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Old 29-01-2010, 22:25   #1
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Sail Inventory for Cruising

We are now at the point in our re-fit where we must address the issue of new sails. Our current mainsail is 7oz dacron, has partial battens and is in servicable shape (lets say 60%). Our headsails consist of a staysail and high-cut yankee jib, both on furlers, and both less than 2 yrs old.
We're thinking of replacing the main with an 8oz unit including a stack-pack and a 3rd reef. Keeping the staysail as is. And then maybe a 130% jib to use in place of the yankee for downwind sailing. We also have a spinnaker (symetrical) which we have never used but would like to need too! My wife is making a sock for it.
My question is; does this sound like a good sail inventory for blue water cruising? We're not racers, we don't want to fill the boat up with extra sails.
Thanks!
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Old 29-01-2010, 22:57   #2
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A 130% foresail isn't a "jib," it's a genoa. Replacing a two-year-old yankee with a genoa? No.

If you want to do yourself a cruising favor, keep the yankee and replace that symmetric spinnaker with a cruising gennaker. Now you'll not only have something you might use, but you'll have something that will work with that sock your wife is building.

(Seriously, a sock on a symmetric chute is not a great idea.)
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Old 29-01-2010, 23:17   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bash View Post
A 130% foresail isn't a "jib," it's a genoa. Replacing a two-year-old yankee with a genoa? No.

If you want to do yourself a cruising favor, keep the yankee and replace that symmetric spinnaker with a cruising gennaker. Now you'll not only have something you might use, but you'll have something that will work with that sock your wife is building.

(Seriously, a sock on a symmetric chute is not a great idea.)
Wow! Different strokes for different cruisers! We would say that a 120-130% genoa would give the boat a more useful UPWIND lighter air sail as well as downwind, and that we have used a sock and symmetric kite for many years and blue water miles.

Having sails that allow one to sail in lighter airs are, for us, a major concern... hate motoring, ya know... and the yankee isn't going to do a very good job for you compared to a genoa.

I guess that it all depends on one's sailing preferences.

Cheers,

Jim and Ann s/v Insatiable II lying Broken Bay, NSW Oz
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Old 30-01-2010, 02:32   #4
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Bob & Sharon,

Generally it sounds like a good plan:

Quote:
Originally Posted by bob and sharon View Post
We're thinking of replacing the main with an 8oz unit including a stack-pack and a 3rd reef.

Excellent. We happen to like full battens, proibarly because they allow you to reef and to feather off the main quietly and calmly, without a lot of flogging and noise. But full bettens usually mean adding a lot of hardware (track and cars) so I can understand wanting to avoid them.

3 reefs was the old standard but for cruising we happen to like just two reefs. The 2nd one is very deep (30-40kts deep), and the first one goes in at about 20kts. This minimizes the number of reef lines piled up and flailing around. You might talk to your sail maker about this.

Stack pack is ok. Flaking the main and getting the cover on is always a hassle with a normal cover. But make sure whoever is making your stack pack has experience with 'real' cruising boats. Making these things well takes quite some experience and feedback from people who really use them a lot (not just weekend sails). They are easy to make poorly while still looking ok and working ok on a test sail.

Keeping the staysail as is.

Sounds good.

And then maybe a 130% jib to use in place of the yankee for downwind sailing.

It depends on your boat but I think a 120 might be slightly better, more general purpose. If you have the space, do carry the yankee as a spare/stronger wind sail.

We also have a spinnaker (symetrical) which we have never used but would like to need too! My wife is making a sock for it.

Do you have all the hardware necessary to fly it, pole and guys, etc?

My question is; does this sound like a good sail inventory for blue water cruising?
Yes, you are generally heading in the right direction. Try and keep things simple and strong. Be really firm with the sail maker that the finishing details (corners and reef points and spreader chafe patches, etc) be perfect.
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Old 30-01-2010, 04:45   #5
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Based on the northern waters we cruise shorthanded on, I am personally more concerned on the weather being rather too heavy than too light. Light weather is hardly a threat for your vessel or your life which heavy weather can easily be if your gear is not up to that.

On your case, I would replace the main if it is stretched out at all. I would definitely make it fully battened for it to keep its shape better. That hardly adds any costs, but it will be a bit harder to get the sail up and down. I would also make it from even heavier cloth, for example, polyester premium NSH 8.8 by NorthSails or something similar from other brands. That hardly costs more either. Third reef is a must and make sure it will be high enough. Pulling from the third reef also greatly helps on lowering the sail for first or second reef if you are doing that a bit too late.

I would generally consider a set of real stormsails as well. In terms of main, I would install a separate track to main mast to be able to get the stromsail hoisted regardless of what is going on with your main sail.

With a sock, I think both spínnaker and gennaker will do. As you already have the spinnaker, I would consider just sticking with it. It will allow you to go dead downwind which you very unlikely to be able to do with a gennaker. I have two of those and they both really work for reaching only. If you not going dead downwind, a good size of genoa will be good enough. Even thought you have the sock, just take the spinnaker down early if it is only going to be two of you.
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Old 30-01-2010, 05:16   #6
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I'd add a storm staysail. Something you can change before the wind gets strong without losing much speed, and leave up unless it's a hurricane. It's a last resort but at least all other sails are down and tucked away by the time the wind gets serious, and you've still got steerage way. Don't forget a sea anchor or series drogue. It's part of your sailing set up.
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Old 30-01-2010, 05:58   #7
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Hi Guys,
Having sailed at lot in West Australia I support your plans towards a light wind set up.
Lessons we've learned when away for a period is if you can go with what you have on deck (ie furled etc) then you will use them the most, save space for other things, and find it all so much easier to deploy when needed. Your suggestions fit those needs.
IMHO go with the main change and stackpack - noting all the good points others gave about fucntionality - and I WOULD go with the largest headsail you can furl plus the staysail for heavier weather.
I'd even go so far as to forget the symetrical spinnaker and just kit yourself out to pole out that big headsail if and when you are running deep enough to use it.
Save the rest of the money for other things.
Enjoy
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Old 30-01-2010, 07:45   #8
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I don't think upwind sa is as improtant as downwind sa. Upwind you gain app wind speed, down wind you loose. May be stand pat with what you have but add full battens to your current main. Downwind add an assy or two.

How stiff is the boat sailing upwind, what is the lightest upwind breeze you sail in?

Oh, and jib overlap is a PITA.
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Old 31-01-2010, 21:51   #9
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Perhaps I should have mentioned that our first trip will be down the west coast from WA to MX. Thus my questions lean toward downwind sailing.

Since our boat is a bit "chubby" she needs a goodly amount of wind to get going. And to be totally honest we've done entirely too much motoring and I'm sick of it!

We have looked into full battens, but the cost of converting to external slides isn't in the budget. When I asked about 8.5oz cloth, several sailmakers have cautioned me about going too heavy with the mainsail cloth saying that the sail wont perform well in light air. At the same time, I like to be able to carry the reefed main in heavy air rather than having to purchase a trisail and all of it's hardware.

We've sailed in 0-45knots. Most of our sailing is in 10-15knots. The boat is pretty stiff, and heaves-to with reefed main and some staysail (we do carry a parachute anchor and are prepared to deploy it, but never have had to). Upwind performance is okay, downwind it's dismal in light air.

The boat came with an adjustable pole and mast track that will work beautifully with either a genny or a spinnaker. We will be carrying the yankee along with the larger headsail.

I appreciate the input everybody! Thanks again.
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