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Old 09-01-2014, 10:27   #46
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Originally Posted by MarkJ View Post
So in a blow they are sticking up a sail, maybe at night, they havent used much, if at all, before.
Instead of a sail they use every time they are out.


Safety is important, but is it the be all and end all when the alternative is never going cruising at all? Each to their own and I dont criticise anyones decision of how to go. But I do criticise those who never go Mark
I agree on both counts.

Throw on the storm jib and a reef in the main before it gets dark or the wind is piping up. What you lose in speed you likely gain in comfort, confidence and experience. It's a snailboat anyway. Even a fast one creeps.

The "be all, end all" should be to go sailing when you can and make improvements as you go.
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Old 09-01-2014, 11:20   #47
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Re: Are Storm sails needed?

On preparing for our North Atlantic crossing we had a third reef put in the main of our cutter rigged Mason 44. We also purchased a storm trysail to fit the already installed dedicated track.

Before leaving on the journey we trial rigged and hoisted the trysail to be ready for battle.

On route from Halifax to Ireland we used the third reef and cutter on a number of occasions when the winds got up, gusts to nearly 40 knots max. No big deal so we never got to the point of digging out the trysail.

I will reiterate the points made in a couple posts on this thread however. It was worth having the trysail for the redundancy and for the peace of mind as we narrowly side-stepped two storm force lows on the crossing. Minus a day or two on route and we would probably would have got serious about using it.

One can think of having storm sails as just another arrow in the quiver or just another insurance policy. There will be times sooner or later when you will want options.
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Old 09-01-2014, 13:42   #48
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Re: Are Storm sails needed?

From a newbie wanting to learn:

I have just re-read Pardey's book on storm tactics. Heaving-to sounds good idea and I will persevere on how to do it on a Lagoon 400.

The Lagoon 400 comes standard with 3 reefs on the mainsail. I might add a fourth reef at some time following comments by Skip Novak.

A storm jib sounds good too. Intuitively I don't like relying on jib furling past, say, 35 knots. I would love to have a storm jib instead and leave the genoa furled and tied up. However I don't know how you would set up an inner forestay on a Lagoon 400. Where do you attach the 2 ends of the stay? Looks like a big hastle.

I have seen the storm jobs you hoist around the furled genoa and they look fairly cumbersome too. They also do nothing to move the centre of effort of the jib further aft.

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Old 09-01-2014, 14:24   #49
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Re: Are Storm sails needed?

Quote:
Originally Posted by b_rodwell View Post
From a newbie wanting to learn:

I have just re-read Pardey's book on storm tactics. Heaving-to sounds good idea and I will persevere on how to do it on a Lagoon 400.

The Lagoon 400 comes standard with 3 reefs on the mainsail. I might add a fourth reef at some time following comments by Skip Novak.

A storm jib sounds good too. Intuitively I don't like relying on jib furling past, say, 35 knots. I would love to have a storm jib instead and leave the genoa furled and tied up. However I don't know how you would set up an inner forestay on a Lagoon 400. Where do you attach the 2 ends of the stay? Looks like a big hastle.

I have seen the storm jobs you hoist around the furled genoa and they look fairly cumbersome too. They also do nothing to move the centre of effort of the jib further aft.

Brian
The Pardeys have a heavy displacement monohull. Storm tactics in a cat will be pretty different. You should experiment a bit, but I think that the standard tactics you should get to know are fore-reaching, running off with a drogue and bare poles, and laying to a series drogue.

Most modern boats have no convenient place to put a hank-on storm jib and I agree that the gale sail looks tough to set up in a blow. The deluxe solution would probably be a solent stay running from just below your forestay to somewhere strong on your foredeck. That way you don't need runners to support your mast.
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Old 09-01-2014, 14:31   #50
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Re: Are Storm sails needed?

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Originally Posted by cwyckham View Post
The Pardeys have a heavy displacement monohull. Storm tactics in a cat will be pretty different. You should experiment a bit, but I think that the standard tactics you should get to know are fore-reaching, running off with a drogue and bare poles, and laying to a series drogue.

I would definitely not want to get a catamaran beam on to large seas. A monohull is bad enough.

I would add an sea anchor to the tactics.

With all that cockpit and saloon area, exposing the stern of a cat to waves seems to be an invitation to a poop.

But - I would like hear from those with experience.
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Old 09-01-2014, 17:23   #51
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Re: Are Storm sails needed?

It doesn't matter how many reefing points you have, each one is still a stress point in the sail. A weakness in the sail. And when that reefed sail is heaving in the wind, those reef points will be trying to tear themselves out, and distorting the sail in the process. Of course if the reef blows out that problem will be even worse.

So part of the purpose of storm sails, if to ensure that your cruising sails can be safely stowed away, and certain not to be blown out of shape or damaged during the storm.

