Meerkat's crabclaw rig goes sailing!

by John MacBeath Watkins

I went sailing for a couple hours with the new Meerkat crabclaw  rig today. I count it a success

It took some fiddling to get the sail to set right, and I've got a lot to learn, but she performed well on all points of sail. Reaching with the sail on the lee side of the mast and the downhaul eased was a treat, almost like sailing with a spinnaker. The big surprise to me was how the curved spars kept the sail flat. 

I think I had the outhaul too tight the whole time, and I didn't make it easy to adjust while sailing, but one of the most interesting things is that it matters a great deal where you put the attachment points for the sheet on that curved boom. I had one part of the lead in the right place, one too far back. As a result, the boom was twisting so that the sail twisted tighter at the top. I moved the lead inboard, and that seemed to cure it.

Reaching with it on the lee side of the mast was so different from reaching with it on the weather side, I'm going to try to find a way to move it from side to side on the mast, like a dipping lug. The boom moves away from the mast, and the pull is up and forward instead of down and forward.