hang vertically.

Handling is limited to halyard, sheet and downhaul adjustment.

An early sketch with ‘vanity panel’ (didn’t make the cut)

 and triangular main heads’l...

Dumbing Down SJR for WAYWARD

We chose to test retaining a) flat cut upper panels (‘crab claws’), and b) a flat cut mizzen. 

Respectively, these likely, and surely detract from SJR and cambered performance enhancements. Yet for our situation, we consider the compromise to be attractive.

Flat Cut Mizzen (vs. Cambered Mizzen)

Flat cut sails are taut across their panels, so transfer stresses vertically along the whole panel, and do not allow diagonal movement. In contrast, cambered sails are slack across their panels, so transfer stress vertically along luff and leech (via roping) and allow diagonal movement.

Flat cut sails on canted battens develop positive batten stagger (upper battens overhang lower battens at their aft ends). Cambered panels have neutral stagger.

Flat cut sails do not flog when slack in the wind. Cambered sails do. When the vessel is tossed from side to side (e.g., when caught in a windless rip tide), cambered sails can ‘pop’ loudly from side to side.

Flat cut sails, when backed, get an immediate ‘bite on the wind’. In cambered sails, we suspected, the forward camber does not engage as soon when backed (later confirmed when backing the main), so require more deflection for a given effect.

In a flat cut mizzen, we value:

  • Extreme ease of construction with very little lofting… large spaces out of the weather are hard to come by and are usually only available for very short windows.

  • Positive batten stagger… this virtually eliminates sheetlet/block fouling. As our mizzen battens end flush with the transom and rather high, this feature is very helpful.

  • No flogging or popping… flogging is hard on the sail, our wa, and interferes with communications between crew. Popping is merely annoying as heck (to be fair, so are all the other aspects of being tossed about; that’s just one more).

  • Quick bite sail backing… small inputs to back mizzen and push the stern to port or starboard simplify and quicken maneuvers, which contributes to safety in tight quarter sailing.

Given where and how we sail, these features are worth quite a bit of enhanced, windward performance. Nevertheless, we prepared to experiment with a shaped mizzen.

All of these considerations apply to the main, as well, but for various reasons don’t weigh in as heavily. Flogging is only briefly tolerated, popping is further from the cockpit, fouling is more safely handled from the deck and backing of the main is seldom necessary.

Flat Cut Upper Panels

WAYWARD’s upper panels (‘crab claws’) raise the yard at a steeper angle than SJR standard. But their flat cut fabric transfers load along their entire run, from the yard to the uppermost batten.  

From There the lower sail (cambered portions) hangs vertically, supported by roping along fore panels’ luff (their leech is not roped) and after panels’ luff and leech.

We hoped, in effect, that yard, panel and batten work together as a very large ‘head board.’ 

As mentioned, the upper panels are the last sail standing. Their amount of camber can be reduced, when strapped down in heavy going, develop low but definite camber while completely avoiding flogging.

NOTE: This can be augmented by a temporary tack downhaul, working against the halyard to flatten the sail. To date, we’ve not felt the need.


In most respects, we were able to rig as we have been doing (described above in ‘Background’).

To help top up the aft end of the yard, and encourage the forward swing of the sail, we placed the sling point slightly aft of center. 

Forward movement of the yard is limited by a short, standing yard parrel, which fetches up snug against the aft side of the mast, and runs long on the forward side.

Sail rotation is limited at the uppermost batten by a short, standing batten parrel. It fetches up snug on the aft side of the mast and short but loose ahead. In addition, this limits aft movement of the sail - even when deeply reefed - replacing a running yard hauling parrel.

Once the upper panel is in position, we tie short parrels at each batten. They may be short but loose as there is no apparent batten stagger whatsoever; once the upper panel is positioned correctly, reefing and set are purely vertical affairs. Their sole functions are to keep battens from blowing away from the mast, and as clip points for temporary downhauls.

