Steve at SetSail, I’ve experienced significant weather helm sailing my 50′ custom design cruising catamaran in winds 12-15+ knots. When entering an inlet in confused tidal currents, the helm is heavy and the vessel slow to respond under power. A growing concern among my designer, sailmaker, rigger and a couple of experienced sailors who’ve been aboard is that the rudders are undersized and/or unbalanced. Can you recommend any source(s) to help me understand more about rudder design and performance? Kind regards, Jim
Archive for 1999
Hi, My wife and I are looking at buying a 65′ steel hull motorsailor that is not finished. By that I mean all that’s there is a complete hull with two engine rooms. If we buy we will most likely put in Perkins 135 hp engines as that is the design called for. My question today is about steering. The boat weighs at full load 96000 lbs. The rudder is a big one – 16’x14’x6′ and weighs 500 lbs. I know very little about hydraulic steering but that seems to be what most of the shipyard managers whom I’ve talked to suggest. Which make would you recommend as being able to add to it, if and when the situation arises? And which has a back-up in case of power loss? Or which could work on batteries vs engine power? And where can I find this information written down (on the page or the web)? Thanks, Rod and Lucy
I have bought Prologue, an original 1970 classic Sp&Spears Swan 40. I am going to sail her to Falmouth England…and then onto West Coast Scotland, Transat from Oxford Maryland. I need a suitable windvane and must, on grounds of cost, try to find one used. Have you any suggestions as to buying one? Keith F
I am building an Aluminum Sailboat with a spade rudder and rudder stock. I am planning to use UHMWPE plain bearings. Would it be a good idea to hard anodise the shaft in the area of the bearings to reduce the wear? Would there be any corrosion issues? Thanks, Howard
Our steering pump is mounted at wheel level in the pedestal, you know that gives very poor lock to lock. I noticed that pg 563 in the 1st Encyclopedia shows a pump mounted below the pedestal, with a chain drive to turn it. How do you fill a pump in that position? Can you use it sealed with a reservoir at a lower level? Do you have any better suggestions for solving this problem? – Mike B.
I am currently reading your book entitled Surviving the Storm and want you to know I think it is one of the most comprehensive books I’ve read thus far–more like a textbook than the typical books on rough weather sailing. It’s possible that I may be asking you something you’re not able to answer. If so, accept my apologies for the inconvenience, but I thought you may be able to help me on finding a book on another related subject. I am looking for any book that discusses the differences in sailing techniques for schooners versus sloops. I have a fair amount of experience both in racing and cruising sloops but don’t know anyone knowledgeable about schooners. I just sold my boat (sloop) and am toying with the idea of possibly buying a schooner if I can find one in my price range. I am nearing 70 years old and would like to find a boat that has a normal amount of sails but would be less strenuous on my tired muscles. (And beside, I always liked the looks of a schooner over simple sloops or ketches.) I already have a zillion books on sailing etc. but have not been able to find any about sailing schooners. If you can give me any info about this I would appreciate it.
Dear SetSail, Can you recommend a good "cruise and learn" course that my husband and I could take with our two children, ages 12 and 8, this summer? We live in Massachusetts, but were thinking of exploring a new area like the Pacific NW. However, we are open to any area. Thank you. Sincerely, Andrea
Dear Dashews: I saw your ad for the Beowulf in Latitude 38. I fell in love. Can’t afford it quite yet but am vigorously trying. Been a fond admirer of your work since seeing one of your designs tied up in Emeryville. The couple had been cruising for almost a year. I would like to become an expert sailor. Currently I have only limited experience in the SF bay and Caribbean. Is there a route of training you recommend, or is there a school you might suggest? Of course these would be in addition to your books which I will purchase. Your ideas would be most appreciated. Best regards, Eric.
Dear Dashews, Got your book. great reading. But it lacks one thing: a glossary. I suspect some terms are US conventions and not European (e.g. dink). What is meant by draft (in respect of sails) for example. Best Wishes, Malcolm S
Hi Steve, Regarding heavy weather sailing, I would appreciate your input regarding my boat. I have a 20-meter aluminum cutter-rigged sloop. The staysail is on a self-tacking track and I have a fin keel with a small wing. How would you best heave to with this set up? So far I’ve been able to manage with just the staysail in bad conditions but think it’s time that I learn other options. Thanks, Alan "Evolution"
I currently have a six man Switlick offshore life raft. My boat is in West Palm Beach Florida and I would like to find a reliable inspection station to inspect and service my life raft in preparation for an offshore passage. Can you recommend any stations that do this in that area?
Hi: Some time ago, I purchased your book Offshore Cruising Encyclopedia. Recently I have been searching in it for a reference for heaving to or laying to. I can find none. Here is my problem: I am having difficulty in getting my 48 ft Mayflower ketch to heave to or lay to the wind. I tried placing the headsail to windward, the main amidship, and the rudder hard to leeward. It does not work. I have placed the main to windward, the mizzen amidships, and the rudder hard to leeward. This causes the boat to head about 120° apparent. Placing the full mizzen amid ship with about a yard of main amidship results in movement from about 0° to 90°. The movement without the main is slightly more violent. I would appreciate any ideas that you could give me on how to solve this problem in all kinds of weather, but of course, heavy weather is the condition that bothers me the most. Thank you, John.
