Two symmetrical headsails? Mr. Amel had already taken care of it!


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sous foc et balloonerOur article regarding the Simbo Rig devised by Iain Simpson, a double symmetrical bow, started a heated debate on the Web. So many of you “scolded” us that this was not new at all, but that the idea went back to the dawn of time. While we remain of the opinion that Simpson has modernized this system of “twin jibs” in an interesting way, we would like to offer you an interesting reconstruction of the history of this system that Paolo Salomoni of Sail Away and importer for Italy of the French shipyard Amel kindly sent us.

“The idea of putting two bow sails symmetrical to each other is lost in the mists of time in seafaring: I believe I read that Josua Slocum made extensive use of it in his adventurous travels, but I am sure he himself drew inspiration from the weapons of his time or perhaps earlier. Henri Amel, a careful and ingenious entrepreneur, copied them and improved them by coupling the genoa to the ballooner(a sail of the same size and shape as the genoa but made of nylon). The problem was that either you had two stays at the bow where you inferred the two sails or you built a suitable profile with two grooves at 180 degrees to each other (Maramu, year 1978). Unfortunately, however, when sending the ballooner ashore with the appropriate halyard, it was not possible to reduce it by rolling it with the genoa as the halyard would twist on the forestay. On Amel boats there has always been a preference for solo crew use and at most two; how to reduce the area at the bow if you had to lower the sail(s) to do so? Hence Amel’s idea: to install a closed-circuit halyard hooking and unhooking mechanism that, once the task of sending the sail ashore was accomplished, could be unhooked and returned to the mast foot releasing the impossibility of simultaneously rolling the genoa directly onto the ballooner.”
Ballooner Docking system



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