Originally Posted by msponer
(...) I don't want to have a gap in my sail configuration where there's too much wind for a light jib but not enough for the staysail, especially if that gap leaves us underpowered in very common wind (say, 20 knots apparent).
This may be a fuzzy question to answer in general terms (though if it helps, my boat is 48' with a conservative SA/D). I'm just trying to figure out a lazy, non spinnaker
, sail configuration for a cutter that won't leave us underpowered in a range from 5-30 knots apparent. I guess that's what everyone wants.
As you noted, is is a fuzzy matter.
If it is SoPac, if it were my boat (again) I would avoid large AND overweight genoas like hell. Our genoa was 140% (maybe 150%) and the 'cruising weight' (buhahaha - read grossly overweight for SoPac dominant contitions) genoa was pretty useless. I simply do not believe in big AND heavy sails
. I cut that sail down to 120% and only then it became usable (sloop here, masthead rig).
I think 5 knots apparent is where the donkey kicks in. At 10 apparent you are still under light sails
upwind and very light sails (possibly kite style) downwind. At 15 you may be fully powered upwind but you will still be under light canvas
I think cutter rig makes the whole thing actually more complicated in light, predominantly downwind SoPac conditions. Downwind, your main source of drive is the main, which may be just too small on a proper cutter. Hence need for (IMHO) a kite (if you are lazy, you want a furl'able deep gennaker). A big light genoa can be set its luff along the mast
and poled out with some sort of a spar (note a regular spinaker pole will be way too short). A huge light staysail could be an answer but note most staysails are just the contrary - small and heavy. Beaver.
So to say, a SoPac sail choice is way away from a typical cutter rig sail choice used in latitudes where our expeditions may encounter all sorts of winds from all directions. That's where cutter rig got invented. But the English Channel
and the SoPac are completely different sailing arenas. Polynesians did not invent cutter rigs and there was a reason why.
But as you have noticed the fuzziness of the whole thing, I am sure you will find THE answers for your specific rig/boat. Seeing the whole thing is the beginning of finding the way.
All the best,