Saturday, June 10, 2017

Back to Junk Again!

Here is a very low aspect junk sail for Autarkia.  The mast - a single section of 5 inch Schedule 40 aluminum pipe (comes in lengths of 20') extends about 20' above the waterline.  This gets me under most bridges except for during freshet, when we won't go out anyway.  It is a small sail for the size of the boat.  Only 218 square feet, but it will be easy to sew up and cheap to make.  And I don't have to worry about a tabernacle or stays.   Autarkia will be under-powered under sail, however as a motorsailer she should do ok.  Going downwind or on a reach she'll poop along, and if I get a few knots then we'll be happy - for now.

I have to make a decision soon because I'm just about ready to install the off-centerboard.  The placement depends on the sail I'll use and its center of effort.  Also, I am going to experiment with a steering oar that I can deploy or stow as required, and also fix in place as one would pin a tiller.  The advantage is there is no issue in shallow water with nothing to hit or hang up on the bottom, and it may also function as a Yuloh.  More on that in a later post.

The sail by the way is a traditional fan shape.  According to Hasler and McLeod it should furl nicely as the boom, yard and battens all point to roughly the same spot.  I can likely get away without any winches, and by using a double sheeting system can keep most of the lines and mess forward.

Fickle me.


  1. Like this much better than the lateen sail, which looked like it could be a handful in much breeze, or at least a sudden gust.

    Why not add an off-centre 100 square foot mizzen, to make a junk ketch?


    1. Thanks Kym. I would always leave the option open to expand the rig and yes, could include a mizzen.

  2. You're givin me whiplash, Al!!! I understand, though. How I dither about everything!

  3. Neat your back to junk rig. Another option is the (Vincent) Reddish geometry which spreads a shitpot of sail on a short mast. I made a mizzen this way once and easy to do out of polytarp. Even more of a fan shape than the one you show.

    I second the mizzen addition. Not a lot of work to build. A nice place to hang a wind gen? And fun to play with balance wise.

    Double sheets aye? Flying euphroe head bonker city, mate!!!! Always wanted to try a euproed sail and its control of the whole sail top to bottom.

    Sounds like you're having fun. Best wishes from the tropics where we've already had 2 tropical storms come ashore here in Oaxaca already this season. Good times and washed out highways.

    1. Hi Robert. Yes, back there for sure! In my waffling way, I'm somewhat committed - if I can use the term in reference to myself - to a short mast rather than a lower-able one. I just like the simplicity of it. And if I keep it to about a 20 foot limit above the waterline, then I'm golden for most of the bridges outside of freshet. So, Reddish is a possibility, or other 'shitload of sail on a short mast' options are on the table. I can go ahead and put in the mast though and worry about the sail later. And a mizzen is always a possibility for a later add on.

      In any case, I have to ballpark it to some extent because the off center board is going to be mounted shortly. I must consider center of lateral resistance along with center of effort for balance, although I can fart around later with steering oar or rudder to tweak it. But yes, I am having fun!

      Today we just got a fridge we will bring down to the boat and install over the next few days. A blog post upcoming on that, but it is a proper portable fridge that should run well enough with solar power. I wasn't going to go that route in the beginning (cool the beer in the bilge) but sometimes we must strive for our ideals in small steps :-)

    2. Yes, one nice thing about Sitka was you could always use the ocean as a dandy beer cooler. And, yes, lots of shitpot of sail options on a short mast. Big ole dipping lug? It's all fun. Best wishes to ya'll.

  4. Regarding short masts and sail area, I wonder if you ever considered some sort of Sliding Gunter rig, perhaps with both a main and mizzen rigged so?