Last month, I transited the entire Baltic
Sea from Kiel to Eastern Finland
, hard on the wind
the whole way.
It really drove home to me once again how important windward performance is on a cruising boat which is expected to take you any distance in a non-tradewinds environment
I was unsatisfied with my boat's windward performance this time. The bottom was dirty which really hurts disproportionately upwind, since it increases drag and leeway ("to sail high, you have to sail fast"). It was frustrating. I could hardly get a tack less than 100 degrees, often only 110 degrees, which is just not right
on a boat with decent D/L ratio, tall rig, bulb keel
Of course my sails
have seen better days, and maybe next year I'll finally be able to buy that set of laminate sails
I have been dreaming about for so long.
But I also find myself often -- in Northern Europe
, especially in the Channel, where we are very often sailing in winds over 20 knots -- that my primary headsail, a 120% yankee jib
, is too much sail for the conditions. It loses its shape, obviously, when I reef it.
I wonder if it makes sense to have this sail cut down into a No. 1 Blade, when I have a new yankee made? Wouldn't this be just the ticket when trying to beat upwind against a 20 to 30 knot wind
? Such a sail will have a higher aspect ratio, so should be more efficient, should backwind the main less, should offer less drag and thus less heeling. Shouldn't it? Should be possible to sheet it further inboard (if I add tracks or use a barber hauler).
I also like the idea that it would work very well together with my reefed mainsail
. I have a roller furling mainsail
which gives up a lot of performance compared to a full batten main -- in normal conditions. But roller furling
mains keep their shape as you reef them -- sometimes I even think the shape gets better. I have a fantasy of sailing like a knife through the water
in a typical English Channel
breeze, 30 degrees off the apparent wind, under blade jib
and reefed main, hardly heeling, bow wave throwing up a fine spray as we romp along at 9.5 knots.
What do you guys think? Wet dream, or achievable reality?