I caught Garry Hoyt sailing his latest design innovation in Newport recently. Hoyt defines the term “free thinker,” and his ideas always seem to turn conventional design philosophy on it’s head. He’s the guy that’s constantly looking to build a better mousetrap, and he may be on to something. His balanced rig had me scratching my head at first, but when I saw it in action, I couldn’t help but tip my cap to the clever way he’s combined design and functionality. According to Hoyt, the key benefits of a balanced rig are: weather helm is virtually eliminated, sheeting loads are reduced since the sail plan easily pivots on a freestanding mast, 25% of the total sail area extends beyond the pivot point (this eases the force of gybes dramatically), and the sail is much more efficient than a traditional set up because the airflow of the leading edge of the sail is not disturbed by the mast. If you’re into catboats with shallow barn door rudders (hello….weather helm), this rig could pump up catboat performance in new and interesting ways. And you’ll be sure to turn some heads (and maybe even stir some controversy among the purists) with this rig on a salty catboat hull.