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Old 23-10-2015, 10:35   #1
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Sailing advice - mainsail lying on shrouds?

As with all cat owners, my mainsail rests against the shrouds when I let out the boom when sailing downwind.

I realize that this causes wear and tear on the main but other than that, are there disadvantages to doing this? Does the shroud change the shape of the sail negatively or does this not matter when sailing downwind? Should I be tightening up on my mainsheet to keep the main just off the shrouds?

Thanks.
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Old 23-10-2015, 11:01   #2
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Re: Sailing advice - mainsail lying on shrouds?

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Originally Posted by Privilege View Post
As with all cat owners, my mainsail rests against the shrouds when I let out the boom when sailing downwind.

I realize that this causes wear and tear on the main but other than that, are there disadvantages to doing this? Does the shroud change the shape of the sail negatively or does this not matter when sailing downwind? Should I be tightening up on my mainsheet to keep the main just off the shrouds?

Thanks.
This is true of all marconi sailboats sailing off the wind, and is not unique to your boat or to cats. If you are sailing on a broad reach, that's just what happens.

Most cats have spreaders that sweep back pretty far, if you try to pull the main in off the shrounds completely, you will be sheeted in WAY too far for efficient reaching.

If possible, you want to vang the boom down when the sail is against the shrounds. This will control most of the sail destroying chafe cause by the boom pumping up and down.
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Old 23-10-2015, 11:52   #3
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Re: Sailing advice - mainsail lying on shrouds?

We found that the easy way to address the wear of our main sail in this situation was to get hold of some heavy, self-adhesive sail cloth and glue patches to the main sail in places of wear. We think of them as sacrificial and replace as needed.
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Old 23-10-2015, 16:01   #4
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Re: Sailing advice - mainsail lying on shrouds?

I have stand-up blocks mounted on the side decks about a metre aft of the shrouds, and use these to pull the boom down, which keeps the sail off the shrouds and also serves as a gybe preventer.
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Old 24-10-2015, 08:26   #5
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Re: Sailing advice - mainsail lying on shrouds?

How about putting PEX tubing over the shrouds?
Bill


QUOTE=Privilege;1944566]As with all cat owners, my mainsail rests against the shrouds when I let out the boom when sailing downwind.

I realize that this causes wear and tear on the main but other than that, are there disadvantages to doing this? Does the shroud change the shape of the sail negatively or does this not matter when sailing downwind? Should I be tightening up on my mainsheet to keep the main just off the shrouds?

Thanks.[/QUOTE]
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Old 24-10-2015, 08:42   #6
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Re: Sailing advice - mainsail lying on shrouds?

Some baggywrinkle would work. And look massively salty to boot. May not match the design image of a cat.

Happens to me too. I throw on some vang to keep the boom from moving around. On the old main there was a mark, but nothing all that bad.

(But I'm not sailing for days at a time, furthest I go is 40m)
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Old 24-10-2015, 08:53   #7
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Re: Sailing advice - mainsail lying on shrouds?

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Originally Posted by anacapaisland42 View Post
How about putting PEX tubing over the shrouds?
Bill
[/QUOTE]

HAVE IT ALREADY DONE ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Privilege View Post
Should I be tightening up on my mainsheet to keep the main just off the shrouds?
... AND STILL AVOID THE MAIN TO TOUCH THE SHROUDS ALWAYS SAILING A "RACING WAY" WITH THE WIND @ MAX 120 DEGR PT/SB.
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Old 24-10-2015, 09:15   #8
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Re: Sailing advice - mainsail lying on shrouds?

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We found that the easy way to address the wear of our main sail in this situation was to get hold of some heavy, self-adhesive sail cloth and glue patches to the main sail in places of wear. We think of them as sacrificial and replace as needed.
I have sacraficial sail cloth patches on my main too. Just on each batten pocket where it tends to touch the side stays. This works fine for me.

Speaking of battens. Careful with getting too much pressure against the side stay, you can snap a batten this way. In my anecdotal experience (no testing), round battens seem more prone to snapping under this kind of pressure than flat. Have seen it happen for example whem the mainsheet has gotten away from the trimmer.

