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Old 15-09-2019, 09:39   #1
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Solent versus cutter rig

So the building of our new boat (outbound 52) is going very well and decisions needs to be made, looking at the sails configuration we see that we have options; between the Solent (100% jib)and cutter rig (75% jib)any ideas or comments will be welcomed and appreciated.
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Old 15-09-2019, 14:55   #2
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Re: Solent versus cutter rig

You should hŗve 3 stays. The Solent is awesome but it screws up the front sail operation. Or a Solent and a bowsprit maybe.
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Old 15-09-2019, 16:03   #3
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Re: Solent versus cutter rig

Here is a link to a thread about this issue from August: Cutter vs Solent Rig

If you put the issue into the CF Custom Google Search, under the Search menu, you will find a number of threads on this subject. It may be more than you want to read. ;-)

The other Search requires an exact match, is case sensitive, and the CF Custom Google Search works best for ideas.

Good luck with it.

Ann
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Old 15-09-2019, 16:11   #4
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Re: Solent versus cutter rig

If I were building a new boat I would plan to forget about the concept of the genoa entirely. I think that nowadays the trick is always to have furling downwind sails, and a furling code zero, either at the end of a short bowsprit or at the bow. The remaining foresails to me are strictly for 15kts upwards, and so I'd probably go for a cutter/solent rig but one designed for heavier weather only (i.e. no massive 150% genoas).

Once you've decided this is what the foresails are for, you can optimise the layout of them. The advantage of the Solent is that you don't need running backstays. The disadvantage of the Solent is that it's a pain to tack the genoa, but then in my scenario we won't be having a big genoa.

If you can bring the Solent stay a fair way back (at least six feet, say to the watertight bulkhead at the sail locker rather than at the back of the anchor locker which is common), then you reduce this problem even further and enhance the Solent's ability to hold a really small storm jib further back.

Small jib, perhaps more yankee than genoa shaped, and decent staysail (perhaps self-tacking) set further back means that tacking is much less of a problem than it would be with a big genoa and a Solent set too close.

These are only random thoughts...
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Old 16-09-2019, 09:29   #5
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Re: Solent versus cutter rig

Ahoy Aloha Spirit. I think we just saw you out on Raritan bay a few weeks ago ('Diablo' Red hull Classic Tartan 41). Congrats on the boat purchase!

As for the sail setup, You need to think 'where am I primarily sailing this boat' and where do I want to compromise my performance..

With 2 head sails, you will have some holes and/or overlap in the sailplan. The boat will under-perform in certain winds. I would ask the manufacture to provide you with wind velocity recommendations/sail configuration for each configuration available, maybe even polars for each sail plan if they have them. Try to match the sail plan to the location you will sail. If you plan to sail south to the trades you will have good wind, typically 15 to 25, whereas here in the northeast, you will likely sail in light air more often than 25.

We added a cutter stay (~60% jib) to Diablo before heading south to the Caribbean and had a 120% genoa on the main stay. For upwind work the Genny was fine until about 20knts and then we had to make way with it furled, which really hampers performance upwind, until upper 20's, near 30. Then the cutter went up and the boat sailed really nice, close to the wind, flat and fast (only needed it 3 days). BUT I had an obvious hole in the mid-20's where we under performed and we did a lot of sailing in that wind speed, but we were set up well to sail to weather in up to 40knts.. which never happened.

IMHO, tacking (furling/unfurling) a genoa around a solent stay gets old quick (maybe okay with electric furling?). So if you get the solent rig, it is b/c you will use the solent for nearly all up-wind work and the big sail for reaching.. good for trades, but not good for upwind in light air. The cutter rig would be easier to handle upwind in lighter air when you have to tack the genoa, but could have a similar hole in performance in the 20s that I had on Diablo...?? The cutter undoubtedly is better in 30+ conditions when the solent would overpower you without furling. But you should be able to confirm this belief in sail configs with manufactures data.


best luck
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Old 16-09-2019, 13:33   #6
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Re: Solent versus cutter rig

Cutters rule for flexibility and quick sail reductions.
Cutters do not require running backstays unless they were fitted as an afterthought.
Standing backstays attached to the aft-most chainplate work fine (but do require a bit more chafe protection for the mains'l when far off the wind)
There's more than one way to make the stays'l self tacking.

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Old 16-09-2019, 13:48   #7
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Re: Solent versus cutter rig

We have sailed our Outbound 46 for 10 years now, and really, really like the solent rig. Our cruising grounds are in the tradewinds in the Caribbean, and I think that matters in choosing a rig.


