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Old 09-07-2016, 20:32   #1
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Help me design my RTW loft (Albin Vega 27)

Want to talk about sails? I know this comes up often, and I've done quite a bit of research. But before I break out the checkbook or start selling off the undesired, I wanted to ask the e-xperts.

My current Albin Vega 27 came with a decently sized cache:

Mainsail
  • Rolly-Tasker main. Slightly shortened foot, roachy, fully battened, two jiffy reef points. Built strong for off-shore.
  • Storm Trysail
Headsails
  • 85% Kevlar Jib (North, Melges 24 OneDesign)
  • 85% Dacron Jib
  • 150% Genoa
  • Storm Jib
Downwind
  • Asymmetric Spinnaker (a bit dirty, looks to have been around the block but ready to keep going)
  • Drifter (Beautiful, made by Lee, fully hanked and seen little use)
It's also setup with a removable inner forestay + 30 ft2 staysail, but I'm leaning towards removing this. The first justification is due to the clutter and hassle of the extra forestay and running backstays. Additionally, since my foresails are hanked-on, the utility of the inner forestay + staysail is reduced.

So for the headsails, I was thinking sell both 85's and go with a 100% working jib. Also swap the 150% genoa out for a 135%.

I know that Asym Spinnakers are much preferred these days to the Drifters. Depending on available space in my sail locker I was considering taking both, since the Drifter is in such nice condition, packs surprisingly well and because I feel bound to blow out the asym at some point.

My inventory would be:
  • Mainsail (duh)
  • Storm try + jib
  • 100% jib
  • 135% Genoa
  • Asym Spinnaker
  • Drifter
Thoughts? In particular, regarding the working jib and genoa sizing. Or you can try to convince me of the staysail merits (I understand that retaining it would allow me to keep an 85% jib and still achieve ~100% foresail area)
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Old 10-07-2016, 07:02   #2
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Re: Help me design my RTW loft (Albin Vega 27)

Is the main still the Prindle main, just with reefs added? If so I would worry about whether the cloth was heavy enough. If it is a purpose built main then I would be OK with it. The full length battens are both a plus and a minus. They are going to help the main maintain shape for a longer period of its life and minimize flogging. On the down side they are going to be a source of chafing and needed maintenance. I would consider a 3rd reef point depending on the next paragraph.

The trysail needs to live bagged on deck bent onto its own track that runs almost to deck level. If you think you can feed it into the main track in 40-50kt wind and seas think again. If it doesn't have it's own track you need to consider the relative costs of adding the track and getting a suitable bag for the sail vs modifying the main and boom for a 3rd reef. If the amount of money is not an issue then maybe go with both. If you do go with both you need to consider the area of the main with the 3rd reef in. If the area is the same or similar to the trysail then there is no point to the 3rd reef. Usually though 4th reefs are close to trysail size.

I would keep the inner forestay. Ability to set a staysail aside, the added rigging is redundant support for the mast, never a bad thing in heavy weather. Also you indicate the main is a bit short on the foot. Given that it is short on the foot you may have more pronounce issues with decreasing weather helm and possible even lee helm as the main reefs. Use of a staysail helps with this problem since the center of pressure for all the sails stays close to mast as sail is progressively reduced.

I would lose the kevlar 85%. Kevlar holds its shape longer than dacron, but doesn't have the total life dacron does. Also you can repair dacron yourself a lot easier.

Lose the 150%. In most winds you would use it, the drifter or Asym would do as well or better.

Definitely keep the drifter, it goes better up wind than the asym. and sometimes you need to go upwind in light weather. Dead down wind I would rather use the drifter sheeted to boom end plus a poled out jib rather than the asym, unless you can sheet the asym to the boom end. Something you might want to check out.

The 30sf storm staysail strikes me as more of a hurricane staysail. The storm jib for my Cal20 is 28sf. By a variety of different rules the storm jib/staysail for your 156sf fore-triangle should be 40-50sf depending on how conservative a rule you want to use.

Would the Dacron 85% fit on the inner stay?

