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Old 10-11-2010, 01:09   #1
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Extra-Large Roach Mainsail

Hi,
we are shopping for a new mainsail and we want to try an extra large roach that would extend over the backstay to beef up our sail area and also to all those interesting perks that seem to come with the extra roach. Our main source of information about these sails comes from the Cruising Encyclopedia by Dashews.
Do you have such a sail and if so what are your experiences, good or bad? Can you offer any tips before we have it made?
Our boat is 31', 4.2 tonnes displacement, original mainsail little over 20m2.
The basic idea is:
- Dacron 8oz
- Full battens and loose foot (sic)
- Three reefs
- 1st reef allows tacking without hitting the backstay
UK Hasley in Hong Kong seems like the right choice in SE Asia.
Many thanks for any comments
Petr
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Old 10-11-2010, 02:04   #2
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Depending on how aggresive the roach is you may need to drop to the first reef point to tack or head off the wind and seriously ease the main to get the top couple of battens across.

As an ex skiff racer I love the advantage a big roach gives but they could be quite a hassle with a solid backstay.
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Old 10-11-2010, 03:50   #3
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I wanted a larger roach on my new Rolly Tasker mainsail. But I dont like full length battens at all for cruising as they slat in calms and get caught in lazy jacks and let sailmakers skimp on cut because the battens will hold the sail out.

I also didnt want to have a 3rd set of lines for reefing, but wanted to shorten sail deper.

So I now have a full roach sail - flicks the twin backstays, short battens, deeeeeeeep second reef.

Its perfect.

I dont see who you could have a main sail you can't tack with unless its reefed. For racing or cruisng that just seems bizzare. "extra large roach that would extend over the backstay" if that means what it says then I think you can reconsider it before you order it. No doubt you would need to have the sail recut when you get bord of loosing out to every other boat on the ocean each time you decide to chuck in a tack. If its just for downwind then you will find that little extra roach is measuarble in inches not square feet and a pair of drying undies tied in the wind will make you faster Or a good size bra....
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Old 10-11-2010, 04:30   #4
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Naturally the sail can be tacked fully hoisted. We never had one, but from what Dashew says (and another guy we've met that uses such sail), the sail actually bends and goes under the backstay in breeze. In lighter air might need a little help which is achieved e.g. by pulling the mainsheet over to swing the boom faster and bending the sail. But the sail naturally slaps the backstay a bit.
Our experience is limited, but I don't think we would give up full battens. The slapping in calms can be prevented by VERY LIGHT shock cord attached to the reef points that breaks off in case of stronger puff.
Certainly the sail is meant for upwind use too, otherwise I would certainly go for the undies
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Old 10-11-2010, 04:37   #5
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As a racer my main hits the backstay and gets caught in light air, I have to slap the backstay sometimes to get it released.

But hey I was racing and to rules it was free sail area.

Cruising it would be a PIA, it could extend past the stay maybe 2-3" which would pass thru.

I have a cruising main that clears the stay and is a bit smaller it is up for sale, I like the bigger main in the light air and will put up with issue.

I am thinking about slipping a small roller on the backstay where it hits, to help pass it thru

With that said both mains are not full battens, which I would not own.
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Old 10-11-2010, 06:41   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by klubko View Post
The slapping in calms can be prevented by VERY LIGHT shock cord attached to the reef points that breaks off in case of stronger puff.
What happens when it unpuffs? How do you get your next bit of environementally friendly shock cord up the reefing points without dropping the sail?

I know what you are driving at... the best performace that you can get, and thats fine. For some folks its the be all and end all. I know any Saturday afternoon racer would be extreemly delighted with 10,000nms of sail life. But for me, I'd be on my third set of sails! And for what? Arriving earlier doesnt really matter because you have a 50% chance of arriving at night so unless you want to risk the boat many stay offshore till dawn.
Indeed many cruisers downwind don't even bother with a mainsail they use double genoas (etc).

So your decisions, no doubt, will be based on what sort of sailing you are going to do and upon what sort of budget.

Have fun with it Much more fun than deciding when to pay the tax bill!
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Old 10-11-2010, 07:30   #7
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Well, on our boat we can actually reach the first reef quite easily, to set or unset this. And what really breaks is just a piece of stronger yarn not the actual shock cord, I've mislead you there, sorry. So no environmental hazards there
And amen to your last sentence!
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Old 10-11-2010, 09:22   #8
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By way of contrast, before I set off on my three year cruise I opted for a battenless, headboardless, roachless, 10oz soft Dacron sail with one reef that halved the sail area! My main priority was low maintenance.

I'm sure you have different priorities. I don't know your boat but I'm sure you have determined that the additional weather helm won't be a problem. In my case the boat was already heavy on weather helm so my new main eased the problem.
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Old 10-11-2010, 16:29   #9
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Minnie,
actually the opposite should happen with large roach. It's a bit counter intuitive, but large roach actually reduces weather helm. It also reduces heeling.
I have very little experience here, we have bought a boat with a full batten mainsail, which is now almost 10years old. Still works, no problems with the hardware, batten pockets are little worn out, but still holding well.
Maintenance and price is a big issue for us as well (low budget and a hope to cruise for few years). We are (hopefully) a year from setting off, but the full battens are most definitely what we want. After all we had chance to cover some distance with our old mainsail. The extra large roach is still being reconsidered, but the advantage of having it seems to overweight the rest.
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Old 10-11-2010, 18:47   #10
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We have a full battened, full roach main with 3 reef points aboard our boat. It overlaps my backstay a bit but there aren't any issues with tacking at all - the wind simply pushes it past the backstay.

If the wind is so light that it hangs up on the stay I'm usually motoring anyway. If you like to motorsail with the main up, make sure and sheet the main slightly off centerline to prevent the leech from continually trying to chafe on the backstay.

Before I had my current sail made, I lowered the boom as well (it was so high I was on tiptoes trying to flake it when dousing) The combination of the additional roach and additional sail area has made for a more powerful sail than my old one.

On the downside, I haven't noticed any reduction in weatherhelm as claimed by the Dashews and I probably reef abit earlier than before as well. This could very well be due to adding sail area aft by lowering he boom though.
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Old 10-11-2010, 18:56   #11
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slowshoes, many thanks for sharing.
What you say is resonant to what I've been told at the ssca forum (credit to Estar). He thinks that the effect of the large roach is less obvious on higher aspect sails (which you probably approached by lowering the boom, right?) -- they've tried such sail on their high aspect boat, but later went back to more conservative roach.
The Dashews also suggest to reef down to 1st reef (which will be close to 100% of sail are of a regular sail) when motoring to avoid ruining the leech or as you say, shifting the boom sideways a bit.
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Old 11-11-2010, 07:48   #12
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The Dashews are actually in the marina here.
Doing the ARC, I think (I didnt know they allowed motor boats, but they may be an exception )
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Old 11-11-2010, 07:55   #13
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Large roaches? You must be in the caribbean?
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Old 11-11-2010, 07:58   #14
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Old 11-11-2010, 17:27   #15
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Joli good! There are roaches in Taiwan. And big ones too
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