Home > Sailing > Sailing Rig Types

Sailing Rig Types

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 27 Jul 2012 | comments*Discuss
Sailing Rig Types Types Of Sailing Rig

The sailing ‘rig’ consists of all the mechanical apparatus which is attached to the hull in order to assist in the propulsion of the boat. This includes a boat’s masts, sometimes referred to as ‘spars’ and all of the cordage - which are the ropes and other types of line or yarn used to hoist the sails.

Different types of rig are associated with different types of boat, e.g. a ketch or a schooner, and all have different aerodynamic properties which make them more suitable to certain types of boating. For example, a rig on a boat that you’d use on the sea for racing will need to possess different aerodynamics than a boat used primarily for cruising purposes.

How Do You Choose The Best Type Of Rig?

What it is important to note is that the ‘rig’ itself will be fitted according to the design and manufacturing process of the boat itself and there will be different types of rigs on boats of different sizes based upon the primary purpose for which the boat is to be used for and the overall design and layout of the boat itself.

Therefore, if you’re living on a sea-faring boat, it’s not a so much a case of choosing the right rig from a number of different types, as whichever boat you choose, you’re going to be using it as a cruising vessel not as a racing one, it’s more a case of choosing the most appropriate boat that meets your needs in terms of how its designed - the number of berths it has, its galley, etc - basically whether it meets your needs for the kind of lifestyle you’re looking to achieve and the rig will simply be a functional part of that overall set up.

What you will need to consider, however, is making sure that whoever will be operating the boat is capable of handling the particular rig in question in terms of the maximum size of sail they’d feel comfortable handling.

Different Types of Rig

On all but the very smallest of boats, the popular choices of rig tend to be either a sloop, cutter, split rig e.g. ketch/schooner. A sloop is probably the simplest to operate whilst the benefits of a split rig for a ketch, schooner or cutter means that the rig is split up into separate smaller, more manageable areas of the boat.

With a split rig, this limits the size of the main sail which allows for easier handling which might be useful if you have less experienced people on board, such as teenage children as an example, who may want to get involved with the sailing process themselves. A ketch is able to sail under mizzen and headsail alone whilst a cutter rig offers an easier headsail downwind option which can be useful in a heavy weather situation.

There’s also a junk rig which is often the preference of those who are sailing single-handed or have smaller hands as it is easier to control and has fewer control lines.

This article really covers the basics. For those who intend to live on a sea-faring boat, you’ll almost certainly have the knowledge, experience and confidence through having already tried your hand at using different rig set ups. Then, it’s a simple case of determining which is your best option for the type of boat that meets your needs and how and where you’ll be using it. And, if you’ve got any doubts, a good yacht dealer will be able to offer you further advice.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • Ralph
    Re: Renting a Houseboat
    I am looking for somewhere to rent after a relationship breakdown and fancied a narrow boat but before committing thought I would try to rent…
    22 December 2020
  • Matt
    Re: Renting a Houseboat
    Hi I'm a self employed telehandler looking to rent a boat long term in the Milton Keynes Northamptonshire Bedfordshire must sleep me a my two…
    28 October 2020
  • Glynn
    Re: Renting a Houseboat
    Hi I am a teacher who is looking to live on a boat full time. I am looking for a long term rental until then in the Lancashire/blackburn area.…
    26 October 2020
  • Sam
    Re: Renting a Houseboat
    I’m looking for a boat to live on for a few months to see if I like it before I commit to buying one I’m not that bothered about the area as…
    24 October 2020
  • Footballref
    Re: How Much Does It Cost To Live On a Boat?
    Looking to rent a house boat near abingdon, Oxfordshire as looking to move up for employment. Any help is…
    22 October 2020
  • Ade
    Re: Renting a Houseboat
    I am looking at renting long term live on boat in Maidstone area, can anyone help, number is 07973 949 563
    13 October 2020
  • samson
    Re: Renting a Houseboat
    Hi i'm thinking of buying a narrow boat next year but would like to try living on one for 3-6 months to make sure i like it before i buy! I'm…
    7 September 2020
  • Trace
    Re: Renting a Houseboat
    I’m self employed professional looking to rent a boat for 6 to 12 months to make my mind up if I would like to purchase one recently divorced…
    29 August 2020
  • Smiley
    Re: Renting a Houseboat
    Hi I’m looking to rent a boat long term around the wakefield , Stanley ferry area , please contact me via email or on 07961731163
    29 August 2020
  • Helipilot
    Re: Importing a Boat, What Are the Duties Etc?
    Maybe depending on the wiring currently installed
    24 August 2020