What I would do for foresails is have a full hoist staysail with moderate overlap and a high cut headsail of about 135% (yankee sail). This actually minimizes the amount of adding or removing hanked on sails. These 2 sails are raised and lowered to adjust sail area but mostly are left hanked onto their respective stays.

The progression of foresails from lightest wind to strongest would be:
1] Drifter (yankee and staysail bagged on deck still hanked on, though possibly the staysail set and drawing.)
2] Yankee and Staysail
3] Yankee (staysail bagged on deck still hanked on)
4] Staysail (yankee bagged on deck or stored below depending on how confident you were that the wind would not continue to rise.)
5] Storm Staysail

This gives you a wide range of wind strengths with only 4 sails, 2 of which store on deck and the other 2 store easily. The drifter is removed in relatively light winds. The yankee is removed in still moderate winds (say about 15-18kt). The only one removed from it's stay in heavy wind is the staysail, and you are no longer quite as far onto the boat handling that sail.

This brings up the issue of halyards. Unless you are racing there is no compelling reason to run foresail or spinnaker halyards to the cockpit. If you have to handle foresails short handed (is there any other situation when cruising) you want the halyards close at hand, and the mast is closer than the cockpit.

For the main halyard, you want it in the same place as the reefing lines. If the reefing lines lead to the cockpit, so should the halyard. If the reefing lines are on the boom, the halyard should be on the mast.
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Old 10-07-2016, 10:23   #3
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Re: Help me design my RTW loft (Albin Vega 27)

Adelie -

Thanks for your lengthy and informative response. The main is not the Prindle with reefs added. That was an inexplicable extra that came with the boat, and has now been sold.

The reefs on this main are very deep, though I haven't measured them out. The trysail has a dedicated set of slider cars that are attached to the main track just above the mainsail cars. It uses clips for getting it attached quickly. It doesn't seem to add too much resistance to the raising/lowering process, so I intended to leave it this way.

Regarding the inner forestay, my biggest gripe is the running backstays. Not as much the effort to attach them, but rather their mere presence dangling from the mast bugs me.

I asked the Albin Vega group, and one user said that if the inner forestay is attached within 30 cm of the masthead, then running backstays are not necessary. I also have twin back stays (generally just one on Albin Vegas), and all the rig is oversized (yes she's built like a tank). Given this, do you think it'd be safe to raise the forestay up within 30 cm (1 foot) of the masthead and eliminate the running backstays? My masthead already has an extra halyard available.

Doing this would allow that 85% jib to fit on the inner forestay as you alluded. With the setup you're talking about, where would you ideally place the base of the inner forestay?

All my halyard/reefing lines are at the mast, with only one for the boomvang led back to the cockpit. Sounds like I ought to pull my mainsail down and take some measurements.
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Old 10-07-2016, 11:59   #4
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Re: Help me design my RTW loft (Albin Vega 27)

No expert here but if you want info from another 27' (nominally, she is only 26 actually) who has been there and done that, here are my findings:

Small boats have only two options on the long run, you either sail or you are stuck. Hence observation ONE you want to sail.

Now, on the easy route, when we sailed it, we were 90% of the time in 'too little wind', 9% in the OK zone and 1% of the time in the prayer zone. Hence observation TWO: optimize for light winds.

Again, on the easy route, maybe 80% of the time the wind is either directly behind you or else very broad reaching, maybe 15% of time you are beating. About 5% you are either becalmed or praying. Hence THREE optimize for running and beating.

From the above, if I were to start from scratch (unlikely since one full kit of sails for this size of a boat is easily 5+ k freedom units, ex furlers, rollers and adjacent hardware). But OK let's dream.

So, if I were to start from scratch, I would build or buy:

- one main, in 308gr (7.38) HMF Challenge Sailcloth, 3 reef points, full battens, lose foot, possibly storm orange top two panels,

- one universal jib, furling, in 266gr (6.68) cloth as above, foam luff, very flat cut, high tack and clew (above stanchions), set back and with relative SA about 120%, UV strip.

