Originally Posted by foolishsailor
There is no question that a high aspect squaretop mainsail is dramtically more efficient than a typical marconi rig pin top. Nothing theroetical about it.
Every race boat whose class allows for this uses them, all the high speed race cats use them as well.
The main benefit however is found hard on the wind while beating there is less and less benefit as you are farther off the wind.
Since most cruisers, especially when sailing cruising cats, do not spen alot of time going upwind the benefits of a high aspect main will be less.
Many thanks to dc for clarifying.
I personally think there's more to it. Crossing oceans is mostly downwind, but cruising cats, as I see them, are the vast majority who spend their time in the Med, the Carib and all the other popular cruising grounds. Those folks are pretty much upwind as much as down, mostly reaching. Maybe it's just me... but in the Caribbean
it seems like everywhere is upwind.
My background is 20+ years of wind and water
sports retail. During that time I've seen and sold all the countless innovations that came along. Some good, some bad, some great, others pointless. To me, its important to understand and judge, not only what that change was intended for but also to identify the resulting implications and unintentional side-effects, more often bad than good. There are typically characteristics that are not easy to quantify: How does it "feel"? When the going gets tough, is it kindly or does it kick my butt ? Even when to reef is subjective. I don't think it's possible to make the extent of changes to a sail that we are talking about here (relative to conventional cat sails), without affecting virtually all of its performance and handling characteristics.
I'm retired now but I still feel its a crying shame when I see a good innovation dismissed for the wrong reasons.
On a heavy cat with these new sails, speed and efficiency may well be unnoticeably different and if that's what was expected then I can easily understand the disappointment. However, in my experience, sails that actively twist off at the head under load, have a softer, more user friendly feel when the wind is gusting and nasty. We all know that cats don't heel and that we rig for the gusts. Here's a chance to ease that pain with a product that bends and twists in a beneficial way, not necessarily what the designer
had in mind, but a plus none-the-less. How great is that !
Personally, I'm OK with a line that pulls the head in to it's car as the leach tensions but I can well sympathize with those who don't want the added chafe and potential failure point, nor the expense of patented hardware. I think if the "elliptical" top accomplishes the same with no hassle ... that's double great and should be standard on every cat out there !
Dave L38 #38