Converting bermudian mast to junk rig mast?

  • 09 Mar 2019 18:45
    Reply # 7208191 on 7204927

    Dear all,

    Many thanks for your replies.

    I totally agree with David remarks about skills.

    I have often experienced that skills can be acquired by doing the jobs.

    Besides, I'm not totally unable.

    I consider myself a not-too-bad mechanic. I have worked 20 years on oil rigs, I have had several italian motorcycles (they're good for developing one's mechanical skills), and since I only buy second/third hand cars, I'm used to get my hands dirty.

    I can solder laptops main-board parts, I play a little guitar, and I do the cooking 5 days a week.

    Problems are stimulating, they rarely have no solution, and if they have one, I make a point of finding it.

    It's just that I have not worked with wood too much, and have a lot of admiration for you guys and the work you perform on your boats.

    Annie, your explanations about the mast are perfectly clear and convincing. You really answered my questions.

    By the way, next month I will order your book "Voyaging on a Small Income". Too bad there is no french translation, I would have offered it to my (soon-to-be) wife!

    Meanwhile, I am a great fan of your blog.

    As for the budget, I can't say... It still depends of several other things. The less, the better, but nothing definite.

    I'm eager to get info on Grahame Rendell's Dufour 27 in Bermuda. The size of the boat is ideal to me, the location is relatively convenient, if the price is right things could happen fast.

    Otherwise... I'll wait to see how things go.

  • 09 Mar 2019 07:54
    Reply # 7207718 on 7204927


    You haven't told us yet what size and type of boat you have in mind. Assuming it's a cruiser of moderate size and a few decades old, the usual candidate for JR conversion, then it's absolutely certain that an existing bmu mast couldn't be converted to an unstayed form and still carry the same sail area.

    So, the question is, how to proceed. One way would be to find a boat with an unstayed mast or two already in place, as a head start on a JR conversion, and a possibility here would be one of the Freedom yachts.

    You say that you are lacking in the practical skills to build a mast. In that case, you could not contemplate installing an already-built unstayed mast either, unless you are prepared to acquire the skills, and then you wouldn't be the first person to learn by doing the job. That's how all apprenticeships work.

    You don't say what budget is available for the purchase and conversion of a boat. Many people, lacking the time, skills, tools and facilities to make a conversion themselves have hired professional help where they need it. Expensive, but it gets you to where you want to be.

  • 09 Mar 2019 01:53
    Reply # 7207565 on 7204927

    Patrick, there are lots and lots of reasons why your present mast would be unsuitable, but the overwhelming ones are that it's undoubtedly the wrong section, it's too small, the wall is probably too thin and it's full of holes from all the fittings that have been attached to it.  You just need to throw a six and start again, I'm afraid, or look for an existing junk-rigged boat.  There's one for sale in Bermuda - a Dufour 27!

  • 08 Mar 2019 18:15
    Reply # 7206597 on 7204927

    Len, thank you for your explanations.

    It's nice to see there are always people ready to give an advice, at least acknowledge my investigations!

    I am not sure you understood what I meant, however: the idea was to strip the existing metal mast from all its gear, leave it completely bare, and use it as material for an unstayed mast, which of course would be relocated forward on the deck.

    I al not sure I can have the luck to find a street lamp pole, like Roger Taylor did. So, we'll see, meanwhile, all comments are still welcome.

    Keep in shape, all of you!


  • 08 Mar 2019 17:00
    Reply # 7206455 on 7205380
    Patrick wrote:

    Well I was just hoping I could gain time for converting my next boat, and save me the trouble and cost of finding a mast...

    As others have said, your stayed mast will need to remain stayed to have the required strength. It would be possible to use the stayed mast for a junk rig but... There are actually quite a lot of buts. The first thing would be finding a style of rig that can use the current mast position or look at moving the mast and it support as well as changing the length of the stays and possibly the position the stay anchors. I suspect that moving the stayed mast to suit a junk rig would be more work (and expense) than creating a new mast. So in order to use the current mast in the current position, there will be more work balancing the sail area and probably you would need some sort of head sail to do that. (one of the reasons to junk rig is to avoid going on deck to play with head sails)

    The second part of using a stayed mast is that if there is a rear stay, it will severely limit the height of your junk rig for clearance.

    Next, the stays will limit how far forward the sail can go when sailing downwind and the sail itself is likely to suffer from abrasion from the stays.

    So trying to use the mast you have with a junk rig involves so many compromises as to remove many of the reasons for using the junk rig in the first place. Better to sell the mast you have (and rigging) and use the money to get going on a new mast. There is a reason why most people have gone that route. I think the only stayed junk rigs I have seen either started out as gaff rigs or are square stayed (Like Brian Platt's High Tea). I think compromising the best junk rig by not doing it right will just give a poor experience and lead to disenchantment with the junk rig.

  • 07 Mar 2019 23:13
    Reply # 7205380 on 7204927

    Thank you David and Annie.

    Well I was just hoping I could gain time for converting my next boat, and save me the trouble and cost of finding a mast...

    And of course, I have already read (and I read again) all the infos given on this great website!

    Ok then, I hope I can give you news of how things turn out, and make good material out of it for publishing in your magazine.


  • 07 Mar 2019 19:42
    Reply # 7204998 on 7204927

    I recommend you go to the New Members'  page and read Arne's Junk Rig for Beginners to give you some background into altering you boat to JR. There is a heap of information on this website, it you work through it and follow links.

  • 07 Mar 2019 19:16
    Reply # 7204962 on 7204927

    Hello Patrick, you will need to build or acquire a mast specifically designed to be free standing. A conventional Bermuda rig mast relies on all the standing rigging to keep it straight and upright, and would be entirely unsuitable as a freestanding mast.

    Once you get your copy of Practical Junk Rig you will find answers for most of the questions you have, and of course you will find many answers through the JRA website.

  • 07 Mar 2019 18:53
    Message # 7204927

    Hello everybody,

    I have firmly decided that my next boat can't be anything but junk-rigged.

    However, I do not feel able to build a mast myself, having neither the skills, nor the necessary place, nor the tools.

    Since I will be in west Indies, I am more likely to buy an existing bermudian rigged boat at a reasonable price.

    My questions are: do you think possible to use the original stayed mast, and convert it to a buried unstayed mast for a junk sail?

    That would mean, of course, having a shorter mast above deck.

    Does a junk rig need the same available height above deck than a bermudian?

    Will that mast be strong enough to withstand the stress induced by a junk sail (of which I still have no idea)?

    By the way, I just ordered a used copy of Practical Junk Rig. BUt haven't got it yet!

    Many thanks for your advices / critics, etc.


       " ...there is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in junk-rigged boats" 
                                                               - the Chinese Water Rat

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