- one light jib, furling, flat cut, normal tack and clew height, in 4.7 dacron, 95%

- one max area C0-like (max area zero light genoa) in Stormlite 210 Contender cloth,

- one G2 sail from North,

Running, I would sail the boat on main and the bigger furled jib and fly G2 on light days. Upwind I would sail her on main and the bigger furled jib. Upwind light I would swap the jibs and set C0 when it is light and flat. In heavy weather I would sail her on the third reef upwind and with very deeply rolled heavy jib off the wind.

Praying I would pray to the third reef and orange cloth.

I would buy one of the telescopic poles to match 1.5 J. For the jibs when a-wing or ghosting.

If I had THAT much money I would also get a universal C0/G2 furler. Top down attachment for the G2.

A nice exercise in vain as we normally just sail whatever there is and replace sails only when they die on us. Esp. so on a Vega. Still. You asked.

Cheers,
b.
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Old 10-07-2016, 23:37   #5
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Re: Help me design my RTW loft (Albin Vega 27)

Quote:
Originally Posted by AmericanVagrant View Post
Adelie -

Thanks for your lengthy and informative response. The main is not the Prindle with reefs added. That was an inexplicable extra that came with the boat, and has now been sold.

The reefs on this main are very deep, though I haven't measured them out. The trysail has a dedicated set of slider cars that are attached to the main track just above the mainsail cars. It uses clips for getting it attached quickly. It doesn't seem to add too much resistance to the raising/lowering process, so I intended to leave it this way.

Regarding the inner forestay, my biggest gripe is the running backstays. Not as much the effort to attach them, but rather their mere presence dangling from the mast bugs me.

I asked the Albin Vega group, and one user said that if the inner forestay is attached within 30 cm of the masthead, then running backstays are not necessary. I also have twin back stays (generally just one on Albin Vegas), and all the rig is oversized (yes she's built like a tank). Given this, do you think it'd be safe to raise the forestay up within 30 cm (1 foot) of the masthead and eliminate the running backstays? My masthead already has an extra halyard available.

Doing this would allow that 85% jib to fit on the inner forestay as you alluded. With the setup you're talking about, where would you ideally place the base of the inner forestay?

All my halyard/reefing lines are at the mast, with only one for the boomvang led back to the cockpit. Sounds like I ought to pull my mainsail down and take some measurements.

Yeah measure the main, its reefs and the trysail too. Get a big square so you can accurately measure the perpendicular from leech to tack.

The trysail attachment system sounds sketchy. Did the PO indicate he'd ever used it in anger? Have you tried it out in anything over 35kt? I'm not saying it's garbage, I'm saying this is one of the systems you want to be conservative about. Time yourself and see how long it takes to douse the main from the 2nd reef until the trysail is up and drawing. Take someone along but have them stand in the companionway and observe with out assisting or commenting unless you decide you need the help. I am assuming on this boat you are single or double handing. Even double handing you both need to be able to set the trysail alone.

Ok so the running backs are sort of an an aesthetic thing. Well I see about 4 ways to do away or alleviate the issue:

A. Get rid of the inner stay all together. Then you need a larger assortment of sails and will expend more effort in sail changes since new sails will generally involve removing the old sail to set the new one. With hanks this is slightly alleviated by being able to Hank on the new sail below the first hank of the old sail before it is dropped.

B. Adding an inner stay just behind the headstay as you described. This is generally called a Solent stay. Because of the proximity of the 2 stays it is unusual to fly sails on both of them at the same time. Generally to Solent is used to fly a hanked on storm jib when the headstay carries a roller furling jib which can be pretty hard to change in heavy winds. I would set the drifter and maybe the 135 on the headstay and everything else on the Solent. Don't count on saving any effort with this setup, you will still have to do as many sail changes and store all the sails as if this were a sloop.

C. Leave the inner forestay where it is on the mast but add jumpers in lieu of running backs. The Cal20 is fractionally rigged and uses jumpers to support the mast head and counteract the forward pull of the forestay. The Westsail32 uses jumpers to tension the inner forestay without running backs.

