The rig designed by Bill Lapworth is not a bad rig for a VolksCruiser. For starters it’s fairly simple, reasonably robust, and will push you along quite nicely. The only real issues I have is that sail track sorta/kinda sucks and that the rig on most all CAL 34s is fifty years old or thereabouts. Of course, the cost of replacing the rig is just silly so most of us replace what we can and hope for the best.
In the case of “So It Goes”, I’d just finished replacing the stays and was ready to replace the various chainplates but as they looked OK and passed a visual inspection, the chainplate project was put off until after we finished with the charter shows. In hindsight, a big problem.
So yeah, if I were buying a going-on fifty-year old boat I’d seriously consider replacing the various failure points because having your mast fall down is no fun at all. The problem, of course, is rigging bits cost way too much for folks on a budget. Point of fact; many folks confide to me what they have paid for rigging parts and work which underline how unfairly the marine trades treat their clients.
Which is where DIY rigging or changing rigs that are user buildable starts making real sense.
So, what kind of rig do you want to put on your VolksCruiser?
First of all it need to be simple. Simple is easier to DIY, simple is fewer failure points, and, 99% of the time, simple is a whole lot more affordable. For instance, a cat rigged lugsail is about as simple as you can get. With only two strings to pull (sheet and halyard) it’s the most horse power for the least investment you’re going to find.
Over the years I’ve come to the concluision that free-standing rigs might be just a bit better with some rigging and, if I were building an Escape I’d consider a forestay and running backs. Which would not add much in terms of cost but make for a stronger rig while allowing a smaller mast diameter and open up the possibility of a jib or light air sail. Admittedly a heretical thought, but still within the realm of simple and something you might want to think about..
Next up: some thoughts on simplfying a classic plastic rig.