There are also more noises being made internationally, to have storm sails made up in high visibility colors. This because boats caught out in a storm are more likely to need attention, either to avoid being hit as they drag by, or to aid them. Apparently this logic (which is decades and decades old and just now growing) has started to take hold, enough so there's a shortage of hi-vis sailcloth now.
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Old 09-01-2014, 17:50   #52
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Are Storm sails needed?

If you're circumnavigating along the tradewinds route you can circle the globe pretty much endlessly without storm sails. It blows 50+ you just go bare poles and you're still making 7+ knots on you're intended course. It's very gratifying in fact.

But if you're doing otherwise, and potentially encountering other weather patterns where lumbering downwind is just going to carry you into deeper sh!t then having canvas that enables you to make progress out of the system is extremely prudent.

If you are arguing against storm sails on the reasoning that by the time you need them they are too dangerous to deploy then you're marking yourself as a captain who has probably never been in circumstances that require them or has gone into those circumstances ill prepared or I'll informed. That or you pilot a freighter.

Four reefs in my main and a storm jib on the inner forestay with running back stays are my preference.
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Old 11-01-2014, 01:57   #53
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Re: Are Storm sails needed?

One thing to bear in mind is that occasionally a sail has to cope with a challenge more serious than mere wind.

Water can occasionally come up to meet the sail, or (also occasionally) the reverse.

The only time I ever had a wave break into a mainsail in any serious way, I was lucky enough to be on a tender (narrow beam waterline) but strong, small boat. It rolled effortlessly with the punch (mast below horizontal) and surfed on its topside down what was left of the wave (which was plenty), following the direction the mast was pointing.

On a stiffer boat, like most cruising vessels, the (reefed) mainsail would have been toast, and in that situation, so would we (rocky lee shore).


A trysail is for storms, as others have noted. I've never been in what I would call a storm, but I'm not confident of keeping my nose clean in that respect for the rest of my days, and certainly don't plan to gamble on doing so.

I do however recognise it can be a struggle dealing with the conventional mainsail in the sort of conditions where a trisail is needed.

The only times I've been in such a situation (both in the Southern ocean) we had plenty of crew, like about a dozen, and we needed them all. Admittedly the main we were dropping, and the boom, each weighed quarter of a tonne, but the difficulties would still be significant on smaller boats, particularly when shorthanded.

(The trisail in that case was "needed" even though we were not at the time in a storm, because we could not be confident that the wind would not continue to build, and if it had done so, even a dozen crew would not have managed that mainsail safely.
The main problem was that it was such a heavily built --and relatively new-- sail, that, in the region of each reefing patch*, there were so many layers of exceptionally heavy sailcloth that several people had to climb onto the boom on each side and punch the sail with all their might, in order to get creases into it so it would flake.)

* and it had patches all the way up, not just for the four slab reefs, so that if it had to be taken down while running off in a really strong breeze, someone could be sent up the backstay to rig extra lines to the extra cringles to winch the sail aft, thereby stopping it being plastered against the rigging so hard it would not come down. They had to resort to this on the maiden voyage, in a sudden-onset 80 knot blow off Fiordland in NZ.

My chosen compromise is that my next boat is intended to have a heavy weather main (in-mast) which will have hollow-cut leech and foot and no battens, so when reefed it will effectively serve as a modern (high aspect ratio) trisail. Effectively it's more akin to what used to be called a "Swedish mainsail".

The light weather main will be hoisted up a track, but it will be put away above 20 knots, so the difficulties getting rid of it should not be severe. It will be engineered in identical rectangular separate panels in such a way that each panel is attached to the full length batten above and below only by velcro tags. (Plus a few stitches, no doubt, when the velcro ages)

The idea is that if the wind comes up so suddenly that the light main is overloaded before it can be further reefed, the tags holding one or more panels will blow out, relieving the load. There will be strong leech and luff tapes separately attached to the batten ends, so the "skeleton" can be retrieved.

I realise this idea will not have mass appeal, possibly no appeal to others on a forum like this, but I mention it to illustrate that seamanlike solutions can be found which do not involve a conventional trisail.
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Old 11-01-2014, 09:25   #54
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Re: Are Storm sails needed?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Troup View Post
One thing to bear in mind is that occasionally a sail has to cope with a challenge more serious than mere wind.

Water can occasionally come up to meet the sail, or (also occasionally) the reverse.

The only time I ever had a wave break into a mainsail in any serious way, I was lucky enough to be on a tender (narrow beam waterline) but strong, small boat. It rolled effortlessly with the punch (mast below horizontal) and surfed on its topside down what was left of the wave (which was plenty), following the direction the mast was pointing.

My chosen compromise is that my next boat is intended to have a heavy weather main (in-mast) which will have hollow-cut leech and foot and no battens, so when reefed it will effectively serve as a modern (high aspect ratio) trisail. Effectively it's more akin to what used to be called a "Swedish mainsail".

