a quick thought…

I’ve always liked Colvin’s junk rig boats as they were in a sorta/kinda evolutionary step that never really made the jump to the next stage and, as a result, have a lot to tell us about sailboat design.

Tom Colvin Gazelle Junk rig

Someone has an idea for a boat or rig and designs a sailboat based on that idea. I like to think of sailboat design as something of a circular cycle and it goes something like this:

  • Someone designs a boat based on an idea.
  • The design is successful in that it works.
  • The designer then works on similar designs refining on his ideas.
  • At some point, the designer’s idea spreads out to other designers and builders who further refine and spread the central ideas.

Sort of an evolutionary process is it not?

The problem, where Colvin’s designs are concerned, is that they really did not catch on and spread into the greater designer hive mind. Colvin did what he did and had a lot of people who liked his work but he really did not birth a movement to take his design ideas to the next level. An evolutionary branch that really did not go anywhere.

Which is not to say that folk are not building or sailing Colvin boats, just that they are not continuing to evolve while they’re doing it.

The same can be said where traditional boats are concerned. I once was accosted on a dock by a member of the Old Gaffers Association who took umbrage that the gaff rig on Loose Moose 2 sported a non-stretchy halyard as he thought all gaff rigs should use three strand line because it was traditional.

Which is sorta/kinda why you don’t see a lot of evolved tradional rigs these days and a clue to why the dinosaurs are no longer around.

Which brings me back to the rather non-evolved Colvin rig. It works, it’s cheap, and it’s as bombproof as you can get, which in my mind makes for a pretty excellent reason that more people should be using it. Not only using it but improving it as they go and bring it into the current century.

You know, something more like this…

CAL 34 junk rig with jib

More on how we could evolve this tradical rig without screwing it up, soonish.

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