We are mostly on a close reach or a beat, and the solent sail with it's flat cut is superb in those conditions. We occasionally use the genoa upwind if the wind is light.


Reaching, (e.g. Guadeloupe to Bonaire), the genoa is fantastic, lots of sail area and easy to trim.


If you need to tack or gybe the genoa, you have to accept that rolling it up first is part of the maneuver. In our experience, cruising, that happens maybe once or twice a day -- not a big deal.


If you had different cruising grounds, where tacking or gybing in light conditions was a common event, you might prefer to have the inner stay farther back so you could maneuver without rolling the sail up.


Robin Sodaro at Hood Sails makes the sails for most Outbounds. (he's extremely good and knows the boats well). Maybe a phone call to him would help you decide. Phil Lambert can give you the phone number.
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Old 18-09-2019, 08:43   #8
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Re: Solent versus cutter rig

150 furling jib for light and moderate upwind, unless your boat sails fast with just the main and small staysail in light wind.
detachable solent stay because you will seldom need the staysail and then you can tack the genoa
. If you expect a lot of DDW in light air add asymmetrical,
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Old 18-09-2019, 09:04   #9
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Re: Solent versus cutter rig

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tillsbury View Post
If I were building a new boat I would plan to forget about the concept of the genoa entirely. I think that nowadays the trick is always to have furling downwind sails, and a furling code zero, either at the end of a short bowsprit or at the bow. The remaining foresails to me are strictly for 15kts upwards, and so I'd probably go for a cutter/solent rig but one designed for heavier weather only (i.e. no massive 150% genoas).

Once you've decided this is what the foresails are for, you can optimise the layout of them. The advantage of the Solent is that you don't need running backstays. The disadvantage of the Solent is that it's a pain to tack the genoa, but then in my scenario we won't be having a big genoa.

If you can bring the Solent stay a fair way back (at least six feet, say to the watertight bulkhead at the sail locker rather than at the back of the anchor locker which is common), then you reduce this problem even further and enhance the Solent's ability to hold a really small storm jib further back.

Small jib, perhaps more yankee than genoa shaped, and decent staysail (perhaps self-tacking) set further back means that tacking is much less of a problem than it would be with a big genoa and a Solent set too close.

These are only random thoughts...

I think this is very insightful.


One should really start with a clean sheet of paper and a clear idea what the sails are supposed to do.



My last boat had a 140% genoa whose purpose in life was beam reaches in light wind, and was not good for much else. I hated it and motored most of the time. I agree with Tillsbury that this is a sail which is not very useful for most cruisers, and a poor choice as a principle headsail.


A Solent rig is good if you want your secondary headsail to be a light wind sail -- and this could be a good plan if you're in mild latitudes or doing weekend/coastal sailing. But if you're going to have a sail for that, let it be a sail specifically for the purpose, like Code 0, which is at least very good at that range of conditions, and not try to pervert it into duty as a principle headsail.


For ocean sailing or harsher latitudes, you won't be needing the light wind sail nearly that much, and on the contrary you will be hating to screw up your jib by reefing it.



I'm using a non-overlapping high aspect blade jib 95% of the time on my boat, although I also have a very good (carbon laminate) 120% yankee like the boat was designed for.


I don't have any light wind/dedicated down wind sails.


This is how I use my sail plan:


* The blade works well on all points of sail, and works especially well upwind. EXCEPT light wind AND behind the beam. It works well upwind even in light wind.



* With light wind behind the beam, I simply motorsail. I have a Brunton Autoprop which is good for this.


* On anything from a reach and higher, I use the whole sail plan including the staysail, up to about 30 knots apparent.


* If I need to reduce sail area, I usually start with the main, then take down the staysail. I never reef the blade. Once I can no longer carry the full blade and reefed mainsail, I take down the blade and sail with staysail and reefed main alone.


* From about 30 knots apparent, the staysail and reefed main drives hard enough to make something close to hull speed.




So what that means in total is that I'm weak in light wind behind the beam, but I'm well covered elsewhere, and especially well covered in the awkward range of F6-F7 where most boats need to reef their headsail which ruins their performance upwind.


So that's a pretty strong proposition for the kind of sailing I do and where I do.


If your priority is dealing well with stronger conditions, I would definitely go with a cutter rig. If on the other hand your challenge is rather dealing with light wind, then the Solent is your friend -- you can keep a cruising Code 0 on one of the stays, and your working jib on the other one, and you can seamlessly shift down to the big light sail as the wind drops.