Do you have a good book on singlehanding? Singlehanding a catamaran? I have my bareboat certificate, recognize that there is much I must learn before undertaking a long solo cruise, am inclined to get a cat. And go from Med across Atlantic, through Panama Canal, up Mexico coast, anchor somewhere for some months. Please advise. Thank you, Jeff P
I am supporting a friend on his sailing trip though the Pacific Ocean. He is trying to find a way from Tuamotu Islands to Hawaii. Actually he planned to go via Marquesas Islands, however, easterly winds (in gusts up to 45 knots) still make it impossible to sail this route. I fea, the only way to reach Hawaii is to go the long way right north.
I have been told that you have some experience in travelling to Hawaii "the wrong way" – against trade winds. Is there a possibility to get some usefull information from you? Maybe he could call you directly via his satellite phone?
Thanks in advance for your reply. Manfed Ziegler
I have enjoyed your site very much for a long time. Into the Light (by Dave & Jaja Martin) has been "the book" for me. Both have been a major help in turning me from dreamer to setting the goals and schedules to make it come true. An amazing content of worthwhile reading from all authors.
My wife and I are contemplating a charter from Puerto Vallarta to Cabo San Lucas April 15-21 and the Captain has been straightforward in saying it will be an upwind and uncomfortable passage. He adds that it is only 300 miles. He has now departed Natal and will be out of touch for a time. We are left wondering about how long the actual passage might be. We are willing to endure a bash for a few days but wish to be up for enjoying Cabo to the fullest also. As we don’t personally know anyone to ask I thought maybe SetSail could help. Any advice or even general opinions will be greatly appreciated. Till my next order, Thanks, Everett
I read your articles about drogues etc. and would ask you, (being newly baked at sea things), how does one determine the size of a drogue or sea-parachute ancher? I hve a 36 foot Malo 50 with 8 tons laden weight. Sincerely, Richard Dixon, Copenhagen
Aloha Folks: I am, like too many new cruisers, spending money adding things I MIGHT need…I am thinking about prep for the day at sea when not smart enough to avoid heavy weather, and I need a drogue.
AVALON, TPI hull #5 has at the stern port and starb an open chalk on the rail thru which in a tie up to a dock leads fair to the cleat mounted thwartship on the stern.
I am wondering how to secure drogue lines considering their strain and the stern line cleat set at right angles to the pull of the drogue line.
What would you say to leading the drogue bridle thru the hole between the cleat “feet”, then a single turn around a heavy winch then secured to the midship cleat on the rail? The winch turn to facilitate retrieval, the stern cleat to provide a fairlead, and the midship cleat to provide a fair securing place.
Hi Steve- I read a question in the Q&A section of cruising central. It was the one where you said that getting into sailing dinghies for a summer would be comparable to sailing a larger boat for a few years. I already know how to sail and I sailed a dinghy as a youngster. Now I’d like to get into cruising 30-40 footers long distances. Would dinghy racing also benefit me as far as learning and experience in sailing? There are many dinghy fleets here in San Diego that I could readily join. I’m a 50-year-old guy and I’d like to become a capable cruiser before I’m too old. Thank you very very much for your valued guidance. Kevin
Hello, I was hoping to get your opinion on the S2 9.2 center cockpit…My plan is to liveaboard the boat in the Seattle and/or Portland areas, cruise the Sound, and at the maximum cruise up and down the Pacific and Atlantic coasts of North America and cross the Atlantic to Bermuda and back. All this sailing will be done “in season” – I have no intention of tackling the North Pacific in the middle of winter, for instance. My sailing skills are minimal so I don’t really want to get in over my head when it comes to waterline/size…figured the 30′ S2 with its aft stateroom and center cockpit would be a good compromise…? Thanks…
Hello, I have just purchased your encyclopedia and I am interested in knowing why I can’t find a section on self-furling mainsails. Reading between the lines, I can only imagine that you have little use for them in the offshore environment. I would be interested in knowing if this is true and what you think of these rather popular and seemingly useful inventions. Yours Sincerely, Michael
I just picked up a copy of your new edition 2 days ago and haven’t put it down. Myself and several others with boats in the 40-foot range meet regularly to discuss our preparations for eventual bluewater cruising. Departures start next year and stagger out for the next 5 years. I’ll be promoting Offshore Cruising Encyclopedia as a purchase (investment) everyone must make. Here is my first question: On page 660 you show a picture of a headboard carrier with an integral sheave. (I now have 2-to-1 using a block on the headboard.)
Where do I purchase the type of carrier shown in your photo??
Dear Linda & Steve, Thanks for your really interesting Weather Handbook, which we began reading. It will certainly take some time…Together with our local sailmaker we are constructing an extra-roached mainsail, which will be ready in spring (this is not California). However, he did not know where to get UHMW fabric to protect this sail from chafe. Can you give us some help, maybe another name for that or a company which sells this stuff in the old world? Many thanks in advance.
