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Old 14-08-2016, 17:51   #1
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Go South Sail Inventory Query

We are planning a 1 year cruise in 2017 from our home port (Newcastle ON) through the Erie Canal System, Down the Hudson, thru the ICW to Florida, across to the Bahamas, possibly Cuba, and back again.

Our boat is a 1975 Douglas 32 (full keel, 4'10 draft).

It is a bit small, but my wife and I have cruised sailboats on vacation for many years starting with 20 feet, then 26 feet, and now 32', so we are used to small.

We have owned the current boat for 8 years, have performed many upgrades and modifications, and have many more planned before we go. (I own a marine service company, and work on ours when I take a break from working on other peoples.)

She is a heavy, displacement hull, built in the CCA influence era (Ted Brewer design) and heels quickly to 20 degrees before firming up and starts slowing at about 25 degrees of heel when beating to weather. She needs a lot of power to hit hull speed on a close to beam reach (6.5 knots), but more sail just causes more heel. DDW, she will do everything to shake off the excess power rather than go faster. Best we've seen, with the symmetrical and main in is 7.4 knots DDW in pretty heavy swells.

Over the next year, we have to decide on the sail inventory to take on this cruise.

We don't plan any passages more than 150 nm, so I am not planning on any storms sails. We have gotten along without so far, and will watch weather to stay out of really bad stuff. We have been caught several times with normal bad stuff (up to 40 knots), and have done fine with a double reefed main and furled foresail.

Current Inventory:

Main 1: Old but serviceable.
Main 2: 8 years old (but has been a dog since new)
Genoa 1: ~140% (old but serviceable)
Genoa 2: 155% (7 years old, pretty good shape)
Drifter: 155% Nylon, 3 oz (old but barely used)
Symmetrical: Ominous black with horizontal red band with solid pole.

The goal is to go with minimal sail inventory to avoid consuming storage space.

Currently, with full sail (main and 155 genoa) we have to start reducing sail at 9 knots true when heading to weather, and she is very sensitive to gusts.

I have been considering acquiring all new sails before the trip:

1. Main with 2 reef points.
2. Working Jib or maybe 110%.
3. Nylon asym and telescoping pole.

Recently, I have been considering swapping the Asym for a second 110% that I can fly off our double slot furler foil, "reading the pages" in light airs on downwind points of sail.

This would also give us a back up if we blew out the primary 110, until we could get it repaired or replaced.

I am also hoping we can set up downwind self steering with the opposing identical foresails. (Our AP has trouble holding course on downwind points of sail in waves.)

Has anyone tried this minimal sail inventory for this kind of a trip?
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Old 16-08-2016, 05:32   #2
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Re: Go South Sail Inventory Query

We have: Mainsail, 110%, asymmetric, and storm staysail - 43,000nm and most of the way around the world. Storm staysail was used 1 time and really could've done without. I'd trade the asymmetric for cruising code zero as it's more versatile. Some cruisers like going dead downwind with double headsail setup. Dead downwind tends to be slow and rolly, so I prefer to sail angles to VMG with a downwind sail or headsail if the wind is up. I don't see the need to carry backup sails if primary ones are in good shape - which means inspecting thread and cloth regularly. Many of the back up sails that I've seen cruisers carry, are in unusable condition - so a waste of space. Good luck on your trip!
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Old 16-08-2016, 06:38   #3
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Re: Go South Sail Inventory Query

I would go with a furling 135 Genoa and mainsail. The sailing bit really comes into play after Florida although, if you're in luck, you might get a good sail from Sandy Hook to Cape May (120 miles or so).

There will not be a lot of DDW sailing so I would not bother with the double headsail set-up or a new asym but a small jib might come in handy if it's a blustery winter in the Bahamas.(you never know).

