Genoa Rig

In the search for ever greater efficiency the design of model yachts for racing has changed a great deal over the last 50 years and with more modern materials these yachts are indeed more efficient and of course can be more expensive. Designing a Genoa style rig represents a change of direction as the rig will be less efficient but for me, in the search for greater efficiency, something has been lost.

This evolution in the design of racing yachts has resulted in a model which is no longer a representation of the full sized yacht. Artificially long finned keels, narrow and very tall high aspect ratio rigs, and the boom under the foresail now define a model yacht as a "model" whereas my aim is to create a yacht which is pretty to look at both in and out of the water, which sails well, involves the skipper, and which delivers something more like the experience of sailing the full sized yacht... Enter the Genoa rig.

A genoa is a foresail whose foot extends behind the mast and so a boom cannot be used but there are no full sized yachts, to my knowledge, that use a boom under the foresail so for me, this has to be the way to go. The sheeting system is a challenge, especially in smaller 48 inch models, if the model is to sail well and also reliably.

This picture shows the temporary rig. When I'm happy with the balance and overall sail area I will have some more professional sails made!

The principal challenge for the Nottingham 48 was to design a sheeting system contained within the hull with sufficient movement to allow the clew of the genoa to move from one side of the deck to the other, and where the entire sheeting system with sail winches can be removed from within the hull through the existing hatch opening.

This is a view of the sheeting system out of the hull. Using this many pulleys is expensive but ensures the smooth movement of the cord.

The engineering objectives have been met. The system works reliably with sufficient movement in the lose sheeting to transfer the clew from one side of the boat to the other (without the need for a track). The entire system can be removed from the hull through the existing hatch but this is probably something to be done at home and not at the lakeside!

Building the sheeting system is not for the feint hearted but if you have the inclination and a masochistic approach to model making you are welcome to follow my example and learn from my experience.

This view is looking down into the hull . The fixed loop is in yellow, the port and starboard sheets are in red and green and the mainsail sheet is blue. This is not shown but is controlled by the port left fixed loop and runs through the brass tube up to the mainsail sheet post.

At the time of writing the model is being tested with surprisingly few problems. The main initial issue was that the model carried too much sail area, some 20% more than the 48 A rig so I've reduced the sail area to something similar to an A rig and whilst the model is a bit tender in windy conditions (the A rig is designed for light winds) the model sails well and delivers a different sailing experience to the traditional "model". The rig is very powerful, the model looks exceptionally good on the water and it delivers a much more engaging sailing experience.

If you want to explore creating such a model for yourself then get in touch.

This is my genoa hull and although it looks very much the same as the bermuda/gaff rigged boats there are significant differences which mean that this hull can't be readily converted to another rig. You can see where the port side sheeting exits the hull at the stern and then through the traveller to the clew. The traveller is adjustable to alter the angle that the sheeting goes up to the clew so adjusting the tension on the foot or the leech as desired.

This is a closer image of the deck fittings. The mast position, hatches and deck are the same as the bermuda/gaff models so the same kit of parts is used to form the basis of all three models.