Mr. and Mrs. Dashew,
I am in the process of reading both your Encyclopedia and Storm Survival books (I keep flipping back and forth between them). Not only am I extremely impressed with both of the books but with the two of you and your long and successful marriage. In the end this of course will be your greatest accomplishment.
I am 52 years old and don’t have the greatest of hearts. I have sailed for many years and have decided that it should be possible to equip a boat intelligently for single-handed long distance passagemaking (even if that means sailing primarily in the Trades). My purchase will be in the 32-33 ft. range as that is about the largest size that I can afford to equip to a very high standard. By high standard I mean the very best of the basics done in the best way, not fancy systems that might add more complexity than I could manage. I want a simple but bulletproof proper passagemaker.
My question is in the area of sail selection. I realize that you are a big fan of cutter rigs, and I agree with you, but one of my favorite boats is the Hallberg-Rassy 31 Monson which doesn’t have a foretriangle that is suitable for a second stay. If I am equipping a sloop I would be very interested in your recommendation for sails in order of priority. I would like to have a furling sail on the forestay that can handle most conditions and so that I am only going to the bow in light conditions to bring down the furling jib to put up a light air genoa or to put up a second jib for down wind sailing. In very heavy weather I imagine that it will be a case of following your active tactics until I need a rest at which I would heave to or deploy a Jordan rig off the transom.
I am sorry for the long and involved post but I wanted to give you some background and some of my current ideas if it will help you with your deliberation.
Thank you very much in advance, David
Dear Mr. and Mrs. Dashew: Bought the Encyclopedia and read it cover to cover. It is truly the best boat book around, or, more accurately, an entire library. I've got a Pearson 424, one of the ones sold as a sloop, really a ketch w/o a mizzen. It also has a Hood Stoway main with no roach, so we are a bit short on sailpower esp. to windward. Recently I've seen references to a vertical batten main built in England (www.maxiroach.com) that seems to be getting good reviews in boat tests on British boats. The roach they show looks modest by your standards, about that of a standard full-batten mail. My question is this: If these folks have in fact solved the chafe and jamming problems of putting battens on a roller-furling main. Do you think it would be possible to put a really big roach on this type of sail? With my mast in the ketch mast position, and the boat designed for the sail area of a mizzen, I've got plenty of clearance at the backstay. Roller-furling main has to be flat anyway. I'm having a little trouble figuring out if the vertical full battens would support the roach area any differently than horizontal battens do. Local sailmakers here in Annapolis don't really want to talk about this. Thanks for your thoughts on this–Quent
Hi, I have searched my copy of the Encyclopedia for an answer to this question and not found it. My wife and I learned this past summer while chartering a 34′ sloop in the San Juan’s that the boat was just not big enough for us. So we have started taking out larger boats (up to 46′ so far). However, we are finding that many are not set up for shorthanded sailing by a couple over about age 50, especially in Monterey Bay outside of Santa Cruz.
We have been considering the kind of equipment we want on our future “own” boat, and have been looking into electric and hydraulic assisted sail and rig handling equipment (winches, vangs, backstays, etc.).
My concern though is about backup in case of hydraulic and/or electrical system failure. I have figured backups for the electronic gear, but have not found information on how to backup these major “muscle assisting” systems. I am interested in your thoughts. Thank you, Jim
Dear Mr. Dashew, I have owned a copy of your original Offshore Cruising Encyclopedia for several years and refer to it constantly. I have grown to respect your perspective and advice, and follow it most of the time. The best advice you have given that I followed was regarding the WH Autopilot. We have a Westsail 43 (beam 13′, WL 33.3′, displacement 18 tons, full keel, tall rig) and have run off in 40+ knot winds and quartering seas for six days and never touched the helm. I have been very interested in your philosophy about sail design and am in need of new sails. I would appreciate your advice about A full batten, large roach main sail for my boat. I fear that this kind of sail on my boat may be like putting a Ferrari engine in a tractor. We currently have a no-batten main and have had good luck with it especially when reefing off the wind. Due to our tall rig we must reef early. I fear this may be a problem with a full batten large roach main. I have considered putting a tacking reef in this type of sail so that in short tacking situations I could reef in order for the roach to clear the backstay. I am sure that you are very busy, but I would really like to have your opinion on this subject.
Thanks for a great publication. Sincerely, Ron G., Baja, Mexico
Steve, a local sailmaker proposed an intriguing idea for improving sail efficiency on our Freedom cat ketch. He thought that a sleeve that would imitate the effect of the old 2-ply sails would be extremely effective. He would make it out of some light cloth and it would stretch back about 2 feet back thus eliminating the inefficiency created by our telephone pole-style mast. Do you think this might be an easy way to pick up some speed? TIA for any input. Regards, Dave
Dear Linda & Steve, Thanks for your really interesting Weather Handbook, which we began reading. It will certainly take some time…Together with our local sailmaker we are constructing an extra-roached mainsail, which will be ready in spring (this is not California). However, he did not know where to get UHMW fabric to protect this sail from chafe. Can you give us some help, maybe another name for that or a company which sells this stuff in the old world? Many thanks in advance.
