version of the Transition Rig, 1992
The idea for the
Transition Rig came 30 years ago, and I now have successful prototypes
for smaller craft such as windsurfers, kayaks, canoes, and dinghies. I
believe that this simple-to-use sailing rig that can be folded away when
not required has a worthwhile place amongst the many other types of
sailing rigs that are around today.
Other people are
focusing on how best to obtain a blistering performance, with wing-sails
and hydrofoils currently in the spotlight, yet there are
many of us who sail for pleasure and appreciate a sail and mast
combination that is easy and practical to use.
Think of an umbrella: we
carry it around folded until it rains, and then open it in a few seconds
to give us shelter. When the rain stops, we fold it away again so that
it doesn't get in the way. The Transition Rig follows a similar logic -
when you need a sail you can raise it quickly and gain power from the
wind. When the voyage is over, or if a storm strikes while you are at
sea, you can quickly fold the rig away.
When you have a mast
that is jointed to enable raising and lowering, other things become
possible. You now have a variable-geometry rig with the potential to
change its shape in use and according to conditions. No doubt you have
watched birds soaring in thermals and along hillsides facing the wind
and marvelled at the way they continuously adjust the shape of their
wings in gusts and lulls. The Transition Rig gives the same
possibilities for shape-changing in use, but I have discovered that this
is a much harder goal to achieve than the folding. I have spent a lot of
time experimenting with the variable-geometry aspect, but there is still
a long way to go.
If you are someone
like me who likes making things in the shed, or students looking for
projects in the realm of sail and rig design, or entrepreneurs looking
for an exciting concept in the water-sports arena, I hope you will find
this website helpful. If you are a designer who can see ways of
improving the rig or its appearance, let's have a go at that. If you are
an engineer who understands how to program electric motors and use limit
switches and proximity switches, that would be particularly helpful at
this time since I am in the process of making an automated version of
the Transition Rig.
As the days and weeks
go by, I shall be adding items to this website, so please revisit from
time to time. As a starting point, I have summarised the concept and
started to record the versions I have made so far, together with a
proposal to use Transition Rigs on larger ships. I have begun to add a
few short videos to illustrate the ideas. The current focus is on making
an automated version of the rig (autorig).
My name is Richard
Dryden, and you can contact me by e-mail at