First of all If you have a boat with a working Bermuda rig keep in mind that it seldom makes sense to do a new rig (Lug, Junk,Crab Claw, or whatever). Remember the “Don’t fix it if it’s not broken” rule.
Now, if on the other hand, the CAL 29 you’re thinking of getting has no sails, the rigging is shot, and your mast has seen better days a change to a simpler rig just might make a lot of sense.
With me so far?
OK, here’s what you need to know about lug rigs…
For starters there are three main types of lug sails which are the Dipping lug, Standing lug, and the Balanced lug. While all three are excellent rigs I’m of the considered opinion that the Balanced lug makes the most sense for a cruising boat.
So, what do I like about this Bolger Balanced lug rig?
- It’s simple. All you need is a mast, sail, a halyard, a sheet, and a few blocks. The mast is free standing and requires no rigging or associated hardware.
- Being a square sail the center of effort is lower than in a Bermuda rig which results in less heeling forces.
- It’s a powerful sail for not a lot of money.
- The balanced lug rig is self-vanging which makes for docile handling.
What’s not to like?
Well for starters, if you want an affordable free standing mast and the associated boom/yard you’ll have to build it yourself. That said, the cost of said mast and spars is a lot less than an aluminum stick and associated wire/hardware needed for the Bermuda rig. Better yet the learning curve for mast building is not so difficult and a rather enjoyable pursuit. Still it is a rather daunting project for a lot of folks.
The Balanced lug rig, while being fairly evolved, could certainly use a bit of improvement to bring it into the current century. Most of which is already in use readily available with a bit of thought and research.
Over the years my thinking about sailing across oceans with a cat rigged boat have evolved somewhat as has my thought process in terms of building free standing spars but we’ll get into that in some depth next time.