Hi Dan: One of our friends has a ketch-rigged Deerfoot 72, and he is the process of getting new sails for her in New Zealand from the North loft. She has somewhat less than half the stability of Beowulf, and her rig is less aggressive in terms of potential for roach (she has standing backstays on both spars). I would like to get your comments on the pro's and cons of the different fabrics which have been offered. Regards–Steve
Dear Linda and Steve: Two years ago I bought a steel kit form Bruce Roberts to build a voyager 495 (L.O.A. 49 ‘- 4") With a longish keel.
About one year ago I bought, directly from you, your book and CD “Offshore Cruising Encyclopedia” which, by the way, is the book I’ve have learnt more from. Pity I didn’t have it before.
You totally convinced me with what you say about mains with big roach. Apart from the technical explanations, your comments about them are: "There is absolutely nothing you can do to an older cruising boat that will increase performance as much as one of these sails, regardless of how much you are prepared to spend."
You have (or at least had) 82% of the rectangle of the luff and foot filled with sail in your actual boat BEOWULF and add “We now realize that we can go farther, adding more horsepower for little cost.”
Exactly two days ago I contacted Bruce Roberts (he is the one who really knows my boat) to ask him to produce me a new sail plan with a main of the same characteristic as the one you had on BEOWULF.
I’ve just been in your web site, as I wanted to buy some more books from you, and you can imagine my surprise when I’ve seen that you have just got a new main and mizzen of considerably different design than the original sails.
I’m really worried now: Have you found anything wrong with them? Could you tell me anything about the new design of your sails? I suppose you are very busy but I would be terribly grateful if you could answer me as soon as possible (the cheque to Mr Roberts has already been sent and now I don’t know whether I have to cancel the order).
All the best, Jose
Dear Mr. Dashew: I have been using a roach/leech overlap of 20% with no problem of backstay passage, and I have found this conservative, and have had no chafing problem over a six- or seven-year period. Have you used higher percentage overlaps successfully?
I am currently considering the use of a single diagonal batten just down from the head of the sail to get the leech well out, and then downward, with the battens having up to a 50% overlap. By that I mean that if the distance from luff to backstay is one meter, the batten would be 1.5 meters long.
Watching videos of my sail passing the backstay in slow motion plus years of experience show me that the sail “peels” across the backstay from bottom to top. Therefore, once the sail assumes a rounded shape, the battens slide easily across the backstay. Do you think 50% overlap will work, and is this a maximum?
A final question: Have you used roller booms on any of your boats? I am using a roller boom, and this raises some additional issues in the event you have experience or thoughts on maxiroach sails and roller booms. Thanks in advance for your comments. Lowell
Hi Steve, I note in your latest book thay you suggest using 2 mm UHMW for chafe patches. I have a Kelly Peterson 46 and am having my sacrificial jib panel replaced. I want to redo the spreader chafe patches as well but my sail maker doesn’t know where to get the UHMW material. He is game to try this, but thought if he can’t find it, maybe heavy (40 mil) dodger window material would work well. Any thoughts where to get the UHMW or does the dodger window material sound good? Thanks, Carl
I am currently looking at a 54 Hylas to be used for coastal cruising in Florida and the Bahamas, very little extended blue water. A lot of daysailing. Would you recommend a furling boom or in-mast (vertical battens)? Are the in-boom furlers relatively trouble-free? Thank you. Richard
Steve, Thanks for sharing your extensive knowledge and experience in your book series. Accompanied by your videos, they are assisting us in mastering the significant learning curve. Last year, after careful consideration of your discussion of maxi roach full batten mainsails, we made the jump and invested in a new main and car system for our Endeavor 38. Wow! A substantial increase in performance, plus a new sense of confidence in a wide variety of sailing conditions. The new main provides enough drive that we routinely use a much smaller headsail and we have reduced weather helm. However, our battens continue to be a source of frustration. When reefing, furling, or raising the mainsail, the battens bend and flop out of the lazy jacks, dragging the rear third of the sail material with them.
In addition, starting in moderate air, the battens seem to be overly flexible and don’t seem to respond enough when flattening the sail. Additionally, the battens donÕt appear to be stiff enough to control the sailcloth as the main lays on the boom. Our initial diagnosis is that the battens are not stiff enough given the sail size, aggressive roach, and cloth weight (7.5 oz). The fundamental question is how do you tell when you have arrived at the right batten stiffness? I suspect our sailmakerÕs choice of batten material (pultruded 1 5/8Ó glass) was based on the availability of standard materials. If the analysis is correct, what is a source for stiffer battens? Dave
Hello Steve: We are the owners of Tera Nova which we have renamed Mango Tango. We are sailing her around the world and are currently in Malaysia at Port Dickson Marina. We plan to join the Raja Muda Regatta in November. We have done a complete refit since buying the boat in 1999. We added A/C and a generator, changed motors to a 110 HP Volvo, and repainted and many small changes including carbon fiber pole and electric halyard winch. We have averaged, since leaving on our trip, 195 miles per day when sailing. The boat is just terrific we just have not seen any boat as owner friendly, fast and comfortable. We would like to install an asymmetrical spinnaker and would like your advice on a bow sprit. Thank You.
