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Old 01-11-2010, 15:22   #1
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How Much Sail Is Too Much ?

When crusing what is your plan...
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Old 01-11-2010, 15:30   #2
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take some down when it tips over :-)

Oh I think he was talking about how many sails to carry.......

As many as I can afford and not displace any rum which basically means not many

But I cruise not race
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Old 01-11-2010, 15:43   #3
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Originally Posted by jobi View Post
When crusing what is your plan...
I'm a bad example, but I have redundancies for every running sail (making eight total running sails), in addition to two spinnakers, one reacher, one stormsail and I think one smaller hank-on headsail.

The truth about sail inventory is that you should be able to work around a perceived 'lack' of sails by modifying your rigging a little bit, be it with whisker poles or new tack points, in order to make your current sails work just fine in 90% of all situations. Many people go with running sails only, and do just fine because they know how to work them in every condition.

As for which sails I use underway? I hate my Yankee headsail, and look to replace it as soon as possible. Other than that, I basically just use my working sails unless it's right on my stern, in which case I start to play with the spinnakers. I have the advantage of being ketch-rigged, which means you just put it all out in lighter winds and start bringing it in a piece at a time when things pick up.

When cruising (especially short/single-handing, the best answer is simplicity and less than you think is absolutely proper for the situation. It's no fun trying to bring in even a small Yankee in 60+ knots after you wake up and the boat's heeled over with the rail (6' of freeboard) sitting in the water.
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Old 01-11-2010, 16:19   #4
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been thinking about what the old sailor said about balancing a boat, and the only thing I can think of is sails dimension.

knowing how to use sails of the right proportions should help a sailboat keep a strait line in comfort.

I dont have enough experience to fully understand sailing principals, in fact I dont even know how to ask the right questions, however the feed back you guys provide is always informative and give me something to recherch and pounder on.
thanks
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Old 01-11-2010, 17:20   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jobi View Post
been thinking about what the old sailor said about balancing a boat, and the only thing I can think of is sails dimension.

knowing how to use sails of the right proportions should help a sailboat keep a strait line in comfort.

I dont have enough experience to fully understand sailing principals, in fact I dont even know how to ask the right questions, however the feed back you guys provide is always informative and give me something to recherch and pounder on.
thanks
Sail dimension is certainly a big part of creating a comfortable, self-steering ride. But almost as important as the size of the sails is the amount of power those sails are producing at a given time. This can be adjusted with reef points, tack angle and a few other things.

For example, you're probably not going to be able to balance a 150% genoa against a mainsail that's been reefed to the fourth point. There's just not enough power being produced in the main in that scenario, and the genoa is going to pull hard into the wind as a result. But if you let the main out to the first or second reef piont, and furl the jib a couple of wraps (if you have roller furling, that is), you'll find that it's only a matter of tacking each sail properly and voila! You've got a reasonably balanced boat. Or you can sometimes achieve a similar result simply by letting the jib out a bit more so it doesn't bite as hard into the wind, instead luffing itself a bit and releasing some of that power, which allows the main to 'catch up' a bit.

I mean, the whole idea behind heaving to during a bad blow is to balance the sails in such a way as to maintain a given point off the wind. Some people complain about their boat's underbody, others have issues with their sails themselves. The truth is that you can do a whole lot without major modifications to any rig, or canvas design. Just take a look at some configurations and mess around with different tack points to see what happens. Every boat is unique, just like every person, and it takes awhile to learn how to get yours performing at its best.

When I'm anywhere between 60 degrees off the wind to about 120 degrees off it, my boat will essentially steer itself with two, three or four sails up. And talk about comfortable. Not hearing the *cluck cluck cluck* of the autopilot, but seeing the bearing exactly where it should be while I'm down below watching a movie, or reading a book is the height of peaceful sailing.
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Old 01-11-2010, 17:39   #6
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When we started I always under-canvassed her. Now I will at times over-canvass.

I have a smallish boat and she is very uncomfortable when under-canvassed.

Technically, once the boat is trimmed for the trip it is very easy to tell the reefing wind points by the wind instrument. Otherwise the wind sounds, wave action and boat behaviour will tell.

E.g. upwind, if she repeatedly heels beyond 30 degrees, it's high time. Downwind, if the pressure on the tiller is noticeable and the boat will not immediately react to the rudder, it is high time.