You can have it all if go with a cutter rig and then you add a sprit and one of those removable furlers like the Selden CX type. I considered that myself (and it's what my sailmaker recommended), but where I sail there is so rarely such light wind, that I decided that motorsailing is a better plan, especially considering the storage and handling issues with a big sail on a removable furler.


YMMV!
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Old 18-09-2019, 10:18   #10
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Re: Solent versus cutter rig

Quote:
Originally Posted by jmh2002 View Post
- No Sails to be used partially furled (for shape, performance, & longevity).

+1 000 000. Tattoo on forehead. Headsails work like crap when partially furled, and it drastically shortens their lifetime!!! If you need to reef you principle headsail you have chosen the wrong sail for the job!





The only quibble I have with JMH's excellent post is about the removeable forestay. If you don't expect to use the staysail much, by all means -- make the inner forestay removeable. Otherwise, not. It is great to have it permanently rigged on a furler (extra heavy duty one, the same size you use for the jib) and always ready to go, and tacking the jib around it is really no big deal if it's all set up right.



You don't need a separate staysail and storm jib -- use heavy material (or laminate) and have it cut slightly flat, and the same sail can be used perfectly well for both purposes -- a huge advantage to have that always rigged and ready to go.
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Old 18-09-2019, 10:29   #11
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Re: Solent versus cutter rig

After a lot of posts on this subject here is my now very condensed answer:

- Light Air Sail(s) on the Bow for upwind and downwind. Furling (removable).

- Blade Headsail as 'working jib' on the Forestay. Max 100% for no chafe. Furling.

- Inner Forestay well aft on the foredeck. Synthetic, not wire (removable).

- Staysail(s) optional on the Inner Forestay. Hanks or Furling (removable).

- Staysail(s) optional on all points of sail in light or heavy air (with blade furled).

- Storm Jib on the Inner Forestay in very heavy air. Hanks or Furling (removable).

- Inner Forestay is kept removed for normal sailing & the Blade Headsail used.

- No Sails to be used partially furled (for shape, performance, & longevity).

- All Furlers to be single line continuous models (light, simple & no jams).

- Mainsail to be Reefed as necessary to enable the Blade Headsail to stay fully set.

- Mainsail continued to be Reefed until you are at 3 or 4 reefs & the Storm Jib.

- Storm Jib only in extreme conditions.

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Old 18-09-2019, 12:31   #12
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Re: Solent versus cutter rig

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
The only quibble I have with JMH's excellent post is about the removable forestay. If you don't expect to use the staysail much, by all means -- make the inner forestay removeable. Otherwise, not. It is great to have it permanently rigged on a furler (extra heavy duty one, the same size you use for the jib) and always ready to go, and tacking the jib around it is really no big deal if it's all set up right.
I agree that this can make some sense for especially windy locations, or as the boat gets much bigger and the sails can't be easily managed by hand. So by all means of course leave the Staysail rigged when you are somewhere extra windy and you know you will be using it regularly.

And on passages, where you are not short tacking, also by all means leave it set. It's extra security for the rig too.

But options are still useful and it's not really much extra work for the Inner Forestay to be removable. In fact it may only even exist 'virtually' as positions on the mast and foredeck if you use modern sails with synthetic fibre luffs.

But for simplicity in most other sailing conditions, eg: normal trade wind sailing, island hopping, day sailing, etc, it's my intention that only the Blade Headsail be used together with the Mainsail, reefed as necessary, to give:

- Ease of tacking with the Blade Headsail
- No extra windage from the unused Staysail.
- No extra UV damage to the unused Staysail

It also means that for those with less budget the Staysail is completely optional.
Yes you will have a gap at times in certain wind conditions, but you can make do.

If the budget only allows for a Staysail OR the Light Air Sail(s), do without the Staysail or you will be motoring a lot.

A medium budget might allow for a Staysail, but maybe hank on instead of furling?

Personally I think that is still very acceptable, since even on a 50 footer the staysail is still quite small, and on the cruising average 42 footer it's really small.

Furlers are expensive. Do without a 2nd furler for the Inner Forestay and you can probably buy 2 staysails instead.

So if the budget allows for more Sails, then why not have a Heavy Staysail to give the Blade Headsail a rest, and a Light Staysail to set inside the Code or Asymmetric when off the wind?