Steve: I have become interested in a Code 0 furled sail as part of my sail inventory. Carol Hasse just finished a full batten main, cruising spinnaker, 100% jib and storm trysail for my Panda 40 cutter. Unfortunate I find myself always needing to beat to weather (especially in San Diego where I reside) and want the best solution for this problem. How versatile is the Code 0 sail, can I use it in winds greater than 10 knots? Will the Code 0 be effective on my heavy displacement cutter? If you were going cruising long distance and already had a cruising chute would this be your next and only other choice of big sail to carry along? Thanks in advance, Keegan
Our boat is a traditional sloop, with a fin keel and skeg-hung rudder. (1981 Mariner center cockpit 39′–the keel sits a little more forward than you normally see, but she seems to sail fine in normal conditions.)
We had assumed we would try to squeeze the budget to find cash to install a removeable inner forestay and running backstays for the sole purpose of flying a hank-on storm jib there (with our planned trysail). However, our sailmaker recommends modifying a storm jib into a sail like ATN’s Gale Sail, to set OVER the roller-furling headsail. While I had read that they weren’t great re: center of effort being so far forward, he says it will not be an issue. He said he’d only advise the inner stay & backstays as support for the mast…and that we have a pretty beefy spar as it is so perhaps not necessary. We intend to sail Maine Bermuda Caribbean , then possibly to Europe at some point. We are a crew of 2 parents and a young child. We are on an EXTREMELY tight budget (i.e. most of our gear is being purchased second-hand) so we do not want to spend hundreds of dollars on something that’s not really necessary.
On the other hand we want to be safe…. Do you have any thoughts or advice on this subject?
Steve I’m getting a new Beneteau Oceanis 473 early next year. I’m having a Dyneema inner forestay fitted with a tensioner for a storm jib. My questions are: 1) How big should it be? The Main is 43 sq m, The Genoa is 60 sq m, (J=5.51m, I= 16.40m, P=14.45m, e=5.21m). Is there a basic rule to follow? 2) I’ve had a suggestion that I should get a reefable working jib that I could use in intermediate (5-6?) conditions providing a better shape than a rolled Genoa, which would reef down to a storm jib size for heavier conditions. Is this a viable/sensible suggestion? Thanks Nigel
Hi Steve, In Surviving the Storm you suggest that yachts under 40 feet will find that they should set the trysail instead of a second reef when the wind gets into the upper 20-knot range. You also suggest that a small trysail is needed for really heavy air. Is this a contradiction? And can it be resolved by using a reefing trysail? I know Donald Street advocated this and I see that the Pardeys used a reefing trysail in their recent trip around the Horn. But apart from these two examples I’ve never seen reference to reefing trysails in any of the literature. What are the pros and cons of reefing trysails in your view? Love your books, David
Hi Steve: We have a Spencer 44 centre cockpit, which is a full-keel relatively heavy displacement cutter rigged cruiser. We plan to head offshore next spring, and are heavy into the process of preparing and upgrading Our fully-battened main was in for repairs recently, and while the local sailmaker who worked on it felt it would last us for another couple of years, he also said it was probably the next sail we should replace. This got us to thinking that maybe we should bite the bullet and replace it now, rather than at some future and possibly less convenient time. In discussions on possible replacements, we were offered the option of going with a “cruising laminate” from Bainbridge (CL-90P), which we were told would improve sail shape and performance over a wide range of sail conditions…so far, so good. My question concerns any feedback you have, either directly or indirectly, concerning the longevity, UV resistance, chafe resistance, and general durability of laminate sails when used for long-range cruising in the tropics. I know cruisers in general are a relatively conservative bunch, and I guess I fall into the same category–ie, I don’t want to be on the “bleeding edge”. Nevertheless, I would like to take advantage of new technologies, especially if they translate into better boat speed, less heel, and faster passages. Any thoughts you could pass along would be appreciated. Thanks Mark
Hello Everybody! I own a Hallberg Rassy 352 located in the Med, and I’d like to pose a question: Do you know a working solution to lower the main while sailing downwind? My sail has plastic tracks inside the mast. Fair Winds, Gennaro
Hi Steve, I read your comments on the North Sail site regarding mainsail roach. Interesting. I know that for my own experience, a full-battened main with considerable roach (a couple of boats ago) improved performance noticeably, and also seemed to keep the boat on her lines in a range of wind angles and speeds.
I am curious about your thoughts on vertical battens for conventional in-mast furling systems.
I am talking specifically about my Hylas 54. It’s a Frers design with a pretty modern underwater shape. I like the way she sails, but feel that the mainsail performance is marginal. I think I am going to change to a system that offers battens and some roach.