D. Use bungee cord to tension the running backs when they are not in use. Attach a block at the base of each aft lower, run the bu gee from the running back, thru the block the forward or aft some distance to a tieoff point. You want the bungee to be under some tension when the running back is loose but not over tensioned when the running back is set. If the bungee is a bright color like red, yellow or orange it will be a useful reminder to slack the old running back during tacks and gybes so the boom doesn't hit it.

If you go the Solent route leave the bottom where it is already assuming it is reinforced in some way to prevent lifting of the deck. If not then the easiest place to land is the bulkhead about 12-18" aft of the stem. There is no reason the headstay and Solent stay have to be parallel.

What barnikeel said about optimizing for light air I agree with. Keep in mind though that high effort sails like spinnakers won't get used very long. Cruising is an endurance sport.


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Old 11-07-2016, 05:38   #6
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Re: Help me design my RTW loft (Albin Vega 27)

You have had some good advice from the excellant responses above.

For me I would definately go three reefs in the main (with the third really deep as a trysail reef) and relegate the trysail to spare main status, carefully folded below and kept dry. I wouldn't waste time trying to fit a trysail track on a such a small mast, and trysails ideally have a separate halyard as well to stop the long free length of halyard flogging in the vortex behind the mast. A deep third reef is quicker and easier, and with a strong sail on a small boat, it will handle most stuff with no problems.

Since the boat is set up with a cutter stay and runners Id leave them there for offshore work. Make them removable if you want so you can take them down when you are inshore if you want less clutter. Offshore the staysail can be very handy, and the runners really add a lot of extra rig security. The runners sound like they need some sort of pull forward to securely strap them down near the chainplates out of the way.

I prefer removable solent stays for smaller boats because it's easy to run wing and wing with twin headsails, say a 100% to windward on a pole, and the drifter to leeward sheeted off the main boom. Nut you might be able to use a spinnaker halyard to run up a light non structural stay for the drifter to hank onto.

So I guess basically I am saying don't change too much yet, go sailing in all comditions, then tweak stuff later when you know exactly what you want. This will help you narrow down what sails to carry. Maybe a 100% staysail would be usefull, and you might be able to cut down another headsail to fit for this role. Its good to have two storm jibs on a rig like yours. One for each stay makes a really snug rig in a blow.

Id flick the 150% and the kevlar sail, both are going to be really hard to stow onboard when they are wet and its blowing.

Get some good sailcovers for the headsails to free up space below and in the lockers. Say for a 100% working jib, a 100% staysail. And a storm jib. These can all live on deck most of the time, with the storm jib hanked on under the working jib in its own tight sailcover. They can be stashed on the floor in a real blow or when leaving the boat.
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Old 11-07-2016, 05:49   #7
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Re: Help me design my RTW loft (Albin Vega 27)



This looks like a great size for a working jib. Prehaps a slightly lower foot since you arent trying to roll it up.

I probably wouldn't bother with a 135. Id save my pennies for some sort of crusing code zero type sail on a prod. Or just use the drifter.
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Old 11-07-2016, 13:37   #8
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Re: Help me design my RTW loft (Albin Vega 27)

I did 8 or 9 thousand miles on a similar size boat (Contessa 26). You will soon love your drifter. I sailed without a motor for most of my cruising, so the drifter was priceless. I had a trysail and it turned out to be great as a roll stopping sail at anchor, but since my mains luff was rope in a groove, setting a trysail in the conditions it was made for would have been miserable. I once did 6 days hard to weather under storm jib and double reefed main and would have loved to have had a third reef. I was overpowered and sailing like a submarine, but if I had bothered to fight the trysail, I would not have been able to point nearly as well and would have had to fight to gain windward miles later in the passage. For your Vega (nice boat) I would definitly(sp?) keep the inner forestay. Make it removable for daysailing and just consider it a passage sail. Foredeck work at sea in a small boat is made much easier if you are not right at the bow. One of the things I liked about my English built Contessa, was that the forestay attached about 18 inches aft of the bow, much like the original Folkboats. That distance from the very narrow bow made life easier at sea. As far as headsails go, I would dump the kevlar and have a properly fitted staysail cut, with a reef point. The rest of your sails will do fine and you dont need to spend a bunch of money to get slightly better performance. Down wind just pole out whatever size headsail the wind calls for, and enjoy. I loved sailing wing and wing in the trades and didnt find the Contessa to roll very bad. I tried twin downwind headsails and the boat rolled like a pig, so I gave that idea up. One of the things I made for the boat was a boom gallows directly over the companionway and made my dodger using the gallows as the center bow. Loved the gallows so much I made a set for both of my next 2 cruising boats. Enough of my rambling. _____Grant.
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Old 12-07-2016, 20:16   #9
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Re: Help me design my RTW loft (Albin Vega 27)

