can't fly. Or so says conventional theories on aerodynamics.
The junk rig won't sail,
contemporary notions on laminar flow.
Yet the bumblebee does fly
and junk rigged boats
have been sailing perfectly well for hundreds of years.
Today, sailcloth is filled, so no air can pass through, yet
many so called
primitive craft have used open weave matting for sails with excellent
When I started to imagine how to rig Mignonne,
I tried to keep
conventional western 'scientific' ideas out of my mind.
I was determined to try to follow the original Chinese
them to my needs.
I liked the idea that flat batons would create camber through
bending but fanning in the horizontal.
Such a simple idea seemed much more in keeping with the
Today's obsession with bendy batons seems to me to be rather
missing the point. Which is why my original plan was to go for a
'Reddish' type of rig.
I also wanted it to be a large low aspect sail.
Low Aspect Junk Sail
Wishing to keep things low tec. and simple
(just like me), I have used
Ash having one of the best strength for weight ratios was the
choice. Weight aloft was not regarded as a problem as it helps to
All batons except for
the gaff are the same length and all are made from two
by one inch stock.
The gaff and the next baton down have been made stronger by
up from the same stock.
All other batons have been made from two lengths overlapped in
That allowed me to buy the wood in lengths that I could transport on
top of my
They were given a generous overlap and scarfed then glued and
Copper rivets were added to reinforce the joints.
It also provides a reinforced center to each baton.
Making separate panels was my original intention as I had read
an article in
one of the
Junk Rig Association magazines somewhere about the
possibility that the
junk sail used turbulent rather than laminar flow to gain lift.
Separate panels, would allow air to flow
through and around
the batons thus
It was also important as it would make sewing the sail that
I was determined to do everything my self so as to be self-sufficient
I had managed to buy an old singer sewing machine right at the
start of the
It took very little time to knock up the panels, once I had
figured out how
to use the machine (that was the hardest part).
I have since made a sail cover and a canopy to cover the main
partly shade the cockpit. I also have several other sewing projects in
the initial expense will be more than justified.
Initially my sewing was rather crude and the panels were not
correct shape, but I do have a working sail. Moreover, it did not cost
arm and a leg, and it is one, which I can alter, and playing around
with in the
I was also able to keep costs to a minimum by using the cloth
from some old
tan sails. There was enough good material to make half the panels.
In a fit of whimsy, I bought some contrasting yellow cloth for
I had originally intended using cloth that did not have filler
(non-sailcloth), as I still had the idea of turbulence and those crab
matting sails in mind.
However, using the old sails prompted me to
so the yellow is filled sailcloth as well.
However, I've been able to use very
lightweight cloth, as
unsupported area of each panel is quite small.
I paced eyelets every eighteen inches or so along the foot and
head of each
All are lashed on to the batons separately, using robands.
many lashings don't make for quick panel changes.
The original design called for a taller mast
but as the one that I
have used was available, free, I decided that it would do for the time
I could always install a taller one later if I felt it was
there was always the option of increasing the sail area by extending
I have, so far, been pleasantly surprised at how well the sail
However, I am still a novice at junk rig sailing, perhaps by
the end of this
next season I may wish to make some alterations. For now, she will do
Remember, the secret of enjoying a slow boat is never to sail
with a faster one.!