Sunday, April 5, 2009

The Sprit rig

During the early period of contact with European ships, Oceanic sailors were very interested in the strange new sailing rigs they saw. While the big square sails of the European ships attracted little envy, their small boat rigs were soon copied. The photo below shows a Vinta entering Zamboanga in the Southern Philippines equipped with a European style sprit rig. In this case it is used as a tacking rig.



The photo below shows single outriggers, on Borabora lagoon in French Polynesia, using the sprit rig in a tacking configuration.



In Papua New Guinea the sprit rig was adapted for shunting, where the sail is reversed from end to end and the canoe can sail with either end as the bow. The ama is always kept on the windward side. Large steering paddles are necessary to balance a sail that is centered well aft.

1 comment:

Rotorhead said...

Gary, I've considered this design with a relatively small sail area and a small jib for my 16' wa'apa. It exists only in my mind; is this worth pursuing (a simple polytarp prototype) in your opinion ? It would be easier to trim/reef than the crabclaw.
Aloha,
Charles