What do you think regarding in-boom vs. in-mast systems? In-boom seems to offer better disaster control if the system fails, and can offer full horizontal battens, but the in-mast systems now also offer increased roach and full battens (albeit up and down), and give greater sail shape and twist control with the outhaul. Any thoughts?? Regards, Rich
We recently finished a circumnavigation and currently have our boat in Mexico for needed upgrades. We are looking at replacing the dodger as well as the bimini and main sail cover. I would like to know if their have been any advances in regards to fabric and materials. Here’s my question: With regard to dodger windows, I do not want to end up with the plastic that turns yellow after a couple of years. We early on had clear plastic that seemed to last long but it could not be rolled, which is fine. Do you know what this "clear plastic glass" is called and any sources to check into? We really would like to get good quality dodger windows that will hold up and not turn yellow Also, I would love to have white mainsail cover and bimini, but I am very nervous about the dirt and grime and keeping them clean. Are there any new (sunbrella type) fabrics that will be UV resistant as well as easy to wash and clean? – Cynthia
Steve, I have your books and have asked you a few questions in the past which you have very kindly responded to. I have a Freedom 33 cat ketch (freestanding spars). The sail area of the full battened main is about 350 sq ft and the mizzen is is around 214. Both were cut too short (about 20" from the masthead and I’m planning to replace them soon for several reasons. In talking to sailmakers and reading about laminates and triradial construction versus crosscut dacron, so far the feedback is that I can maximize the roach/sail area and performance with triradial construction and use a pentex laminate for about a 25% price increase over dacron. I would also save some weight. The downsides beyond price are apparently longevity and potential mildew. Of course this is not a racing boat and it’s not great to windward but I would like to increase windward performance if it would be noticeable. I’m wondering if you have any opinion for this size and type of boat on the trade-offs. Thanks, Alan
Hi, I am about to order a flat – code 0 – asymetric set on a prodder for a Grainger 8m Trimara. What sheet angle should I go for? The few web pics I have seen for this have the sheet projecting to above half way of the luff, not half way – which would be correct for a genoa? I will have the block for the clew on an athwardship traveller, but there is no fore and aft adjustment. The sail angles are likely to be 80 – 40 aparent. Many thanks for your input, Simon
Hi, I often sail my C & C 30 shorthanded. The current sail inventory has a big honker symmetrical spinnaker. I would like to move to a crusing spinnaker and wondered about the viability of recutting the existing spinnaker. Is this possible or even recommended? Thanks, Dave
My husband and I are in the process of buying our first boat ever. We plan to live aboard while we learn to sail. I found a 1972 Challenger 40 for $29,000. It has a 13’10” beam and is really well laid out–we’d be quite comfortable living in it. However, it needs all of the rigging replaced. We just read an article in Cruising World about the costs of refitting a boat which gave a rigging replacement estimate of $10,000. In your opinion, do you think this would be worth it? We don’t mind investing elbow grease and gear costs, but we also don’t want to “go down with the ship” on this! Thank you! Erin
I recently read an article from Forespar, showing that your 78 foot Beowulf is using their AeroRigging spars. My question to you is, does this set up support less maintenance, ease of sailing? Also, I am very close to ordering a 46′ Prout Catamaran, and I am considering my custom rigging options. Which way would you go: Carbon Fibre Spars and Poles AeroRig Furlaway E-Z Furl? I will primarily be the only sailor aboard. Would you please share some of your tried and true experiences with me regarding the way you would go in this situation? Rory
Once again thanks for the great books. I’ve had the Offshore Cruising Encyclopedia for a year or so and have just been given Surviving the Storm as a present…One more to go, but Christmas is near.
Just a quick one: I’m in Hong Kong at the moment and am looking for my next yacht to start kitting out for some extended cruising in the region. I have found a slightly run down Formosa 55′. Seems to be mostly cosmetic. The older wooden masts have been replaced by alloy ones but have not been fitted yet. The fittings have all been kept as have the terminals (look like Norseman to me), and seem to be in good order.
The point being, if I replace all the rigging, can I still use the fittings and fit new terminals? It needs new canvas as well. The cost as seen is about US$45,000. I have never sailed this type of yacht before although I have been sailing for 25 odd years and have worked on many boats over the years.
I have another option buying a 1986 Ron Holland design 52′ sloop extremely well kitted out, very sound, and extremely rugged. This however is around US$153,000. Both will be sailed by two people most of the time.
Any ideas or suggestions based on your vast experience would be great. Happy Christmas to you all–Mac.
Dear Mr. Dashew, Your books are most informative, thank you for writing them. I have recently inherited a steel Bruce Roberts 38 built by an uncle who was a professional fitter/welder. I like the boat, but do not favor its ketch rig. Reading your work, it has occurred to me that I might convert the rig to a mast forward sloop.
At the present time I do not want to replace the entire rig. However, in preparation for a 6 month Bahamas–Chesapeake cruise I need to replace the main and one headsail anyway.
So, here is my question. Am I likely to benefit from removing the mizzen and replacing the main with a much larger big roach full batten sail, keeping the current mast in its present position (13ft from bow, LOD 38)?
Knowledgeable friends tell me that there are many complex balance and stability factors involved. I question this because I can balance the boat without the mizzen on most points of sail over a fairly wide range of wind speed. As for stability, I would not increase mast height. With a P36ft/E14ft I can almost match the sail area if I go with a big roach mainsail.
I contacted Bruce Roberts but was dissatisfied with the response as they only wanted to sell me plans for a traditional cutter rig.
