Catamaran Rig Options

I recently read an article from Forespar, showing that your 78 foot Beowulf is using their AeroRigging spars. My question to you is, does this set up support less maintenance, ease of sailing? Also, I am very close to ordering a 46′ Prout Catamaran, and I am considering my custom rigging options. Which way would you go: Carbon Fibre Spars and Poles AeroRig Furlaway E-Z Furl? I will primarily be the only sailor aboard. Would you please share some of your tried and true experiences with me regarding the way you would go in this situation? Rory

Hi Rory: First, Beowulf has a Forespar rig, but it is plain old aluminum. The Aerorig was used on one of the Sundeer 60s. As to the Aerorig and ease of sailing, since I have never been offshore with this system it is hard for me to comment. There are a couple of things to keep in mind. First, is this the best use of budget, since the rigs are costly. Second, you will want to be sure to have a good preventer system to the rig can be stabilized when broad reaching and running in the trades. Third, make sure the rig is quiet at sea (we met one monohull that was very unhappy with the noise of their rig moving around in its bearings). With those caveats, if the free standing potential is taken advantage of, i.e. you use a nice big roach and eliptical tip sailplan, this can be a very efficient, i.e. fast rig. As to ease of handling, I’m a fan of slab reefing and lazy jacks. Properly set up, this is a simple, fast, and foolproof system. Re carbon fiber spars, again a question of bang for the buck. With your multihull, heeling moment is not going to be the issue it is with single hulled designs. However, pitching is also a factor and this will be much reduced. But is it worth the cost to you? I cannot answer that. Ideally, you could sail on two similar vessels at sea, one with and one without carbon fiber, to get a feel for the motion of the different configurations. Furlaway/EZ furl etc. are not my cup of tea for offshore work. Simply too complex and compromised for offshore–and I do not like the sail shape limitations these impose. I’d stay with conventional slab reefing, and take a tiny percentage of the cost of one of these furling systems and spend it on an electric winch to be used for both reefing and hoisting. Good Luck–Steve

Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)

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