The longest sail will be from NY to Cape May or Miami to Nassau, both under 150 miles. After that the sails are short, the majority well under 60 miles and most being 20 to 30 miles.
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Old 16-08-2016, 07:40   #4
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Re: Go South Sail Inventory Query

I would buy a brand new main. Triple reef or deep second.

I would keep one smal heavier jib, one big light jib (furled) and a drifter. Can be s/h if they are in good condition.

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Old 16-08-2016, 08:26   #5
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Re: Go South Sail Inventory Query

Quote:
Originally Posted by ramblinrod View Post
We are planning a 1 year cruise in 2017 from our home port (Newcastle ON) through the Erie Canal System, Down the Hudson, thru the ICW to Florida, across to the Bahamas, possibly Cuba, and back again.

Our boat is a 1975 Douglas 32 (full keel, 4'10 draft).

It is a bit small, but my wife and I have cruised sailboats on vacation for many years starting with 20 feet, then 26 feet, and now 32', so we are used to small.

We have owned the current boat for 8 years, have performed many upgrades and modifications, and have many more planned before we go. (I own a marine service company, and work on ours when I take a break from working on other peoples.)

She is a heavy, displacement hull, built in the CCA influence era (Ted Brewer design) and heels quickly to 20 degrees before firming up and starts slowing at about 25 degrees of heel when beating to weather. She needs a lot of power to hit hull speed on a close to beam reach (6.5 knots), but more sail just causes more heel. DDW, she will do everything to shake off the excess power rather than go faster. Best we've seen, with the symmetrical and main in is 7.4 knots DDW in pretty heavy swells.

Over the next year, we have to decide on the sail inventory to take on this cruise.

We don't plan any passages more than 150 nm, so I am not planning on any storms sails. We have gotten along without so far, and will watch weather to stay out of really bad stuff. We have been caught several times with normal bad stuff (up to 40 knots), and have done fine with a double reefed main and furled foresail.

Current Inventory:

Main 1: Old but serviceable.
Main 2: 8 years old (but has been a dog since new)
Genoa 1: ~140% (old but serviceable)
Genoa 2: 155% (7 years old, pretty good shape)
Drifter: 155% Nylon, 3 oz (old but barely used)
Symmetrical: Ominous black with horizontal red band with solid pole.

The goal is to go with minimal sail inventory to avoid consuming storage space.

Currently, with full sail (main and 155 genoa) we have to start reducing sail at 9 knots true when heading to weather, and she is very sensitive to gusts.

I have been considering acquiring all new sails before the trip:

1. Main with 2 reef points.
2. Working Jib or maybe 110%.
3. Nylon asym and telescoping pole.

Recently, I have been considering swapping the Asym for a second 110% that I can fly off our double slot furler foil, "reading the pages" in light airs on downwind points of sail.

This would also give us a back up if we blew out the primary 110, until we could get it repaired or replaced.

I am also hoping we can set up downwind self steering with the opposing identical foresails. (Our AP has trouble holding course on downwind points of sail in waves.)

Has anyone tried this minimal sail inventory for this kind of a trip?
I don't specifically what would work best for your boat but in general I would suggest that a main and 135% would be a good start. Beyond that you need to think about what you can do when the wind is light and when it is strong. The route you suggest would indicate that you should be prepared for 35 to 40 knots sustained - not often but it could happen so you want to be prepared for it. You can get squalls higher but they are rare and you can make do with main down and 2' of genoa out and then run or broad reach until the squall quits. For light stuff you need to decide how often you want to motor. You mainly want something for being well off the wind so talk to your sail maker and get a recommendation. A DRS cut full with a good sock makes a lot of sense. I would have the main made up with 3 reefs but only have two sets of reefing gear. In normal use have reefs 1 and 2 set up. Offshore (you don't have any bits that are beyond the weather forecast horizon) have 2 or 3 set up, unless you have a benign forecast then you can stick to 1/2.

