A Photo & Discussion Forum for Wharram Design Enthusiasts
My interest is in junk rigs, which have progressed a long way since James decided that they were unsuitable for Wharrams. Instead of the flat junk rig that was pretty universal in those days, we now have a number of iterations of cambered junk rigs including several split junk rigs, where there is a gap between the portion forward of the mast and the portion aft of the mast. My favorite iteration is the so called Aerojunk designed by Paul McKay (Scotland) , which most notably is the current rig on Pete Hill's biplane rigged KD 860 Oryx.
A flat sail flies inside of an airfoil shaped cage, and lays against one side on one tack and the other side on the opposite tack, shifting well clear of the mast, and taking it's camber from the cage, and it's attachment to the cage. Tension can be changed with the sail down.... if you build it with that in mind.
Frankly, I love the simplicity of junk rigs, the minimal lines and hardware and instant reefing, and the lack of any standing rigging. No winches needed, no traveler or vang, no roller furling mechanism, or tying in reefs, no preventer needed, and the ability to sail downwind efficiently without having to fly a spinnaker or chute, etc. The low stress on the sail cloth means that sails can be made from almost anything.... anywhere. More than one junk rig sails with poly tarp sails or sails made from a painter's drop cloth.
Free standing masts eliminate all the component failures that typically result in dismastings. No need to worry about all of the dozens of little components in the standing rigging that fail from crevice corrosion. They simply do not exist. You may not be able to get sail up as high because there are practical limits to how tall you want to make a free standing mast, unless you are "made of money", so one has to sacrifice some speed, but while I cannot speak for anybody else, sailing for me is about sailing, not about how quickly I can get from one port to the next.