Originally Posted by Paul Lefebvre
I am still deciding what sail(s) to get for this furler. I am hoping to use this in place of an A-chute for downwind work, due to its ease of use for just a couple on board. I see in your discussion on downwind sails
that you feel that a code zero
would be your first choice if I were only to get one sail. I am wondering how much of a penalty this would be for downwind work, assuming I may also be using a poled out genny at the same time if the conditions are favorable.
This is a tough question because I don't know what sort of apples and oranges you are considering. On the furler you can fly all sorts of different shape and material sails - from true code zeros with low stretch fabric
and flat cut to pretty much full size gennakers in spin cloth and deep shape and wide shoulders. For a-chutes you can be talking about full size mastheads runners in .75oz to 3/4 size chicken chutes in 1.5oz.
But generally speaking I think you will use the furled sail a ton more often than the socked a-chute, and so get more 'net cruising speed' from it just because you will fly it more - a broader range of angles, a broader range of wind
, and more unsettled conditions.
The performance will also depend a bit on your boat (slug vs speedster). But again very generally, if you compare an "a-chute" vs a "zero plus poled out genoa", you will find the a-chute will set/fill/pull better in very light air/lumpy sea and you will need to turn up a bit more to keep the zero full. But in other conditions (flat seas or a bit more wind) you will not notice (in a cruising perspective) any big difference in performance (angle or boat speed).
For a cruiser, the whole gain here is to make the thing easy to use, so you use it more often, rather than whacking on the engine
. If you get a zero sort of sail make sure you get a nice zippered deck
bag. On passages where we expect a lot of light air we keep the bag lashed just in front of the mast
so its easy to raise and stow the sail - that saves you having to drag the sail back and forth from the sail locker (or wherever it would stow below).