As for your autopilot. Make sure you have boat well-balanced to reduce load on the pilot. This is particularly true when you are down wind. Often weather helm is too much (it does not take much). Dramatically reduce main area and keep the sheet not too tight and see if it helps.
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Old 16-08-2016, 11:26   #6
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Re: Go South Sail Inventory Query

Thanks for the thoughts.

I'm a little gun shy on a 135% as we bought one for our last boat (instead of a new working jib) and I was sorely disappointed. Up wind, it reduced our pointing angle substantially, (having to be sheeted outside the shrouds). On a reach, it added less than half a knot over the working jib under most conditions. Overall, we were slower due to the poorer VMG going to weather.

The current boat is full keel and doesn't point anyway, so maybe the difference of a 135% over a working jib would be worthwhile.

I thought I had a brilliant idea with the versatility of 2 x 110s (sail with one, under normal winds, sail with 2 in light winds (one poled forward for high points of sail, poled out for off wind, and reading the pages for DDW).

In this case, the extra 110 would also work as a brand new back-up sail to the other brand new 110, and have other uses, so it's not a waste of space.

(And when not in use, a 110 is about as small a sail as one can store, even smaller than an asym.)

But if nobody else does it, there is likely a reason. I may give it a try next spring to see how it works. If it proves impractical, I'll still have time to order an asym.
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Old 16-08-2016, 14:24   #7
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Re: Go South Sail Inventory Query

When you reef at 9kn what do you reef down to? If you wind up sailing with a 135 anyway you might as well just start there. But the 135 is notoriously poor to weather. The theta angle (the angle the sail trims relative to centerline) is almost always god awful because it sheets to just aft of the shrouds on the widest part of the boat, at least a 155 goes further back. This is part of why a 110 is so high pointing, the lead angle can be very low because it doesn't have to wrap around the shrouds.

The downside to the 110 of course is that it lacks a lot of power in light air. This is where either a big roach main or a Code Zero, or both work so well. On a CCA the problem is that the main is typically small, and there isn't a lot of room for a big roach to go. So it's out.

So my advice would be:
1) as big a main as possible. It's just free horsepower. With three reefs, a shallow one for upwind in moderate breeze, a deep one for upwind in real breeze, then a storm reef.
2) drop the headsail to a 110, or whatever the largest sail that will fit inside the shrouds
3) a Code 0 for light air upwind (to replace the lost larger Genoa), and for reaching

Just expect to drop the Code pretty early when beating.

Just an FYI if you are thinking that the sails older than 8 years are serviceable.... You would be amazed at how just putting new sails onboard will change how the boat behaves. All at once, increased pointing (5 degrees), speed (.5-1kn), and reduced heel (10 degrees) and helm (a good bit) are what I would expect just from replacing what you have with new of the same cut. Old sails are slow.
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Old 16-08-2016, 15:13   #8
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Re: Go South Sail Inventory Query

Ahh, I love these threads... Id go a big roachy fully battened main with three reefs. The logic being that the three reefs gives you smaller steps so your slightly tender CCA boat can have just the right sized sail up. The third reef should be very deep so you can use it as a trysail. The Full length battens give you the ability to quickly depower by dumping the main without it flogging itself yo death, helping to keep the boat on her feet.

You could even look at going slightly over roach past the backstay. With a small first reef to pull the sail inside the stay. This gives lots of power where is counts.

For the headsails Id go a 110 or even a 105%, on the furler. Whatever can be sheeted inside the shrouds for decent pointing and less chafe. Medium to low foot, just high enough to see under, and keep it clear of the bow wave and make for a clean sheet lead around those lower shrouds, both hard onbthe wind and cracked off slightly before you go to outboard sheets. You might need a reaching clew set a bit higher with outboard sheets to stop it twisting too much when you ease sheets.

The drifter (if well shaped) would now be a useful sail, quick to stuff in its bag and perfect for the 1-7 knot gap to windward where the 155% used to be, and great for the 5-15 knot reaching conditions where the smaller jib lacks power.

