The rig, the sails and the deck equipment need to be seen as an integrated package of planning and design solutions. Your designer is likely to provide you with a standard sail plan, rig plan and deck arrangement, but in in our current times with such a wide range of rigging and deck hardware solutions it is not possible to provide for all options and personal preferences in a single set of plans.

Spars can be aluminium or carbon, the mast can rotating of fixed, the rigging can be stainless steel or synthetic. The range of headsails you can have at your disposal is almost unlimited and of course the sail controls have to be organised to allow it all to operate efficiently.

The working headsail can be overlapping or self tacking. Halyards can be lead aft or terminated at the mast for simplicity and weight saving.

The best strategy for a new build is to start thinking about all of these issues in the early stages of the project. Get your preferred sail maker and rig builder involved early in the project so that the planning and ordering can be coordinated and integrated. 

One thing to be carefully considered is that consolidated laminate or core replacement needs to be provided in way of all highly loaded deck fittings.

Hardware placement needs to be considered in the build stage so that appropriate reinforcement can be provided before the laminating work is completed. The layout of the sail controls can be clearly marked on the decks to ensure the functionality of your proposed deck plan..

The location and size of local reinforcements such as consolidated laminate and high density core replacement should be recorded with photographs and/or accurate drawings so that they can be accurately located at the time of fixing the deck hardware. If any changes are made in location of deck hardware items then new reinforcements will have to be provided.

If the exact position of equipment is known then pilot holes can be drilled and retained for accurate location of the hardware once fairing and painting is completed.


One of the challenges in selecting and purchasing deck equipment is the coordination of pricing negotiations, payments and shipping. Keeping the  number of suppliers to a minimum is an obvious advantage in this regard.


Check out the web site for informative articles on sail controls, standing and running rigging and a comprehensive range of equipment. Upffront represent  a host of quality brands including Anderson, Harken, Spinlock, Karver, and Ronstan. Their web site is info central for deck gear and rigging systems and they regularly publish informative articles on the latest equipment available. 

You can use their online configurator to compare prices, total up your purchase and order online.

Grainger Designs are Trade Partners with Upffront.

Sail Graphic supplied by Ben Kelly
3D Graphic of the Sails for R42 trimaran courtesy of Quantum Sails Brisbane

A model of the sail and rig plan for the R42 trimaran Venom. Four headsails will provide Venom with the ability to optimise the sail plan for a range of conditions. These images were provided by Ben Kelly at Quantum Sails in Brisbane. After considerable discussion and trading of ideas in the early stages of the project, the final decisions about the configuration of the rig, sails and deck layout were made at an on site meeting that involved the owner, the sail maker, the rigger, the builder and the designer.

R42 Trimaran Deck Layout
Deck Plan for the R42 Trimaran