I appreciate all the advice and words of wisdom offered. I am and will continue to consider them deeply.

Given the overwhelming recommendation by those who know better than I (aka you all), that the staysail/running back combination is the most favorable option, I'm beginning to come around to that idea. If not this, then at least the solent stay configuration.

I'm open to more ideas on the matter, and will update this thread with my decisions as my departure (February 2017) draws nearer.
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Old 14-07-2016, 15:40   #10
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Re: Help me design my RTW loft (Albin Vega 27)

Vagrant, tell us a little about how you are going to outfit the rest of your boat? Self-steering, ground tackle, bilge pumps, motor or not, type of cook stove? Single handed (maybe I missed that) or crewed? You will get all kinds of interesting responses. _______Grant.
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Old 14-07-2016, 21:55   #11
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Re: Help me design my RTW loft (Albin Vega 27)

Quote:
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Vagrant, tell us a little about how you are going to outfit the rest of your boat? Self-steering, ground tackle, bilge pumps, motor or not, type of cook stove? Single handed (maybe I missed that) or crewed? You will get all kinds of interesting responses. _______Grant.
Sure Grant, I've got a bit of time so I'll go over it briefly. Fairly certain that, aside from cosmetics, this thing is sufficiently equipped.

Everything is setup for single-handing. Though I may have additional crew from time to time, they'll often probably be non-sailors (friends, family, romantic companions, etc).

I'll actually just copy/paste some categories from my systems sheet:

