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Old 29-06-2014, 10:59   #1
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Time to re-sail

It's that time.

Here's what I've got;
140 Genoa on roller furling, luff foam reefing at 120 and 110%.
Fully battened mainsail (cut with excess roach, battens catch on backstay) two reef points, attached foot.
140% nylon drifter/reacher/spinnaker.
Fittings and boom for self tending staysail.

Here's what I [I]think[I] I want;
100% jib or 120% Yankee on furling,
Boomless hank on staysail with removable stay,
Battenless mainsail, two reef points.
Keep the drifter.

Sail area now (not including DRS) 523 sq ft
Sail area after (assuming 10% roach loss) 549 sq ft. with Yankee, 493 sq ft. w/100% jib.

Additional info; Cruising ground right now is So Cal. Planned voyages; SoCal to Baja, Baja to Hawaii, Hawaii to Vancouver Island. Vancouver Island to Baja. Rinse and repeat. Mostly solo with semi experienced help on a few voyages.
Disclosure; partly vanity in sail selection, I've always liked the look of a high clew cutter rig. Also a firm practitioner of the KISS principle.

Any suggestions, recommendations, or criticisms gladly welcomed. If anyone has had a good experience with a sail loft in the LA area that would be most appreciated as well.

Thanks in advance,

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Old 29-06-2014, 16:03   #2
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Re: Time to re-sail

Goat, I don't see how substituting a 120% genoa for a 140% genoa plus cutting down the mainsail area results in your reported slight INCREASE in sail area. Unless, perhaps, you are adding in the area of the staysail in the second combination.

I have my doubts that one can directly compare a double headsail rig's area with a single larger genoa for light air performance, but that is only based on my experience with one vessel, and it was not designed as a cutter (I added an inner forestay to an extant IOR rig). In that case, adding the staysail didn't seem to add much drive to the genoa going to windward, helped a little when reaching, and didn't seem to help much sailing deep angles.

I suspect that the combination of a roachless main and the smaller yankee will give poorer windward performance than if you kept some roach and used a genoa instead of a yankee. Windward performance may not be important to you... it is to us.

The only other comment is what do you intend for heavy weather ? Much of your proposed itinerary should encounter moderate conditions, but the leg down the Washington/Oregon coast is often a harsh sail. Only two reefs in the main and no storm jib might be of concern there.

I agree with ditching the boomed staysail... don't like them at all. Adding a very small storm staysail wouldn't cost too much nor take up so much room in the boat, so give that a thought.

Can't help with sailmakers in the SoCal area, but suggest contacting smaller, independent lofts as well as the big guys. I've found them to be more willing to consider the needs of the short handed cruiser than the Multinational Very Important Raceboat oriented folks, and to usually be a bit less expensive as well (no huge advertising budget to offset).

However you decide to go, enjoy your new sails... I know that your boat will!



Jim and Ann s/v Insatiable II , lying Pittwater, NSW fora while.
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Old 29-06-2014, 19:18   #3
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Re: Time to re-sail

I like full battened mainsails. YMMV.
You can't buy happiness, but you can buy ribeye.
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Old 30-06-2014, 01:13   #4
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Re: Time to re-sail

Hi Goat,

Well, you sort of propose what we have, aside from the yankee. I am not sure whether there would be an advantage in a larger yankee, I find our staysail masks any sail that comes further aft than about 3/4 of the J length. I am not certain of this, but it is how it appears.

Having said that, I totally love the staysail + yankee combination, but in stronger winds, not so good in lighter air. The weight of the sails seems to prevent them from flying in a decent shape in anything under 10 knots.

Oh, we have fully battened main, I like it, seems to make it nicer to handle. Pulled the battens out of the main to see what it was like, not fun at all, and we have pretty good lazy jacks. Just collapsed in a heap on the boom and need a lot of stuffing around to get it to sit well enough for me to zip up the mainsail cover.

One more thought re boomless staysail. I have not yet tried the boom on our staysail, but I am going to at least give it a go, as I find it hard to get a good shape on the staysail without going forward and moving blocks around to get the best angle on the sheet. We have lovely open flat and clear decks, so going forward is hardly a problem, but I still don't like it (particlarly when I get flogged by a loose staysail sheet.) so I will at least TRY the boom on the staysail for comparison. Maybe you should try without the boom on the staysail first, and see how difficualt it is to get a good sheet position?

