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Old 27-06-2008, 06:38   #1
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Anchor Riding Sails - Do They Work ?

Swinging at anchor:

I've tried offsetting my anchor rode, lengthening/shortening the scope, hanging a second anchor off the bow, all with limited success at slowing down my swing.

I'm looking for opinions on an anchor riding sail. Have you had success with them? I don't see many around so they don't seem to be too popular, at least not where I've been dropping the hook.

Prior to investing in one... opinions?
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Old 27-06-2008, 07:12   #2
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If you as myself like to pick nice protected anchorages where there is minimal breeze, you won't see them. The tide wiill have it's way with you. I would worry about the noise they would make. I like quiet when I sleep.LOL
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Old 27-06-2008, 07:20   #3
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I see a few boats using them. Very difficult to get them tensioned enough so they don't bag and go from one tack to the other. They say the best ones are the ones that are shaped like a wedge rather than a single sail. I'm surprised that your boat sails at anchor. My CS36M sails like crazy at anchor, in winds of over twenty five knots I used to put two hooks out in a "V" and that would stop her from sailing all over.
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Old 27-06-2008, 07:49   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lannen View Post
Swinging at anchor:

I've tried offsetting my anchor rode, lengthening/shortening the scope, hanging a second anchor off the bow, all with limited success at slowing down my swing.

I'm looking for opinions on an anchor riding sail. Have you had success with them? I don't see many around so they don't seem to be too popular, at least not where I've been dropping the hook.

Prior to investing in one... opinions?
The high freeboard on the Endeavor is the cause of the sailing at anchor. The riding sails do work but the correct size and location is important. They are cut flat with no "belly" like your regular sails. To get good performance you will need to get one made for your boat by a sailmaker that is familiar with this type of sail and can help you with getting the correct set once up. Don't buy one of the off the shelf variety.
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Old 27-06-2008, 08:33   #5
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Anchor sails work and work very well, but you do need to know how to use them. All of the negative comments above come from people who do not understand how they are supposed to be rigged.

Most people who buy anchor sails rig them straight fore-and-aft. WRONG.

An anchor sail shoud be rigged from your backstay and tacked off to one rail. An anchor sail should hold the boat off to one side, and not allow it to tack, even a little. I don't use mine in storm conditions, when a second anchor seems the better choice.

You might need a bit of experience to find the exact place to put the tack, but if your boat sails at anchor a properly riggged riding sail will stop it completely and not flog or flap. DO NOT buy the wedge shaped ones, they are for people who don't understand how a riding sail should really work.

Bill
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Old 27-06-2008, 08:45   #6
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I do look for the nice quiet anchorage to drop the hook, but sometimes...

The last time, well, last two times, I was in flat water in the lee of land, but the 15-25kts breeze makes me dizzy.

I really appreciate the comments so far. My wife found a 'kit' to make a riding sail, but it sounds like I should discourage her from buying that.

Would anyone happen to have a picture of your riding sails?

Thanks for the help so far.
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Old 27-06-2008, 09:12   #7
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I think there are two different purposes for a riding sail, one of which is well described by Greatketch. That's for the purpose that you asked about, keeping a boat from sailing at anchor.

The other reason for having one, which is where a straight for and aft sail works well, is for rolly anchorages. We used to use our mizzen sail all the time in anchorages where a current would swing us beam to the wind and seas and roll us like crazy. A straight fore/aft sail, or mizzen, pulls the boat back towards the wind, heels it over, and makes life a whole lot nicer. I'm not sure how a riding sail pulled to one side would work for that purpose.
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Old 27-06-2008, 12:07   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GreatKetch View Post
... Most people who buy anchor sails rig them straight fore-and-aft. WRONG...Bill
Bill's right.
Rigged fore & aft, the sail becomes an extension of the boat form, merely creating more of the same.
An off-centre set will steer the boat, reducing/eliminating unwanted tacking.

I've never used a proper riding sail.
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Old 27-06-2008, 13:25   #9
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I use a riding sail and it is rigged on the topping lift and the tack rides on block on a line which is attached to the forward end on on genoa track to a block on the forward end of the opposite genoa track and then led to a cockpit winch. This allows the riding sail to be set above the boom and tensioning the tack line flattens the sail once the halyard is pull tight.

The sail is quite flat and the boat will not sit rock steady, but will be quite head to wind without sailing about. I use it when the winds are from 20 - 30+ knots with goos success. It make a more comfortable stay at anchor.

