I was tempted to call this one also a “blow-out” department, but there is very little to be controversial about concerning sailing boats. I find it difficult to imagine that there will be many heated arguments about questions that are eminently practical – about one kind of rig over another. Boats have always been extremely diverse in history, and the principle of a sailing boat is almost unchanged over thousands of years. Modern racing vessels, designed in the light of scientific knowledge of aerodynamics, can go faster and more efficiently upwind. That is a simple fact. Some of us are more drawn to classical rigs and vessels, even if they are less efficient for racing.
Personally, though I have taken part in dinghy and yacht regattas, I prefer cruising and exploring to racing – especially round the traditional three-buoy circuit. I love this earth and the sea, and I love discovery – even if I’m far from being the first like the great explorers. Music is more important than the musical instrument, but it is impossible to play violin music without a violin. The boat is an instrument for travelling over water and going places. It becomes an “extension” of the sailor’s skill in negotiating with the fickle sea and the weather by means of the boat’s rudder, different ropes to pull or release and the sailor’s position on the boat using his body weight as moving ballast. I compare the acquired coordination and sense of balance of the sailor to someone who has learned to play the organ, working with both hands on the keyboards and the feet on the pedalboard – and pushing and pulling stops and turning over pages of the music score. Sailing is not easy to learn, and we make a big hole in the water and get very wet when the boat capsizes!
I would like this page to be a “forum” for those who are interested in boats and sailing. There are searches almost every day on this blog for technical aspects of boat rigging. I have re-rigged my boat, a French Tabur 320, with the rig of an English Mirror. The reason is twofold. I broke my original mast and could not repair or replace it. Second-hand Mirror rigs (spars, sails, standing rigging and running rigging) are easy to find in England at very reasonable prices. The second reason is that it is a classical rig, in the same way as the children’s Optimist uses a sprit sail rig like on the old Thames barges of long ago.
Here is everything I have written on this blog about sailing.
Comments and questions are welcome on this page – about the joy of sailing, learning to sail, choosing the right boat for you, the technical aspects of our boats – or whatever comes into your mind.