NOTE: Most analyses of JR sail set focus on limiting sail position via the yard (sling point + yard hauling parrel) and the boom. This still allows the mid sail to rotate forward, which motion is often controlled by luff hauling parrels. It seems to me that limiting rotation at the uppermost batten of the parallelogram (rather than at the boom), controls the ‘high ground’. Everything hangs and mostly behaves below that point.

NOTE: There is a definite but finicky, optimal sling point… too far forward and the yard’s aft end sags; too far aft and the forward end dips below the sail bundle on lowering, presenting a danger to anyone on the foredeck. Look for that Goldilocks point!

NOTE: We had originally thought to hinge the yard and uppermost batten at their forward ends (see drawing, above). Together they would form a strut for better control of upper panel position, and yard dip when lowering. A model looked promising, but we decided to limit the number of new things we were trying at one time, and went with a more standard separation between the two.

Our Theory of Operation of SJR Main and Flat Cut Mizzen

In theory, a flat cut mizzen doesn’t point as high as SJR (or cambered).

This means that, if we point up to the SJR main’s optimum, we’ll pinch the close-hauled mizzen and lose its contribution to overall power. 

Alternatively, we can sail at the mizzen’s optimum and ease the main to match. This swings the main’s force vector forward, improving drive and reducing leeway, without sacrificing mizzen power. In effect, the main will be drawing on a close reach, while the mizzen is drawing close hauled.

Since our pointing was always acceptable to us, improved footing would be pure gravy. 

I’ll note again, however, that we have likely traded away potential performance for what we deem to be flat cut mizzen advantages for our situation.

Prototype Sails

We anticipate a three part main. Upper crab claws, stack o’ jibs and stack o’ after panels, each laced independently in place. But for the prototype...

We built our upper, crab claw panels as final. We laced them to yard and uppermost batten with marline hitches.

Materials are 8ozTopNotch for the upper panels (and eventually, final sails), and 8oz Weathermax. In retrospect, we would like to have made jibs and all lower panels from a lighter nylon, but TopNotch is already purchased and on hand. So it goes.

We increased the proportion of jib to after panels at 1:2 (balance =  33%), adjusted for our deck plan. This further eases sheet loading, and reduces both twist and weather helm when sailing off the wind. I suspect, it increases ‘clean air’ lift and drive from the jibs, as well. 

NOTE: This is in accord with Slieve’s recommendation after having sailed POPPY’s rig at about 1:3 (balance = 25%).

We didn’t anticipate experimenting with the jibs beyond Slieve’s initial specs, so linked them into a vertically contiguous stack of panels (rather than tied and individually adjustable).

The main after panels and mizzen’s panels were built as identical parallelograms (no rounding). 

We lashed the main’s panels Thai-style, but with lashing length varied to induce camber (simulating rounding). We made up a ‘tick board’, marked for distances every foot  from edge-of-cloth to batten for cambers of 4%, 8% and 12% of chord, and began with 8%.

NOTE: 8% camber is a moderate amount which appears to be favored by many offshore cruisers. Many inshore cruisers prefer more. Our inshore cruising seems to have more in common with offshore conditions (SE AK sea and weather conditions, engineless, liveaboard and on the move), so we started there. In particular, we are often tossed in  ‘slop and bobble’ rip-tides, in which cambered sails ‘pop’ annoyingly from one side to the other. 8% has been recommended by several experienced sailors as a tolerable maximum.

NOTE: Lashings were made of three round turns of tarred nylon seine twine, ending with opposing clove hitches around all turns, at cloth’s edge. This let the remainder rotate freely around battens. 

We laced mizzen panels flat and close against the battens. Only if the flat mizzen failed in sea trials did we intend to lash and play with camber options.

NOTE: If they had been available, we would have preferred doubled hook-and-loop strips on a heavy backing, as more quickly and easily adjustable.

Note the wide angular difference between main and mizzen!
Also, that we are still pointing rather high on the wind.

Sea Trials

Questions we hoped to answer in sea trials under prototype included the following: 

  • Is the anticipated gain from shaped sails worthwhile in our situation?

  • Can the flat cut mizzen ‘keep up’ with the SJR main?
    Will it draw at all when close hauled and pointing higher and/or footing faster?

