Dan: I am considering purchasing an ex-bareboat Jeanneau 51. One of my requirements is that the vessel be suited for passagmaking including windward ability. My strongest reservation about this particular model is the standard in-mast furling rig.
If you were designing a sail inventory to take this vessel back and forth from Newport to St. Lucia each year, what would your choices be? Fullbatten main (Spectra or Dacron?) how many battens & reefs?, Code 0 ? Staysail on removable stay?, #2 on separate furler? Thanks, Richard
Hi Richard, If it were my project and I could start from scratch, I would make a mainsail with 5 or 6 full-length battens on a luff track system (Antal, Harken or Frederickson). Three reefs, with the highest reef making the sail about the size of a storm trysail. Simple lazy jack system made from 5mm Spectron 12 line with eye splices and with no blocks or thimbles so there is no wear on the sail. For a furling headsail I think you will be happiest with a high clewed Genoa with a short LP. A 115% Genoa with the clew about 7′ above the deck will do a nice job in any winds above 10 or 12 knots and it will set well on a standard length pole when sailing wing and wing. You will have a hole in your sail selection in lighter winds where you will end up motorsailing. A cruising Code 0 style sail will get the boat moving in light air tight reaching conditions. However, Code 0 sails require a fair amount of effort to set and douse so you should take an honest look at how aggressive you will be about sailing on light air days. Some delivery teams prefer the motion and quiet of reaching with a Gennaker or Code 0 and others are satisfied to turn on the motor and make some time in the flatter seas that come with light air.
For conditions above 20-25 knots, a hank on staysail will do a good job on any angle except hard on the wind. When beating the inner stay tends to sag to leeward unless it is directly opposed by a running backstay or checkstay. The sag will compromise the boat’s pointing ability, but in a delivery situation, you will be more comfortable sailing a lower angle anyway unless you are very close to your destination and it is directly upwind. In that case you will probably end up motorsailing at a reduced speed, sailing a much higher angle than you can achieve with the staysail.
Since you already have a furling mast, your choice of mainsail is restricted. I suggest that you look into a Spectra sail with a straight leech and vertical battens that will roll up into the mast. Regards, Dan Neri