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Old 20-06-2012, 08:20   #46
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Re: Cutter Rig Easier to Singlehand?

Going from La Paz to Hawaii last May, I found the double headsails a really efficient and easy rig to handle in even very heavy air, with wind anywhere within 60 degrees off centerline on either quarter. We had up to 55kts and reefing with simple, just roll em in as far as necessary to smooth the ride.

Of course, they need to whisker poles.

"The nature of the universe is such that ends can never justify the means. On the contrary, the means always determine the end." ---Aldous Huxley
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Old 20-06-2012, 09:25   #47
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Re: Cutter Rig Easier to Singlehand?

Originally Posted by bewitched View Post
I think you are right. There are two subjects here: One is how easy the boat is to tack, the other is how easy the transition from say medium to heavy airs is made.

Ease of tacking for my money belongs to the modern cruiser/racer sloop with their non-overlapping headsails.

But for managing the transition from medium to heavy conditions, the cutter is hard to beat on a mid-range sized boat. As the boat gets bigger, say 55'+, the solent rig plus staysail arrangement starts to look good: Big light airs sail up front, working jib tucked in behind and a staysail for the rough stuff. All on rollers. Great for those long distances, but not so good if you need short tack out of a bay on a regular basis.
I have found this to be true. My compac is a joy to single hand on the lake. But I want the extra sail and the extra work when I am traveling beyond the approach buoys. And I like all lines in the cockpit and reefed before it gets dark. Call me a scardy cat, but I do not like going before the mast in the dark with the wind up.

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Old 20-06-2012, 11:47   #48
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Re: Cutter Rig Easier to Singlehand?

Originally Posted by Andrew Troup View Post
Before you go to that much trouble, I should mention there is an easier option, provided firstly that your staysail is not quite full hoist (IOW the luff is shorter than the stay) AND secondly that the problem you have is that the foot comes tight while the leech is still too open

If "yes" to both: To rectify, just rig a lashing so the tack is adjustable in height, and raise the tack progressively further off the deck until you find the sweet spot.
(where both leech and foot have just the optimum amount of curvature)

Even if you end up fitting a clewboard, this may help you work out how much 'drift' you need in the available angles, and hence clew locations.

If you're lucky, the whole problem can be resolved, and the adjustment facility made permanent, by leaving the sail unmodified and fitting a compact tackle as a clew downhaul. *
The other benefit of this is that you may no longer need a halyard winch for the staysail; simply overhoist it and cleat it off at a mark, then stretch the luff by hauling the clew back down with the tackle. It's got to be a very big staysail before this cannot be made to work.

A second consideration which may be preventing the sail setting well is whether the traveller car is sitting at the right distance outboard from the fore and aft vertical centerplane of the boat.
If it's at the end of the track, it'll be too far out for close-hauled work, assuming the designer knew what they were doing. However I won't labour this point because for all I know you may very easily know more about sail trim than I ever will.

* If there's not room, you could instead fit a single-part flexible wire or webbing pendant downhaul, taken aft under a substantial deck-mounted sheave, to a tackle lying on the deck. Remember the tail of the tackle can run back to the cockpit for cleating, in either instance.
Thank you! Extremely interesting, and I'm grateful for this. I can't remember whether there is room at the top of the inner forestay but I'll have a look next week when I get back to the boat. There must be some.

My staysail, at something like 280 sq feet, is bigger than the entire sail plan of my first boat, but I don't see why this wouldn't work. A very clever idea. I have a collection of Dyneema cords which will be perfect for these kind of lashings.

As to the sheeting angle - on any point of sail, the sheeting car will be at the end of the track, and the trim just ain't right. I've been meaning to rig a Barber hauler to play with, and now you've inspired me to go through with it. The blocks for that purpose have been in my cockpit all season.
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Old 20-06-2012, 23:39   #49
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Re: Cutter Rig Easier to Singlehand?

Dual side by side forestays were one of those ideas which quite plausibly promise increased reliability, but turn out instead to reduce it -- which is presumably why they're hardly ever seen now.

Apart from the problem of hanks mischievously unhanking from the correct stay and rehanking to the wrong one, or worse yet hanking to both at once ... the latter making it particularly interesting when you go to drop one of the twin running sails...

a more serious problem is that the 'lazy' stay comes very slack when the working stay is under major load. Consequently it flops around and (presumably because of where it is on the boat) this flopping is rather more 'whippy' than for, say, a lee shroud, and the ensuing fatigue and incidence of breakage reportedly goes up rather than down, for both forestays.

People have tried rigging with limited-slew triangles top and bottom to link the stays and share the load, but it's heavy at the masthead, and creates more failure points, and you then get more luff sag and fullness than with a single because you're effectively doubling the stretchiness...

A Solent is far enough away that this problem of induced slack is reduced to acceptable proportions, I guess. The topmast forestay is prevented from slackening the solent stay unduly by the backstay, and I guess to a degree the latter keeps the topmast forestay reasonably tight when the solent is pulling the mast forward.
It's hard to get the perfect rig!
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Old 08-08-2012, 22:49   #50
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Re: Cutter Rig Easier to Singlehand?

Originally Posted by gjordan View Post
DOCKHEAD, when I refer to twin headstays, I mean side by side headstays which used to be considered the way to get twin genoas up for down wind sailing. It is not even mentioned in modern books, but before windvane steering it was not uncommon. Somwhere in this thread twin forestays were mentioned, and I was hoping to spare someone the trouble and expense of setting a boat up that way, and then have them find out it has some major problems. <snip>
Now that I'm getting older I find I can't handle heavy sails as well as in my youth. I am cobbling together a powered main halyard/reefing winch made up of eBay parts I purchased. Furling and other sail handling technology, like easy slide mast track systems is a blessing. I've been sailing for 45 years and I'd like to get in another 20 years or more. I want to sail more not less and the easier it is to sail by myself, the more I will sail with or without help. I am modifying my boats to make them easier to sail, not simpler.

For "twin" headsails the best way is to hoist the second sail on the same furler extrusion, sheeted to the other side. I expect you could also furl both sails at the same time and leave them both up although I've never tried that. It makes sense since this would be a light air setup with lighter sails. Poled out high clued sails would give good visibility forward and work great in trade wind sailing as others have long known. I have heard of people using their two biggest sails in this configuration. In the past I'd chose a spinnaker instead, but perhaps I should re-think that now that I'm older. I have enough halyards for two poles and two head sails.

Two stays, one headstay and one forestay somewhat close together in tandem, with different size sails is a common practice on larger yachts who want the option to control sail area without wrestling heavy sails up and about deck. These also have a staysail on a furler, giving three principle options for nearly any condition,with many variations. I see no reason why this does not make sense on any size yacht, albeit furling/unfurling might be required to tack some of these sails.

I'm refitting a 46' cutter, and leaning towards a self tending staysail, to a track (without a boom) on a furler, a furling head sail, and adding some sort of bowsprit for a light air sail. While everyone seems to be focused on heavy weather sails, I'm interested in flexibility and that includes light air sails

Thanks to all that contributed. I have some idea about what I want. I intend to rig three sheets to my self tending staysail. One to adjust the sail and two other removable sheets to allow me to backwind it for heaving to, or to help tack the headsail. I have seen the clueboard in use and liked it. I also like the idea of being able to raise and lower the staysail to change the lead angle. My other boat is an Etchells and I use that often and find adjustable jib cars to be over-rated for that reason.

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