The light weather main will be hoisted up a track, but it will be put away above 20 knots, so the difficulties getting rid of it should not be severe. It will be engineered in identical rectangular separate panels in such a way that each panel is attached to the full length batten above and below only by velcro tags. (Plus a few stitches, no doubt, when the velcro ages)
il.
This is all fine but remember that one of the reasons for a trisail is that it is not attached to the boom. The clew has port & stbd sheets and is flown as a jib. This eliminates the hazard of a loose boom flapping around and guarantees that the boom survives the storm. The clew and luff are very high so water is not likely to ever reach it.

The solution is highly dependent on the boat plan & size as well as crew size & capability. The attached images show our rig. In mast furling main & mizzen, cutter staysail. The trisail on its own track is shown at the top of the track. It can be positioned lower
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Old 11-01-2014, 10:35   #55
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Re: Are Storm sails needed?

A trysail is necessary on a gaff-rigged boat because it isn't possible to reduce sufficiently the surface of the main by reefing it: when the gaff throat is down to the gooseneck, a big sail area is still up.

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Old 11-01-2014, 11:02   #56
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Re: Are Storm sails needed?

well, I'm going to die
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Old 11-01-2014, 11:28   #57
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Re: Are Storm sails needed?

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...remember that one of the reasons for a trisail is that it is not attached to the boom. The clew has port & stbd sheets and is flown as a jib.

This eliminates the hazard of a loose boom flapping around and guarantees that the boom survives the storm.

The clew and luff are very high so water is not likely to ever reach it.

...
Thanks for that, I reckon those are great points.

The choice of twin sheets direct to the deck is available, and would be a valuable option, for the solution I propose.

However the high foot is not. It's a question I had not considered in any detail, and I'm indebted to you for pointing that out.

I'm inclined to think that's offset by the high aspect ratio of my proposal, meaning that in storm conditions the foot (for a given area of sail) would be so short, and the sail so heavy (because when mostly rolled into the mast, the majority of the exposed sail would be the corner patch) that the sail would probably hold up.

This I think is rather specific to the context of a lift-keel boat which is, by design, going to be relatively tender, and a hull form well able to surf sideways when circumstances call for it. A tender boat is not a good fit for a traditional trisail of low aspect ratio, worn higher up the rig.

As always, circumstances alter cases (as N58 and others have pointed out), and my solution is not something I am trying to suggest would work for others.

My point is this: I think this is an example of how futile it can be to try to devise or discover universal rules for what every boat should carry as essential equipment.

It bothers me that sailing is becoming another regulated activity in that respect.

To me it is clear that (unlike, say, road transport) sailing does not suit that model.
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Old 11-01-2014, 11:41   #58
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Re: Are Storm sails needed?

Another point occurs to me regarding situations where a trisail encounters solid water.

The point raised by N58 nicely addresses the situation where the water rises to meet the sail, but the other case I elliptically referred to in post #53 is when the reverse happens.

Consider the situation where a boat is knocked down (in a 'snap roll') by tripping over its keel when caught beam on by the crest of a breaking wave, or is thrown sideways by such a crest and rotates about the roll axis sufficiently while falling back towards the water that the sail is one of the first things to break the fall.

In situations like this, the traditional position of the trisail, high up the rig, switches from an asset to a liability. Not only does it have more leverage to imperil the rig, but being further from the hull makes it more likely to contact the water in the first place, any time the mast is below the horizontal.

Anyone disposed to protest that a boat should never be placed beam on to such waves is, I think, giving advice which in a variety of situations they would find themselves unable to follow.
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Old 11-01-2014, 13:08   #59
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Re: Are Storm sails needed?

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well, I'm going to die

No you are not.

Take a look at the posts and count the number where people have usead storm sails at all where this is a real storm.

Then deduct those who were sailing in the wrong season, like the poster who weathered a hurricane, he was obviously sailing in the hurricane season.

Then deduct the people who used them in storms in the high latitudes, say abouve and below 35 degrees.

Then deduct those who were in the high latitudes but coast hopping so could have picked a better weather window.

Then you will note that no one has used storm sails in a real storm, in the 'normal' cruiser passages or cruising areas whilst sailing in the correct season, where any other alternative sail plan or use of motor, drogue etc could be used.

Thus mathamatically from the evidence in this thread you will not die from not having storm sails, unless you jump overboard.

My best advice is, then, to clip on.



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Old 11-01-2014, 13:28   #60
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Are Storm sails needed?

For me , storm jib , hanked on to an inner forestay is great. Not having that and a roller furling headsail , I wouldn't bother. Getting down and manhandling a roller furling headsail is a bit much in a blow.

Triple reefed main , again unless I has a dedicated track , won't bother with a try sail

Anyway 50 over the deck isn't a problem and can quite comfortably be handled by modern furling sails. It's the dammed water that's the problem.

Dave
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