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Old 08-10-2019, 04:47   #1
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Staysail sailin

Hello cruisers.
On the weekend we headed out off the coast of Sydney. NE swell coming through, short and sharp, and a NE wind at 18-20 kts. A few white caps etc.
I put 2 reefs in the main and using the staysail, with Genoa furled. Heading out close hauled but not really making much headway doing about 4knots. Lots of leeway with the waves and swell pushing us.
The tiller had light feel, not too much lee helm.
So I tried to put in a tack, came up into the wind and the swell and waves would stop us, but not allow me to come around. Tried again, but after the third time I unfurled about 1-2m of the genie. Dropped off to gain speed and this time used the small bit of unfurled genoa to backwind and push the nose around.

Is this sought of thing common or is there something I could do better.
I would rather not stretch the genoa by having it slightly unfurled.
Ideas and suggestions please.
Free Spirit
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Old 08-10-2019, 05:15   #2
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Re: Staysail sailin

I only use my self furling Genoa for sailing, Any where from a foot or so to all out,
Depending on the wind strength, I like to stay under 10 Knots,
It hasnt effected my Genoa so far,
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Old 08-10-2019, 05:55   #3
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Re: Staysail sailin

Double reefed in 18-20kts may have been too little mainsail. You said that the helm was light (neutral). If you add more main, you'll get more weather helm. Generally, aim for a few degrees of weather helm. More main will help push the bow up into the wind and help get you through the tack. Also, the extra main will get you more drive, perhaps more speed, more lift out of your keel and less leeway. Remember that the double reefed main is not only smaller (less drive), but also has its CE further forward.

You mention there were a few whitecaps. With any significant fetch, whitecaps will form around 10kts. In 18-20kts there'll be many whitecaps and some spray.

The genoa shape when furled won't be great for beating and the sheeting angles may not support a narrow apparent wind angle.


Other things to consider:
(a) were you pinched -- sailing too close to the wind and thus couldn't get sufficient drive out of your sails?
(b) how was the shape of your mainsail? generally when reefed you will want it as flat as you can get it, especially if close hauled.
(c) were you reefed because of excessive heel angle with more main up? if so, perhaps your mainsail has a deeper draft than it should? consider trim adjustments (e.g. backstay tension) or having the sail recut.
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Old 08-10-2019, 06:03   #4
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Re: Staysail sailin

What Accomplice said.
A double-reefed main in only 20 knots provides too little drive to get through the waves, and can (as you state) give you lee helm. Lee helm can be dangerous, leading to gybes. A sudden gybe may have been the problem here:

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Old 08-10-2019, 17:43   #5
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Re: Staysail sailin

If you couldn’t tack you were under canvassed.....I have a self tending staysail and frequently sail in 20 knots with my yankee fully furled, 1 reef in the main, and a full staysail. A completely self tending rig. Just the thing for a lazy day sail. I never have to touch a sheet when I tack.....
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Old 08-10-2019, 17:51   #6
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Staysail sailin

I don’t believe you mentioned the size of your boat, and more importantly, your displacement. My first boat only displaced around 11,000 pounds and under your described conditions I would need a single reef and a working jib of 100%. My current boat displaces 23,000 pounds and I wouldn’t need to reef but for comfort I would use either the staysail or the Yankee.
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Old 08-10-2019, 20:09   #7
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Re: Staysail sailin

Thanks guys

Yeah your probably right 'accomplice', probably too light in the mainsail department.
In the morning about 10.30am when we first went out the seas weren't as big and lumpy. I had 1 reef in main and the genoa.

When we came back in I changed to the Staysail.

The staysail is a work in progress I inherited from the previous owner. It has a straight track, (not curved) just in front of the mast. The slide doesn't go to the ends when in tension and the sail bellies out of shape. I want to fashion a staysail boom to try and solve lack of the self-tacking ability.

The working genoa comes to about 2 ft past the shrouds and is a heavy duty dacron material. I like it as a working genoa.

The Yankee I have inherited would probably be a 150% overlap. It's of a light weight dacron material [7.9m Luff, 6.6m Foot, 7.9m Leech]. haven't had it on the boat to use it as yet.

I like the idea of sailing with a staysail and high-cut (flying) jib. but haven't acquired one yet.

And 'Cabo_sailor' I purchased 'Free Spirit' last December. She is 34ft OD 10ft Beam, 2.1m draft and has a 1,1/2 ft bow sprit. She was built in 1969 in Lindesfarne TAS. Her frames are of flooded Gum with King Billy Pine plannking and Huon Pine interiour. She has a long keel with 4,1/2 ton of lead and 8,1/2 ton all up. Along similar lines to Channel cutters of that time.

i am still getting used to sailing her in open waters. So it's a work in progress.
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