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Old 15-03-2013, 15:47   #1
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Blue water jib sail size

I need to get a new roller furling headsail for cruising. My question is whether to get another 150 Genoa or go with a smaller size. Planning on Mexico and South Pacific. Boat is a Cal 48; I=55', J-19', P=48' and E=23'. The 150 is great in light air and for reaching but can be a handfull in a breeze. What size would be more usefull? I could rig a staysail on the inner forestay plus running backs.
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Old 15-03-2013, 16:09   #2
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Re: Blue water jib sail size

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Originally Posted by Wainui View Post
I need to get a new roller furling headsail for cruising. My question is whether to get another 150 Genoa or go with a smaller size. Planning on Mexico and South Pacific. Boat is a Cal 48; I=55', J-19', P=48' and E=23'. The 150 is great in light air and for reaching but can be a handfull in a breeze. What size would be more usefull? I could rig a staysail on the inner forestay plus running backs.
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You should have sails that can comfortably be run in winds of all ranges. We put a 135 on our boat. Quantum fusion membrane with roller furling pads. I don't like to operate a sail part furled but this is designed for it. We also have a heavy weather cutter sail on the cutter furler.

Keep the 150 for light air days.
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Old 15-03-2013, 21:56   #3
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Re: Blue water jib sail size

I have never favored a 150 Jib on large cruising boats. Except for really light wind you normally end up furling them down, which defeats the purpose of a bigger sail.

I use a 135% jib with a foam luff. It worked great in Mexico and Central America.
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Old 15-03-2013, 22:14   #4
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Cal 48 has huge headsails. I would put a 100 on for going to sea. Keep the 150 for when you know it's going to be light or guaranteed downwind.
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Old 15-03-2013, 22:33   #5
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Re: Blue water jib sail size

For a trip such as that I would consider two sails. And be prepared to do sail changes. No sail likes being partly furled and no sail performs well when partly furled. In the South pacific you can expect constant trades of 25-30knots. In which case the sail could end up partly furled for weeks even though it is downhill sailing.

The larger 150 would be great at plus minus five degrees in the doldrums but you may find it a lot to handle in the trades.
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Old 15-03-2013, 23:57   #6
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Re: Blue water jib sail size

As others have said, tradewind sailing is typically in winds 15-30 knots. That's 135% down to 100% headsail for most boats. Even off the wind, you'd furl a 135% in 30k winds. I chose a roller furling 135% with heavy cloth and a foam luff to try and have a decent shaped sail in 100% to full sail. It sets reasonably well and performs adequately in 5k-30k winds. Have had it furled way in in 40k winds with a triple reefed main and sailed to weather okay. For ghosting conditions, have an Asym spinnaker. Haven't used it much and not impressed with it's ability to sail closer than a beam reach. Haven't used it much though really haven't had much of an opportunity. If I wanted ultimate light air sail, would investigate a solent rig. Or more cheaply, a reacher set flying with a two part Dyneema halyard to control luff sag.

Our experience sailing for more than 10,000 miles is winds are going to be above 10k for a vast majority of the time with the rest ghosting conditions. I don't want to have to change out a large headsail in high winds. BTDT, and it's not my idea of fun. Besides the wrestling experience, having to live with and store a large, wet headsail isn't something I want to put up with.

Most of my sailing is currently in light wind Kona, Hawaii so have stored the 135% and use a medium weight 150% jib on the furler for local sailing. Haven't had to furl it yet. When I go inter-island, it's back to tradwind sailing and I bend on the 135%. Sailing to windward in the channels is almost always with the headsail reefed to 100% and a double reefed main.

FWIW, the 150% does not have a foam luff. It does not look good furled. The 135% with the foam luff, has pretty good shape even furled down to 100%.
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Old 16-03-2013, 00:37   #7
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Re: Blue water jib sail size

We've been building smaller headsails, typically in the 110%-120% range and then equipping the boat with a CLASS (Cruisers Light Air Sail Solution) flown from a foil-less furler. Large genoas are horrendously inefficient sails. The CLASS delivers far better performance than any genoa could hope to between a close reach and even deep downwind angles. One of our customers posted here on the forums that on his trip from Long Beach to the Marquesas he used his CLASS 85% of the time and had excellent boat speed.
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Old 16-03-2013, 01:54   #8
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I would go for a smaller overlap and get the foot cut moderately high. This will help the sail set well reaching and reduce the need to shift genoa car leads when you reef it.

You just need to check your sheeting angles. Sometimes 100% jibs need to sheet inside the shrouds for good pointing. This is a pain for cruising because as soon as you ease sheets onto a reach you then need to relead the sheats outboard again.
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Old 16-03-2013, 02:22   #9
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Re: Blue water jib sail size

Go smaller and use a spinnaker in light air. I use 70-90% mostly.
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Old 16-03-2013, 11:52   #10
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Re: Blue water jib sail size

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Originally Posted by roverhi View Post
As others have said, tradewind sailing is typically in winds 15-30 knots. That's 135% down to 100% headsail for most boats. Even off the wind, you'd furl a 135% in 30k winds. I chose a roller furling 135% with heavy cloth and a foam luff to try and have a decent shaped sail in 100% to full sail. It sets reasonably well and performs adequately in 5k-30k winds. Have had it furled way in in 40k winds with a triple reefed main and sailed to weather okay. For ghosting conditions, have an Asym spinnaker. Haven't used it much and not impressed with it's ability to sail closer than a beam reach. Haven't used it much though really haven't had much of an opportunity. If I wanted ultimate light air sail, would investigate a solent rig. Or more cheaply, a reacher set flying with a two part Dyneema halyard to control luff sag.

