Building Meerkat: An alternate rig

by John MacBeath Watkins

I built Meerkat around an El Toro rig, which I was able to get for far less than the cost of a new sail.

Now I'm laid up with a left hand that I can't even type with, but I've got no problem using the mouse, so I took a little time and learned to draw rigs with Delftship.

Here's a cartoon of the current rig, and I caution you that the measurements are approximate.

The boat is fairly quick under this rig, even though the sail is blown out and exhibits a crease along the battens.

Photos by Mitch Reinitz,
This was during the CWB Norm Blanchard WOOD regatta. They are selling pix of the races, by the way, so if your boat was in it, stop by their site.

This is where you go to buy the pix:

Now, I like the simplicity of the rig, but sometimes launching off a beach I wish I could raise and lower the sail more easily. suppose I wanted to reef the sail, I'd have to work against the friction of the luff groove in conditions that would be a bit hairy.

Much better to have a rig that will come down at a rush, so I can tie in the reef at my leisure.  All this says to me, balanced lug rig, and 54 sq ft instead of 38 plus the roach (which varied, but usually means you end up with about 48 sq. ft. of sail on a racing El Toro.) A rig that can be reefed is more useful to families, who can send a 60 lb. child out with less sail area than a 200 lb adult.

Of course, I can't actually build this rig with one hand shooting unbearable pain through me every time I try to do something with it, but a man can dream.

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