Lateen rig, or crab-claw? Building Meerkat, a very small catboat

by John MacBeath Watkins

Well, it's nearly four months since my injury, and I'm in physical therapy now, so maybe I can actually start doing stuff again. One project that's been hanging fire is a new rig for Meerkat. If I can do that, I can probably install bookshelves.

But if I'm going to test-drive the titanium elbow bracing and the healed hand and wrist, what rig shall I build? My first thought was lug, but lately I've been thinking either a crab-claw rig or a lateen rig. The crabclaw rig is alleged to be very efficient, especially reaching. The lateen rig isn't efficient for the area, but its center of effort is low, and I could carry more sail.

Here's what the lateen rig would look like:

I suspect the rig is more efficient reaching than is generally thought, because you seldom see Americans setting a lateen on a reach the way these fellows did:

Those are San Franciso feluccas, or as the Fish Commission sometimes called them, "Dago boats."

Here's what the proposed crab-claw rig would look like, but try to envision a boom on the curved trailing edge, which is a little hard to draw with the software I'm using.

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