Downwind the jib get poled out to windward, and the main to leeward. The drifter can also be set to leeward and sheeted off the end of the main boom (should have a moderatly high clew) For a long run DDW the main can be dropped to reduce chafe, stop the drifter collapsing or you will need to come up 10-20 deg from dead run to feed air into with the main up.

The drifter/cruising code zero could be set flying, or on a looseluff furler, or on a solent stay.

I wouldn't bother with twins. By the time you buy a new sail and pole its going to cost more than a decent AP or secondhand windvane. If you want to play with this concept use the drifter or your old 155% genoa on the other side. They dont have to be identical to work fine.

I think you'll find the jib to windward and the drifter to leeward set off the mainboom with the maindown will be nicely balanced.

Small is good!
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Old 16-08-2016, 20:37   #9
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Re: Go South Sail Inventory Query

I left L.Superior and went to Pensacola last fall and over the winter. I bought a new main with 3 reefs. The third is significantly smaller than 1 and 2, but I've found it keeps the boat de-powered in the 20-30 broad reaches and I can keep up my 100. I have a HydroVane which I found required sail reductions like dropping the main (without loss of speed) in those conditions. I also have a very light (nylon) old 155 that stores small, and an asymmetric. We used the 155 once. Mostly I was double or triple reefed with the 100 almost the entire trip on the ocean, but used the asym on the lakes, where there is less swell and less wind. I did 5 overnights with reduced sail. I was going to get a 135, but now I plan to finish rigging for a staysail. There's just so much wind out there.


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Old 17-08-2016, 02:34   #10
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Re: Go South Sail Inventory Query

I second much of what Snowpetrel said, including about mains, & how to configure them. Ditto on most of the headsail comments in his post. With some other options & thoughts about headsails, below.
Where my thinking differs from some is that I wouldn’t go on such a trip without some heavier air sails. As there will be times & places that you’ll want or need them. And generally they’re not too expensive. Even less so if you pick quality ones 2nd hand.

So in addition to a main with three reefs, it’d be wise to get a small jib or two. Say a 70%er, & another one about 1/2 - 2/3 that size, to work along with a heavily reefed main. Flying them from a detachable Solent stay. On which you can also hank all manner of other sails. Like a drifter, one of your big genoas if you have it cut down slightly, etc.

Also, here’s a wee hours "think" on primary jibs. A 105% +/- with vertical battens may be an option. As it would have better shape, thanks to the battens, plus a tiny bit of roach. Both of which boost efficiency. Sadly, given the hour, I can’t recall all of the pro's & con's of such jibs. But I'm thinking they do well both in terms of pointing & power. Even more so than some jibs which are significantly larger.
Obviously one would have good sheeting angles, as well. So hopefully someone else will chime in with more details on them.

One other light air sail type which is an option is a Screecher. Which is a loose luffed, lighter air headsail for wind angles between close reaching & shallow running. It won’t let you point as high as a genoa, nor be as efficient off of the wind as a spinnaker. But it would add some versatility to the inventory for light stuff airs. And since they’re flown on free flying furling gear, & are made of light material, they take up little storage room. Plus they’re quite easy to set & douse. And you can also fly other loose luffed sails on the same furling gear.

--> There’s more info on them, as well as some on Code 0’s here Nylone,or laminate for screecher?
--> Along with a good bit more on Screechers & Code 0’s here Screecher vs. Code 0- Help Deciding

And in addition to the above, I say drag along an asymetrical with a sock as well. Plus a big jib if you can find the room. Which, if you brick your sails whenever you can, the physical volume they take up drops immensely.
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Old 17-08-2016, 03:46   #11
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Re: Go South Sail Inventory Query

Uncivilized - what do you mean by "brick your sails?" Some kind of packing/folding method? I need all the room I can get . . .


