HOR Aerodynamics and Drag

Most sailors don't realize how much drag is created by round wires and masts.  In fact, the amount of drag ("windage") caused by the modern sloop rig with its maze of wires and spreaders is enormous.  Consider the following illustration:


As you can see in the above illustration, a wire has the same amount of drag as a standard airfoil shape that is ten times the size of the wire.  Adding an aerodynamic sleeve to a standard round mast can lower the mast drag by 75%.

Eliminating wires, stays, and spreaders and covering the mast with an aerodynamic sleeve is just not a practical option with the traditional rig.  The innovative design of the Hoyt Offset Rig allows the mast to be easily sleeved since the sail is not attached to the mast and the short, unstayed carbon fiber mast also eliminates many of the wires and spreaders.

Why Is Eliminating Drag Important ?

  • Performance
  • Comfort
  • Safety

Drag bleeds energy and power from the rig and you go slower.  While we may not all race to the next mark, getting to that safe anchorage before the blow or navigating the channel while it's still light is very important.

Rigging drag also allows the wind to push your boat around while at anchor or while docked.  We've all experienced a restless night in a boat that "worked" around its mooring.  And, of course, there's that annoying rigging hum and creaking.

Drag can be Dangerous!  In a severe wind with all sails furled, the windage in the rigging alone can cause knockdowns and uncontrollable speed.  At anchor or at the dock, the windage creates forces that strain the docking lines and ground tackle.  It creates significant loads on the rigging as well.  These loads coupled with the enormous number of fittings and rigging parts on the modern rig (the failure of any one of which is catastrophic) create a potentially lethal situation.