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Old 07-10-2010, 22:48   #1
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The Sails - Before and After 23,000 nm Circumnavigation

Dear cruising colleagues,

There are a lot of unpredictable matters when heading for circumnavigation. Almost everything is open issues ... However, most of the challenges are to be solved and very few things cannot be changed along the journey. The sails are in another league. I have heard sailors telling "should have", "did not have", "the best should have been" and so forth. I have experienced some ocean crossings, but 23000 nautical miles in 80% downwind is kind of extreme.
I am leaving Gibraltar in September next year. At the moment I have:

- a furling genoa I and a furling main. Both the sails are 5 years old and I good condition. The genoa is quite heavy - perfect for winds from force 4-8.
- a furling genoa II to be used on the forestay (Camelot have cutterstay)
- a brand new genacker for light wind
- one genoa II to be used on the cutterstay
- one storm jib.

The question is if this is a good combination and what sails should be redundant. I have also two spinnaker poles.

Fair winds,

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Old 07-10-2010, 23:21   #2
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I think someone heading out there would carry a spare main. Any main that fits would be good a too-small used one...try it out first though.

Otherwise your quiver should be just fine.

If you know about sail construction inspect them well - especially the stitching that lives in the sun while furled. In 5 years it is surely rotten. It's far easier to over stitch before it comes off than after. If you can pull or tear the leech tapes, sun covers, or stitching by hand replace them before you go.. Should be relatively inexpensive.

If you don't know much about sail construction, drag them all down to a loft where the do know.

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Old 08-10-2010, 01:10   #3
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You might think about how you're going to sail dead downwind. I've heard tell (unfortunately not based on personal experience) that you get a lot of that on a tradewinds circumnav. None of your sails will work well dead downwind. I guess you know that the gennaker is optimized for a reach and will not be of much use on a run.

I don't personally like spinnakers on big cruising boats as requiring an incredible amount of labor to set and keep trimmed, but I also can't imagine sailing day in and day out wing-on-wing, which is also a lot of trouble, and to add insult to injury is not even that efficient (at least a spinnaker is very efficient). You might want to think about some kind of twizzle rig which might require some poles you don't have, maybe a different foil for your headsail furling gear, and perhaps some more sails (maybe smaller than your existing Genoa I).

The Twizzle Rig or Twistle Rig for Downwind Ocean Sailing

I imagine that the twizzle rig will be quite nice sailing downwind in moderate wind. My boat sails downwind in strong winds best of all with a reefed yankee jib and nothing else. The shape is better when reefed if it's not poled out, even in less wind, when sailing right downwind. It's more stable and much easier to sail without the mainsail out, and there's no worry about chafe (unlike sailing day in and day out with your mainsail up). In less than strong winds I can imagine that the twizzle rig with relatively smaller sails will be the optimally stable configuration; maybe someone who has actually used it can comment?
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Old 08-10-2010, 01:39   #4
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I started in the Caribbean with an ex-charter boat and the sails were very well used by charters and the tropical sun.

Just the 2 sails, slab main and furling genoa.

So after aprox 30,000nms...

I still have the Genoa on and I think the sail is still fine but the UV cloth needs to go. Or if I get a deal I will get a whole new sail.
The main sail always had UV damage which I had first repaired before we left the Caribbean. Its taken quite a LARGE ammunt of contact glue and sticky sail cloth!

In Thailand I had always wanted to have Rolly Tasker make me a new one
So I took the old main to him and we streached it out and measured it up. Because we were there in Thailand it was, of course, cheaper.
At this stage I could quite easily tear the sail with 2 fingers.

I kept the old main up going accross the Indian Ocean and Red Sea because theres no use destroying a new sail in the Red Sea!
40NM from Turkey the mainsail departed in a 40+kt bit of weather.
Putting the new main up in Turkey was wonderful and we marveled at how easy to rip the old main was... I took some video but dont have the MBs to upload it. It was just like tissue paper.
But it had lasted well over 20,000 miles.

So my thoughts are you are fine with what you have got. I don't like having the boat made smaller with excess sails so you can look carefully at what you want to take.
Whats on the masts/stays are fine. Genniker is good.
2 furling Gennys? Why not just the No1?
Can you put up a storm jib in a storm? ie take the furling genoa off and then up the stormy? I couldn't. So I probably wouldnt take one.

You could keep the Genny no2 to be sent to you if you have some disaster you can't repair.

As a casual observation there are very few boats I remember with extra sails. One guy who departed this am has a few lashed to the deck. Some do, not many. Of course many will say most people take many spares.

Notes on a Circumnavigation.

Somalia Pirates and our Convoy
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Old 11-10-2010, 17:29   #5
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In my opinion, I'd be wanting to add a trisail to that inventory, just in case. It will fold up tiny (its a tiny sail), but not only might it save your life, it will potentially prolong the life of your mainsail (carrying a triple-reef in 60+ knots is ok, but its not good for the longjevity of the sailI
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circumnavigation, repairs, sails

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