Very funny Scotty, now beam down my clothes.
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Old 30-06-2014, 06:48   #5
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Re: Time to re-sail

Goat, I did about 9K miles in the Pacific in a slightly smaller boat than yours, and found the conventional main with normal length battens to be no problem. What I really wanted by the end of the trip was a third reef in the main. I had a trisail, but it was a pain to use. If I were to do a new main at this point, I think I would go with 2 reefs that were deeper. Second reef being as deep as a normal third reef. Two reefs being easier to deal with, than 3. Keep your nylon light air sails, You will love them. Since your boat was built with an inner forestay (I believe) you may not be able to make it removable without making the rig weak. As suggested, a storm staysail is almost mandatory, since you have a roller jib, and you dont want to be dropping that in high winds. There must be an owners group that will have people that have modified their rigs, and have some specific experience. Since I am giving opinions, I will give one more. Put a reliable wind vane on your boat. It will be your best crew member. Have a great trip. ______Grant.
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Old 30-06-2014, 08:31   #6
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Re: Time to re-sail

Thanks for the advice guys. I love this site, lot's of experienced sailors here.

Jim you are correct in that I was adding the extra 84 sq ft of the staysail to the overall sail area, I also believe you are correct in the assumption that the extra footage added wouldn't be as effective as just two bigger sails. Also agree on the Washington, Oregon coast needs to be considered separately from the rest of the trip, I've done two return trips from Victoria to Mexico in Winter on destroyer escorts, we were tossed around like sticks. Most of my sailing has been done on the North coast of B.C. down the inside passage and Vancouver island.

Matt thanks for the heads up on your yankee/staysail experience. This is my first cutter rigged boat. The problem I have with trying the staysail boom vs boomless, is the sheets. The present configuration is self tending, so just a track and one control sheet lead back to the cockpit. I'd prefer two sheets led to blocks and back to the cockpit for a little more control (backwinding to heave-to and being able to stop the staysail from gybing until the jib has slipped through the slot).

Grant, great idea; two very deep reef points, I definitely want a storm sail but have heard from too many people a storm tri sail never gets used. I didn't really like the idea of a third reef but was swaying to getting one, two extra deep ones is something I'll have to look at. I've got a Fleming windvane that will cost me $50 a month in extra slip fees if I install it now. Once I cut the lines I'll have to fiddle with it. So far the boat seems to steer itself with just a line lashed to the tiller.

Thanks again guys, my sail plan is evolving. Battens are in.
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Old 30-06-2014, 10:01   #7
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Re: Time to re-sail

I'd keep some roach in the main and go with 3 reef points. Like to be able to reef the main to fit the wind condtions. Two deeper reef points would leave me with either too much or too little main in differing conditions. Of course, have led double line reefing system back to the cockpit. Reef in about a minute in the comfort of the dodger. Don't have to go forward and battle the wind, waves, bucking boom and flogging sail to reef.

The first thing I did after delivering two Westails with boomed staysails is deep six the boom on our W32 that we were building at the time. Sheeted the staysail to blocks on tracks on the cabin top. Once we'd found the sweet spot for the block position, never changed the position as the sail set well on a wide variety of points of sail just as any other headsail. You can also have a larger staysail made that entirely fills the fore triangle and maybe even get some overlap in the sail. Had a genoa staysail made for our boat. Really helped in light air sailing. Unfortunately, it fouled the forward lower shroud as sheet tension was eased. Had to rereave the sheet inboard or outboard of the shroud for different sail trim so sold it before we left. Would have been a great sail if it weren't for the shroud/sheet issue. Thought about adding a baby stay and doing away with the forward lower shrouds so we could use the sail. Time and hassle supporting the stay negated that. Would have the sailmaker add reef points to the staysail so you can handle almost any conditions without having to change a headsail.

What I found with the staysail boom was it worked okay on a beat. As soon as you cracked off the wind and the sheet was eased, the boom would lift putting a huge belly in the staysail decreasing it's driving force and increasing the healing force. The farther off the wind, the worse it got. When on a broad reach, the boom was at head height. Unless the helmsman was extremely careful, the sails could flog and the boom turned into a huge club flailing about the foredeck. It was a killer and have the scar to prove it. If you vanged down the boom, you could get a decent setting sail but then you lost any semblance of self tending. A Hoyt staysail boom pretty much handles the kiting issue but is god awful ugly thing on the foredeck. The boom also seemed to be always in the way whether sailing or at anchor. Practically had to remove the boom to work the manual windlass.

We had a lightweight reacher drifter, Yankee, staysail, and 3 reef main on our boat. This was pre roller furling so couldn't dial in the jib size by pulling on a line. When conditions forced us to drop the yankee and run just with the staysail and reefed main, boat speed dropped significantly. Really needed the slot between the jib and the staysail for optimum performance. The high cut reacher didn't point for beans but was wonderful sail once the sheets were eased in lighter conditions. Sheeted it to the boom, opening up the main/jib slot on a broad reach which really added speed. If I was sailing with true cutter rig, would think about trying to find some way to add a code zero. That sail's better windward performance than an asym. would be a perfect complement to the working sails for light air sailing. FWIW, think nothing but a largish overlap genoa will work for true windward performance in light air. Of course, you are cruising and true cruisers find ways not to go to weather.

Peter O.
'Ae'a Pearson 35
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