Sails

This category is related to questions and answers about sails.

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Storm Jib Size

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

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Full Batten Main for Westsail 43

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

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Gale Sail or Storm Jib?

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?

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Back Up For Sail Handling Gear

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

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Recutting Spinnakers to Cruising Configuration

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

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Code 0 for Cruising

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

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Using ATN Spinnaker Sleeves

What is the best way to rig the control lines on an ATN spinnaker sleeve?–Robert.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Code Zero Sheeting

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

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Downwind Headsail

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.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Battens for In-the-Mast Sails

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

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

UHMW

Please excuse my ignorance; but in your article about full batten mainsail, what the heck is UHMW?

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (2)

Full-Length Batten Stiffness

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

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Sail Selections

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

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Ketch Sail Construction – Freedom 33 Cat

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

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (4)

Furling Mains

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

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Big Roach Mainsails / Sources for UHMW Plastic

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.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Sail Cover Materials

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

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

UHMW Chafe Panels on Jib

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

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Mainsail Headboard Attachment

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??

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

In-Boom vs. In-Mast Furling Systems

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

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Maxi Roach Mains / Roller-Furling Booms

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

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Self-Furling Mainsails

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

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Lowering Main While Sailing Downwind

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

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Big Roached Mains

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

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Laminate Sails

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

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Sources for UHMW Plastic

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.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Reefing Trysails

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

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Sails for Freestanding Rigs

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

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)