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Old 10-12-2008, 16:21   #1
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shelf foot main

My grampian 26 came with a shelf foot main and was wondering if this is ancient technology The boat is a 1975 and i think the sail is of a similar vintage. Easing the out haul has no effect because of the huge bag at the foot of the sail. Should i use the flattening reef to gain better draft control or is this a waste of time? The boat also came with what looks like big light weight hank on genoa ( very colorful sail) Any ideas as to what it might be and how to fly it? It has a pair of sheets just like a regular genny. The reason for the mainsail question is that when club racing I can't get it to point as well as the rest of the fleet. I seem to be about five degrees lower than the rest of the boats in my class.
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Old 10-12-2008, 19:14   #2
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As far as I'm concerned they are only good for catching rain water.
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Old 10-12-2008, 19:37   #3
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Originally Posted by perchance View Post
My grampian 26 came with a shelf foot main and was wondering if this is ancient technology The boat is a 1975 and i think the sail is of a similar vintage. Easing the out haul has no effect because of the huge bag at the foot of the sail. Should i use the flattening reef to gain better draft control or is this a waste of time? The boat also came with what looks like big light weight hank on genoa ( very colorful sail) Any ideas as to what it might be and how to fly it? It has a pair of sheets just like a regular genny. The reason for the mainsail question is that when club racing I can't get it to point as well as the rest of the fleet. I seem to be about five degrees lower than the rest of the boats in my class.
Old tech, but the one on the boat I sailed on years ago worked. Ease the outhaul, the shelf opens and the draft gets deep. Tighten the outhaul and the heavier cloth above the shelf should pull right up to the boom making the shelf disappear. Probably doesn't work as well as current loose footed designs as delmarrey subtley hints at. The age of your sails is probably the primary reason you can't point, they should be fairly blown out by now. Dacron can last a very long time, but shape changes for the worse fairly quickly, some racers buy new dacron jibs every 6 months.

The same boat I sailed on also had a drifter/reacher sail. Large nylon multicolored genoa. As these typically were made with a deep draft, they are not a close hauled sail. They do keep filled and don't hang in very light wind. Don't use in higher wind. Is there a problem with the hanks? Do you have a foil preventing use of the sail?

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Old 10-12-2008, 23:44   #4
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The headsail is a reacher drifter. Good for offwind up to about 15knots though that is puchsing it. They are not meant to go to weather escept in light air You need a flatter cut genoa made out of heavier fabric to point high in winds over much over 5 knots. A big problem with reacher/drifters is they often get left up in winds too strong for the fabric so a an already full sail gets blown real baggy. A big way to improve their performance off wind is to sheet them to the boom. It opens up the slot and really improves performance. On our last boat it added a full knot on a reach.

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Old 11-12-2008, 07:17   #5
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My grampian 26 came with a shelf foot main and {I} was wondering if this is ancient technology The boat is a 1975 and i think the sail is of a similar vintage. Easing the out haul has no effect because of the huge bag at the foot of the sail. Should i use the flattening reef to gain better draft control or is this a waste of time?
As a matter of course you should be using the flattening reef whenever you are not sailing well off the wind. The "shelf foot" is designed to allow one to add substantial draft to the sail for sailing off the wind, or closer to the wind in very light air--more so that one can obtain by simply easing the outhaul on a standard main. While one does not see shelf footed mainsails all that often any longer, when used as they were intended, they do work very well. The design used to be very common in areas on the west coast that tend to have a lot of light air-SoCal, Seattle, etc.

We had a shelf footed main on our prior yacht--a 1976 Cal 2-29--and, once I learned its proper application, it proved very useful, often allowing us to outsail larger yachts with longer water-lines in light air. (On one occassion a friend with a Catalina 30, aka "Blew-By-You", challenged us to an informal race from Cabrillo Beach YC to Alamitos Bay YC, all behind the breakwater, in very light conditions. With the shelf fully released we proved so much faster that at one point we turned back and sailed a circle around him--to debunk his claim he could sail circles around us--before continuing and we still arrived at ABYC 20 minutes sooner!)

FWIW...

s/v HyLyte
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