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I'm planning a Crab Claw rig for my Tiki 26 and have some questions for those with experience, especially Hans Wakataitea. I'm not trying to beat Bermudan performance, just make a good basic, affordable cruising rig. 

1) Best method of attaching the sail tack - directly to the bottom of the mast (Wakataitea) or with the tack forward of the mast (Ontong Java) ?

2) The angle of the sail spars and the plan shape of the sail at the tack - 60 degrees (Wakataitea) or less ?

3)Curved or straight edges to the plan shape of the sail - straight or curved spars top and bottom?

4) Jib, no jib?

5) Best method of reefing?

I've spent a lot of time searching the net and found lots of very good stuff and now it's time to come up with a compromise design out of all the info that I can actually make and use. It will be very low budget. I'll probably make the mast and spars unless I happen on a lucky find that will suit.

These various differences would be interesting to experiment with. I have good sheltered waters to get plenty of experience with the rig before venturing further.

Thanks for any help,


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Replies to This Discussion


On Anuanua, we attached the sail tack at the foot of the mast, like polynésian people did for their ocean-going canoes.

The spars have to be straight for easier way of building and repairing, and they would be cheaper. Also when you put straight ones on the deck, they will take less space thann curved ones !

I f you just have one mast, you will need a jib.

After 3 years of sailing, we are not satisfied with the classical way of reefing. A sailmaker in Trinidad is actually making a polynesian spirit reef. For reefing, we will unzipp the top of the sail, so the center of powersail will be lower and it will very fast and so easy to do that we will take a reef as soon as it will be necessary.


Eric and Delphine

Hi, Eric and Delphine,

Thanks very much for your reply. I had seen some photos of your boat before, but had not found your blog - now I have read lots of it, very interesting, great stuff.

I take your point about straight spars. The curved crab claw sail shape looks beautiful, but perhaps practicality wins the debate.

I don't quite understand the new reefing system you mention " we will unzipp the top of the sail" ?

Best wishes for your voyaging,


Hi ,

I mean that I will remove the top of the sail to lower the center of the sail area.

The polynesian people unsew the strip at the top of the sail to reef..

I will do the same but instead of sewing and unsewing, I will use a zipper.

Hi, Eric and Delphine, ah, yes, now I understand. A clever idea.

I'm now looking at the possibilities of a bipod or A frame mast - seems to have some advantages such as being able to move the tack of the sail fore and aft. One of the good things about the Tiki 26 is the size - I can experiment on a manageable scale and not spend large amounts of money, too.


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