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Old 17-08-2016, 05:18   #12
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Re: Go South Sail Inventory Query

^^ bricking a sail means to flake then tightly roll and lash so its a pretty small solid bundle. It takes a while (and a bit of space) to do it well, and its not wise to brick a wet sail. This is one reason why I am not sure using two identical jibs will work well, unless you leave them both permenantly on the furler like the simbo rig or dutchmar systems

http://www.wavetrain.net/boats-a-gea...hman-zoom-boom

Without something like these its just going to be too much work to set up the sail in the second luff groove, and then stow the awkward possibly wet dacron sail each time the wind goes aft, vs a light soft nylon drifter that can just be stuffed in a bag.

Good point on the benfits for balance of using a deeply reefed main when reaching. So much more stable and faster than using just a headsail. And a whole lot better than lugging a slightly to big mainsail that cant be depowered easily because the wind is too far aft and cant be reefed anymore because you've run out of reef points...

On the no stormjib thing I am in two minds, I think that a well made, strong and nicely shaped roller reefing jib that is not too big can make a pretty good storm jib. Rolled down to the point that just the reinforced clew is out, It works just fine. Not as good as a dedicated storm jib on its own stay but very convenient and easy to handle.

Its a good idea to tie the reefing line up so there is no way it can release!

Saying that I wouldnt be without a proper stormjib myself..
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Old 17-08-2016, 10:35   #13
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Re: Go South Sail Inventory Query

I was a bit knackered earlier, & my composition skills were off. So I'm didn't mean a full on storm jib necessarily, though such are cheap insurance, & tiny when properly stowed. But a small heavy weather jib or two is a good idea. As their shape is so much better than a half furled jib. And if you need to do some windward work when it's blowing 35kts, it's tough to do without one, if it's at all possible.

For easier stowage underway than bricking. You can do the standard racer type stow. Where the sail is flaked, & then grab the stack about 1/3 of the way aft from the luff, & take that fold back almost to the clew. And either lash the sail to itself with sail ties. Or better, stick it into a horizontal storage bag.

A lot of racing sails have bags purpose built for this kind of storage. They're a bit more than 1/3 the length of the sail, & have full length zippers on top. Which can be fully unzipped, like a zipper on a coat or sleeping bag. And once you put the sail inside, you zip them up, & cinch up the bag with it's externally attached sail ties.With the ties also serving as carrying handles.
Also the bag's clearly labeled as to what the sail is, & which end is which. Sometimes by color codes at the sail's head. So that when the sails are below, stacked atop one another, it's easy to tell which is which.

The stowage perk is that if you only tie the sail ties loosely, each sail is pretty flat. So that you can fit half a 4-6 full sized stacked sails atop one another in a space which has 2' or so of vertical clearance. And is 5-6' long.

Still, in port, bricking sails rocks. As you can turn a #1 genoa for a 50'er into a package smaller than a beer keg. So once they're clean & dry, & you want space belowdecks. Like if you're going to be in one port for a while...
Kenomac got his spare main to be the size of a scuba bottle via bricking, & that's on a 53' boat.
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Old 17-08-2016, 11:03   #14
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Re: Go South Sail Inventory Query

Last time we were down in the Windwards we did an informal survey of fellow cruisers. Turned out everyone had a 110 or 115 genoa and a main with a deep reef. That makes sense in an area where the wind is usually between 15 and 25 but sometimes gets up to 30 or 35. I found we rarely sailed without at least one reef in the main.

The thing about cruising is that if you arent making long passages you almost never have to deal with winds that are too light or very heavy. You just stay put on those days and wait for better conditions. Or pick a different direction to head. But in the trade wind zone you can be pretty confident that it will revert to normal (15-25 or so out of the east at least in the winter months) within a few days.
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Old 17-08-2016, 11:08   #15
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Re: Go South Sail Inventory Query

Much of the time down the ICW will be under motor. Its either narrow or the prevailing SW wind won't get you anywhere fast. Unless you are going outside, sail inventory is largely irrelevant.
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