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Old 20-10-2012, 08:03   #1
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Real-world Foresail Comparisons

As a upcoming liveaboard, I'm looking at ways to simplify life.

As far as foresails are concerned, a hanked-on working jib seems to fit this bill.

I know about the ease of use that a furled sail offers, but I also know about the problems and I'm sure that, used replacement , "furled" sails must be harder to find.

ANYWAY . . . I think a single, fit-most-needs, foresail might be my answer . . . might be.

Does anyone know of comparative data indicating the expected speed differences, in a given wind, between a storm jib, working jib and the various fennies?

If the difference is enough to live with, then I think the fact that a working jib is slightly heavier and much easier to control, that thius might be my way to go.

ALSO . . . I wonder what using a working jib for a temporary main(if a main were to blow through or something), might be like(using the main halyard as a sort of forestay for the w.j.)?


SIMplicity . . . Simplicity . . . simplicity . . .
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Old 20-10-2012, 08:36   #2
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Re: real-world FORESAIL comparisons

Any sail that will take 35 plus knots isn't going to fly in 5. Even with a cutter rig on my boat I have/use 3 head sails 135% gen 110%ish Yankee and a nylon drifter. Also have two staysails a lighter good to 30 and a heavy good till I don't want any sail up. A smaller head sail won't take up much room or cost much if you buy used. And light nylon drifters can be stored in even less room.
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Old 20-10-2012, 09:13   #3
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Re: real-world FORESAIL comparisons

CTL411 describes us as well. Cutter rig, and we carry three headsails; a light #1, a moderate #2, and a pretty heavy Yankee. I'd say the #2 gets about 85-90% of the use, so that might fill your bill, but... We are also cutter rigged, and if we don't want to bother with headsail change we can drop the #2 and fly the staysail. If the wind is strong enough to cause me to want to drop the #2 we usually get acceptable performance with just the staysail up front. Without the staysail we'd be hard pressed to sail without making headsail changes on a pretty regular basis.
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Old 20-10-2012, 09:41   #4
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Re: real-world FORESAIL comparisons

Funny that three cutter rigs are responding. Probably because we have more headsail flexibility than the folks with a genoa on a furler (who are also wondering why they use their engines so much and can't heave to worth a damn).

Anyway, it depends where you are. I would definitely carry a drifter as it will reduce your frustration and diesel consumption dramatically. We have that and a yankee. For reduced headsail action, we drop the yankee and just run the staysail.
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Old 20-10-2012, 10:01   #5
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Re: real-world FORESAIL comparisons

I've always liked drifters and don't EVER . . . EXPECT . . . to get caught in more than 20 knots of wind.

I used to fly my 150 in almost everything, but after ripping one(the sail) and blowing out a main(different time), it doesn't seem worth it. Especially if I have no time-table(retired) and I don't like breaking my equipment.

While being in 30+ knots with the deck running awash can be fun, but it's like driving in snow & ice with white knuckles . . . after a while the fun part wears off.

I like more leisure sailing with about 10 degree heal . . . maybe a few more.

It's been many . . . many years since I've even owned a working jib, but about 15 years ago, all I had for a foresail was the working jib until I started buying more sails. If I remember right, I liked the action that a working jib gave me . . . I also remember that I rarely used it later, although I can't remember if it wasn't just because I always liked more sail and not because the w.j. was "insufficient".

One thing I Do remember is that the w.j. was much easier to haul down(with a downhaul), from the cockpit. I think the genny never quite came down with the downhaul without a little help.

I wonder if there's anyone out there that sails with a w.j. only, or nearly only?
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Old 20-10-2012, 10:06   #6
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Re: real-world FORESAIL comparisons

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Originally Posted by SURV69 View Post
I've always liked drifters and don't EVER . . . EXPECT . . . to get caught in more than 20 knots of wind.
That will limit your sailing area quite a bit. Plenty of places in the world have 20+ knots as the norm. I think San Francisco is under a constant small craft advisory. Even trade winds pump like that.

Nothing wrong with < 50 knots of wind provided you have the sails to go with it and a thermos full of coffee.
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Old 20-10-2012, 10:10   #7
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Re: real-world FORESAIL comparisons

Another cutter rig sailor with about the same sail setup:

135 Genoa on a furler that holds good shape to about 110 and works to about 90.

light drifter

Yankee for heavier weather, also fits the furler

stayail

storm jib
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Old 20-10-2012, 10:17   #8
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Re: real-world FORESAIL comparisons

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Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
Another cutter rig sailor with about the same sail setup:

135 Genoa on a furler that holds good shape to about 110 and works to about 90.

light drifter

Yankee for heavier weather, also fits the furler

stayail

storm jib
Curiously, when would you run the storm jib? Once it gets past yankee territory I don't want anything to do with the outer forestay and just rock the staysail.
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Old 20-10-2012, 10:20   #9
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Re: real-world FORESAIL comparisons

On our first cruising boat with a furler, we called it 'the miracle'. After years of wet and dangerous work with hank-on jibs, there was a reason for that.

