If you follow the high-end, high-tech sailing world, then you have probably already ran across the Maltese Falcon, but if not, you might want to check it out. It’s a real-world implementation of the DynaRig.
The DYNARIG owes its origin to work done in the sixties by Mr W. Prolls, at the time he believed the system could provide additional propulsion for ships. The DynaRig is effectively a square rig, the mast is freestanding and the yards are connected rigidly to the mast, in this case each mast supports six yards.
I’m no expert on sails and sail plans, but advances in this age-old area of study seem to continue despite mankind using sails for thousands of years. Another example of us not knowing everything about the sea.
Its also true that sometimes materials science advances let us build designs that were impractical in times past. Any of these advances is worth keeping an eye on, in my opinion. Even though I’m building a power craft, advances often move across the "divide".
Whatever the societal backgrounds of our continuing to study the "established" world of sail design, this site has some interesting information, a nice blog, and some great pictures.