Update: I have all the sails
now, but we have yet to put up anything but the blade. I didn't want to subject the new sails
to the wear and tear of a 1000 miles in strong conditions on my way to Finland
The blade is absolutely brilliant -- better than I ever imagined. I had thought that it would be a bit of a one-trick pony especially for going upwind in stronger weather
, but in fact it works brilliantly off the wind as well, easier to trim than the yankee. We had a scorching reach across the Channel on a pace for a 220 mile day, without even really trying hard. That's because the sail seems to pull like a freight train but without generating much in the way of drag or heel, and meanwhile activating the main sail, too, by directing the air over the mainsail
smoothly. So we just flew across hardly heeling more than 15 or 20 degrees. The reduced sail area compared to the yankee is also just the ticket for our typical 20 to 30 knots conditions. I have hardly had to reef it. Below 20 knots of wind, of course the reduced area makes itself felt.
The sheet leads work really well, allowing a really good shape off the wind, with lead pulled out to the rail. I think this athwartships adjustment is especially important for this high aspect sail. The only problem I have is that the outboard anchor
points are too far aft, so I will have to add some more padeyes. After all the agonizing about how to install them, I ended up just screwing padeyes into the teak
rail, and they have proven to be plenty strong, having held well in 24 hours of a F9. Bent one padeye slightly when a knot
came loose, turning the triple purchase
into no purchase
and putting all the load onto one of them, but the attachment to the rail was fine.
I unreeve the sheets
and re-reeve them inside the shrouds going upwind, but I have not yet been able to achieve any better performance upwind than what I was getting with the sheets
outside. I haven't studied it systematically, but max VMG to windwward seems to be at about 32 degrees (compared to 37 before), which is brilliant -- I will be tacking through 90 degrees or less, which was my dream goal for this sail and this rig. Maybe even better after I figure it out a little more. Part of the dramatic improvement in pointing is the behavior of the mainsail
with the blade. There is no longer any "speed bubble", and I can put the traveller up above the centerline, and so get a lot of drive even at 30 to 32 degrees AWA. And this is my old baggy mainsail, too, which is just transformed in the air flow created by the blade. Can't wait to try the new carbon main. Maybe we'll put it up in Bornholm.
I am sailing with an excellent Danish crew, three Yachtmaster Oceans, great sailors and great guys all of them. One of them doesn't like my sheet leads because of their complexity -- he thinks having anything complex on deck
is always bad. He has a point, of course, but I actually only ended up adding one line coming back from the foredeck on either side, which is no more than would have resulted from new tracks with towable cars. I have led this line back through stanchion blocks, a clutch
on the rail, and a turning block at the quarter back to the winches. With triple purchase, the action is wonderfully light and precise, and you don't need to take up a winch
when you're done since there's a clutch
. It is true that the rigging
clutters the side decks next to the padeyes, but I don't see how tracks would have meant any less clutter. I will post photos when I have a new computer (old one destroyed in the knock-down).
Thanks to everyone for the excellent help in thinking through the sheet lead issue, which I struggled with so much.
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