Our experience sailing for more than 10,000 miles is winds are going to be above 10k for a vast majority of the time with the rest ghosting conditions. I don't want to have to change out a large headsail in high winds. BTDT, and it's not my idea of fun. Besides the wrestling experience, having to live with and store a large, wet headsail isn't something I want to put up with.

Most of my sailing is currently in light wind Kona, Hawaii so have stored the 135% and use a medium weight 150% jib on the furler for local sailing. Haven't had to furl it yet. When I go inter-island, it's back to tradwind sailing and I bend on the 135%. Sailing to windward in the channels is almost always with the headsail reefed to 100% and a double reefed main.

FWIW, the 150% does not have a foam luff. It does not look good furled. The 135% with the foam luff, has pretty good shape even furled down to 100%.
Really good advice and agrees with my observations for our boat. The sail size will vary based on how stiff/soft your boat is. We are a heavy displacement; ketch. For us, cutter headstay and mizzen with 135 and foam pad make for good choices. We reduce the mizzen first as helm gets heavy and then reduce the main; roller furl in mast. We reach up to about 30 with the full jib but go to the cutter headsail before we bury the rail. I would expect a lighter more tender boat to start with a 110 or blade as a primary and keep a big drifter/reacher in the bag for light air. If you install a solent rig or code zero, this is easy to handle without taking the big sail down.

If your AS kite is only good to the beam, it is probably like ours. It is too full on the cut. If I had need for a new one I would demand a very flat cut to extend its range. In my opinion, it should be almost like hoisting a 200% reacher. If you do this, we learned on the boat I used to race that the leech & luff perform better over time if they are heavier weight. We had 3 oz on a nominal 1.5 oz kite. You can sheet the heck out of this design without stretching it.
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Old 16-03-2013, 13:33   #11
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We are very happy with a 150, however it was designed for a furler and or rig is also designed for a large headsail.

I think it is important to not make absolutes in answers to this question as optimal headsail size is an equation that involves both expected average conditions as well as rig specifications.

Older boats will have keel designs and mast positions designed for larger head sails while more modern hulls will be designed for smaller headsails.

This, whether we like it or not, is a by product of the shift from IOR to IRC handicap models with most production boats having greater or lesser influences in their designs from these systems.

So long story short, make sure you understand your rig design before you make radical decisions on head sail size. If you have them, look at your boats design drawings and show them to the sail loft before you make a big change.

Your center of effort for your rig is important when considering a change in square footage
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Old 16-03-2013, 13:44   #12
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Re: Blue water jib sail size

On both my 44 and 47 footers I put high cut 115-120% Jibs with a pendant at the bottom. However, if the wind gets too light, I usually fire up the "iron reacher" and motor sail. Even a 120 can be a handful on that big a boat with the wind at 25 knots.
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Old 16-03-2013, 14:59   #13
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Re: Blue water jib sail size

Don't get carried away with having the clew too high. We never like to have it higher than an arm can reach. The old rule of an inch per foot of boat length is decent with a bit of an addition for cruisers.
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Old 16-03-2013, 15:36   #14
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Re: Blue water jib sail size

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Don't get carried away with having the clew too high. We never like to have it higher than an arm can reach. The old rule of an inch per foot of boat length is decent with a bit of an addition for cruisers.
This is good if your geometry allows. If the tracks end too far aft AND you wish to not have to move the car from beat to reach, you will need to have a high clew in order that the sheeting angle is constant as you furl or change point. The larger the sail, the higher the clew will need to be. If you can construct a scale drawing of your rig and tracks, draw a line from the center of the luff through the clew and to the track car. This is the geometry necessary for the car to remain stationary as you change point. If the clew is below this line, your car will need to move forward as you fall off. This doesn't matter on a race boast full of crew. The deck sweeper we ran on years ago (Heritage One-Ton) required a lot of attention as we changed point. Our 135 on the Camper requires none. Here are photos of both. Also, the final geometry of the 135 with the resulting high clew. One other advantage of a high clew is big water passes easily below it. The dimension work-up shows the tracks and misc. work to identify the spreader patches, mast, etc. Dimensions are inches. We cannot reach the clew from the deck.
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Old 16-03-2013, 16:30   #15
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Re: Blue water jib sail size

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Don't get carried away with having the clew too high. We never like to have it higher than an arm can reach. The old rule of an inch per foot of boat length is decent with a bit of an addition for cruisers.
Yeah, I agree... didnt mean to imply a real high clew. I had my tack just about at pulpit height and the cles maybe a foot higher.
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