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Old 07-01-2014, 16:19   #1
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Are Storm sails needed?

Hello all,

Been reading up a bit regarding Tri / Storm Jibs, doesn't seem to be that many threads regarding this and I have a few questions.

If you have a main with 3 reefs, and a furling Jib, so you can control the area of sail, do you need Storm sails?

I read in one thead that some people concider Tri sails a waste?

Anyhow I was just wondering what people crusing long distances carry, and if they've ever need used.


Regards,
Simon
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Old 07-01-2014, 16:26   #2
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Re: Are Storm sails needed?

I am going to be following the thread, I have wondered the same thing. I was thinking of adding a storm Tri-sail track on my mast and purchasing a dedicated tri-sail. I too wondered about 3rd reef point instead. all in an effort to heave too.
I have also read of others running under bare poles with a series drogue....as another option to storms.....

Thanks for posting
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Old 07-01-2014, 16:29   #3
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Re: Are Storm sails needed?

4th reef is handy. Even used it once. No trysail.
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Old 07-01-2014, 16:34   #4
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Re: Are Storm sails needed?

I suppose that like all things, th answer is "depends".

Day sailing on inland waters? Naw...

Planning to go around via the capes? What are your plans?
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Old 07-01-2014, 16:34   #5
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Re: Are Storm sails needed?

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Originally Posted by simonpickard View Post
do you need Storm sails?
This has been discussed.

I think we all agree that, No, you don't need storm sails. You can get across oceans without them.

But a different question: is it better or more prudent to carry storm sails?

Many (but not all) here would say yes for at least a storm jib. Some (but fewer) would say yes for a trisail.

It basically comes down to whether you want/prefer to have options or not. Personally I like having options, and I do carry and have used both storm jib and trisail.
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Old 07-01-2014, 16:57   #6
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Re: Are Storm sails needed?

It comes down to having options as conditions and circumstances are variable and changeable. It is also going to depend upon where you sail and how long you are committed to being out there beyond your initial weather forecast.

Consider that what might be appropriate and safest will differ depending on factors outside of the boat such as:
1. Leeway - no much point trying to run with the storm if land lies down wind....
2. Sea state - wave height, wave period, wave length, steepness, trough to wave angle, breaking Vs non breaking are factors that will impact significantly on the right tactic.
3. Wind speed - even with three reefs there is a limit for the sail and rig - lets say 45--50kts for most ocean capable vessels. Even with 3 reefs at 40+kts, if making to windward (due to inadequate seaway) is you goal, you might not have success without some form of headsail for sail balance to prevent rounding up. In these conditions a small trisail and a small storm jib set close to the deck are more likely to give you lift with less heal than using a high set slither of unfurled Genoa whose shape/efficiency is severely compromised.

For most coastal cruisers it would be rare to find yourself in un-forecast 45+kts winds of sustainded duration. Not so for those on an ocean passage where having options might just make the difference.
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Old 07-01-2014, 17:01   #7
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Re: Are Storm sails needed?

Check out a sailing video by Skip Novak: https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=...58187178,d.cWc

Skip recommends that you have a 4th reef put in your main that is the same area as a Tri-sail. He argues that putting that 4th reef in is for more manageable than trying to put up a tri-sail in 50 kt. winds.
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Old 07-01-2014, 17:07   #8
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Re: Are Storm sails needed?

I have a staysail with two reef points, the second of which really drops the sucker down quite a bit and it has nice shape on its own boom. So for me a storm jib is kind of silly. Anything on the outer forestay would be long since downhauled by then.

I have three reef points in my main, and I feel pretty comfortable with that. If I put up a new track one day I might get a trysail. They're small enough.
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Old 07-01-2014, 17:34   #9
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Re: Are Storm sails needed?

For a tropical circumnavigation sailing in the correct season By a normal cruisng couple or solo sailor I dont belive storm sails are needed nor should they be aboard. I.e. I dont think its prudent to carry them.

For high latitude sailing, cape Horn, Far northern Atlantic, Greenland, Antarctic, etc it may be different.

I only have two reefs in my main sail and a furling genoa.
The second reef in the main is very deep. I only have reefing geer for two reefs anyway.

Once in a storm there is nothing one can do with a furled up genoa anyway. Its stupid for a normal cruiser to go onto the foredeck in 40 plus knots and unfurl and take down the genoa to put up a strom sail. Same with the main, doing more than the already configured reefs is dangerous.

Genoa gale sails etc are the same. Not prudent imho, to go on deck to play with them.