I also rig a preventer and use it similar to a vang to trim down on the boom (the angles for this work better on a cat). This helps reduce belly of the main and thus contact.
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Old 24-10-2015, 09:38   #9
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Re: Sailing advice - mainsail lying on shrouds?

To prevent wear, we try not to let the main rub on the shrouds. Vang tension helps. The long traveler helps give a better sheeting angle, too. We had our sail maker sew heavy clear plastic material over the batten pockets to protect the main at the common wear-points.
That said, the after shrouds do limit a cat's ability to trim for a most-efficient broad reach or run. Running, we douse the main and we sail under genoa or twin headsails, "wing-on-wing." Now that's a pretty sight!
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Old 24-10-2015, 13:16   #10
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Re: Sailing advice - mainsail lying on shrouds?

If your main is on the shrouds, you might as well pull out the outhaul & flatten the sail. This & vang will reduce the contact & chafe and let the boom be flown well out. Other than this, good suggestions are noted above. On my Tornado, I flatten the main and reach up a bit. The added speed well compensates for the grater distance.
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Old 24-10-2015, 14:48   #11
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Re: Sailing advice - mainsail lying on shrouds?

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Originally Posted by 44'cruisingcat View Post
I have stand-up blocks mounted on the side decks about a metre aft of the shrouds, and use these to pull the boom down, which keeps the sail off the shrouds and also serves as a gybe preventer.
That's what I do when broad reaching.
When going downwind, I drop the main and use two headsails.
After 5y living aboard and crossing two oceans downwind, no wear on the main.
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Old 24-10-2015, 17:57   #12
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Re: Sailing advice - mainsail lying on shrouds?

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When going downwind, I drop the main and use two headsails.
The best response, so far, IMHO.

If your main is on the shrouds or spreaders you're unnecessarily chafing the sail. On a cat this is a signal to switch your downwind strategy and drop the main - or center it to the wind - and go with a sym spi or genoa/reacher/screecher. If you're cruising, why risk the wear and tear on the mainsail and aggravation of sailing downwind on the main with the risk of an accidental gybe?? A symmetrical spinnaker flown alone is a terrific sail for deep angles on a cat. No pole is needed and the thing essentially gybes itself. Child's play. In wind too high for cruising chutes, simply using a genoa or reacher with no main is very easy on the boat and crew. Several years ago on an 8 day passage from the Ches Bay to Tortola we didn't even raise the main for the first 6 days. It was a downhill sleigh ride with genos or sym spi. Very easy bluewater cruising.

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Old 24-10-2015, 19:29   #13
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Re: Sailing advice - mainsail lying on shrouds?

I think this is over-generalizing and over-simplifying things. For example, our boat has soft PVC shroud covers and chafe patches on the battens. We regularly run downwind with the main pinned against the shrouds and have never experienced one small bit of chafe in 12 years.

It all depends on the boat and sail design and setup.

Many catamarans have proportionally small headsails, so there is a large range of wind and sea conditions between safely running a spinnaker and wallowing along under just a headsail. Much better to use both sails in this range, and setting up the boat to allow the main to operate fine is a good thing - not something to be avoided.

No way would I be locking the main to center when going downwind. That is a recipe for disaster - one good gust and wind shift and it could be all over quickly.

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Old 24-10-2015, 23:16   #14
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Re: Sailing advice - mainsail lying on shrouds?

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How about putting PEX tubing over the shrouds?
Not to go off on a tangent, but I always wondered by there weren't foil shaped covers available for shrouds. A round section has terrible drag. For very little cost you could make an extrusion with a foil shape and a slit, you could even cut into small sections and let each section feather to the right wind angle. It would really decrease the drag on the shrouds.
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Old 25-10-2015, 01:49   #15
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Re: Sailing advice - mainsail lying on shrouds?

replacing the vang with a vang/preventer setup like this one may help, gives lots of control, and you can fit various brakes at the boom end to make gybes less 'fun'!
Its a nice easy to fix and mod system too.
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