Sunday, January 26, 2014

Rule 3.7.3: Much Ado About a Rope

Leaked photo of the new Sunfish rig

A rig to lower the point at which the upper spar lies against the mast (known as the ‘Jens Hookansen Rig’) may be tied with an extra piece of line used solely for that purpose. The rig must be tied in such a way that the sailor may lower the sail quickly and easily by releasing the halyar
Proposed Sunfish Class Association Rule 3.7.3. 

This single paragraph has created quite a stir in the Sunfish world after Scuttlebutt posted that a "new Sunfish Rig will be "unveiled" by the Sunfish Class at the Simply Sail boat show in Chicago this weekend.  Since then we at MYCSunfish HQ have been peppered with questions about this "secret" new rig. The wording in the Scuttlebutt post led many to believe that there was some new surprise development by the class.  

The big secret is:  There is no secret.  Since the Sunfish sail cannot be reefed, the Sunfish class has long allowed the halyard to be attached to the upper spar so that the sail is depowered in heavy wind conditions.  The name of the rig is the "Jens Rig", after its inventor Jens Hookansen. 

Rule 3.7.3 is a proposed rule change would allow a separate line to be used to tie the Jens rig instead of making the halyard do double duty.  The idea behind the use of a separate line is to free up the halyard so that the sail can be more quickly and safely lowered in case of an emergency, or if conditions change.  As Eric Woodman, Northeast Rep for the Sunfish Class puts it: "What it comes down to is allowing 2 halyards and a Jens line for easier depowering on the water".

The rules change was proposed and sent to class members in 2012, and is expected to be approved by the World Council, hopefully at or before the Sunfish midwinters in March. 

From all accounts, the booth set up and run by the Sunfish Class was a great success.  Thanks to Gail McCarthy Turlock and the class for spreading the word about our great boat.


  1. How much gusts does a Gust Rig adjust if a Gust Rig could adjust gusts?

  2. There once was a fellow called Gust
    Who invented a trick called Adjust.
    When the winds blow too fast
    Use Greg's rope on your mast
    And leave the rest of the fleet in your dust.