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Old 11-11-2017, 03:33   #1
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Sail quantities at night

I plan on doing several overnight trips on our current voyage north just mainly for practice for when we eventually go overseas and I am curious to know how much saIl people have up at night time when sailing. Do you always reduces sails or if it’s forecast pretty mild weather do you keep full sales up or do you just use a headsail I’m very interested to know what people actually use thanks.
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Old 11-11-2017, 04:05   #2
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Re: Sail quantities at night

I think most cruisers reduce sail at night. One contributing factor is that in many areas, squalls are more likely at night. Plus you are often shorhanded with crew off watch (many cruisers are just couples).

I often, but not always, pull a single reef in the main at night.
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Old 11-11-2017, 04:59   #3
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Re: Sail quantities at night

Reef at night, I'm always short handed and it is safer and less stressful to be prepared. Any help you might get will be sleepy and in a fog so reef, have dinner and relax.
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Old 11-11-2017, 06:04   #4
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Re: Sail quantities at night

we double-hand, so there is always only one person on watch during the night. This means we never fly our kite (some do but we're not in a hurry) and generally we go to the 2nd reef in our mainsail.
Why second reef? BEcause our experience is that with the second reef in, even if we get surprised by a squall we don't get knocked down - just pushed slightly over.

Capri is a fast boat and she will make 6+ knots on the second reef in 10-12 knots of wind- She needs a bit more if it is from behind.

The other point is we generally are poled out when passagemaking so we need to be able to let the sails stay as they are if a squall hits
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Old 11-11-2017, 06:08   #5
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Re: Sail quantities at night

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Originally Posted by carstenb View Post
we double-hand, so there is always only one person on watch during the night. This means we never fly our kite (some do but we're not in a hurry) and generally we go to the 2nd reef in our mainsail.
Why second reef? BEcause our experience is that with the second reef in, even if we get surprised by a squall we don't get knocked down - just pushed slightly over.

Capri is a fast boat and she will make 6+ knots on the second reef in 10-12 knots of wind- She needs a bit more if it is from behind.

The other point is we generally are poled out when passagemaking so we need to be able to let the sails stay as they are if a squall hits
I like the 'safety first' aspect of night sailing. I too reef down in moderate winds on both a mono and a catamaran if sailing alone at night. Saves the pucker factor if get a sudden gust. Well worth it.
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Old 11-11-2017, 09:41   #6
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Re: Sail quantities at night

I reef and rig a preventer, or depending on wind, drop mainsail and sail with genoa only or genoa and staysail. And make sure you tighten the preventer line with a winch. I won't say how I learned that.....
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Old 11-11-2017, 10:13   #7
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Re: Sail quantities at night

Great question!

I ALWAYS reduce sail at night. There is no upside. This is why our daily runs were more like 160 than 200 but who cares?

We talk about being “out there” so much and when we actually get “there” all we talk about is how to minimize the time “out there.” :-)

I would generally put a double or triple reef (if between Tonga and NZ) at sundown then just enjoy the night passage at 5 knots instead of 8.

When the inevitable squall showed up might roll the jib in a titch then back to playing solitaire in my underwear instead of weather gear">foul weather gear.

Nothing good happens in the pitch dark, prudent to respect the same ;-)
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Old 11-11-2017, 10:39   #8
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Re: Sail quantities at night

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Originally Posted by jmackay View Post
Reef at night, I'm always short handed and it is safer and less stressful to be prepared. Any help you might get will be sleepy and in a fog so reef, have dinner and relax.
This. Four knots for 12 hours only seems slow when you contemplate eight knots for 15 minutes when that clear-air squall hits you with too much sail on.
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Old 11-11-2017, 11:21   #9
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Re: Sail quantities at night

We sail 2 handed and do 3 hour watches at night. We normally put a reef in at night as the Genoa can be easily reduced by 1 person in a squall and it means the person below gets their uninterrupted beauty sleep
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Old 11-11-2017, 11:35   #10
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Re: Sail quantities at night

I don't always reef down further at night, but I do if there is any possibility of squalls during the night.

One of the advantages of having a bigger (130%) genoa on roller furling gear is that it is a one man job from the cockpit to partially furl it. If I went with a second reef in the main at night, the big foresail kept my speed loss to less than a knot in under 10 knots, and I could handle anything up to 40 knots by furling down the genoa as needed. Even my wife could do the furling, as the furling line went around a small electric anchor capstan.

This is the main reason I have to laugh at the guys who insist on hank on sails, and the cat owners who bought a boat with a huge main and tiny jib.
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Old 11-11-2017, 11:59   #11
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Re: Sail quantities at night

Reduce sails!!

About 12 years ago I learned my lesson. Had a perfect weather forcast for the next week+. Running off shore north bound from Jacksonville to Charleston. Had full sails up on Destiny a 41 ft Morgan Out Island ketch. At around 10-11 that nigh the weather man was full of sh...t. Two small low pressure systems converged right over our track. Had to go on deck to reef. My wife was partially blind so it was mostly single handing for me.

Once I got reefs in and things back under control. It was fun. Prior to that my wife had a bunch of non complimentary things to say about me and why we were out there.

Never again. Always shorten sails at night. Better safe than sorry

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Old 11-11-2017, 12:33   #12
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Re: Sail quantities at night

Have never reduced sail at night. The few times I've had to tie in a reef at night were more than balanced out by the times I shook a reef out. We've done mostly tradwind sailing in the Pacific but even in coastal sailing in the Atlantic haven't had any problems. Most of the significant weather like the thunder heads in the Gulf and East Coast of Florida are sun generated and moderate at night. Don't ask for trouble as I don't fly a spinnake, day or night. Just too much to handle solo and windvane has difficulty steering with it up.

Giving up a couple knots of boat speed to reef at night can extend your passage time by a day for every 5 days your on a passage. Would rather get to my destination faster than risk getting caught out in a major weather change because I dawdled.
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Old 11-11-2017, 13:45   #13
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Re: Sail quantities at night

We normally reef at night. The lost speed is normally minor in the big picture.
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Old 11-11-2017, 14:20   #14
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Re: Sail quantities at night

When you coast you will possibly find more gusty conditions (especially with offshore winds). Then it often makes sense to go conservatively into the night to avoid excessive reefing / unreefing.

But this is not often the rule offshore (you mention going bigger trips one day).

Offshore, the wind tends to be a bit less instable (no landmasses to bother you with daily breezes) as well as you have more playfield to use up or spill any excess wind (should you get some, contrary to your evening judgement).

So my own bag of tricks contains both conservative amt of sail while inshore (say out to about 200 or 300 miles from the continent) as well as sailing with full evening suit (offshore, and not within a tropical wave or a wx front).

In your particular situation, inshore, I would sail conservatively.

Cheers,
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Old 11-11-2017, 14:48   #15
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Re: Sail quantities at night

We never reef just because it is going to be night. Our boat is setup so reefing is easy. 1st reef goes in all from the cockpit. We reef when the winds go higher, when we think the winds will go higher and when there's a likelyhood of squalls. We do this night or day.
In my mind, slowing down every night on a passage just exposes you to more potential bad weather. The more days on passage, the less reliable the forecast.
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