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Old 02-02-2016, 12:14   #1
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What are good Catamaran sails?

For coastal cruising and the Carribbean:

Since safety is first, I assume you can reef or take down the mainsail and furl up the jib in gale winds.

Next I would think light winds would be a main factor in choosing sails. Would a genoa 130 and screecher be a good start? Can they be flown wing on wing instead of getting a spinnaker?

Which contributes more to speed mainsail or jib on a catamaran (think Gemini)?

I see videos on some people only sailing with a genoa. When would you do this and not use the mainsail?

Any real difference for a new sailor between the square top full-batten mainsail and traditional mainsail?

My priorities are safety, comfort, speed, and cost.
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Old 02-02-2016, 13:06   #2
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Re: What are good Catamaran sails?

Answers to some of your questions already being discussed here:

What downwind sail for a cruising cat?
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Old 02-02-2016, 13:46   #3
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Re: What are good Catamaran sails?

Quote:
Originally Posted by lindabarzini View Post
My priorities are safety, comfort, speed, and cost.
Well said: I want it all!!
And cookies!

Seriously:
A boat used or new typically comes with a set of sails. Start from what you have and improve over time.
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Old 02-02-2016, 15:00   #4
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Re: What are good Catamaran sails?

My first and only boat came with 34 year old sails that blew out almost every time I put them up, so I am biased to assume I will need new sails.
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Old 02-02-2016, 15:07   #5
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Re: What are good Catamaran sails?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rabbi View Post
Well said: I want it all!!
And cookies!
Not a set of steak knives?
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Old 02-02-2016, 16:01   #6
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Re: What are good Catamaran sails?

Ok, I'll take a more detailed stab at it (...but not with my new streak knives).

Im implying from your post that cats are strange animals to you. So, do some reading/research and get out and do some cat sailing when you can.

See answers "A:" below.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lindabarzini View Post
For coastal cruising and the Carribbean:

Since safety is first, I assume you can reef or take down the mainsail and furl up the jib in gale winds.

A: Yes, you can reef. Really no different than a mono...except you typically run a more conservative sail plan. Because of that, I prefer 3 reef points in a cat...just in case. Just like on a mono, you could strike/furl all sail, but sailing vessels behave better with the appropriate amount/plan of sail up rather than none except in extreme conditions where you might choose other tactics.

Next I would think light winds would be a main factor in choosing sails. Would a genoa 130 and screecher be a good start? Can they be flown wing on wing instead of getting a spinnaker?

A: For cruising use ALL wind conditions are important because eventually you will encounter them all (unlike racing where you could pick your sail inventory to carry aboard the day of the race). Purpose built light air sails are handy, but most modern cats don't run genoas. Most are mainsail driven sail plans (which I dont think is ideal for cruising, but thats how they evolved) with jibs that have very little overlap (some, none at all) . A screecher would be the most likely encountered sail similar to a genoa. I think its safe to say that most cat cruisers cruise with just main, jib, and maybe a light air/downwind sail.

Which contributes more to speed mainsail or jib on a catamaran (think Gemini)?

A: Most cats are mainsail driven sail plans with jibs that have very little overlap.

I see videos on some people only sailing with a genoa. When would you do this and not use the mainsail?

A: You could deep off the wind...or just when lazy and dont feel like hoisting up that big ass main sail commonly found on most cats. Closer on the wind you will point better with some main up.

Any real difference for a new sailor between the square top full-batten mainsail and traditional mainsail?

A: Square top full batten mails (by definition with a large roach area) are designed to increase mainsail area by taking advantage of having no backstsay. The advantage is you can get a hell of a lot off sail up in light air...the downside is it can be a hell of a lot of sail to manage if the breeze picks up. Thats why cats tend to have more blocks in their mainsheet, and often 2:1 on the main halyard, than a similar LOA mono...you will need that additional mechanical advantage at some point (a sure signle it is PAST time to reef).

My priorities are safety, comfort, speed, and cost.

A: Easy enough to accomplish, most any modern cat with a good set of sails will do that...except for the cost part...cat sails, due to being bigger and heavier built (to take the higher loads on a cat) are expensive.
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Old 02-02-2016, 18:07   #7
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Re: What are good Catamaran sails?

Well said belizesailor!


@OP: I would not expect that every used boat comes with sails that blow out. Most will be OK for a few seasons .
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Old 02-02-2016, 19:01   #8
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Re: What are good Catamaran sails?

Yes. Catamarans and spinnakers are foreign to me. I just have a little experience with an old 27' hunter.

I already had read the post on sails, but I just don't get spinnakers. They also seem difficult to hoist single-handed.