If the conversion has merit can a good rigger/sailmaker help me work out the details or would I need to involve a naval architect? Any recommendations? I’m in Florida. Thanks, Beau
A couple of quick questions:
How much has your boat slowed down with furling sails vs. non-furling sails? Do you foresee any major problems with furling vs. hank-on for serious offshore work? How do you plan to douse the sails if the furler jams?
Thanks again for your time. God Bless, Dr. Kirk
Hello. We have the Offshore Cruising Encyclopedia and the Mariner’s Weather Handbook, as well as the Dashew Offshore Video (which my VCR promptly ate), and I’ve enjoyed them immensely.
We have a 1978 Hudson Force 50 Ketch. We have just found out that our mizzen mast is rotten, and are planning to replace it with an aluminum one. My question is about the (wooden, painted) main mast and boom. According to a very experienced friend, the main mast has “some” rot, but may be able to be saved by removing all hardware and stripping it down to the wood, and inspecting. If we/he determines the mast can be fixed, we would fix the rotten places and repaint the mast. He thinks both port side spreaders will need to be replaced.
In addition, the main boom has bad rot in the lower scarf, just below the glue joint, (also) just below the big bronze fitting (name?) on the boom, which attaches to the gooseneck. The stainless tangs on the main look, at best, “fair”.
We plan to take the boat offshore in a few years. If we refurb the mast, is it advisable to replace the stainless (it is 1978 Taiwanese stainless) with new 316? Do you think the risk justifies replacing the main mast/boom with a new aluminum spar also? Thanks, Mike
I just found your site and was quite intrigued by the variety of information available!…I was particularly happy about the comment on mainsails, in which the mast sits in a sleeve about 2′. The idea is that this should reduce wind shadow around the mast, particularly important when the mast is fairly “fat” as in a cat-ketch.
I am considering building a 30′ wood strip-epoxy boat, and thought of 2 rigs using free-standing rotating masts, both cat-ketch with sleeved sails, one option being a big-roach fully-battened (possible conflict with the sleeves…) and the other gaffs (!), which I think merit consideration for shape control.
For the gaffs, I thought of using struts attached to the mast, parallel to the boom, which would keep the gaffs in alignment with the booms, reducing sail twist.
I worry about upwind performance on a cat-ketch: Any views on this? Would the mainsail interfere very much with the mizzen? Would a jib work well in this arrangement?
I look forward to looking through your site again! Thank you! Tom Kottmeier
Dear sirs: I’m interested in purchasing a Sundeer 60 and have seen this AeroRig system advertised in one model. Can I have some comments as to the efficiency of this seemingly very simple rig on offshore conditions? Heavy conditions? Your help will be greatly appreciated.–H.J.Argeles, MD
Dear Steve and Linda: Cate and I were arguing last night about sailing w/o a main. She thinks that it can damage the rig. My not-so-engineering mind didn’t think so provided there was plenty of backstay support. Saw a few illustrations in Surviving the Storm where boats were sailing w/o a main. What do you think?
Dear Steve: I read your comment regarding your new single-line reefing system and your intention to write about it ( 6Sept 2000 article). Have you done that somewhere? I’m in New Zealand rethinking my reefing system and sail controls in general and I’d be interested in your thoughts. One of the riggers here is telling me that he has good luck on big boats with single-line reefing, so I’m tempted to try it. My boat is only 52 feet, so he thinks it would be no problem. Randy
Hi Steve and Linda, Thanks for all of the excellent books and tapes on you adventures. They have been a great help. I have noticed the winglets on airplane wings over the last few years. Has any one tried making a “plate” at the top of the mast, maybe using carbon fiber as a frame covered with sail cloth, to form a device which would reduce the vortexes created by a headsail & main combination? If if would work with a plate on each side of the mast, to tending would be needed during tacking or gybing. Asked my sailmaker about it but he deals with racers more than cruisers, so he is not too interested in the idea. Since you seem to be interested in making cruisers go faster with less effort, thought this idea might be for you. Thanks for thinking about it. Crawford
My rigging includes a baby stay that is attached just under the 1st spreader. My mast has 54 foot “I” and two spreaders. This is the first boat I have had with a baby stay, so I am not sure why with this rigging I need one. I would like to take it off for more forward deck room. What are the trade offs? And when would I most likey need the baby stay?
