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    Amateur Folding Boat Builders' Corner

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    The sail area of about 55 sq-ft (officially 5 sq-m) is split between a fairly small jib and a high-aspect-ratio main sail. The main sail has four full-length battens, which can be tensioned in their pockets to produce some camber (which readily snaps from side to side when you tack). A fifth batten, set at about 45 degrees, acts as a vestigial gaff at the head of the sail. This increases sail area and improves the shape of the sail, but allows enough twist to get you through gusts, which is useful in such a slender, shallow boat. The whole set-up is well tuned to the RZ96 hull in my opinion.

    The leeboards are aluminium plates on a birch ply neck, attached to a laminated, curved yoke by bolts and wing nuts. The yoke is simply clamped to the cockpit coaming.

    The jib halyard also acts as the forestay, it clips to a D-ring at the bow of the boat. On my boat I will retrofit a small block to the D-ring, extend the lower end of the halyard and run it back into the cockpit before the next season (the edges of Long Island Sound are currently frozen). That way I can take the jib in completely from the cockpit of the boat and reset it later, if I wish.

    The aluminium mast has one pair of shrouds, which run down to eyes on the ends of the leeboard yoke. Pouch officially recommends to hook on the shrouds and then to tension them by moving the yoke sternward along the coaming. I prefer to have the leeboards as far forward as possible, which improves the ability to tack.
    We reduce the length of the shrouds by about eight inches, splice a new eye in the end and then run a few turns of light line between this eye and the screw eye on the yoke. Tie off with a slip knot: Secure, but easily loosened in case of need!

    The main sail runs directly in a track on the extruded aluminium mast. It has two reef points and is loose footed on the boom. There is a downhaul block on the boom, which tensions the luff effectively. All sheets run back to a belaying board (clamped across the coaming forward of the aft paddling position usually), which mounts a small block for the main sheet and a couple of jam cleats.

    I sail this rig on the RZ96 while sitting down in the boat. I first tested the rig with my six year old son as fore sheet man. We were used to having to provide some paddle assistance to tack with the old (gaff) rig. With the tall "Pacific" rig we tacked unassisted on the fourth try and have done so ever since.


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