We have a 40' cat with a 24' beam, 6 t with full cruising crap loaded aboard and we carry a fully battened main; R/F genoa
; R/F screacher and assymetric spinnaker
Normally we slow down once we hit 10+ knots of boat speed in order to keep things comfortable, but sometimes we want to have fun or get the adrenalin going or just get somewhere sooner...
The spi is a little small so we can keep it up until the true wind
hits the low 20s. Once we start going over 15 knots boat speed, we think seriously about getting it down. This means the apparent windspeed hits a minimum of about 8 knots or so, but the issue is when you come down a wave, hit the trough, decelerate and the maximum apparent windspeed suddenly increases to 15+. On a recent passage
, we left it up for 4 days straight but that was a bit unusual. It started to tear slightly in one corner, so we brought it down.
It might be better to have another larger kite for lighter winds but unless we stumble on a cheap
one at a swap meet, we won't worry too much.
If we know there will be stronger winds or the possibility of squalls and we need to sail deeper, we wing and wing with both the roller furling
headsails. Never, ever the main! No poles are necessary when winging with both headsails, but we do swap the genoa
sheet over to a snatch block on the toe rail. This double-headsail arrangement gives us more sail area than just the spinnaker
and they are easier to partially furl if a squall comes through. And all the drive is forward, so the boat is easy to steer.
Along our learning
curve from monos to cats, we have realised the following 2 important points:
1. If the apparent wind
is above about 12 knots (for us - YMMV) and behind the beam, there is no real need to have the main up. We just use the sails
forward of the mast
, swing the boom out of the way and allow the solar panels
to do their thing.
2. Cats affect the apparent wind so much with their speed, that it is really important to keep an eye on both the apparent and true wind prior to changing course or doing a sail change. A mate who sailed with us called it the Wind Factory effect. Cats make their own wind so much more than a mono. Or when running downwind, we just delete that same wind.
The consequences of this means that with true wind speeds below about 8 - 10 knots, we use the full main and screacher and tack downwind. We get the sails
up, put the wind on the beam, accelerate, the apparent wind starts to come forward, so we turn downwind while maintaining the apparent wind on the beam. If we went DDW the apparent wind speed drops too much. But if we are feeling lazy or are planning on doing a short day sail, we will go with one or two of the headsails and the boat speed wrecks the apparent wind speed and we just go slower.
Here is a video showing some different sail combinations with true wind speeds up to a max of about 20 knots and a min of about 8. About halfway through the video, you can see the full main and screacher, with boat speed of 9 - 10 knots, apparent wind speed of 9 - 10 knots on the beam and a true wind speed of 13 knots on the port quarter.
For a different example, here is another video showing our boat mostly running downwind with true wind speeds from 15 - 35 knots. Once they hit 40, all the sails came down and the video experience ended.
So, Lagoon4US, in summary, you shouldn't need poles, but a R/F screacher would be a good addition or the high cut jib
as you suggested. What is your beam? Running downwind with the main and jib
wing-and-wing just puts the boat out of balance and places more effort on the autopilot
, especially when the boat wants to broach on a decent wave. So, to answer your question, yes, try not using the main when running and add at least a jib (but preferably a screacher on its own furler).
All these comments above are based on our experience with our boat - a Kelsall
Suncat 40, fully loaded for cruising, with dagger boards
and a rotating mast
. The Lagoon
is a different boat, but many of the same concepts are applicable.
Good luck, mate!