Frankly I dont see how to get a vertical blade tight sail using a halyard which is NOT CL. If you move the tack you will "tilt" the plane. No?
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Old 28-06-2008, 12:39   #10
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Topping lift versus backstay

Defjef, (or anyone else who wants to contribute),
I need to add a riding sail to my sail inventory as my boat swings wildly at anchor. I was most interested in defjefs remarks because of my situation. I have a split backstay with one of the splits carrying an antenna cable from my SSB radio antenna (the backstay). I could only use the starboard side stay for that reason. I was concerned about the sail being off center with mounting on the split stay. But I found out on this thread being off center is a desirable situation as the wind increases. But I have another problem and that is I have a rather large bimini and the stays pass through the bimini through zippered openings and rigging and tensioning the sail would be difficult. So I was wondering about using the topping lift and was going to pose a question in the Anchoring and mooring forum when I noticed this thread. I am very pleased that the topping lift apparently works as an alternative to the backstay. I have some questions which came to mind when I read about how the topping lift was used as the rigging point. First regarding the tack, I had trouble following how the tack was rigged. Exactly where are the two blocks placed that the line from or through the tack goes through? Is there a block on the front of the tack? I understand that the tack line goes from one side of the deck to the other and forward of the tack and then lead back to a cockpit winch which provides tension to the tack. I am somewhat confused on the tack rigging. Secondly regarding the head, does it matter what halyard is used to provide tension for the head? Thirdly, where do you attach the clew? To a shackle on the topping lift? To the end of the boom? Fourth, How do you get the sail off center of the boom as the point was made earlier in this thread? Do you move the boom over on the traveller? Do you sheet the boom out to one side or the other and use a preventer to keep it from swinging? Fifth, what are the dimensions of your sail? Your boat is about the same length as mine and perhaps what works for you may work for me. And what is the material you used? Did you make it yourself or did you have a sailmaker make it for you? I was thinking about using some sunbrella that I had an excess supply of and make my own. Thanks much in advance for your help and for anyone else, too who replies.
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Old 28-06-2008, 13:17   #11
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[quote=GreatKetch;176573]
An anchor sail shoud be rigged from your backstay and tacked off to one rail. An anchor sail should hold the boat off to one side, and not allow it to tack, even a little. I don't use mine in storm conditions, when a second anchor seems the better choice.

Do you or anyone else have a picture of that? I just bought one and want to get it right. I am reading that it must be kept taught. Right?
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Old 18-09-2008, 06:37   #12
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I have an anchor riding sail and at first I used it. I found a much simplier and easier solution to the problem of sailing at anchor. I anchor backwards, off the stern. Jordan Series Drogue - Mooring and Anchoring
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Old 18-09-2008, 06:57   #13
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Anchoring off my stern is not very sleep friendly for me. The center cockpit, and aft cabin, means I listen to the little wavelets trickling against the hull all night...

Boy, does that make one keep jumping up and going to the head... might as well just sleep with my hand in a pail of warm water all night...
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Old 18-09-2008, 07:09   #14
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Suggest you try hanging a drogue off your anchor chain just below water level.

We've a high freeboard lightweight 46 footer with very little under the forefoot and a big 25 metre rig. Not surprising it used to heave about at anchor in any significant breeze.

Someone suggested hanging a bucket - not from the bow but from the chain - and we improvised a trial with one of our emergency steering drogues.

It appears to slow down the bows desire to sheer away, giving the stern time to line up again in the breeze, and for us it definately works.

Might be worth trying before you invest in a riding sail.

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Old 18-09-2008, 07:11   #15
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Well I always did it wrong but it worked for me. My last boat was one of the old IOR Catalina 38's. Fine bow pinched stern max beam at one pont fin keel spade rudder etc. it sailed realy well at anchor if the wind was up above 10 kts or so. We built a riding sail that tacked between the back stay and the main boom (lots of room since the IOR favored the high aspect ration main it was a pretty short boom on a 38 foot boat) which I tensioned with the main halyard. It made the boat look like a ketch without a aft mast or boom. We kept it on centerline. It did not stop sailing but what it did was cause the boat to "wiggle" back and forth instead of trying to sail up past the anchor on each side. I'll admit that our luck with this arrangement may have had more to do with the hull form and rig of an old IOR boat but work and work well it did. Have not added one to my present boat yet as although it sails at anchor also it is not nearly so bad so taking care of other issues first.
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