Chinese junk rig has been in use
for thousands of yeas in China, on their river, coastal andocean
much-simplified version of the Chinese junk has been in use for many
now in the west.
Developed by Colonel
H.G. (Blondie) Hasler
of Cockle Shell Heroes fame it has only been adopted by a
Some people still
laugh at it. I
must admit that I used to be one of them.
Much of this is
fueled by and maintained
by the boat industry.
Like the car industry, they are reluctant to innovate just in
product doesn't sell.
Therefore, they have created this obsession with windward performance.
Yet the Chinese junk is
no worse than gaff
rigged boat owners
motor to windward any way.
performance seems a poor
argument against an otherwise excellent rig.
This is the near ideal
rig for short-handed
comfortable ocean cruising.
Reefing couldn't be
simpler all one has to
do is let go the halyard.
There is no need to
about on the fore deck in a howling gale having left it too late to
All can be worked from
Moreover, there are no worries about roller reefing going wrong.
Yet there are many
string for the geeky
types to play with.
Low aspect means less
heeling. It is
self-tacking, self-stowing and is reefed in seconds.
The sail doesn't flog or
flap it just
In its basic form the
Junk Sail is so low
tec. that one can, as I have done, build it ones self.
built it ones
self it is easy and
cheap to repair wherever you are.
There is no need for specialist
or expensive 'experts'.
Mignonne's Chinese junk sail
When I bought
original mast had been used for many years to support a heavy
Un-stepped and laid along the deck, not only had it become warped but
had also several deep shakes running up it. There was also some rot,
meant that it was not worth putting back up.
I came across an article
in PBO about junk
rig shortly after starting work on Mignonne.
Then I met Robin Blain
stand while on an outing
to Beuleau boat jumble. Fortunately, this was while I was still working
the hull so no work had been done on the deck
By the .time, I got
around to looking at
the decks I had found out enough about the rig to decide to adopt it.
I then re-designed
fore deck to take an
un-stayed mast, with the help of a copy of H. G. Hasler, J. K.
plus lots of information from the JRA.
By the time, I was ready
a mast I
had acquired a Telegraph pole for free. It had been taken down to make
for a new building so it was in excellent condition and was well
soaked in preservative.
Planed and shaped, and
with a truck added
all it need were fittings.
These I was able to buy
from boat jumbles
and modify to suit.
The flat panels of
lightweight cloth were
simple to sew on my trusty old sewing machine.
I made each unsupported
area of cloth as a
The tan areas I cut from
an old set of
Bermudan sails the contrasting yellow panels are of lightweight cloth,
I had to buy.
I'm hoping that the gaps
panels will increase the turbulence on the leeward side of the sail.
'experts' seem to believe that like the bumblebee the junk rig
uses the turbulence rather than laminar flow to give it lift.
Because of this sailing,
the Chinese junk
rig requires one to unlearn almost everything that has been learned
Because of the balance,
there is no luffing
action so the rig never stops sailing and the leading edge of the sail
one nothing of significance.
still trying to
get to figure out how to get the most from it. On my trip from Milford
Chepstow I was gratified to find that she would sail herself for most
journey with the tiller lashed.
This meant that I could keep watch and
at the chart table.
On one of my first
outings with Mignonne
when I didn't even have the rig, set up any way near properly,
I had the great
satisfaction in out running
a larger, plastic boat, Bermudan rigged, sailing under a huge Genoa.
was having trouble keeping the sail full due to the fluky winds, I just
to hold my course the batons taking care of the set of the sail. Yes!!
By the end of this next
season, I should be
able to comment on more fully on my Chinese junk rig's handling, I