I'm looking for a solution for single-handed managing light winds. I'm trying not to let my fear of spinnakers prejudice me.

I didn't like hanking my jib in choppy water, so I'm also looking for safety at the bow.
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Old 02-02-2016, 19:31   #9
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Re: What are good Catamaran sails?

We have an asymmetrical spinnaker in a sock, easy to handle by myself + autopilot.
Others have gennakers on furlers and are equally happy.
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Old 02-02-2016, 19:56   #10
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Re: What are good Catamaran sails?

My mainsail lasted eleven years before it rotted out on our circumnavigation.

I never used the mainsail while running downwind under autopilot.

My spinnaker was too much work, and I left it in New Zealand, and I never looked back.

Downwind I used two headsails and dropped the main.

That is still my modus operandi.

The reason I used this sail configuration is that our autopilot sailed us around the world 99% of the time. I could have used the main when sailing downwind, but it would have been a major stress on the autopilot, and when sailing offshore, my number one priority was to protect the autopilot.

If I wanted to use the main, I could, but I would be manning the helm while doing it.

Of course if you are bay sailing with steady wind and flat water, then no issue with stressing the autopilot using the main when sailing downwind.

But offshore with big waves, big wind, and swells, I listen to my autopilot and how much it was complaining when I was deciding what I would do with my sails.

My number one priority is don't stress the autopilot unnecessarily, and I had an Autohelm 7000.
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Old 03-02-2016, 09:35   #11
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Re: What are good Catamaran sails?

Just replaced my Doyle offshore sails with Ullman tri radial main and jib. Triple reefs and 2-1 halyard keep it simple. 18 volt Milwaukee cordless right angle drill with a bit that matches the winches raises the main with the least effort ,clicked into reverse it hits the "low" speed of the 2 speed winches. I top the last few inches by standard hand winch handle so as not to tear out the head plate.
I day sail single handed often and use an asym in a sock off the wind.
Flying spinnaker-esque sails without a pole is a god send. Easily flown alone up to 45 degrees my Raymarine linear ll has no problem keeping up.
Flat top/ pin top? IMHO more roach on a 40' + cat isn't the trade of performance for safety I'm looking for neither is the longevity loss.
I picked up an easy 5 degrees to weather and one knot plus in speed with the new sails. A lot more holes and thread with the new radials compared to my replaced. main and jib,( btw: they're for sale in classifieds ), we'll see if they last like the others.
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Old 03-02-2016, 12:56   #12
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Re: What are good Catamaran sails?

Our boat came with an asym spinnaker. It was smaller than what is typically on a boat our size, but it did great downwind from Pont Judith to Cape May in 20-25 knot winds. Then Tom bought one the right size which well use when we start heading north again.


After we figured out how to use our spinnaker, it was no problem. Make sure it has a good sock. Next on my sail want list is a code 0.


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Old 04-02-2016, 00:55   #13
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Re: What are good Catamaran sails?

"I just have a little experience with an old 27' hunter."

- I started 3 years ago with a similar motorsailer. When I got to my 46 cat, was a bit different playing with a 705 sf main and assimetric. For hoisting main
I invested $700 in 2 speed winchrite (battery driven electric winch) she can hoist the main, or a man in a basket on one charge. Electric drill with a bit(as duefocena stated )also works. Most important to realize the difference in the trim and, controll the main/shrouds - so, the main don't touch the shroud. Pay attention to the batten pockets. There is a huge pressure on the main and if they not fixed well (in the port) you may see them coming out... I, finally lost 3 battens with a gust in the ocean and,was missing my main for the rest of the voyage.ATN spinaker+the bridle is my favorite play - may rig both in just ten minutes and,controlling the tack with a bridle, gives flexibility from 80 AWA up to... Hmmm, one day wind jibed and I was preparing to rehoist the clew sheet of my asspi to a portside... But, then I realised that it works like a genova - instead of being pushed, the wind was pulling us! And, the speed was not affected much..
Now, I'm shopping for code zero.
Have a good winds, Lindabarzini!
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Old 04-02-2016, 04:26   #14
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Re: What are good Catamaran sails?

I think you see genny only sailing because it takes 5 seconds to unroll or roll up. The mainsail takes more effort.

If you are going downwind, you don't lose much with just the genny and if you are actually cruising from point to point and the winds are flukey, you put her out when they are right and bring her in when they aren't. All depends how intent you are on maximizing speed.

The gemini doesn't use the mainsail driven rig that a lot of cats use.
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Old 04-02-2016, 05:11   #15
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Re: What are good Catamaran sails?

Re your (OP) spinnaker fears: handling a chute on a cat is generally easier than on a mono. No pole is necessary due to the wide beam and there is lots of foredeck eoom to work.
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