Go somewhere where the cruising boats anchor, and count the number of furlers vs the number of hank-on jibs.
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Old 20-10-2012, 10:25   #10
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Re: real-world FORESAIL comparisons

[QUOTE=SURV69;1063407]I've always liked drifters and don't EVER . . . EXPECT . . . to get caught in more than 20 knots of wind.
With Midwest weather forecasting being what it is options are a good thing.
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Old 20-10-2012, 10:29   #11
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Re: real-world FORESAIL comparisons

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Originally Posted by donradcliffe View Post
On our first cruising boat with a furler, we called it 'the miracle'. After years of wet and dangerous work with hank-on jibs, there was a reason for that.

Go somewhere where the cruising boats anchor, and count the number of furlers vs the number of hank-on jibs.
I had hanks on my last boat, then used a furler on this one until I removed it last year, quite happily. Foresail changes are not some herculean effort, and I'll take the flexibility any day of the week.

Going down Mexico (and really all of the Central America on the Pacific side) if you have a heavy working jib, you'll be sucking down diesel all day convinced that "there's not enough wind to sail".
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Old 20-10-2012, 10:33   #12
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Re: real-world FORESAIL comparisons

I fully understand the "miracle" aspect of furled sails, but have always been leery of downsizing a furled sail let alone the control of a partially furled sail. They seem to work best all-in or all-out. In-between is a compromise.

I'm not looking for the best of both worlds but I am looking for the best compromise between performance, reliability and replacement on a cruising budget.

In other words(I don't remember), is a working jib sufficient for sailing in 5-20 knots with no chance of going to 150+% in the 5-10 knot range?

It seems to me that I was always satisfied with the w.j. on my rig BEFORE I bought my bigger gennies.

Even after my bigger gennies, I was always intrigued with a self tacking jib and always wondered if the benefit of this one aspect of a w.j., would make sailing worthwhile in it's own right . . . abiet, at a slower(hopefully not too much slower), pace.
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Old 20-10-2012, 10:39   #13
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Re: real-world FORESAIL comparisons

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Originally Posted by rebel heart View Post
Curiously, when would you run the storm jib? Once it gets past yankee territory I don't want anything to do with the outer forestay and just rock the staysail.
Agree! Been there and don't want to go there again if I can help it.

The storm jib would be on the inner stay. I rigged with a furler on the forestay but hank on for the staysail stay just for that reason.

So plan from light air to storm

1. drifter if point of sail allows it

2. 135 and staysail

3. 135

4. partially rolled 135

5. yankee and possibly staysail

5. staysail

6. storm jib

Of course main or reefed main as appropriate in the various steps.

For me the unknown is the ease or not of swapping out the 135 and the yankee. I have a double slot Harken that will go on when I launch but have not yet had the pleasure of using it. I have three things in mind for the yankee.

1. If anticipating a passage with high winds rig the yankee in the furler at the start of the trip.

2. If I hit prolonged strong winds in the middle of a passage swap the 135 for the yankee under way. This is one part I wonder about. To swap the sails the 135 would have to be rolled all the way out but if I'm in a situation where I want the yankee would not the wind be too strong to roll out the 135? If I turn downwind to blanket the 135 with the main would that be enough? Any other options?

3. Would the double track in the Harken allow me to rig the yankee and the 135 for a quick and dirty double headsail downwind rig or would that put a kind of stress on the Harken it isn't designed to take?
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Old 20-10-2012, 10:41   #14
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Re: real-world FORESAIL comparisons

Quote:
Curiously, when would you run the storm jib?
Not sure about SkipMac, but our "storm jib" gets hanked on the inner stay when the wind gets too strong for the staysail. You really don't want to be sailing then, but sometimes you don't have that choice.
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Old 20-10-2012, 10:48   #15
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Re: real-world FORESAIL comparisons

Quote:
Originally Posted by SURV69 View Post
I fully understand the "miracle" aspect of furled sails, but have always been leery of downsizing a furled sail let alone the control of a partially furled sail. They seem to work best all-in or all-out. In-between is a compromise.
I have put in a lot of miles at sea with partially rolled jibs, especially when I first started out and had one jib, one main. My only option to keep a balance rig was to roll the jib, sometimes half the sail area. Shape was horrible but kept me sailing without overpowering or unbalancing the boat. Can only remember once that I ever had a problem.


Quote:
Originally Posted by SURV69 View Post
I'm not looking for the best of both worlds but I am looking for the best compromise between performance, reliability and replacement on a cruising budget.
New furlers are pretty reliable and if you have a sail cut for the furler keep very good shape as long as you don't roll up too much. Most opinions put that limit around 15-20% max.

Will cost for the furler but you can get by with fewer sails.


Quote:
Originally Posted by SURV69 View Post
In other words(I don't remember), is a working jib sufficient for sailing in 5-20 knots with no chance of going to 150+% in the 5-10 knot range?.
Well 5-20 is a big range. A working jib will move your boat at 5 kts but not very fast and will be hard to keep filled downwind. This is where a larger, lighter sail will make a giant difference. Sure you could live without but would either run the engine a lot more or take a lot longer on light air passages.
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