sail plan changes, marconi rig

Boats up to 15' for oars, power or sail. Please include the boat type in your question.
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sail plan changes, marconi rig

Post by jacquesmm » Mon Oct 23, 2017 2:44 pm

This has been discussed many times but to avoid repetition, I will make it a sticky announcement and maybe later, move it to the HowTo files.

Builders of our small boats often ask if they can have a marconi rig instead of a sprit or lug rig.
The sprit rig has a sail with 4 sides, the marconi rig has a triangular sail.
Let's see what are the differences, pros and cons.

Marconi sail:

- familiar look
- sail closer to the wind

- longer mast = more expensive and cannot be stored in the boat
- less sail area, slower except close hauled
- more difficult to raise the higher mast
- requires shrouds and forestay (cables)
- requires heavier mast step

Sprit rig:

- very simple set up of the mast
- no shrouds
- simple mast step and partner.
- store in the boat
- made from small spars, inexpensive, easy to make
- sail can be made by an amateur
- faster downwind and reaching
- often, there is no boom to hit you in the head while tacking

- does not sail as close to the wind as marconi ( 5 to 10 degrees difference)
- a couple more lines to hoist the and set the sail.

I design many small boats with a sprit rig. Those are in general row boats that can be sailed, not pure sailboats.
If the builder wants to install a marconi rig, he must do the following:
- keep the center of the sail area in the same longitudinal spot (simple geometrical center of area)
- reinforce the mast step, the partner and the frame that will take the shrouds
- install some plate for a forestay.
- plan for some type of boom vang

Conclusion, if you want a marconi rig, keep it simple and build a boat designed for it like our CR11, CR13 or the excellent C12.

Jacques Mertens - Designer


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