We have a pretty elaborate suite of sails from a heavy number 4 (90%) up to a medium 155% with a foam luff together with a couple of spinnakers including a asym and symmetric (both in ATN snuffers).
The sail I like the best, and use the most, is a medium 135 we had made by Doug Fisher
at Ullman Sails in Sarasota
a few years ago. This does not have a foam luff but still sets pretty well with a couple of rolls in it because of the way the Harken
furler works (and so long as one remembers to move the sheet leads forward). A close friend of ours with a sister-ship to HyLyte (see Ocean Angel
) has cruised his boat between Tampa and Guatemala
(he's on the Rio now) and has relied on a 125, only a tad smaller than our 135, almost exclusively.
We also have a beautiful asym that Doug Fisher
built as well (with a stars'n stripes color scheme designed by my daughter) but it's too troublesome to use within the confines of the Bay unless one is making a long reach (up to, say, Davis Island YC from the Skyway Bridge). It is very good in the Gulf, however, once you get a few miles off-shore, and have the wind from about 70* to 160*, say for example between the southwest channel and the Keys. We have also used the symmetric to fairly good advantage in light air (<10 knts) although our pole is 17' long (and heavy) so if we set that, I usually use an ATN Tacker connected to the headstay and gybe between 150+/-. (Gybing down-wind is faster than running anyway.)
The 155 has it's merits but it is fairly heavy (simply because of size) and it's low cut, which causes it to foul on the life-lines off the wind, which screws up the set. Hard on the wind, a 155 also adds a lot of heeling force that's disproportionate to its drive (and my wife hates heeling beyond about 15*). OTOH, it's a killer sheeted to the spreaders up-wind when we're racing.
Regarding tacking a large overlapping head
sail with your inner stay, just add a light tack line (I use the same line we use for controlling the height of the tack on the asym.). In our case, this is a 3/8" line that runs from a stopper on the coach-roof up to a medium snatch-block at the base of the head
stay and then back to the clew of the head sail. When you're ready to tack, cast off your working sheet, haul in on the tack line until the clew is forward of the inner stay, where the wind will blow the sail through the slot between the stays as you turn, then release the tack line and haul in on the new working sheet. You're not racing so you can take your time, the lazy tack line has no effect on the trim of your sail and it's a lot less costly than a Hyfield Lever or other device to release the inner stay (although there is merit to that solution as well).
As far as storm sails, we have a third reef in our Main (tho I only rig it when we're going off-shore) and a storm jib
with an ATN sleeve--vis'a'vis a Gale Sail. It works well but its somewhat of a pain in the rump to set up and this year we'll likely replace the sleeve with a 3/8" spectra luff rope
so we can set the sail free-flying with a spare jib halyard
. (All of our halyards are T-900 so we can load them up pretty well without worry and that way I'm not concerned about the head stay.) For the most part, however, on the west coast
one is generally more concerned about too little wind rather than too much.