I feel a long range cruiser should be adept at sailing with the sails he has and learn to drive the boat with the genoa mostly furled in stronger winds. Remember, most boats doing a tropical circumnavigation have good engines too, they are not 'auxiliary' engines as in days past.

Learn to reef, hove too, motor sail, run under barepoles, 'jog' with the engin, parachute sea anchors and drogues. They are the techniques for the modern cruiser.

If you are not sailing where Skip novak sails then why emulate him?


Mark
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Old 07-01-2014, 17:35   #10
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Re: Are Storm sails needed?

A recent World Cruising Club survey (from Sail Mag) of it's Rally veterans with boats mostly in the 42-57 ft range (a few 38 footers) came out :
19 of 25 used a triple reefed or in mast reefed (4) mainsail in lieu of a trysail.
12 of 25 used a storm jib.
8 of 8 cutters used a staysail in lieu of storm jib.
Ketches used a mizzen and reefed headsail or staysail, no main.
5 of 25 used a reefed/furled jib in lieu of storm jib.
Of 6 trysails on board, one was used once, but not again.
take it with a grain of salt, as it's somewhat vague who had what on board vs what they used etc.
But there's the input of 25 offshore sailors.
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Old 07-01-2014, 17:43   #11
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Re: Are Storm sails needed?

Quote:
Originally Posted by estarzinger View Post
Personally I like having options, and I do carry and have used both storm jib and trisail.
Evans sails in quite different waters than me, much higher latitudes.


He's either more adventurous than me .... or nuts
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Old 07-01-2014, 17:46   #12
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Re: Are Storm sails needed?

For sure, yes. At least a storm jib, 100%. Here's a typical experience of mine with storm sails, tri and staysail. Panama, Colon side, getting ready to blast north for the Yucatan Passage in December. Blowing like stink at our final anchorage getting ready for sea. Outside the massive breakwaters are ships galore, and it's blowing 25 and gusting higher. Since it's easier to leave with the storm sails set than to reef down in big waves with ships all over, let's just be conservative and leave with the storm tri and storm staysail up.

Long story short, we never put a stitch more sail up for the next ten days, it just blows and blows, and by the time we're around Cuba our storm tri and jib are beat/flogged/rubbed/worn to hell. Our regular staysail has a row of reef points, and I use them, as did the old main, naturally. But if I had left Panama just using reefed main and staysail (and a rolled up Yankee that was never unrolled a minute) both of these primary sails probably would have been ruined. Instead, some heavy duty sails just got taken to a sail maker for reinforcing where they were worn, lost hanks etc. My old main and current staysail rested down below during that high-wind Caribbean crossing, and were in good shape when we saw less than 20 knots wind after about two weeks.

If nothing else, dedicated storm sails can save a lot of life on your primaries.
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Old 07-01-2014, 18:02   #13
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Re: Are Storm sails needed?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkJ View Post
Evans sails in quite different waters than me, much higher latitudes.


He's either more adventurous than me .... or nuts
Probably both . . . .

MarkJ , for your definition of "For a tropical circumnavigation sailing in the correct season" do you include the cyclone season run down to NZ (Bay of islands is only 35S), or a north Atlantic crossing (USA to med), or rounding Cape Hope (only 34S)?
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Old 07-01-2014, 18:42   #14
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Re: Are Storm sails needed?

Quote:
Originally Posted by simonpickard View Post
Hello all,

Been reading up a bit regarding Tri / Storm Jibs, doesn't seem to be that many threads regarding this and I have a few questions.

If you have a main with 3 reefs, and a furling Jib, so you can control the area of sail, do you need Storm sails?

I read in one thead that some people concider Tri sails a waste?

Anyhow I was just wondering what people crusing long distances carry, and if they've ever need used.


Regards,
Simon
I imagine the smart ass answer is "yes, in a storm". I bought them with my boat, so fine. Mine have never been used and when I pulled them out there were 2 small tears from being so thick and folded so tight. May they never be used.
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Old 07-01-2014, 19:06   #15
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Re: Are Storm sails needed?

Another smartar*e answer maybe "You don't need them until you need them".

However if you do sail somewhere where you might expect un-forecast winds in excess of sustained 40 (or 45) kts, then in my book, it is wise to have some redundancy aboard.
So yes, I would suggest a trisail for the occasional when your deeply reefed main blows out.

That said, you will probably never ever use it.

Really depends your own risk analysis and what you are prepared to accept in that regard.
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