Boom/Mast
Proctor Mast & Beam (stock)
Reinforced mast-step
Boom w/ roller furling, 2-point jiffy reefing added
Boomvang is BoomKicker F/G rods w/ custom mast filling
Rigging
6 mm Dyform rigging
Quick Attach (Denmark) and Hi-Mod Hayne Fittings
Hayne bronze-chromed open turn buckles (except forestay)
Synthetic staysail running backs
Mainsheet is Harken system mounted at bridgedeck
Power
Tohatsu remote control 9.8 hp (4-stroke) mounted on transom (reinforced w/ eglass + HD mount swing mount)
Winches
2 x Barient Self-Tailing winches (17)
Steering/Navigation
Fleming wind vane (minor #120)
Raymarine ST2000
Misc
6 – 9' extendable whisker pole
Proctor spinnaker pole
Boom preventer 2tol p+s w/ rubber snubber
Tankage
Fuel Tankage (32 gallons total)
Original 9 gallon spun copper tank
Additional 23 gallon tank below cockpit sole
(Each fed through fuel filter w/ bulkhead fitting)
Water Tankage (37 gallons total)
17 gallons under V-Berth
2 x 10 gallon tanks (10” x 14” x 16”) in lockers
Pur 40E watermaker
Pur manual 35 watermaker (will probably remove)
Propane Tankage
Isolated aluminum 1.5 gallon tank (6.3 pounds)
Electrical System
12 volt DC
30 amp Blue Sea 3 circuit breaker panel (complete rewire w/ 12-3 wiring)
120 volt AC
30 amp Blue Sea 3 circuit panel w/ GFI protection (complete rewire)
Generation/storage
2 x 50 watt Renogy Monocrystalline panels
Tracer 2215BN Charge Controller + MT50 Monitor
2 x Trojan T105 Batteries (New July 2015)
Rutland 503 Wind Generator
Minn Kota MK110, 10-Amp Battery Charger
Victron Battery Monitor
Lights
LED running lights
AquaSignal foredeck steaming/worklight
Cabin outfitted w/ LED lights
Ground Tackle
Windlass
Simpson/Lawrence Sea Tiger 555 manual
Anchors
Spade A100
Fortress FX-11
Mantus 25 lbs
Anchor chain/line
#1 bow: 100' 3/8” bbb chain w/ 200' 9/16” nylon
#2 stern: 60' chain w/ 200' 9/16” nylon
Misc
Flopper stopper
Sailrite Anchor Riding sail
Delta drogue w/ 200' line
Small dinghy anchor + line
Electronics
Navigation
Garmin 128 GPS
Standard Horizon depth sounder
JRC Radar 1000
Garmin Handheld GPS
Redundant devices running Open CPN (2 x Android, 1 x Mac)
Tecsun PL-660 SSB Receiver
Communication
Standard Horizon GX2200 VHF + AIS + GPS
Uniden Voyager handheld VHF
Entertainment
Kenwood KMR-M315BT
Alpine SPR-M70 Component Speakers
Infinity 6.5" in cockpit
Emergency
Electronics
Fixed EPIRB
Ditch
Stearns survival suit
Sigg II survival pack
Pur 35 watermaker (will probably remove)
Fire Suppression
2 x Fireboy automatic, fixed fire suppression systems
3 x fire extinguishers
Navigation
Davis sextant
Celestial navigation HO 249
2007 Nautical almanac
Various charts
Cabin
Galley
Fresh + salt water pumps rebuilt
Sea Swing gimbaled + Optimus SVEA 123 stove
Kenyon M219 2 burner propane stove w/ propane solenoid
Ratelco 1635 Cole Stove heater
Weams & Plath gimbaled oil lamp
Misc
EchoMax radar reflector
Cockpit mount workbench w/ vise (removable)
Nature's Head composting toilet
Avon Redcrest Dinghy w/ Yamaha 2.5 (4-stroke)
Small RULE bilge pump w/ ULTRA switch
Manual Gusher 10 bilge pump
(Will add one more higher volume pump in the bilge)
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Old 14-07-2016, 22:14   #12
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Re: Help me design my RTW loft (Albin Vega 27)

A couple of thoughts
3 reef main, with the 3rd reef being deep enough that your sail area is equivalent to a trisail is imperative. Just thinking about the logistics of setting a trisail in storm or hurricane conditions gives me the heebie-jeebies. We do carry a trisail, but we would only plan to use it if we broke the main such that it was unusable.

I'd strongly suggest getting an AIS that transmits as well as receives (maybe yours does, I'm not familiar with that model), but having AIS transmitting when crossing busy shipping lanes, at night, in 35 knots of wind and 20' seas was so reassuring...

For what it is worth, we left Hobart for the best part of 4 months sailing with an 85% high-cut jib on the furler and a 115% genoa in the sail locker. We never actually got the genoa out, heh....
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Old 15-07-2016, 07:24   #13
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Re: Help me design my RTW loft (Albin Vega 27)

Wow, that is a very well equipped boat. If you outfitted it GOOD JOB, if you bought it that way, you bought right, and the previous owner put bucket loads of money into it. I dont mean to start thread drift, but 3/8 chain is very heavy for a 27 foot boat. You already have a lot of gear, and the extra weight of oversize chain may effect the sailing ability, but overall it sounds like a great boat. Congratulations. ____Grant.
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Old 16-07-2016, 15:26   #14
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Re: Help me design my RTW loft (Albin Vega 27)

Nice thread AV and great contributions from all! Thx!
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Old 16-07-2016, 15:46   #15
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Re: Help me design my RTW loft (Albin Vega 27)

Oh, and smart with Cole Stove heater. Even with my fairly limited sailing experience up north I know That dry heat will be a help when things get damp. I have some lengths of chain as well as cable along with shackles, thimbles and some bulldog clamps should I need to deal with a wire broken near to the deck where I can get to it. I also have a good long handled hatchet and a stought pair of cable cutters handy for cutting away a spar and/or wire. Never have had to use them but I have learned how to improvise with wire and clamps etc. on older boats.
Thanks again for the list. Best of luck and many great sailing days!
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