The B & R Rig

The B & R Rig

What is it? and How does it work?

What is a B & R Rig?

Marlow Hunter’s current line of boats incorporates the trademark backstay-less B & R Rig and Fractional Sail plan. Even though backstay-less rigs have been well proven over many years and continue to be used in numerous high performance applications, some sailors question the design.

How does a B & R Rig stand up without a backstay?

This is achieved by creating three perfect triangles between rigging points, thus creating a sturdy base equally balanced from every angle, much like a camera tripod. This simplified plan view drawing of the B & R Rig shows the angles between the shrouds (swept back by the 30 degree angled spreaders) and the headstay. By tensioning each of the three rigging points equally, the mast is supported all the way around the circle. The rig has as much to support it from directly behind as it does from either side. The forces trying to push the mast forward are resisted by not one single backstay, but two shroud wires that are offset from the center. Loads are taken up at all times.

Important part of the equation: “Angle of Stay Support.”

A wider shroud base means less strain. Angle of stay support is determined by the lateral distance of shroud placement from the base of the mast. Narrower angles of support are created when the shrouds are anchored very close to the mast. As the angle of stay support gets narrower, the tension necessary to support the mast increased by the cube. As tension increases, so does the load on the mast, rigging, and anchor points on the boat itself. Increased tension requires stronger hardware, mast sections, and hull reinforcements. Narrow angles of stay support are done generally to tighten the sheeting angles for large overlapping genoas.

Wider angles of stay support

Wider angles of stay support are created when the shrouds are anchored farther from the base of the mast, such as on the side of the hull. Widening the shroud base significantly decreases the tension necessary to support it. As you can see from this illustration, the shroud base of the B & R Rig is wider than a conventional one. When looking at the boat, it’s easy to see that the main shrouds attach to the outside of the hull instead of an inboard chain plate.

Check back with us for an article addressing five specific benefits of the B & R Rigs.