Flying in the Face of Convention


May 24, 2007


Because sail adjustments can be made from the helm, the Flying Lateen rig is ideal for sailing shorthanded–or with sunbathers. Bud Short

California spawns plenty of new ideas; here’s a new take on an old idea. The Flying Lateen rig combines the best of the cat rig and the lateen (used on dhows in the Red Sea) with a few added extras.

Inventor Bud Short has been sailing for 70 years and wanted to be able to go out alone or with friends who were new to the sport. He says, “I took the top off a Cal 20 and scraped it out like a watermelon.” Needing a rig that would function as desired, he came up with the Flying Lateen. Seated at the helm, he can set, reef, furl and trim the sail; to tack he just pushes the tiller over.

The sail is furled inside the yard using a small (3-inch diameter by 8-inches long) 12-volt motor that draws only 11 amps when in use, says Short. The boom pivots on a spar about a third of the way back from the front of the sail in the middle of a tripod arrangement that takes the place of shrouds. Because of the balanced pivot point on the boom there is no need for a vang to provide leech tension when the sheet is eased.


Short tells me he can install the rig on boats up to 50 feet long.

Flying Lateen
(949) 481-1388


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