  • Are the amount and distribution of camber too much or too little?

  • Are our dumbed-down rigging arrangements up to the task?

We sailed the prototype for over a year, across a route upwards of 500nm (as the Orca swims… not counting tacks, jibes and side trips). We sailed in estuarial, tight and open waters, flat waters to ‘Chatham chop” to about 15ft swell, against and with the wind from calm to about 55kts (we only tried beating into about 40kts sustained).


Theory panned out!

The ‘head board’ idea seems to have worked out very well. As goes the headsail, so goes the rest.

Sailing ‘close hauled’ (mizzen close hauled; main sheeted high on its close reach; upper panels assuming varying degrees of conic section) we pointed several degrees higher than with both sails cut flat, and footed faster.

We clearly improved our windward performance. 

Off the wind, any gain wasn’t particularly noticable, but no complaints. 

NOTE: We weren't able to replicate the broad reach advantage Slieve reports. Our main luffed well before his when wung out so far. Possibly, this is due to our sheeting arrangement which has not yet been implemented to help eliminate twist? It would mean that, broad reaching, our boom would be oversheeted when the upper sail is drawing well; the lower sail would contribute less drive. At any rate, shaping did no harm, and additional performance with the wind has very low priority for us.

Tacking, including in tight quarters in flukey winds was reliable.

NOTE: Initially, in heavier winds of around 25+kts kicking a short, steep sea, we missed tacks. Turns out that we were strapping the main in a skosh too tight… once we learned to slightly ease the main, tacks became reliable.

Our ghosting was not noticeably affected. Our concern that unfilled, shaped panels would spoil our acceptable ghosting was unfounded. A ghoster, might still be in our future.

The broad set of the main (close reach) preserves a wider margin of effective sailing above our optimal course (i.e., while pinching). In tight quarters, this reduces demands for attention, handling and pucker factor. It’s the difference between sailing toward the upper end of capability, rather than at the upper edge.

NOTE: We could get the same effect with more drive by easing both SJR main and cambered mizzen in tight quarters. But given that we want a flat mizzen for other reasons, this was an unlooked-for gravy point.

The amount of camber (8% of chord) felt about right to us, and we felt no need to reduce camber from bottom to top. It’s ‘popping’ wasn’t too uncomfortable when misbehaving in a toss. It filled out in lighter breeze than the 12% panel, which on the whole felt like diminished returns for our style of sailing.

The only extra handling the SJR main incurred was the occasional clearing of fouled sheets. We didn’t dock the aft end of the lower panel, but plan to in the final sails which should ease fouling.

We sometimes tidy the reefed jibs into the forward lift (if gathered a little off, they can block the forward view under the boom… a better lift lead may fix this).


We’re very pleased with the results.

For our purposes, the SJR main and flat cut mizzen appear to work well enough together for our purposes, significantly improving our windward performance.

Handling remains simple.

Despite what I’ve written about the attractions of a flat cut mizzen, we’re still considering cambering it. Doing so can only further improve performance by empowering our laggard mizzen.

Cambering the mizzen would give us a chance to experiment with a flattening scheme in which brailing lines gather rounding along the battens when drawn up. This would likely be seasonal, set for the blustery months when a flat mizzen is most appreciated

So many possibilities; so little time!


Since writing this, I’ve become aware that there is some concern regarding overbalance in SJR sails with balances nearing the top end of what Slieve McGalliard considers possible (35% of sail chord).

Overbalance, as I understand it, is too much sail area forward of the mast. The overbalanced whole may fail to weathercock (align with the wind) when sheets are let run. A tendency to failure would mean power cannot be reliably dumped in this manner, and rounding up may not be possible.

At 30.5% our SJR balance is nearing that top end, but is not yet extreme?

We can report absolutely no hesitation in weathercocking when sheets were let run beyond normal friction from the blocks. We noticed no difference in sheet responsiveness from our previous (flat cut) main, which had considerably less balance.

Relevant differences between typical SJR and ours include the following:

The higher peaked yard moves the CE of the uppermost panel aft, improving weathercocking.

