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Old 06-06-2016, 02:00   #1
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Do I need a storm trysail with in-mast mainsail reefing?

My boat (32ft) has in-mast mainsail reefing. I have been in F6-7 with my storm gib and the main furled down to a small triangle.

Once the winds are as high as this I don't usually even try to go upwind, especially as I am in the Med where the waves are short and steep, so my current arrangement is adequate. However, I am planning an Atlantic tour and therefore wondered if a trysail might be advisable for the east-west leg?

I have a spare halyard and mast-track so could fit one fairly easily, and a trysail would be cheap (in sailing terms!).
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Old 06-06-2016, 12:19   #2
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Re: Do I need a storm trysail with in-mast mainsail reefing?

Since you already have a track, I would say yes to getting one. That being said, I really dont like trysails just because you can barely get them to set well enough to go to windward at all. You dont really need storm sails for any other point of sail. The one thing I found my trysail wonderful for was as a roll stopper in horrible anchorages. Hoisted as far as practical and sheeted as flat as you can, and it takes most all of the roll out of the boat and slows the remaining motion down to a comfortable speed. A second thought would be to pick up an old heavy main and have the leach recut to a battenless hollow leach and a very deep reef sewn in, and you then have a usable storm sail and a backup in case your roller main screws up, but it would not be practical for roll stopping. You can sheet a trysail to your boom or to the quarters, but the replacement main would have to be sheeted (I think) to the boom. Just an option to think about. _____Grant.
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Old 06-06-2016, 12:32   #3
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Re: Do I need a storm trysail with in-mast mainsail reefing?

I'd say yes, definitely. A furled main is not intended to be a storm sail. People do it, but there is a risk in damaging the main. The trysail is meant to give you some positive drive and control in extreme conditions. You are not going to get much windward performance out of it.
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Old 06-06-2016, 12:36   #4
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Re: Do I need a storm trysail with in-mast mainsail reefing?

I used to carry one years ago but these days a well made main should do the job.
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Old 06-06-2016, 13:35   #5
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Re: Do I need a storm trysail with in-mast mainsail reefing?

The main is fine until the furler breaks and the entire sail unfurls at the worst possible moment. Yes, to the trysail if you are going offshore.
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Old 07-06-2016, 08:50   #6
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Re: Do I need a storm trysail with in-mast mainsail reefing?

I bet anyone who has used it in earnest, never regrets purchasing one, whereas those that never have, wonder about the wisdom of that purchase.

Personally speaking: Having one would give me some reassurance that I have options if the worst came to the worst.

The fact you are thinking on it shows you are risk assessing correctly and trying to cover all eventualities.

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Old 07-06-2016, 09:57   #7
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Re: Do I need a storm trysail with in-mast mainsail reefing?

I'll take a contrary view on this issue, and say that a furled in-mast main is an awfully good storm sail.

The reason is that in-mast furling mains for some reason actually get flatter as they are furled, and work surprisingly well when furled way down. This is completely different from how furling headsails behave.

I know a number of people with furling mains who own trysails because they were required by RORC rules or some other racing rule, and none of them has ever used one of them in anger, ever.

Better safe than sorry, and if you have space to keep it, and money to buy it, and would feel better having it on board -- then go for it. But if you are reluctant to do it, my own personal opinion is that it is not really essential gear.

I have had my own boat in all kinds of wild conditions, and never felt any need for a storm trysail. My staysail is specifically designed to work as a storm jib, and that plus deeply reefed main works brilliantly in just about any quantity of wind.

When it really starts blowing (F9 and above), I am not doing anything but running off anyway, and I don't use any kind of mainsail for that -- just a bit of headsail for stability and a bit of drive.

The furling main has another advantage -- a big advantage -- over the storm trysail in that you don't lose the ability to vary the sail area. After a really big storm passes and the wind drops is often the most dangerous time, with abatement of the sea state lagging sometimes by hours. Sometimes you need to get more sail up to keep sailing and maintain control, and if you're like me, you don't like futzing around the mast, or God forbid, the foredeck, in big sea conditions, if there is any possible way to avoid it. You will really love your in-mast furling then.
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Old 07-06-2016, 10:41   #8
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Re: Do I need a storm trysail with in-mast mainsail reefing?

