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Old 26-07-2007, 14:05   #1
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Storm Trysail Size

I am looking around to buy a used storm trysail for my Pearson Triton (28'). I've read that the Offshore Racing Council recommends a trysail that is 33% of the mainsail area. I've also come across more conservative figures like 25%. For those who have used trysails to heave to, if I had a choice between a sail at the lower end of the range (25%) and a sail at the upper end of the range (33%), what would you recommend? I haven't found a lot of used trysails for sale, but I located two--one is roughly 35% of the area of my mainsail and the other is roughly 22%. Which would you buy? The Pearson Triton is a full keel, sort of heavy displacement boat. Thanks in advance for any thoughts you have.

Jay White
S/V Dove
1962 Pearson Triton, #318
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Old 26-07-2007, 14:34   #2
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I just checked the original (VandeStadt) designer's drawing for my boat. It is an IOR 40' "one tonner", with a racing rig (i.e tall mast, big sails). The mainsail is a little over 500 square feet.

The trisail is 20% of the mainsail area.

If I were in your shoes, I would go for the smaller trisail (i.e the 22%).

Assuming you have decent reefing on your main, you aren't going to be pulling up your trisail until conditions are so ugly that you are pretty much in "survival" mode, so smaller sail area is probably better than bigger. I have carried a storm jib and 2 reefs in sustained 40-45knots true wind an the boat felt comfortable. I probably wouldn't go to trisail until the breeze was sustained 50+ (your mileage may vary, of course).

Bear in mind that you are really only looking for balance & steerage with your storm sails up. too little canvas is not going to be a problem in this case, whereas too much will definately be a problem.

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Old 26-07-2007, 21:47   #3
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I just checked the International Offshore Racing Rules. They state that the area of the trysail should not exceed 17.5% of the mainsail luff length x mainsail foot length. That is more like 35%, rather than 25% or 20%, but I atill reckon that smaller is better (if you get down to storm sails, you aren't racing, you are surviving).
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Old 27-07-2007, 02:20   #4
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Echoing Weyalan’s post:

Excerpted from:
Maximum Sail Power:
The Complete Guide to Sails, Sail Technology and Performance
by Brian Hancock
Excerpt from Maximum Sail Power

Storm Sails

“... Virtually all rating rules call for a storm trysail to have a maximum area no larger than the result of the formula:
0.175 x P (mainsail luff) x E (mainsail foot)

With a hollowed-out leech and foot, the area will be roughly 25 to 30 percent that of the mainsail ...”
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