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Old 25-08-2013, 13:58   #1
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Storm sails

I am planning on crossing the Atlantic, East to West in June 2014. My question is about storm sails. I have three reefs in a new main and a roller reeding jib. How important is it that I have storm sails?
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Old 25-08-2013, 14:15   #2
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Re: Storm sails

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Originally Posted by ralphmacey View Post
I am planning on crossing the Atlantic, East to West in June 2014. My question is about storm sails. I have three reefs in a new main and a roller reeding jib. How important is it that I have storm sails?
I'd judge it is important. What if you have problems with your roller furling, or the sail you are using is damaged? I assume you have an extra forestay you can hank on a storm sail or are sailing a cutter rig where you can deploy a storm sail on your baby stay provided you don't also have a roller furling system there?
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Old 25-08-2013, 14:27   #3
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Re: Storm sails

I sugest a storm jib, if the main is is good condition a triple reef can be enough in a serious blow , trysail is for extreme conditions , but is up to you, in any case if your mast is not set with a extra track for the trysail you need to fit one, storm sails are good investment if you sail often offshore.. good luck..
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Old 25-08-2013, 15:46   #4
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Re: Storm sails

How important? Well, how strong are your sails? Old, new? Can you see daylight through any stitching?

And can you rely on timing your passage, to make it during a good wx forecast without any chance of hitting high winds and a storm?

You'd have to weigh all that versus your budget and the safety margin you want. Bear in mind, storm sails also mean you won't be blowing your good set (assuming they are) out of shape in high winds, too.
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Old 25-08-2013, 16:24   #5
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Re: Storm sails

We have two friends, Webb Chiles and John Neil, who have each done (the equivalent of) multiple RTW trips essentially not using storm sails at all (webb does not carry any and John does and 'practices; with them but has only used them once 'in anger'). So, one would have to argue they are not 'absolutely necessary'.

However, we carry and use both trysail and two sizes of storm jib. It gives you a good sense of comfort in bad conditions to have the right sails up, and to know that you are not damaging your primary sails with flutter or flogging or loading.
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Old 25-08-2013, 21:43   #6
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Re: Storm sails

You have a new main with 3 reef points. Dont waste your money on a trysail. They dont set well, dont point well and probably wont bring you thru the wind for a tack. They make a wonderful roll stopper in a rolly anchorage, but that is about all. (here come the arguments). Having a good storm jib or 2 is valuable. Dont think you can depend on a roller furler for storm conditions. You didnt say how large(or small) your boat is, but an inner forestay with a hanked on staysail(maybe with a reef point) is a good way. I once spent 6 days under double reefed main and storm jib, wishing I had a third reef. I had a trysail, but knew if I set it , I would miss the island I was going for. A third reef would have pointed as well, sailed more upright, and had about a million less gallons of water over the decks. ___Just another opinion. ____Grant.
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Old 25-08-2013, 21:48   #7
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Re: Storm sails

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You have a new main with 3 reef points. Dont waste your money on a trysail. They dont set well, dont point well and probably wont bring you thru the wind for a tack. They make a wonderful roll stopper in a rolly anchorage, but that is about all. (here come the arguments). Having a good storm jib or 2 is valuable. Dont think you can depend on a roller furler for storm conditions. You didnt say how large(or small) your boat is, but an inner forestay with a hanked on staysail(maybe with a reef point) is a good way. I once spent 6 days under double reefed main and storm jib, wishing I had a third reef. I had a trysail, but knew if I set it , I would miss the island I was going for. A third reef would have pointed as well, sailed more upright, and had about a million less gallons of water over the decks. ___Just another opinion. ____Grant.

I'm thinking about that, too. I don't think it would be terribly expensive to put a third reef in my sail, and since she's a tall rig, it might make a lot of sense. I am thinking about making my own storm sail from another sail, cutting it down and just doubling the fabric. I would probably only use either the third reef or the storm sail rarely. We do get unexpected, and fierce, storms here, but I could easily go several years without needing these modifications.
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Old 25-08-2013, 22:02   #8
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Re: Storm sails

Before any realistic answer can be given need to know two things: what kind of boat and what route are you considering?
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Old 25-08-2013, 22:59   #9
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Re: Storm sails

Somewhere after leaving the Marquesas our main ripped out. By the time we'd finished repairs underway we were ready to enter the lagoon at Bora Bora - simply because we had a Try Sail and could keep on keepin' on.

And having a storm stay'sl was worth its weight in gold coming out of NZ.

WXR happens. Just something to consider... especially since you plan to leave the docks and marinas far behind.

James
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Old 25-08-2013, 23:21   #10
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Given the time you plan on crossing (June) and the direction east to west you do NOT need a storm sail. When I did this crossing we made very little us of the main sail. Most of the trip we made with the jib on one side and the jeniker on the other side. Be careful of the squalls which can wreak havoc when they go through.
Yes it is nice to have a storm sail but based on my experience working six years in the Caribbean it's not a must.
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Old 31-08-2013, 11:58   #11
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Re: Storm sails

You probably do not need storm sails in June , but , I would not cross with only a roller head sail , some thing to hank on would be a necessity for me . Leaving far enuff south in June all you should need is a big headsail , but what if your roller says " tilt ". .
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Old 05-09-2013, 22:18   #12
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Re: Storm sails

9 times out of 10 you won't need 'em. But that 1 time out of 10 when you do need them, you'll really wish you had them. Given that they are relatively cheap and relatively small, why wouldn't you take them? We carry a triple reef main and a heavy weather jib, but still carry storm jib and trisail.
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Old 06-09-2013, 08:32   #13
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Re: Storm sails

If you have a fairly new main properly stitched with 3 reefs forget the trisail. Good quality mains today are plenty strong. Always nice to have a stay to put a smaller headsail up if needed but its rare. Keep your headsail to a 130% or less and make sure its in real good shape.
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Old 06-09-2013, 09:25   #14
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Re: Storm sails

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Originally Posted by robert sailor View Post
If you have a fairly new main properly stitched with 3 reefs forget the trisail. Good quality mains today are plenty strong. Always nice to have a stay to put a smaller headsail up if needed but its rare. Keep your headsail to a 130% or less and make sure its in real good shape.
In our experience a 130% Genoa that is heavy enough to survive when deeply reefed in storm conditions is a LOUSY light air sail. One size may sorta fit all, but there is a price to pay!

Cheers,

Jim
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Old 07-09-2013, 05:24   #15
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Re: Storm sails

Completely agree a 130 normal furling genoa is lousy in light air although it depends on the point of sail..down wind poled out flat it is fine, upwind in 5 knots or more of true wind it is fine. If your reaching in real light air its best to have a spinnaker or some other light air sail. You'll use your light air sails all the time and you will seldom if ever use your real heavy air storm sails.
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