Getting to the mast and trying to get a try sail up in even F8 is horrible. It is much easier and safer to use a little bit of your furled main. We had 14 years cruising with 5 of those in the Med. and in 40+ knots would reduce down to the last 6ft of main and had no visible damage to the sail shape.

The only storm sail I 'believe' in is a small storm jib on a inner forstay. On our Tayana 47 I deploy it after about 30-35 knots and if the seas allow it will allow me to work to windward... A partially furled genoa is really inefficient and asking for trouble.

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Old 07-06-2016, 11:37   #9
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Re: Do I need a storm trysail with in-mast mainsail reefing?

I asked our sailmaker, Dolphin Sails UK the question... Do we need a storm jib and a storm tri sail? And their answer to both was No. They said the staysail was way over engineered to handle high winds and that we could furl it in a bit if necessary. They said the same regarding our in mast furling mainsail which they built for us.
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Old 07-06-2016, 11:57   #10
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Re: Do I need a storm trysail with in-mast mainsail reefing?

The "correct" answer is you probably should have a trysail. The reality is sailing has risk. It has to be thought thru in perspective:
-Will you sail in storm season?
-what are the odds of ever having to use the trysail over and above a furling main that can be rolled into a small patch?
-what other risks are you willing to accept? Spade rudder? Keel bolts? Plastic thru hulls? Cored hull? Life raft out of date? There is a long list of risks... where does not having a trysail lie in that list?
-what is the risk of trying to setup/fly a trysail in a storm vs sitting tight with a furled main?


There are a lot of corroded, new , never used, trysails around.
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Old 07-06-2016, 14:05   #11
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Re: Do I need a storm trysail with in-mast mainsail reefing?

I'm not an expert but the physics tells me that seeing as the force on a sail is proportional to the square of the windspeed on it, the force on a small patch of a reefed main might be too much for the material and the stitching. The size and shape might be Ok but it is unlikely to be designed for the forces on it.
Wind speed increase from say 10knots to 50knots ie 5 times will increase wind force by about 25 times so while the sail area is small, the force per square inch would still increase dramatically ..possibly way past the design strength of the sail. The trysail on the other hand is made of much heavier material and stronger fittings so it can handle the increased forces on it?

So in summary I think there would be a serious risk of damaging the furled mainsail in extreme conditions as no part of the mainsail is designed for that pressure. The storm trysail is designed for the extreme forces on the whole of it.
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Old 07-06-2016, 16:23   #12
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Re: Do I need a storm trysail with in-mast mainsail reefing?

We carry a tri-sail but have only used it once when the gooseneck was damaged.
I seem to recall reading that the tri-sail is designed for reaching and down wind sailing and the storm jib for up-wind. Certainly seem to work that way on our 40ft monohull. Important to experiment as every yacht is a bit different.
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Old 07-06-2016, 16:48   #13
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Re: Do I need a storm trysail with in-mast mainsail reefing?

We used a small storm jib or storm staysail to good effect in an Atlantic crossing but have only had my storm trysail up once and didn't even need it then. Larry Pardy makes a very good case for this sail in extreme conditions i.e.:lower center of effort with the center further aft etc...........Go to windward in TRUE storm conditions.....WTF !!!!!
Does anybody here ever even try this?

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Old 07-06-2016, 17:08   #14
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Re: Do I need a storm trysail with in-mast mainsail reefing?

What is a typical weight of cloth for a Try vs main?
Try maybe 13 OZ? Main maybe 9 oz? I cant remember. But the concern about a furled main vs a try... and stresses is not linear relationship. The furled sail has even stress distributed all along at the mast gap and a try has high stress at each track slide/cringle etc. The try of course is heavily reinforced...
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Old 07-06-2016, 17:15   #15
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Re: Do I need a storm trysail with in-mast mainsail reefing?

I think, in terms of heavy storm survival conditions, both a trysail and a storm jib may make sense. Storm orange.

However, I would not be scared to sail without them, if my other sails could be reefed to the same size and were in top notch condition. I'd rather the fore sail were a staysail then, not a big genoa that when furled down may be next to useless as a storm fore sail.

Dig out (possibly by googling about) Skip Novak's opinion. He sailed many stormy miles. See if what he says applies to your own situation.

Cheers,
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