Need Help Planning a Lugsail to replace a Bermudan

by Mick

Hi, I am considering building an 18 foot stitch-n-glue weekend cruiser sailboat whose designs include a bermudan sail and mast, etc.

However, I would like to build and use a balanced lug sail instead.

For a comparable lug sail, do I just determine the square footage of the bermudan sail and design a lug sail of the same square footage (and a mast to suit), or is there more that needs to be considered?

Thanks for any help you can offer


p.s., this is the boat I am considering, though I am pretty sold on trying the lug sail even if I ultimately build a different boat.

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Rigs for Plans
by: Mike

Hi Mick,

Sorry for not getting back to you sooner.

Having the mast right forward is not unusual, the main consideration as far as the mast is concerned is having enough ‘bury’ below the deck to comfortably support it un-stayed.

The next consideration is to design the CE of the sail plan so as to give a touch of weather helm, especially when close hauled. This is where having a second sail aft comes in.

Having two masts, with a sail on each, has the added advantage of allowing for much more adjustment and each sail can be that bit smaller and easier to handle.

However, it does mean that there are more sheets, halyards etc to deal with and a yawl rig also means that the tiller must be designed to go ‘around’ the aft mast.

This is perhaps why it is more usual to find two masts on boats over 30ft.

It is nice, at times, to have lots of bits of ‘string’ to pull and adjust, on the other hand they can get into a fearful tangle just when you least need it.

The boat plans you mention at ‘ have very simple ‘leg o’ mutton’ rigs that have a minimum of rigging, which is common sense on a small boat.

Selway Fisher Designs also have one or two boats (junk rigged) that might give you some ideas.


How far forward is too far?
by: Mick

Very informative so far, thank you. After chewing on the idea of moving the mast forward, I have another question-- how far forward is too far forward??

At they have a "micro" with a mast at the very front of the boat, and a smaller mast at the back.

this would solve the problem of having a mast planted in the middle of a double berth. are there any obvious problems with that sort of set up on this boat?

i'm starting to wonder if I should just look harder for a boat plan made for a junk rig.

Thanks again,

Lug Rig Conversion
by: Mike

That is a rather nice little boat.

And I like the website too, the way it allows you to have a good look at the specks.

I think you are right a balanced lug would be perfect on her.

And the rig would be a lot cheaper, and more ‘DIY friendly’, to build than the bermudan.

However, the balanced lug is usually on an un-stayed mast that would be keel stepped (though it could be stayed).

And the mast is usually sited further forward (forward end of the cabin?).

I was just wondering if that would interfere too much with the foread bunk?

And would a keel stepped mast be less easy to erect if you wanted to trail her?

As for sail area, yea, I would think that the same as the designed sail area would be fine, perhaps even slightly more for light weather performance.

Once you have decided where to site the mast then the sail wants to be planned so that it’s centre of effort (CE) is just a bit further aft of the CE of the designed bermudan sail plan.

But first thing is to decide on where to put the mast.

You might find some of the information on converting a Chinese Lug be useful.

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