Our sheets are six part vs. the more usual three, which induces more friction, impeding weathercocking.

Opened by Thai style lashings, our after panels had gaps running along each batten. As their maximum point of camber (and therefore of gap) was 33% of panel chord, I suspect the after sail’s CE was moved aft to some small extent. This would improve weathercocking.


  1. Glad to have the first report on Wayward’s see trials.
    Extend my congratulations or condolences to Anke on her promotion from partner to wife as appropriate. ;-)

    1. Hi Charles,

      Thanks! Our wedding was 32 some years ago, but congrats (and condolences) are always welcome! 8)

      We've usually referred to ourselves as 'partners' as it sounds (to our ears) as empowered as we feel partnerSHIP to be.

      Dave Z

    2. Dave, if your half the pain in backside I am I sure hope you thank her for putting up with you. I know I sure thank Sandy nearly every day.

    3. Dave, if your half the pain in backside I am I sure hope you thank her for putting up with you. I know I sure thank Sandy nearly every day.

    4. Dave, if your half the pain in backside I am I sure hope you thank her for putting up with you. I know I sure thank Sandy nearly every day.

  2. Glad to have the first report on Wayward’s see trials.
    Extend my congratulations or condolences to Anke on her promotion from partner to wife as appropriate. ;-)

  3. Dave,
    Thanks for this excellent, clear, and informative report with lots of useful detail.
    - Michael

    1. Hi Michael,

      Glad you liked! Please let me know when the useful detail runs on to TMI... I always have a hard time knowing.

      Dave Z

  4. Really appreciate your exploration of the SJR. Inspires me to get going on my current boat project which may include the rig. Thank You!

    1. Hi Pantalones,

      I think you're gonna like it!

      Dave Z

  5. Thank you for the update. It seems you are thinking of adding camber to the mizzen? Or would that be another SJR? and in the case of merely cambering, what balance point?
    I am (Horrors!) working on a power to sail conversion for ... economic reasons. We have been going step at a time: Repower from 160HP sterndrive (too old for parts anyway) to 7.5hp OB, add Off center boards. So far the OCB have been wonderful. They have pretty much changed almost all of the rocky motion to up and down. It is worth leaving both sides down in a rolly anchorage. The 7.5hp could use a large flatter prop, but will be switched out to a 9.9 with a large foot and bigger flatter prop instead. Because it is a planing hull, I think I will extend it 4 feet so I can ramp the rear of the hull up to water line before adding a rudder. I do not know if I will get to masts and sails before next season or not. It was your square boats that made me think I can get away with all this :) I do not expect to go fast, but our trips last summer confirmed that 5 knots or so will be adequate. My plan is to use a schooner or ketch rig. I feel that while I am trying to calculate out good locations for OCB, etc. The hull shape also dictates some of these things and a sloop leaves little room for correcting balance after the fact. Thanks agian for sharing your thought processes along with your experiences after sailing.

    1. Hi Len,

      Yes, we're going to try cambering the mizzen, but inertia has sofar kept us from it (it's built, just has to be rigged). Maybe this coming year? The prob with flat cut miz is that, especially with 5-part running sheet and a short lead, it has a tendency to shake the shape out of itself. We induce it with a kludge (a carabiner lets us clip in boom doubling part) if we're sailing to windward for any longer length of time. We hope the camber will help. Balance point about 2:10ft (12 total).

      Theory is that the flat top panel will likewise tame the set of sail, avoiding Hong Kong parrels.

      Your project is intruiguing, and sounds quite doable. I applaud raising the planing stern... likely a biggish job, but the payoff should eliminate drag from the abrupt, below-WL break at the transom. We've had good luck with raising the bottom above the LWL to about the same amount as the draft (rectangular stern).

      One couple was looking at joining two identical hulls with straight runs aft stern to stern for a large-ish double ender over a 'barge' mid-section. Haven't heard back if it happened or results, but sounds promising!