Some people might not bother to set the Light Staysail just for daysail, but that extra horsepower could really make a difference on a long leg of a passage in light air.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
You don't need a separate staysail and storm jib -- use heavy material (or laminate) and have it cut slightly flat, and the same sail can be used perfectly well for both purposes -- a huge advantage to have that always rigged and ready to go.
I understand that this is becoming more common, but it is not my preference. It will depend on the sailing area and conditions I guess and for a near coastal boat I think it can be acceptable. A near coastal boat is unlikely to be out in extreme conditions.

But I think that a boat that does extended offshore passages should still have a proper Storm Jib, and that it should NOT be on a furler. When it starts blowing 40kn, 50kn, maybe 60kn, and the shxt is hitting the fan the last thing anyone needs is a furler problem.

But very little can go wrong with a heavily built hank on Storm Jib.

Also a useful sized Staysail is normally still simply too big to be appropriate as a proper Storm Jib.

ISAF tends to agree with me (or is the other way around? ) And I'll post their guidelines below for reference along with the example calculations that I did for another member's boat (a64pilot's Island Packet 38).

They make interesting reading and everyone should probably do these same calculations for their boats and make the comparison.

So, hence my the reasons by priority for the Inner Forestay (removable):

1: A position to set a Storm Jib
2: Removable for easy tacking of the Blade Headsail during normal sailing
3: A position to set an optional Staysail

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Old 18-09-2019, 12:45   #13
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Re: Solent versus cutter rig

Here is some regulatory info, even if it is from the ocean racing point of view (so cruising should be even more conservative?):

Quote:
Originally Posted by jmh2002 View Post
STORM SAILS:

Before you have storm sails made for your boat, read the ISAF Offshore Special Regulations for Storm and Heavy Weather Sails.

They are written for ocean racers but contain some sensible recommendations, not least among them a suggestion that storm sails should be built in a dayglo color.

Note that ISAF bans the use of high-tech fibers in storm sails. Other points:

Storm jibs must have an alternate means of attachment to the stay, other than the luff groove

A trysail should have an area no greater than 17.5 percent of mainsail luff length x boom length (P x E) and should be capable of being sheeted independently of the boom

A storm jib’s area must not exceed 5 percent of foretriangle height squared, and its luff must not exceed 65 percent of forestay length

• A heavy weather jib or (stay)sail should be no larger than 13.5 percent of foretriangle height squared

• If using a reefed mainsail in lieu of a trysail, the luff must be reduced by at least 40 percent

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Old 18-09-2019, 12:55   #14
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Re: Solent versus cutter rig

Quote:
Originally Posted by jmh2002 View Post
A storm jib’s area must not exceed 5 percent of foretriangle height squared, and its luff must not exceed 65 percent of forestay length

• A heavy weather jib or (stay)sail should be no larger than 13.5 percent of foretriangle height squared
Quote:
Originally Posted by jmh2002 View Post
As an example:

@a64pilot, if I have the data and calculations correct for your boat (from your link: https://sailboatdata.com/sailboat/island-packet-38)

Foretrangle height (I) = 46.5ft

Storm Jib: 46.5 x 46.5 = 2162.25 x 5% = 108 sq ft

Heavy Weather Jib/Staysail: 46.5 x 46.5 = 2162.25 x 13.5% = 291 sq ft

SailboatData lists your total Foresail area as 414 sq ft, so the numbers seem in the right range, with the storm jib calculation coming out to around 25% of the total Foresail area (and my earlier guess being that 50% of your Staysail size would look about right).

Also note that these are recommended maximums.

I guess this would also make your Storm Jib only a 3 or 4 ft long on the foot, so quite manageable by hand, and as a hanked on sail (or a free flying sail with a synthetic luff wire).

So from this working example, and regarding Staysails vs Storm Jibs:

- Total Foresail area = 414 sq ft
- Heavy Weather Jib/Staysail = 291 sq ft
- Storm Jib = 108 sq ft

Also note that these are recommended maximums.
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Old 18-09-2019, 13:10   #15
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Re: Solent versus cutter rig

Dockhead, if I have the data and calculations correct for your boat.
Moody 54: https://sailboatdata.com/sailboat/moody-54

Foretrangle height (I) = 68.67ft

Storm Jib: 68.67 x 68.67 = 4715.57 x 5% = 235 sq ft

Heavy Weather Jib: 68.67 x 68.67 = 4715.57 x 13.5% = 636 sq ft

Also note that these are recommended maximums.

What are the actual sq ft sizes of your current Blade and Staysail?
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