We’ve sailed Caliber 40 Hull
72 since we purchased her new in early 1995. She is a sistership to your boat. I sailed her for five years with the original sails in no wind, light wind, medium wind, and several times in 50 knots plus. We did about 4,000 NM during that time. The boat came from the factory with the following:
- Doyle Offshore Main - it was a POS and Caliber paid, twice, to have it re-cut and restitched
- Doyle Offshore RF genoa 135% - great sail and held a good shape down to 110%
- Doyle staysail 130 square feet – nice sail and useful above 30 knots apparent
We had a 1,200 square foot Pride asymmetrical spinnaker
made prior to taking delivery
of Mirador and used it a lot.
The boat did not sail well below 6 knots apparent. The main turned into a bag at 15 knots apparent, the genoa was ineffective from 23 knots to 30 knots apparent, and the staysail was not really useful until at least 27 – 28 knots apparent.
The spinnaker worked great from almost nothing up to 23 knots apparent but the boat really wanted to round up in quartering seas with gusts over 18 or so knots. A gyro turn rate transducer resolved that problem. We have done quite a bit of deep running with the spinnaker up in gusts over 30-knots.
After four years of way too much weather helm in any winds gusting over 16 knots we had North Sails of Seattle
build us a new bigger and stiffer main. The loose foot is 13” longer and the roach in the upper third is much greater with the leach 15” further aft. The leech rubs on the backstay on a tack or jibe. The material is 7.5 oz Spectra. The sail had the first reef 5’ above the boom and the 2nd another 5’ up the luff. The sail has four full battens and holds it's shape in any conditions.
The new North main made a huge difference and brought out the great heavy weather sailing characteristics of the Caliber 40. No more weather helm and far better pointing ability. We put the first reef in at 16-knots apparent and the 2nd at 24-knots apparent.
In spring 2000 we had North Sails in Seattle
build us a new suite of sails. Brad Baker, who now owns Swiftsure Yacht Sails in Seattle, sailed with us many times before designing the sails and during test sessions with the sails. Brad was a very experienced ocean sailor with dozens of trips from the US West Coast
. He customized the design for our planned long distance offshore voyages.
We then had North build the following:
- 120% Spectra 130 TX RF genoa
- 150% 2.5 oz Nylon Code 0
- 105% full hoist 170 sq foot staysail (overlaps the mast and required new inboard sheet car tracks)
- 85 square foot storm staysail
- trysail that is hoisted on a dedicated track bolted to the mast
- recut and re-stitch the original 130 square foot staysail
We also installed a 13’ – 24’ UTS/UTR Forespar spinnaker pole on a 12’ track.
The staysails are all hankon. The Code 0 flys on it's own internal halyard
and has a RF drum.
All following wind speeds are apparent!
The full genoa is good upwind from 8 to 16 knots. We then start furling
it and it works well furled to 90% (that was a specific design target) and 24 knots. Above 22 or so knots the big staysail is a treat to sail and, with an appropriately reefed main, points several degrees higher than the genoa.
We completely furl the genoa at 25 or so knots with the big staysail in it's place. We go to the 130 square foot staysail at 32 knots. We’ve not tried to sail upwind in more than 35-knots but have tested the storm jib in 45-knots on a tight reach and it worked great.
We’ve tested the trysail and storm jib in 50-knots and they allowed us to close reach comfortably. The boat is easy to heave-to in 30 - 60 knots with either the double reefed main or the trysail (we've done it quite a bit and it is very calming and relaxing).
The Code 0 is our dream sail. It points as high as 55 degrees apparent and allows us to close reach to broad reach at 50% to 75% of wind speed from 4 knots to 15 knots. The big Code 0 is too much sail above 18 knots apparent and generates more leeway than forward drive.
We use the Code 0 as a deep downwind sail with the spinnaker pole when we think the wind will only last a few hours.
The asymmetrical spinnaker is used from 60 degrees apparent to 160 apparent in any winds from 6-knots to 25-knots. It is a bit more hassle to rig but fun to fly.
Following is descending order of importance, degree of improvement on sailing, offered by each sail.
- Main – it made the boat a new creature and eliminated all the annoying rounding up and weather helm
- Code 0 – made the boat easily sailable in winds from 4 knots to 8 knots which was not previously possible
- Big Staysail – greatly improves upwind VMG in 22 – 32 knots apparent
- Genoa – much better shape in 15 to 20 knots than original Doyle 135%
The only thing I might do differently is have a larger genoa. The big staysail is so effective in the 22 – 32 knot
range that I would not worry about furling the genoa to 90% because I can put up the staysail. I might go with a lighter and larger genoa, e.g. 135%.
Everything I describe is based on sailing the North American West Coast
from the north end of Vancouver Island at 55 north to Zihuatenejo at 17 North. The typical cruising conditions are off the wind in 12 to 20 knots. We work very hard at not sailing upwind.
We sail with the staysail stay removed and secured to a U-bolt near the mast. We only rig the staysail stay when we are sure the wind will exceed 20-knots from less than 50 degrees apparent.
We sailed in 40 - 50 knots apparent at wind angles greater than 60 degrees on many occasions with the following combinations:
- double reefed main only
- genoa only furled to 90% (usually the best and most comfortable)
- double reefed main and big staysail
depending on expected duration of the wind and the wave conditions.
You can read a lot more details at THE VOYGAGES OF MIRADOR
where I go on forever about the various sails.