The Sailing Rig

Following a lengthy corespondance on the SteamBoat Forum as to what one might do in the event of the untimely loss of fire/water/steam, or other mechanical catastrophe (especially given my intent to brave tidal waters). I concluded that an auxiliary sail rig might be the best solution.

There were a number of people trying to convince me that I could row myself to safety, but that seems like hard work on a 26ft boat! Moreover, I think the sails might be fun – (providing one remembers to extinguish any fire first!).

So I set to getting myself an education – and to cut a long story short I came across the Junk Rig, and the Junk Rig Association – and I think I am sold!

The benefits of simple sailing, easy reefing, lack of standing rigging, elegance and odd-ballness are all a good fit for Befur’s mindset, and outway the doubts about windward performance – and as Paul Fisher commented – “we are not talking America’s Cup performance, you just need to get home” !

More Research to be done, but a single forward mast and demountable funnel seem to fit the bill… I downloaded the Kindle version of “The Chinese Sailing Rig” by Derek Van Loan, which provided a very readable introduction to the design and build of such a rig, and now have my head firmly stuck into The Practical Junk Rig by Hazler and McLeon – a real bible of the topic…

OK read all that and this is what I think it looks like….

a vision of Befur with Sail and Coach house

a vision of Befur with Sail and Coach house









In the end we opted for a smaller cabin, to provide more space in the cockpit. This also entailed building a significant steel frame to support the mast tabernacle (which allows the mast to fold for trailing). The mast is a tapered extruded aluminium  pole (actually provided by a lamp post manufacturer) and is ~6″ diameter, as Junk Rigs do not have the stays (shrouds) normally fitted to a yacht, so the mast needs to be strong enough to be free standing.

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