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Old 01-11-2010, 17:44   #7
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would you say that 60 to 120 of the wind is best for most sailboats?

thanks for this very informative post
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Old 01-11-2010, 18:15   #8
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It is difficult to tell wheter you are asking how much sail to have up when cruising, or how many sails to carry on board when crusing.

I do a fair amount of racing and some cruising, and each have a completely different mentality. When I am racing, a quarter of a knot extra speed is significant, but crusing it is irrelevant. For racing we typically carry 6 headsails (#1 light, #1 reg, #2, #3, #4, storm jib), 3 spinnakers (0.5oz 0.75oz, 1.5oz), mainsail and trisail = 11 sails. For crusing, #2, #3, main, storm jib & trisail is enough = 5 sails, i.e. less than half as many sails.

When we are racing, we have 8-10 people, i.e. bodies = ballast on the rail. We put the first reef in at about 25 knots, 2nd reef at 33, 3rd at 40, trisail at 55+. Typically carry #1 to 15, #2 to 20, #3 to 30, #4 to 40 and storm jib thereafter. Spinnakers 0.5 to 10, 0.75 to 18, 1.5 to 25.

For cruising, we only have 2 or 3 people on board, so are more conservative with our sail plan #2 to 15, #3 to 25, #4 to 35 and reef 1 at 20, reef 2 at 30, 3rd at 35, etc. We go mainsail only or headsail only if necessary and motor sail if necessary too. We aren't in a hurry when we are cruising. If it is forecast to blow "a hatfull", we stay in the anchorage!
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Old 01-11-2010, 18:36   #9
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If you need to reef (or reduce sail- the principal is the same). Put in two reefs, test, then shake one out if needed. Being over canvassed is uncomfortable and reefing is usually done with a small amount of trepidation. Shaking out a reef is usually done with a small amount of confidence.

In other words. Get comfortable first, then add more sail if needed.

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Old 01-11-2010, 18:39   #10
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Agree with Weyalan and barnakiel's posts. Good stuff there.

I've always thought that the boats I've sailed have been the most comfortable on a beam reach, meaning the wind is essentially directly off the side (90 or 270 degrees, plus or minus 10-15). Broad reach (90 degrees back to 135, or 270 back to 315) is awfully smooth also, but steering is a bit harder than beam reach. Close reach (60-90 or 240-270) is less comfortable than the other two, but it's also probably the easiest to balance the sails for self-steering.

We set the sails on our return from Hawaii on a close reach of 70 degrees, and didn't touch the wheel for about two weeks. Only trimmed the sheets for chafe prevention, nothing else. It's not as much fun slamming into oncoming waves if your boat isn't built well for it, but it certainly is nice not having to mess with things.
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Old 01-11-2010, 19:32   #11
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Talking comfort our thing best upwind (long keel) and slightly pressed. Then she heels some and stays there.

A similar thing applies to heaving too - we always heave too with max sail area we think safe for the conditions - boat heeled yet much more comfortable this way.

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Old 02-11-2010, 11:15   #12
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wow talk about good information!!!
I may have grown out of the sweet touth syndrome but this holloween this thread is my CANDY

lerning about a new passion is so sweet
how about some info on downwind (wing to wing) whisker pole? wind speed and do's and d'ont

am I asking too much??
rgds
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Old 02-11-2010, 11:31   #13
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Remember one thing... no matter how well you balance your sails you'll still sail like a pig if you have not balanced your boat with your storage...
Small boats are less forgiving.... too much weight aft and you'll struggle... too much weight forward and it'll be a very wet sail....
Check how she sits in the water b4 you start loading her up... then keep checking as you go... take a foto... then compare...
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Old 02-11-2010, 12:18   #14
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how about some info on downwind (wing to wing) whisker pole?
Take a look at this thread for some good discussion of cruising sail configuration -- especially downwind: Sail for Ocean Passage. We've had some other discussions here about whisker poles, etc, and you can find then with the search function. Here are some: Mounting A Whisker Pole, Whisker Pole.

Quote:
am I asking too much??
rgds
Not at all! And don't be shy about asking questions (or giving answers).
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Old 02-11-2010, 19:28   #15
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Ocean sailing with a genoa poled out is a definite NO from me. A jib poled out is just marginally better. A staysail on a cutter rigged boat is fine, except staysails are often pretty smallish ...

Unless the jibs are special cut and the poles are very long. Then it is a huge YES.

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