      My personal preference has come to favor ketch over schooner rig... a schooner's main (aft) has its CE relatively farther forward, and makes control of the stern much less positive. The ketch mizzen (aft) nails it, however. REALLY handy for sailing off an anchor in a tight spot... can choose the departure tack with 100% results. 'Course, a SCHOONER... there's romance in the name! 8)

      Good luck with your project and fair winds!

      Dave Z

  6. Can you write in some detail about how you rig control lines from the sails to the points of control? And when I say "in some detail," I mean after the manner of this outstanding article.

    1. Hi Sail4th,

      The main is a simple, six-part sheet run top-down through three blocks aloft, each controlling a pair of battens via sheetlets (aka sheet spans), and turned by blocks at deck level.

      So far standard for systems without euphroe. A tweak is that we don't run them parallel to the centerline (as usual), but at right angles. This allows the foresail sheets to straddle the mizzen and gives us a little better lead.

      The sheet is made fast on the strbrd side of the cabin trunk, and turned aft on the port side. It runs to a cleat on the port side of the mizzen tabernacle (which is offset to port), proud of the cabin top. The tail runs straight down to a kitty-litter bucket (3gal).

      The mizzen is also a simple 5 part run, with turning blocks along a boomkin (near parallel to centerline) It returns to the end of the boom as a quasi-6th part, but is turned along the boom, and down again at the fwd end to a cleat on the starbrd side of the mizzen tabernacle. Fall to bucket as before.

      The advantage of this tabernacle placement is that both sheets are close together fwd of the helm so they can be handled together while facing fwd.

      Hard to describe in words, but pretty simple in execution. Hope this did it!

      Dave Z

  7. It seems, with respect to simplicity -- the KISS principle discussed in others of your blog posts -- that for beginners, even in a sailing area like yours, going with the flat cut sail suit would be a better trade-off. What say you?

    Alternatively, what do you have to say about a slightly cambered suit of sails NOT split?

    Another article request: As do-it-yourself folks, using the KISS principle, could you write about the detailed procedure you go about when rigging your boat? (For example, are you forced to go aloft?)

    1. I can't speak for Dave or this boat. However, Sailing close to shore would benefit from higher lift than flat panels and cambered panels are not that hard to make. There are tools available online for layout/cutting barrel shaped panels that require the same sewing as flat. As for the SJR, while it may be somewhat more difficult to construct the sail itself, the actual rigging tends to be easier (use less lines) because the the SJR should hang straight all by itself without extra parrels to force it to. As such it does not really violate the KISS principal. The other thing the SJR brings to a design is mast placement. On a smaller boat such as this, the mast placement can make a large difference to usable space for living in. The SJR allows placing the mast somewhat aft of a similar flat or cambered sail and may be just enough to avoid having a great pole in the middle of a berth. Also remember that a sail is not just one great span of cloth but rather sewn together from many pieces. The SJR would therefore be easier to sew as the spans of sail are smaller and easier to deal with. The SJR has also been around long enough that the jiblet sail shape is well understood and is reasonably simple (there are some really simple ones but Dave did not use them)

    2. What Len said!

      All the extra complexity is in construction, and that's reasonably straightforward. If you want to go even simpler for cambered sections, check out Roger Taylor's 'hinge' method for MING MING.

      That extra 'balance' (area fwd of the sail) didn't affect our mast placement, but definitely gives us more sail area on the same mast.

      In terms of the trade-off, I think beginners would find it worth the extra effort. The extra pointing/footing actually improves safety margins, so easier on those starting out.

      RE SJR vs Cambered (unsplit)... my (2nd and 3rd hand) impression is that SJR outperforms the merely cambered when racing head to head. But all three (including flat-cut), have their merits. It would depend on how you roll and when and where you want to spend your time.

      One point... The SJR 'jiblets' when reefed hang down like 'jowls' this interferes with fwd vision and is hard to duck under (picture swabbing your shirt with chill morning dew!). There are ways to collect them, but there goes another bit of simplicity. Flat and Cambered don't have this issue.

      RE Rigging... thanks for the suggestion, I'll put it on my list.

