Rigging: Rig Your Boat Right for Racing or Cruising

Rigging: Rig Your Boat Right for Racing or Cruising

by Danilo Fabbroni

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Covering every aspect of standing and running rigging on a boat, this step-by-step guide explains the various options and materials alongside clear illustrations and photographs.

Beginning with how to choose and fit equipment on cruising and racing yachts of all sizes, you will progress to tuning your rig to increase safety and achieve better performance.

Hundreds of alternate configurations are examined and the bewildering array of lines is simply explained. Calculations are kept easy and straightforward wherever used.

Whether you sail a gaff-rigged classic, a weekend cruiser or a high tech racer, this book contains everything you need and want to know about the mysterious art of boat rigging.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781912177578
Publisher: Fernhurst Books Limited
Publication date: 04/09/2008
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 184
File size: 16 MB
Note: This product may take a few minutes to download.

About the Author

Danilo Fabbroni is an internationally renowned rigger with Harken, the leading global manufacturer of rigging equipment. He travels the world rigging superyachts.

Read an Excerpt

Running rigging

How to choose wire rope, identify the right purchase and select the correct winch.

Why have Runners?

‘Why have runners?’ ‘What use are they?’ we may ask ourselves. Good questions! For without runners, the lives of sailors would be much easier! In fact, with the growing number of boats with aft raked spreaders, the use of runners and the need for them seem to be dying out. I say ‘seem to’ because there is still an impressive number of boats around that use – and will continue to use – runners, both in racing and cruising.

The saying attributed to Eric Tabarly: ‘What you don’t have on board won’t break,’ is certainly true. But on the other hand, if you need something, you really need it. And you really need runners, unless you have a rig with aft raked spreaders.

On a masthead rigged boat, when you tension the backstay to take the sag –the curvature caused by the pressure of the wind on the genoa – out of the forestay, it is easy to see that a part of this tension (the horizontal component) will bring the masthead aft and thus reduce sag. But unfortunately the tension also has a vertical component that has the negative effect of compressing the mast. And if this compression increases beyond a certain point, it will induce sag even worse than that we are trying to eliminate.

In a masthead rig, the runners allow us to counter the bending of the mast caused by the tensioning of the backstay, while in a fractional rig the lower runners counter the same effect caused by the tensioning of the upper runners. There is another thing that helps explain why runners are necessary. If a masthead rigged boat is sailing hard on the wind with full main and the heavy genoa, and there is a sea running, the mast will be seen to ‘pump’ (to bend back and forth) with every wave. To avoid this, forward the babystay is tensioned and aft the runner (usually the lower one). Together, they will hold the mast still and stop this pumping movement.

Things are even worse if on the masthead rig the inner forestay is tensioned to set a staysail. This extra foresail will increase the compression on the mast, and hence its tendency to pump with sea running, and will require an upper runner leading aft to counteract this. Incidentally, if we were in the land of dreams, the best way of removing the sag from the forestay would be to exert a force equal and opposite to the sagging force at the point of maximum curvature on the stay. How? Well, it is certainly not easy! You would need somebody to hover in mid-air while the boat was under way and ‘pull’ the forestay to windward with the same force, but in the opposite direction, as that with which the sail was making it sag to leeward. In the real world, we prefer to use a line that runs from where the forestay is attached and leads aft where it is tensioned as needed.

On a fractional rig the need for a runner is even greater. The upper runner has the same function as the backstay in a masthead rig: to hold the mast up! In fractional rigs, to underline the vital importance of this piece of rigging, the runner is said to be ‘structural’. On rigs of this kind it is not completely unusual to find three sets of runners.

Why open this book by talking about runners? The answer is simple: runners, the kings of running rigging, best exemplify the basic concept of rigging itself, for they are called upon to offer at one and the same time qualities that appear to contradict each other: reliability, speed (both in tensioning and easing) and precise regulation. These are all fundamental characteristics that we will find to varying degrees in every part of a rig.

Table of Contents

Preface; Running rigging; Genoa sheets: the forces involved; The genoa cars; The mainsheet; Spinnaker sheets & afterguys; Halyards & reef lines; Standard rigging; Setting up a swept back rig; Winches

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