Some junk rig evolution of note…

The current JRA Newsletter (#85) has a very interesting article on building a junk sail by Paul McKay that has me thinking long and hard in terms of rigs for VolkCruisers.


For me, the concept of a VolksCruiser is really all about simplicity in all of its various forms. Lug rigs in general are simple to use, simple to rig, have simple hardware requirements, and only require a minimal sail inventory. Even better is that lug rigs can be doused or reefed easily and, being so simple, there is bugger all to go wrong. 

Throw in the fact that all of that simplicity makes lug rigs very inexpensive and DIY friendly and you’ve got a pretty compelling reason in favor of a lug rig.

Now, in general, I’ve favored balanced and dipping lug sails over junk rigs mostly because they’re simpler (all those battens, lots of line, and various blocks/euphroes) and develop more power than junk rigs. However the evolution of junk rigs into cambered sails of late has made the modern junk rig more powerful than its flat panel counterpart and while still less powerful than a balanced or dipping lug the difference is less of a factor now.

So, here’s the thing about the Origami Rig article in the JRA Newsletter that has me all excited…

The biggest problem people have in terms of sewing and building a sail is the simple fact that sewing up a 300-400 square foot sail of any kind is no simple task as you need lots of room and the logistics of sewing something that big is at best really really problematic to the max.

Which is why coming across an article on a different way to build a cambered split junk rig sail with a method that makes it both simple and can be used in a small space makes me sit up and pay attention. Not only would a sail made this way be easier to build but it would also be easier to maintain and repair.

Color me very impressed and thinking about designing a more hybrid junk rig that would incorporate my current staysail and jib for a junk cutter of sorts.

Anyway, it’s an article you really should read and a great reason to join the JRA so you can get your hands on it.

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1 thought on “Some junk rig evolution of note…”

  1. I have been following junk rigs for while now and found it interesting that while you do mention that JR are "easy to reef", you also prefer the balance lug as easier to build and use. I can't really argue with that. However, one of the things you leave out about the advantage of a JR over the plain balanced lug is survivability. The amount of strain on any one part of a JR panel is much less than on a large panel in a BM, gaff or even balanced lug. This means that for any one sail, the material can be lighter and cheaper and still out last something else. The very top panel can be made out of heavier cloth as it becomes the "storm sail". Along with this, should one of the panels blow out, have a hole in it, or whatever, the rest of the panels will continue to just work without having to replace the whole sail in bad conditions. While I mentioned a hole in the sail above as killing a panel, in reality this is seldom the case. Rather, a hole is a JR panel will likely not cause the whole panel to fail as it would in the average jib. Now of course if one decides to use the same sailcloth either way the cost savings are not there but the strength is.
    The actual innovation you mention, the Origami Rig, I am also excited as I look for a sailboat to replace the 22foot cabin cruiser my family is out growing.
    Please note that I am not suggesting the JR is better than the plain balanced lug… it depends. 🙂 I am just asking that survivablity/lack of stress be included in your list of pluses when mentioning the JR.

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