JUNK RIG ASSOCIATION.
Reprinted from Junk Rig Association
The junk was developed 2000 years ago as a commercial rig, that worked well and made money
for its users, otherwise, it would have been scrapped by the Chinese very quickly. The
Chinese appear to have constructed it by using materials that provided the best and most
economical results. The many variations of the rig were developed to suit the particular
sailing areas, such as rivers, lakes, inshore and offshore waters. In the same way the
hull variations in shape and size were developed for the cargoes they carried and water
and weather conditions in which they were used.
The junk rig can be successfully applied to any
type of boat, as has been done to inflatables, dinghies, racing yachts, cruising yachts,
motor fishing vessels and larger commercial craft. The rig will enable a boat to sail as
well to windward as the "HULL" will allow. Junk rigged racing yacht hulls usually achieve 35
deg. to windward and efficient cruising hulls 40 deg. However, what often happens is that
the rig is fitted on a load carrying hull for long distance cruising and these hulls are
very seaworthy, but not sparkling performers when it comes to sailing.
When making comparisons one must also remember
that many Bermudan rigged hulls do not always perform well to windward, by which we mean
they do not sail closer than 55 deg. in spite of what many people like to say. This is
because the Bermudan Rig has to be sailed efficiently to produce good results, but the
junk rig can be sailed in quite a relaxed manner and produce good results. When off the
wind, the junk rig is very efficient, with its large sail area high up and battens that
boom out the sail. So you will find a Bermudan rigged boat of equal size will have to
hoist a spinnaker (a racing sail!) to keep up with a junk rigged boat of the same length.
In addition, the unstayed mast of the junk will also accept a ghoster or cruising shute,
to add to the misery of the overtaken Bermudan rigged boat owner off the wind.
Regarding choosing the best hull for a junk
rig, as we have said, the rig works well on any hull shape. But, to achieve the best
performance from the rig, the hull should be of shallow draft and light displacement, and
you will be able to explore shallow waters, lakes, canals and rivers as well, and you may
win races! The unstayed mast is supported from the keel of the boat. However,
deck stepped junk masts are not common but could be used for some vessels combined with
the use of a substantial tabernackle.
The materials used for building junk rigs are
various, with masts, yards, booms and battens, being made of wood, hollow timber, alloy
tube, glass fiber tube, carbon fiber tube and of course, bamboo. The sails are usually
Dacron polyester, but can be acrylic, cotton, canvas, polyethylene or even old flower
bags! Boats up to 30 overall usually have one sail, 30-40 two sails, as
a ketch or schooner, over 40 three sails and so on up to 400 craft as the
Chinese used. But, there are many successful exceptions to this general rule and no
evidence to prove that a rig with any number of masts is more efficient than another.
You can obtain information to enable you to
design and build a junk rig yourself or you can have the rig designed for you
professionally. The Junk Rig Association (UK) Fact Sheets will give you the names and
addresses of sources of information and suppliers of equipment. In the UK, you can get experience of
sailing the junk rig by contacting members of the JRA and the Members List will tell you
where they are and what boats they sail. You can attend JRA rallies when sailing is
provided in various sizes from 9-50. In conclusion, it can be said that an
efficient boat is sailed by an efficient crew, and the crews efficiency is affected
by their condition. The crews condition in the junk rigged boat, that has the quietest
rig, that gives the most relaxed motion when compared to any other boat.
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