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Lug rig

Seaotter5

Active Member
After watching AIR’s videos, and reading some if the old posts on this forum, it seems that perhaps some sort of lug sail rig might improve the Sunfish’s cruising capabilities without sacrificing too much performance. Has anyone actually tried that out? I have seen several proposals,but no actual reports.
I am still hoping to try my Minifish rig on my Super Sailfish this weekend, but it seems that a real Reefing sail rig might be a better long term solution.
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Lug, hmmmm. I put our canoe gaff rig on a Sunfish in the yard as a joke and it actually looked pretty good. Maybe we'll try it soon.
 

Weston

Active Member
After watching AIR’s videos, and reading some if the old posts on this forum, it seems that perhaps some sort of lug sail rig might improve the Sunfish’s cruising capabilities without sacrificing too much performance. Has anyone actually tried that out? I have seen several proposals,but no actual reports...
I had to look up what a “lug sail rig” is. From what I read, a lug rig would not have very good upwind sailing capability, compared to a lateen or Bermuda rig. But, it is reefable. So, that would be the trade-off.
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
You said cruising...and performance...Do those two go together? It was the Racers who came along in the late 1800s with Marconi/Sloop rigs and messed up everything :)

Lugs are great along with any other square sail for slow cruising with wind anywhere from the beam and behind. And lateens. They have been used for Millineum to circumnavigate.
 

tag

my2fish
Couldn't you just use the Jens rig setup to depower the sail instead of trying to reef the sail?
A Jens rig, named after Jens Hookanson who used it in winning the 1976 Sunfish North American Championship (at age 16!), lowers the point at which the upper spar is attached to the mast. This leaves more of the upper spar unsupported. In heavier winds, the upper spar can bend more, twisting the leech and “spilling” air. Since the upper part of the sail is depowered, it is easier to hold the boat flat without easing the sail out. Therefore pointing is not sacrificed.
 

Weston

Active Member
You said cruising...and performance...Do those two go together? It was the Racers who came along in the late 1800s with Marconi/Sloop rigs and messed up everything :)

Lugs are great along with any other square sail for slow cruising with wind anywhere from the beam and behind. And lateens. They have been used for Millineum to circumnavigate.
Watching the “Adventures in Reach“ videos, I think what seaotter5 is referring to is how to deal with the drastically changing wind conditions that can be experienced in a multi day, long distance trip, such as the 150 miles around Isle Royale in Lake Superior with a sunfish. He experienced everything from a dead calm to 30 mile an hour winds and 10 foot waves. A Bermuda rig is easily reefed to power down the sail in high winds. The options to power down a sunfish sail that I’m aware of are:
  • Adjust the halyard attach position on the gaff so that the sale is closer to the boat and/or use a Jens rig
  • Adjust the outhaul and Cunningham to flatten the sail
  • Swap out the sunfish sail with a mini fish sail

  • Are there other options that I’m missing
 

beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
The other way to depower a Sunfish rig that racers use after the Jens is not enough is to reef. Untie the upper outhaul. Pull the sail down the gaff until the first grommet above the tack is now at the the tack, and tie that grommet to the tack (or use an s hook.). Then pull the upper outhaul very tight (You’ll need a longer upper outhaul line.). Then pull the lower outhaul tight and you are good to go! The sail stays nearly bunched along the boom and no reefing points are needed in the sail.
 

Seaotter5

Active Member
Thanks for all of the above. You have given me plenty to think about! I appreciate all of the suggestions!
I spent a couple of days kayaking/kayaking 20 miles Chincoteague Sound this week, and while doing so I was able to clarify my thoughts a bit. I am in my 60s, retired, and not really in all that much of a hurry when cruising. Nor do I really want to dunk all of my camping gear in salt water. I really like the Sunfish’s handiness (the sound is a maze of sandbars) and the fact that it moves well with a kayak paddle, but I don’t like having to duck under the boom when the wind kicks up (and I have to take the sail off of geezer mode). A boom less, reefable sail rig (Not necessarily a lug rig) would adddress those concerns.
Joni and I are (weather permitting) are going to spend the weekend camping and sailing, and I will try the Minisail rig on my Sailfish. If that works out well, I will most likely just settle for that, using some of the techniques mentioned above when conditions warrant.
 
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Weston

Active Member
Thanks for all of the above. You have given me plenty to think about! I appreciate all of the suggestions!
I spent a couple of days kayaking/kayaking 20 miles Chincoteague Sound this week, and while doing so I was able to clarify my thoughts a bit. I am in my 60s, retired, and not really in all that much of a hurry when cruising. Nor do I really want to dunk all of my camping gear in salt water. I really like the Sunfish’s handiness (the sound is a maze of sandbars) and the fact that it moves well with a kayak paddle, but I don’t like having to duck under the boom when the wind kicks up (and I have to take the sail off of geezer mode). A boom less, reefable sail rig (Not necessarily a lug rig) would adddress those concerns.
Joni and I are (weather permitting) are going to spend the weekend camping and sailing, and I will try the Minisail rig on my Sailfish. If that works out well, I will most likely just settle for that, using some of the techniques mentioned above when conditions warrant.
If you get a chance, please post pictures of the minisail rig on your Sailfish.
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
More history, from Sunfish Talk forum members:

 

Wavedancer

Upside down?
Staff member
beldar's post above is well worth considering.
Years ago, I participated in a Curacao Regatta and was having a hard time in the big breeze (above 20 mph most of the time) and waves.
On the last morning, Malcolm Smith (multiple World champion) was rigging his Sunfish next to me and took the time to show me how to reef the sail in the manner beldar described.
Still thankful for his advice.

PS: Could this be done while on the water? I doubt it, but maybe someone will have another opinion?
 
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beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
PS: Could this be done while on the water? I doubt it, but maybe someone will have another opinion?
You could only do it on the water If you left off the sail clip/tie above the halyard on the gaff, and ran a loooonnnggg upper outhaul to a cleat near the deck. You’d loosen the outhaul and lower the sail, attach it to the tack with an s hook that is already in place, then tighten the daylights out of the gaff and foot outhauls.

The clip needs to be omitted as the clip would hang up on the halyard as you drop the sail on the gaff.
 

mixmkr

Well-Known Member
I can't remember offhand which sails (brands) have reinforcement in the corners or not...but I might be concerned with the "new" tack not being reinforced, especially tightened extra and used in higher winds.
 

beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
I can't remember offhand which sails (brands) have reinforcement in the corners or not...but I might be concerned with the "new" tack not being reinforced, especially tightened extra and used in higher winds.
I use an official Sunfish racing sail which is extra-reinforced in the first grommet up as it is usually used for the Cunningham. I’m not familiar with how the off-brand sails are made.
 

mixmkr

Well-Known Member
Ah yes....the cunningham. I would guess many, if not most, non legal, non race sails would not be reinforced. Who needs a cunningham for going out and dumping Sunfishes for fun??!!
 
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