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Sailing News from Ocean Sailor Magazine

Readers Q&A

Readers Q&A

Please ask any questions or let us know any comments you have about any element of blue water cruising or Ocean Sailor Magazine to hello@oceansailormagazine.com and one of the OS team will answer you in this section.

I recently subscribed to Ocean Sailor and I very much appreciate the wide range of topics you’re covering in this excellent magazine. You have often referred to the Solent rig as the perfect rig for blue water cruising. Can you tell me why you think that?”

– Peter Johnson, Florida

Hi Peter, 

Thanks for your questions and your kind words about the magazine. Principally, I believe it’s the best rig because of its versatility and its ability to allow the sailor to utilize pretty much any wind strength from any direction, especially if the Solent rig is extended to include a sprit and a code sail.

Twenty years ago the staysail ketch rig was probably the most popular rig for blue water cruisers, but it is now obsolete due to the development of good marine generators which deliver the power requirement that enables crews to control bigger individual sail areas. The Solent rig scores over the ketch because it’s single-masted foresail triangle is much larger due to the mast being much taller and further aft than with a ketch rig, so produces much more drive.

The Solent rig also scores over the cutter rig because the inner stay is taken much further forward and the head of the stay goes higher up the mast, so the Solent has a proper full-size jib, rather than the much smaller staysail of the cutter, but is still sheeted through a car and track inside the shrouds, therefore enjoying improved power for driving hard to weather and close to the wind. Lastly, due to the jib stay running up close to the top of the mast unlike other rigs which affix the staysail stay lower closer to mid-mast, so the Solent rig does not require running back stays which is a big plus.

The Solent rig has the benefit of a separate jib and genoa compared to the standardsloop which has to utilize one headsail for all purposes. The only benefit of a standardsloop rig over a Solent sloop rig is it’s significantly less expensive since the Solent has a extra stay, two more sail tracks and cars, more deck gear and running rigging as well as an additional foresail and sheets.

For more information about the benefits of the Solent rig please follow this link to the March edition of Ocean Sailor Magazine.

Which is the perfect rig for blue water cruising

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