      In short, we rig the halyards and lifts while the mast is laid flat then raise it. Attach halyard to lug (yard), sail to halyard and, raising as we go we tie the battens to the sails and parrels around the mast.

      So we don't have to go aloft, hopefully ever!

      Dave Z

  8. Many thanks for your interesting articles.

  9. Beautiful boat!

    I can't really see from the photo, but it looks like the masts pivot on a pin through a hole in the masts, and are held to the tabernacles at the top by some sort of large pad-eye-like fitting. Are these of metal? If so, did you make them yourselves from off-the-shelf materials or did you have them professionally cast? If they are of wood, what close-grained hardwood did you choose?

    Also, how are the fittings attached firmly to the tops of the tabernacles?

    Perhaps what I'm seeing is an extension of the tabernacle wood itself, through which the pin is run. I've seen pictures of mast-tabernacle hinge pin similarly run through the tabernacle wood itself (possibly with a metal bearing sleeve, but I didn't get a closeup photo to show). If that was not your choice, what was your thinking in not choosing that option?

    Many thanks for this informative and interesting site.

    1. Hi,

      The masts have a hole through them to pin the foot, but not for the pivot. The pivot pin passes through thick aluminum plates affixed to the upper tabernacle posts, and through a strap doubled over to form a hinge.

      The strap is lagged to the mast, then wired around with several passes of heavy guage wire, and then again with line led around the pin on each side (safety in depth... even if the lags were to give, the mast should stand for quite a while).

      The plates are screwed and glued to the posts (or on SLACTIDE and LUNA, we made the whole tabernacle from aluminum). At some point, we are supposed to upgrade to bolts, but thank you for reminding us... that had slipped our minds!

      Our preference for the hinge is not wanting to pass a large hole through the mast at partner level. Lots of boats do this, but most are supported by stays and shrouds (like the Thames River Barges). Ours is freestanding (cantilevered), and the partners is where all bending forces accumulate. We'd like it as strong as possible for any given scantlings.

      If you're interested, here are two postst that focus in with better pics:

      Hope that's helpful!

  10. I read in Van Loan that batten parrels need to be adjustable in the course of rigging the sail. That seems complicated, calling for lots of trial and error in raising and lowering the sail. Is that what you have done?

  11. Beautiful boat!

    How did you build/rig your boomkins on the Wayward and the Slackride without cluttering up the stern? All the photos I can find online show a vee or wye shaped boomkin with arms attaching to the stern on either side of the rudder. That would seem to take up important space aft needed for things like a yuloh or a Seacycle, or for that matter (for those wanting one) an outboard mount.

    I saw a photo somewhere, I think, of the Slacktide’s stern in which it appeared that the boomkin was a single spar affixed somehow to the transom (pivoting?) and held in place by lines or cables.

  12. Hi,

    We haven't found that to be at all the case. The basic quadrilateral geometry with FLAT CUT SAILS (Hassler or Van Loan) is so straightforward that it has fallen perfectly in place for each sail without adjustment. The key, I think, is to let the sail hang naturally with gravity (not be forced into an anti-gravity position by parrels). The mast can be canted anywhere within the range that the parrels allow this free hang (i.e., short parrels high; increasingly long parrels low).

    The 'stagger' (each reefed batten extending increasingly aft by a small, set amount, which helps keep sheetlets from fouling) depends on fabric diagonals in each panel constraining the lowering/lowered batten position.

    CAMBERED panels (including SJR) don't have a diagonal that goes taut, so its NOT available to constrain positions.

    We have found that an upright mast, well-cocked boom (/lower batten), together with very short batten parrels at the mast and a docked boom give slight but ample stagger. In our case, this is also helped by that uppermost 'headboard' panel (crabclaw), which transfers halyard support evenly to the uppermost batten... fix this batten with a short parrel, and the lower sail hangs docilely from it.

    One of the main ways to control boom movement in cambered sails has been diagonal 'Hong Kong' parrels between battens. These are finicky to adjust, and add complexity. As we are rigging, we've not found them to be necessary.

    Hope this helps!

    Dave Z