Alternative Rigs for Sailing Rowcruiser

  • Just a quick post why may be of interest to those building (or planning their build)of an ASR when considering rigs.

    As chance would have it, as I was starting to plan my own build and gather supplies, a recently built ASR came up for sale in the UK on eBay, and I was very fortunate to win the auction.

    the boat was built by a very capable chap whose previous experience wasn't from boats, but from very large scale RC aircraft models. He took a departure from the design to incorporate the rigs & sails from the Topper dinghy.

    In my humble opinion, this was a really inspired move, as the Topper is hugely popular in the UK & Europe (and elsewhere!), robust & "kiddy proof" so built to take the knocks. Even better, old Toppers & parts for them are ten a penny, and ridiculously cheap - so building a rig based on this becomes a far less expensive undertaking!

    Add to that the fact that they are so ubiquitous, if ever there was a need to get hold of spares & repairs on a passage, chances are they'd be quick & easy to find.


    I will take and upload some images of the set up when I get a chance (now under tarps, ready for winter...)

  • Hi John,  Thanks for creating this post - what a great idea.   I often get asked about alternative rigs, and sometimes hear of different rigs being used by customers.  It can sometimes be difficult to source the Bic Open sails, and they aren't the best option for those looking for quick and easy reefing. It will be great to hear your feedback on the toppers. 

  • I'll start posting various alternative rigs that I hear of here.  This rig here was put together by Eric from Canada.  He was very happy with the results - said it was balanced and sailed well.  He got these two rigs from CLC - I'm not sure specifically which sails, but will look into that.

  • RowCruser with CLC rig

  • @Colin Angus Will do at some point next year. I have had less chance to really put "Golden Pearl" through her paces since I acquired her earlier in the year, with much of that just getting used to her and starting to set her up the way I would like in less challenging waters & conditions, but will gather some thoughts and post them here.

    A couple of initial thoughts - the rig will be easily reefable (not that I have needed to), and the added benefit of Topper offering a smaller 4.2m2 sail, so no need to "cut down" a sail for the mizzen. Image from their website below...

    The sails use the same mast/boom etc, so again making it easier to keep minimal spares.

  • Michel G of France used two Laser rigs for his RowCruiser, and reports good results.  The sails are the same size, so he moved the daggerboard aft the forward end of the cockpit to help balance the larger sail aft.  He is also able to reef his sails on the beach by wrapping them around the mast.  The top batten needs to be removed for reefing.

  • Tom B of Michigan did an amazing job incorporating a Hobie Rig into the RowCruiser. A Tandem Island was used for the mainsail and a Mirage sail for the mizzen. As you can see, certain modifications need to be made to make use of Hobie sails. The advantage over the Bic O'pen sails is they can easily be reefed with roller furling. The disadvantage is higher cost. If you look closely, you'll see that Tom has made a lot of other great customizations to his boat. Tom was using his boat every day last summer - rowing five miles a day, and sailing whenever there was wind.Hobie Rig RowCruiser

  • RowCruiser Hobie Tandem

  •  I'm not sure specifically which sails, but will look into that.

    @Colin Angus with regard to Eric in Canada's CLC sail rig, the mainsail looks similar to that of a SCAMP (or custom).  Not sure about the mizzen...

    EDIT: After a brief conversation w the owner of that boat, the rig is actually from the CLC southwester dory

  • @Colin Angus I am very interested in using the Hobie rig for my almost completed sailing row cruiser.  Given conditions here at the top of South Island, New Zealand, it is essential that the sails are easily reefed from the cockpit.  The Hobie solution would be ideal, but I see that it requires significant adaptation.  I wonder if it would be possible to get more details - or perhaps put me in touch with Tom B of Michigan?  Alternative roller furling ideas would be very welcome.

  • @David Martin It looks as though it would be very difficult, if not impossible, to source the required Hobie parts here in New Zealand.  So other suggestions and idea for a rig that can be reefed (preferably furled) for the cockpit would be very welcome

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