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Sailboat Rig Types 

By Steve Thibodeaux Steve Thibodeaux

With the wide array of cruising sailboats today, many "rigs" are represented. Here's a quick rundown of the most popular types.

Sloop - By far the most popular for the rig for most modern cruising sailboats is the sloop rig. It's simple, efficient and provides speed with minimal tweaking. Its represented by one mast, a mainsail and one headsail. There are a couple of variations one being the Bermudan Sloop design which can be a mast head or fractional rig. The masthead design has a stay from the masthead and carries a full headsail. The fractional design has a smaller headsail with a stay positioned some distance down the mast.

Cutter - Cutter rigs are much like the sloop but have two headsails. They are popular among long distance sailors for their ease of handling because both are smaller in size than the sloop headsails. Both headsails are fitted on their own stay and are flexible in size of each.

Ketch - The Ketch rig is a two masted design with a mizzen mast stepped aft of the main mast but ahead of the rudder post. Ketches and Yawls are not as popular on newer boats but there are still many around and many people even swear by them as blue water boats.

Yawl - Many people confuse the Yawl and Ketch designs. The way to tell the difference is the Yawl has its mizzen mast aft of the rudder post where the Ketch's mizzen is ahead of the rudder post.

Schooner - Most of the sailing ships of old are of schooner design. The romantic movies of great battles of British and Spanish navies and pirate battles featured Schooners. The are still around today mostly for nostalgic and historic reasons.

Cat Rig - The Cat rig has a mast stepped forward and traditionally has only one sail. But some larger ketch and schooner rigs also have a variation of the cat rig.

These designs aren't the only ones out there, they account for the majority of the boats sailing today.

Steve has been sailing for over 20 years and writing articles on the subject for nearly 4 years. In addition to an avid sailing interest, Steve's marketing interest brings vendors of quality, low priced gas fireplace parts to his website Gas Fireplace Parts and accessories like Gas Logs For Fireplace and many other supplies.

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