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Old 16-02-2013, 11:49   #1
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Headsail Size Opinions

If you had a sloop rig with a single roller furling head sail and were going cruising in the tropics, what size sail would you carry on the roller for normal use? A 150% Geonoa is great in light air, but often does not have a good shape when reeled. A 105% Jib will sail well in moderate to heavy trade wind conditions, reefs well, and provides better visibility forward, but would require adding an asymmetrical spinnaker in lighter airs to get any decent speed. As I will be solo or short handed often, I am trying to reduce the number of sail changes but still maintain good speed, safety and performance. It seems for a cruising boat that a dual roller system is the best of both worlds. Otherwise maybe rig the big Genoa during the summer, and the smaller jib during winter is a viable option. Opinions...
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Old 16-02-2013, 11:54   #2
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pirate Re: Head sail size opinions

125% Genoa... 100% Yankee
In case the genny got torn... speed is a low priority...
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Old 16-02-2013, 11:55   #3
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Re: Head sail size opinions

When I owned my old Hunter 30, I wished I had a 170
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Old 16-02-2013, 12:44   #4
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Re: Head sail size opinions

Speed is usually not an issue with me.

A big foresail rolled all the way out puts the center of effort further aft. A smaller sail or a big one partly furled puts it further forward. My boat steers itself on any reach with the tiller lashed and a 110% jib all the way out. I get satisfactory performance in any reasonable breeze. When I reduce sail I roll up the jib before reefing the main and she still self steers fairly well.

I have a 160 genoa and I actually get better performance with a single reef in the main when I let that bad boy completely out. Better slot effect or something. The main doesn't want to fill, unless I take a reef. Go figure.

Anyway try it both ways. Try something just over 100% and try a bigger foresail, too, and look not just at speed but also ease of handling in a variety of anticipated conditions. I bet you end up with a 105% or 110% jib unrolled all the way out.
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Old 16-02-2013, 12:53   #5
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Re: Head sail size opinions

Hi... a lot would depend on the boat I owned. Some boats could be called "big jib" boats (like the old C&Cs) while other boats are "small jib" ie. "big main" boats. I sail my 40' "big main" boat without a jib at breeze over 20. I watch 40' C&Cs use reefed main and jib in same breeze.

Downwind: then on my "big main" boat in I'd let out jib. & if the wind was say 30 and more, I'd reef the main and use more jib. (safer going downwind in 30 k. without big main way out.

So another consideration... if you are being polite (to second mate or are older) a small jib is fine. I'm old and don't race my boat.. I wish I had a high-footed jib for better visibility upwind. 'cause again I often use a full main even up to 20+... Frank
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Old 16-02-2013, 15:44   #6
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Re: Headsail Size Opinions

I see no benefits in having a large and too heavy sail. Hence most of the 150% (or thereabouts) 'cruising genoas' I have had on various boats qualify as useless junk and waste of money (they were all too heavy). But this is my sailing style, based mostly on trying to sail rather than power.

If you have only one fore sail, make it a reasonably SMALL sail (not too small, just reasonably small). Then at least you can get a neatly furling and usable sail for beam/broad reaching in any airs and close/tight reaching in mid- to heavy range.

Performance lost in choosing a relatively small foresail can be made up for with a light, large sail flown free-standing. Not an issue to hoist, control and drop in light airs.

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Old 16-02-2013, 16:02   #7
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I agree with small jibs so much I went to a fractional rig. Those big jibs create a lot of work and don't reef down. With a fractional rig i reef the main as the wind picks and seldom feel the main. A code 0 would solve the speed freak junkies.
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Old 16-02-2013, 16:12   #8
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Re: Headsail Size Opinions

120%, high cut (so you can see under it). Put a light air sail on a facnor furler (or similar) or carry an asym in a sock.
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Old 16-02-2013, 17:03   #9
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The reason I asked is because on my last boat I had a 150 deck sweeper. It was too much over 15 knots it didn't reef well and you couldn't see past it. My new boat has a 135, a 110, and an asym spinnaker with sock in inventory. I'm thinking of using the 110 on the roller during the spring, fall, and winter, then switching to the 135 during the summer when it is generally light air sailing. Does this sound reasonable.
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Old 17-02-2013, 05:14   #10
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Re: Headsail Size Opinions

Sounds reasonable on the face of it. Try it both ways. Whichever one you are using, keep the other one handy for a spur of the moment change when you just feel like comparing the two under a new set of conditions.

BTW you can avoid a lot of deformation of a partly furled genoa if you slacksheet the sail while you furl. Ideally you should be able to pull the furler line in by hand. Then sheet in tight after you have secured the furling line. Furling under tension gets my genny all out of whack.
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Old 17-02-2013, 05:40   #11
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Re: Headsail Size Opinions

When cruising I used the 100,if staying in one place use a 135.marc
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Old 17-02-2013, 07:17   #12
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Re: Headsail Size Opinions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Capt.Alex View Post
The reason I asked is because on my last boat I had a 150 deck sweeper. It was too much over 15 knots it didn't reef well and you couldn't see past it. My new boat has a 135, a 110, and an asym spinnaker with sock in inventory. I'm thinking of using the 110 on the roller during the spring, fall, and winter, then switching to the 135 during the summer when it is generally light air sailing. Does this sound reasonable.
Capt Alex

That sounds reasonable depending on the wind conditions in your primary cruising area and how you sail your boat.

We have a similar inventory on our 42 footer -- a 140%, a 110% and a asymmetrical in a sock (all came with the boat). We do as you suggest, 110 on in spring and fall, 140 on in the summer (winter it's on the hard ). My wife and I can easily manage the asymmetrical but I have only put it up once when solo - which is a different level of forethought and effort. With this I would likely go to a 125 or 130 when I replace the 140. This would give us more options to reef the head sail on those summer days when the wind picks up and we still have the option of the asymmetrical for lighter conditions. We are adding a whisker pole this season for dead downwind with the larger headsail. As an aside, we carry the 110 when we coastal cruise in New England. If it looks like a run of days of higher winds in the summer we hank that on in anticipation -- we loose marginal speed but the increase in comfort and safety make up for that.

I hope this is useful info.

Good luck.
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Old 17-02-2013, 07:39   #13
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Re: Headsail Size Opinions

I've been undergoing the same analysis on my boat. I have been cruising with a 150 RF on a 42 foot boat and it is getting to be a little more trouble than I like and I picture that getting more so in the years to come. I am thinking a 100 or so jib with a crusing spinaker for really light air would be a lot better rig for me and the way I sail.

I am never in a hurry when crusing. Getting there is the most fun part. If I get where I need a few extra knots of speed for safety or something else, that's what the diesel is for.
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Old 17-02-2013, 08:04   #14
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15 years ago on my previous boat the 150 was exhilarating to sail with. Now that I am older wiser and more conservative I like the idea of a 110. The admiral likes the idea better as well. These days it's comfort over speed. Good replies. Thanks.
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Old 17-02-2013, 08:18   #15
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Re: Headsail Size Opinions

I don't sail in the tropics, but I found that a 135 is a good compromise. For a longer passage, I think it's essential for safety to have a removable inner forestay that can carry a working and a storm jib. If you sail in an area that has a lot of lightwinds, a code zero or a gennaker would be worth considering.

One thing I am sure of, when sailing short handed, don't even think about changing headsails on a roller furler in a strong breeze.
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