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Old 21-10-2015, 09:19   #1
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Sail Options for 40' Cutter

It's about time for me to replace the sails on my boat, and I want to know if any of you have some recommendations for a good solid layout of sails. Here's the deal:

Right now, the boat is sloop rigged with original sails, the main and a 115% jib which was cut down from the original 135% genoa. Because of this, the jib isn't shaped as well as I'd like it to be. The boat is supposed to be cutter rigged, and has everything in place, it has just never had a staysail. I want to replace all the sails, and obviously start using the cutter rig as intended. SO...

Obviously if I start using the staysail, I can ditch the 115% jib and go with something bigger which I really need to do because the boat doesn't perform well in light winds at all. I really liked the original 135% genoa but I was thinking that with a staysail, I could run something even bigger on the main foresail such as a Code zero or an asymmetrical spinnaker or something, and then just have a solid larger staysail on a furler to use. What do you think?


I've never purchased sails and never rigged a cutter before, so just looking for some different routes and options to consider. Thanks so much for any feedback.
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Old 21-10-2015, 09:31   #2
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Re: Sail Options for 40' Cutter

Just realized maybe I should have posted this in the rigging sub-forum. Moderators feel free to move, thanks.
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Old 21-10-2015, 09:48   #3
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Sail Options for 40' Cutter

DDabs, with a cutter rig it is common to have a high cut Yankee for the headsail. This along with the staysail is a very versatile and safe combination. The high cut Yankee allows you to see past the sail on the leeward side, doesn't scoop up water in the foot of the sail when heeled hard over, and keeps the angle of sheet leads at about 45 degrees as you furl in the headsail without having to adjust sheet cars. It is a very handy rig. The staysail fills in the space below the Yankee and as a plus it keeps the headsail from getting hung up on the inner stay. It does suffer in light airs compared to a big overlapping genoa, so consider the addition of a light air sail particularly for down wind. A pole less asymmetrical would be ideal.


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Old 21-10-2015, 10:09   #4
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Re: Sail Options for 40' Cutter

Once you get to 135% +- you start having trouble tacking past the staysail. I ran a 150% on one of my cutters but had to roll it up a little to tack most of the time.
More info would help.
Location and type of sailing?
Crew?
Roller or hank on?
What do you consider light air?
How many sails do we get to spend "your" money on lol?
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Old 21-10-2015, 12:10   #5
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Re: Sail Options for 40' Cutter

I would probably go back to the 135, add the sta-sail the boat was built for, and consider adding a genneker for off wind performance.

Unlike a Solent rig a true cutter's sta-sail is just too small to act as a head sail in all but the biggest breeze. So you really can't go to a spinnaker replacing forsail with an inner 105 like the Solent can.
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Old 21-10-2015, 12:10   #6
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Re: Sail Options for 40' Cutter

Location is Atlantic. Crew is myself plus one other at times. I would prefer doing a roller furler for the staysail just to make things easier. I consider light air anything under 10 knts. I would like to get a mainsail, which is roller furled as well, a new foresail (genoa or bigger) and a staysail, so 3 sails.

Tayana42, thanks for the info!
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Old 21-10-2015, 12:11   #7
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Re: Sail Options for 40' Cutter

Can you run a Code zero sail at points of sail other than running? Or is it used like a spinnaker?
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Old 21-10-2015, 12:26   #8
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Re: Sail Options for 40' Cutter

In one of the Dashews' books there is a very fine discussion of what works with cutter rig. Perhaps grab the Offshore Cruising Encyclopedia and see if it applies to your boat.

I like the inner sail (the stay) to be small, flat and usable when reefed (again implying small flat and likely foam luffed.

I like the outer sail to be much lighter much bigger. The only problem is this sail is better cut deep for reaching and ... flat for upwind wok ... so basically either you invest into a C0/G pair on a furler or ... look carefully at your sailing area and decide which sail is actually more use where you sail.

My only observation re mains is they are better with full slats - easier to reef and less noisy when eased.

