Aero Rig on Sundeer 60

Dear sirs: I’m interested in purchasing a Sundeer 60 and have seen this AeroRig system advertised in one model. Can I have some comments as to the efficiency of this seemingly very simple rig on offshore conditions? Heavy conditions? Your help will be greatly appreciated.–H.J.Argeles, MD

Hi Horacio: You are correct, we have built one Sundeer 60 with an AeroRig. However, she left the country before we had a chance to test-sail the boat, so my comments are limited to having talked to several cruisers we have met who have lived with the system.

First, the system offers the potential of very good performance off the wind due to the leading edge slot. However, I’m not sure they have been able to take advantage of this yet in the boats I have seen. One of the major reasons may be the lack of roach on the mains I have seen. If you have a free-standing rig, you ought to be shooting for an elliptical distribution of area to reduce induced drag and increase drive.

For us, the bottom line is cost. Is this an efficient way to chase performance and/or ease of handling? As the costs are extremely high compared to a simple aluminum rig (probably a premium in excess of US$100,000), the answer for is no. However, if cost is not a major issue, then we’ll make a few other comments.

The system appears easy to sail with, i.e. the single control line. However, in an offshore context I am not sure that this is much of an advantage as things are happening slowly, with a great deal of space in which to maneuver.

The biggest complaint we have heard is about noise and slatting of the entire rig when sailing downwind. You have this huge, heavy structure, penetrating the deck, and constantly moving. I’m sure they have or will make improvements in this, but so far the AeroRig appears a bit noisy.

A number of owners have told us that in spite of vanging and preventers, the rig flops around quite a bit in sloppy conditions–more than a conventional rig would. As sloppy downwind weather is fairly common on passaging, this makes the noise issues below even worse.

However, most of the folks we’ve talked with like their systems, noise and floppiness notwithstanding.

Finally, if it is performance you are after, there are many ways to make the boat go faster with a lot less investment. Regards–Steve

Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)

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