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Mast Head and Fractional Rigging

There are two variations on the standing rigging setup: Masthead and Fractional.

Masthead and Fractional Rig

 

On masthead rigs, the attachment point for the sidestays (shrouds), forestay, and backstay (if they exist) is at the top of the mast.

On fractional rigs, only the backstay reaches to the top of the mast, whereas the attachment point for the sidestays and forestay is near the top of the mast but not all the way at the top. Tensioning the backstay will bend the mast, which provides an additional means of controlling the shape of the sail.

The strength of the mast material is relied upon to prevent it from flexing too much or breaking past the point of forestay and sidestay attachment.

See the animation and watch the sail flatten when the backstay is tensioned. The sail flattens because the midsection of the mast moves forward thus tightening the sail material.

 

You can learn more in the Skipper Course....

Knowledge and theory for longer distances and overnight sailing in diverse conditions. The Skipper Course is a comprehensive sailing course for beginner to intermediate sailors wanting to learn how to sail larger sailboats 26ft to 56ft. Or upgrade to the Skipper Course Bundle to also master maneuvering under power and docking!

Source: Skipper
Topic: Sails and Sail Trim
Authors: Grant Headifen, NauticEd Global Director of Education
NauticEd is a fully recognized education and certification platform for sailing students combining online and on-the-water real instruction (and now VR). NauticEd offers +24 online courses, a free sailor's toolkit that includes 2 free courses, and six ranks of certification – all integrated into NauticEd’s proprietary platform. The USCG and NASBLA recognize NauticEd as having met the established American National Standards.