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Old 21-10-2015, 12:50   #9
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Re: Sail Options for 40' Cutter

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Originally Posted by DDabs View Post
Can you run a Code zero sail at points of sail other than running? Or is it used like a spinnaker?
The code zero is a upwind "rule cheater" sail. If you are nor racing you could use a large light drifter. These you can find used and much cheaper.
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Old 21-10-2015, 13:18   #10
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Re: Sail Options for 40' Cutter

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Originally Posted by DDabs View Post
Can you run a Code zero sail at points of sail other than running? Or is it used like a spinnaker?
They have also been proven effective at high wind reaching, but I don't consider a true Code Zero a cruising boat sail. There are a lot of sails sold as 'Cruising Code Zero's' that are really more of a Code 1 or Code 2 that are very suitable for cruising boats. These sails are designed for jib reaching conditions (say 50-90 AWA) and can make a huge difference when the largest headsail is still on the small side.
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Old 21-10-2015, 13:43   #11
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Re: Sail Options for 40' Cutter

Great info. The boat is by no means a racer, so I am looking for a solid, offshore, reliable setup.
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Old 21-10-2015, 14:24   #12
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Re: Sail Options for 40' Cutter

If you are going to sail the boat as a double headsail rig, that is with the staysail and jib both flying at the same time, you can get decent all around performance with a smaller jib. The slot between the staysail and the jib makes the sails more efficient than their square footage would indicate. If I still had the boat, would go with as large a staysail with some overlap as could be rigged, a 100% jib and a code zero. The staysail would not be roller furling but be reefable. The jib and the code zero would be on separate rollers. That should take care of sailing the boat from ghosting conditions with the code zero, force 3/4 with the full working sails, and roller reefed jib and staysail with eventual reef as conditions and winds increased. No need to go forward except to put a reef in the staysail which is largely just changing the sheet from one clew cringle to another for almost all conditions.

My double headsail experience is pre roller furling so didn't have the option of increasing/decreasing sail area except by changing sails and didn't have the money for a boat full of them. We sailed with loose footed staysail, Yankee, and a light weight reacher/drifter. That gave us enough sail area to cover all wind speed and direction issues except hard on the wind in very light air. The reacher/drifter was just too baggy to point high. Not as good as a big overlapping genoa alone in light air to windward but we didn't have to change sails except from the Reacher/Drifter to Yankee, usually in moderate conditions, to go from light wind to force 10. Just drop the Yankee and reef the staysail as windspeed increased.

We originally had an overlapping genoa staysail that, in conjunction with the Yankee, gave us decent performance even in light air. Unfortunately , the boat had double lowers and the genoa staysail sheet had to resheeted around the forward lower as the boat went from hard on the wind to a reach. Single lowers with a baby stay would have solved the problem but didn't have the time to implement that. Shelved the genoa staysail and went with a conventional staysail that was drawn for a club footed jib so was not optimal size when we sailed south.
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Old 21-10-2015, 14:29   #13
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Re: Sail Options for 40' Cutter

Why can't the staysail be reefed if it is on a roller furler? Am I missing something?
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Old 21-10-2015, 14:49   #14
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Re: Sail Options for 40' Cutter

We just made this same decision for our IP40 (also cutter rigged). After much back and forth with other IP owners and several sail makers, we went with a 120% Genoa, heavy build flat cut RF staysail, and an Asymetric. For us the deciding factor between an Asym and CCZ was the cost of the furler needed for the CCZ and making it fit our bowsprit. With the Asym we're planning to leverage the ATN tacker and dousing sock. Simple and more cost effective...at least in our case. Not at all saying that's the case for everyone.

Oh and while we where at it, we replaced our old worn out main...so it's been an expensive project, but one that we're excited about.

Good luck!

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Old 21-10-2015, 14:52   #15
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Re: Sail Options for 40' Cutter

Awesome, thanks ErBrown. Very similar boat so that's a great reference. Have you sailed the boat since the new sails? Noticeable difference?
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