Originally Posted by Ex-Calif
You've said what I am thinking. Face it. 90%+ of the boaties are probably coastal cruisers and day sailors. Probably most are short crewed for the boat size - solo or couple. Push button ease makes sense.
I have a buddy with a 53+ foot cutter
. He leaves on the tide under motor
. He would never tack that thing in the channel. He motors out to the sea way and then sets the sails
for about 3-5 days on one tack...
Indeed. It is a mistake to turn this question into another rancorous anchor
thread. Everyone is entitled to his own way of sailing, and to his own preferred rig.
I do it both ways, myself, depending on the circumstances, crew, mood, etc. Setting off on a long passage I might well motor all the way out of the Solent (10 miles or so) before putting sail up, even when there is a perfectly good sailing wind. I do this from time to time in order to get the batteries charged up before a long Channel crossing (I have no shore power
on my mooring) and to enable crew to wake up, shower
, and have breakfast on an even keel
before we get down to sailing. I'm sure plenty of the day sailors in the Solent look at us going out and think what a bunch of lazy non-sailors we are, motoring in a perfectly good sailing wind, and snootily congratulate themselves on being real sailing purists. What they don't realize is that while they will be home on land that evening, we will be in mid-Channel under sail en route
to, say, L'Aber Wrac'h, or someplace, a couple hundred miles away.
Or on the other hand, I might short tack all the way up Southampton Water
, and up the Hamble right to my mooring
, terrifying the dinghy
sailors. It just depends.
Likewise, with self-tacking jibs -- I don't think anyone who states the simple fact that such a rig does not give you any control over the shape of that sail, is making a moral judgement. If you like your self-tacker -- more power to you. I have a self-tacker on my staysail, and despite its disadvantages, I wouldn't change it, because it's just not practical to tack the staysail separately.
On catamarans or certain monos with large roachy mainsails, fractional rigs, and small headsails, a self-tacking jib
may be perfectly good enough, and the ease of handling might very well outweigh the performance advantage you would get from a normal rig. Another approach mentioned by someone above is to optimize the self-tacker for work upwind, and just use a different sail off the wind.
My own perspective is somewhat skewed against them, because my self-tacking staysail is not optimized for sailing upwind -- it is set up with too much foot tension versus leech tension for that. So it looks ugly and it's frustrating trying to sail upwind with it. The designers did it that way because, no doubt, they assumed that this sail would be mostly used on a beamish reach, and on that point of sail it is fine. I am solving this problem pretty well with barber haulers, but maybe when I have new sails made, I'll have a clew board made with multiple sheet attachment points and try to solve it that way.
Those of you who have self tackers on your principle headsails probably have them optimized for going upwind. That would be logical as that is where you will need the small jib on a big-mained fractional rig. Once you get off the wind, the main takes over, or you need to put up a different headsail, or use a barber hauler. Every rig is a compromise, and this is a perfectly good one, and I don't think anyone intended to suggest otherwise. I might make a different choice, but that doesn't mean that I think that yours is wrong