In Steve & Linda Dashew’s 6Sept 2000 report they discussed new sails and closed with a comment that they had gone for a single-line reefing system–“details in a later bulletin”. I don’t recall seeing such an article–either in the logs or in Tech Talk. Did I miss it, or is it still to come? Regards, Mike
Gentlemen: For years we have been setting our headsail on a roller furler and, once tightened to the desired deployment, have simply cleated the jib halyard off to remain at the same tightness until we changed the headsail. It has been suggested that the jib halyard should be loosened when the boat is not in use, to be tightened again when the jib is deployed. Are we doing any significant damage to the standing rigging, the roller furling gear or the luff of the jib/genoa by failing to release the halyard when the boat is not in use? Thank you. J.P. Anderson
A rigging question: What make (I assume ProFurl) and model furler would you recommend for our big reacher? The little Hood unit that was on the boat has a nice small headfoil for minimal windage but marginal drum capacity even at 5/16″ line for this big sail? These Spectra sheets and halyards are great! Have you had any problems with knots (bowlines) failing? Ref. June Sail magazine article. Thanks, Kurt
Greetings- Any chance you know where to buy Kevlar chafe pads? The type I’m referring to are typically about 1 foot diameter and are deck mounted to prevent damage from unsupported blocks. I can’t find these anywhere. Thanks, Randy M
Dear Steve and Linda: I’m not going to go on about the profound influence your work has had on my wife and I, nor will I bore you with how much we appreciate your efforts–we’ve sent a separate letter for that 😉 I have a question concerning the B&R rig. We are slowly getting together our “ideas book” for a 70-foot aluminium ketch and it occurred to me that twin B&R rigs would offer many advantages. In addition to their survivability (HUNTERS CHILD testimony) I figured the absence of any true backstays would allow much scope for a range of "reaching sail" possibilities on the mizzen. The full roach, full batten mains are also appealing. I understand the limits with the 30-degree spreader angle, but figure that even with the wind dead astern we would achieve 85% plan form. Judging from what you said in your offshore video we figure we’re more likely to want to head up a little, use the reachers/spinnakers and get more ventilation through the boat anyway.
Getting to the point slowly…Deb and I have just married and we chartered a Hunter 41 for two weeks in the Whitsundays–largely because of the B&R rig and also because we wanted some experience in a bigger boat with just the two of us. Though we had a great time, we were a little disappointed. On the couple of days it reached 25kts gusting low 30s, the headstay would slacken severely reducing our windward performance and introducing a lot of unwelcome heel. I understood that the B&R rig was originally designed for a hydraulic vang (though I know HUNTERS CHILD had a solid vang). I figure a hydraulic vang may help solve this problem? It could also have been the barrel of the furl system (ProFurl) on the headstay bending around an otherwise solid stay. Is this possible? Can you think of any engineering problems with the rig if we were to fit a removable inner forestay, given there is no easy adjustment in the rig once tuned? Is there an information resource you know of where I might research this further? I welcome any comment you may have on these matters. Take Care, Gair and Deborah, Perth, Australia
Hi Steve and Linda: You may remember me as a contributor Surviving the Storm (RAMTHA Photos). We have purchased a Gitana 43 IOR-type yacht in order to undertake our planned extended cruise to the Northern Hemisphere starting 2004. The yacht is well proven with 5 Atlantic crossings and South Pacific passages since she was launched in Cape Town in 1981. We are now planning her refit. We intend unstepping the aluminium mast and closely inspecting the rig. This raises several questions as to how much we upgrade the mast systems and we would value your comments.
We intend keeping the slab reefing system but see potential in a low friction track system with Bat Cars. The mast currently has the original track where the slugs are flat and slide inside a track that is riveted on to the mast. The same system used for most trysails. The question is: Is there any major advantage or gain in upgrading to a low-friction track system with batten cars or should we continue with the existing system and be happy with the fact that the last third of the main needs to be hauled down by hand? The reefing is done at the mast. We intend adding lazy jacks and like the look of boom bags instead of a standard sail cover. Regards, Lindsay and Lynley Turvey
Dear Mr. Dashew: November 2001 Sail magazine contains an article by naval architect Roger Marshall titled "Seamanship in High Winds" in which he states (page 36), “…I believe that every boat that is intending to go offshore should have a staysail stay, possibly made of aramid, on which to set the storm jib.” My question concerns the nature of such a staysail stay made of aramid. Could this be as simple as an aramid halyard attached to a folding padeye on deck made tight with a winch? (Assuming the geometry of the aramid halyard/staysail stay would be acceptable using the topping lift sheave, for example.) If so, such an arrangement might appeal to coastal cruisers such as myself, who would like to have the option of using a hanked-on storm jib on a staysail stay but have difficulty justifying a conventional staysail stay installation due to its low frequency or probability of use.
If my understanding, as set out above, of what Mr. Marshall intends is correct, how satisfactory would such an arrangement be in actual use? Do you believe this would be a good option for coastal cruisers such as myself? (I realize the scope of my question ignores additional important considerations like keeping the mast in column, possibly using running backstays or swept-back spreaders, etc. and the structural concerns of the deck handling the loads.) If such an installation is a reasonable approach, I am sure you can see the potential appeal for some cruisers. If one were lucky, installation might be as simple as installing a folding padeye on deck, replacing the topping lift with aramid line run to an appropriate winch (assuming the topping lift sheave is located opposite upper swept back spreaders) and buying a storm jib with hanks. Wishful thinking? As always, thank you for your assistance.—Downing Mears
I am thinking of building or buying a 40-ft yacht for long-distance bluewater cruising with a small family crew. Can you please give me some input to the rigging systems you have for your yachts? I have read some of your most interesting topics in Tech Talk–is there any for the 2-masted rigging? I’m very impressed with your boats. Yours, Bosse
After watching your Offshore Cruising Video, I happened to see a picture of a ketch rigged with junk sails. One reminded me of the other. Is that where you got the idea for the fully battened sails front and rear? I sure do like that combination. Do you think it would work for a 40 ft. boat? What is your opinion of junk rigged cruising sailboats? Sidney