The VG-Open30 – Cat-Rigged & Canting Keel Version

Project Detail

LOA 9.144 m (30′ 0″)
LWL 8.345 m (27′ 5″)
Max Beam 3.500 m (11′ 6″)
Draft 2.500 m (8′ 2″)
DSPL 2040 kgs (4497 lbs)
SA (up) 62.25 m2 (670 ft2)
SA (dn) 142.25 m2 (1531 ft2)

With the outstanding success of our first Open30, “OverProof” in demonstrating its offshore capabilities, Piet Human of Moondance Yachts asked me “how do we make this boat easier to handle so that it doesn’t require youth and athleticism to have it perform to its full potential”?

Coincidently, I was talking with a potential client about a similar boat for the San Francisco Bay area. He mentioned the growing following of the Wylie Cat 30 and how well the boat performed as a one-design and under the PHRF handicap system. After some discussions with Tom Wylie and viewing some on-line video of the boat sailing, I soon came to realize that this might be the answer to Piet’s question…..simplicity and performance all wrapped up into one package.

So what exactly are the advantages of a cat rig with a free-standing mast?

Less Complicated

The uni-sail has two trimming controls, the sheet and the choker (purchase system on the front of the wish-bone boom that controls both foot and leech tension, not unlike a windsurfer). The uni-sail can be flown in breezes up to 25 knots without being reefed, because the unstayed mast bends of in its upper sections with a puff, automatically unloading…it’s a no brainer. It has a conventional reefing system with the sail contained in lazy jacks.

Performance Short-handed Sailing

Because everything is so simple, there’s a lot less work to do so you don’t have to be a star athlete to sail the boat solo or double-handed. Yet, you can still maintain a very high level of performance. It also makes it a lot less stressful when you take the family out for a Sunday cruise. If you want to add to the boat’s off-the-wind performance then a fractional kite can be flown from an articulating bowsprit.


This boat has one sail……maybe two if you want to fly a kite. The fully battened uni-sail is not unlike a wind surfer sail so the cost of your sail inventory is cut by 75%, and the deck hardware package is proportionally simpler. The spar itself is very simple with no spreaders, rigging or chainplates to worry about. The wishbone boom is simple and less expensive than a conventional boom.

Additional simplifications have been made to the boat such as replacing the water ballast system with a less cumbersome canting keel arrangement giving the boat a slight performance edge due to the overall increase in righting moment. Weight, cost and drag have been reduced by eliminating the inboard diesel engine and going with a transom-hung outboard motor.

Our second Moondance Open30 is scheduled to be on the water in August 2009 and we are pretty jazzed about it. It’s going to be an awesome boat for the 40 to 50 something set (old farts like myself) who want something affordable, not complicated to sail, geared towards performance short-handed sailing, and big enough and fun enough for the family.

Click here for more details, comments from the owner and sailing pix!