What was the wind
like for you in the South Pacific
I did the usual run from Galapagos
several years ago, and remember running or broad reaching under glorious trades nearly the whole time. It was rarely lighter than 15 knots. I had a whisker pole, a 110% roller jib
, and a 90% jib
hanked onto a solent. We used double headsails almost the entire way, and were almost completely satisfied with those sails
. I've never calculated, but we probably averaged 120nm days on a 40' boat, without really trying.
went through the Pacific last year, and seems to have had a bit more wind
. He went way faster than I did with just a jib and whisker pole (no solent for double headsails). He averaged 160nm days on his 40' boat.
A sail maker I am talking to relates that he had strong winds, and reached and close reached, on his run through these waters. I don't remember ever close reaching, except for maybe a few hours to get away from an island. He says that the trade
winds are usually glorious, but about 20 or 30% of the years, they are light.
and I are planning on heading that way next year, and I am trying to figure out a good low effort sail configuration. We now have a 48' cutter
. I planned to add a furling
light air sail in front of our jib, but now, talking to a rigger here in St Maarten, it looks like that's not going to be easy. I am adding a whisker pole, possibly two, next week.
My ideas are:
a) Just go with our working sails
with 'double headsails', where one is a staysail.
b) Add a giant 'light air staysail', since that sail uses hanks it's easy to swap with the staysail. The J of our staysail is 14', which makes it nearly as big as the solent on our 40' boat. And this boat seems faster downwind, it doesn't slow down when we bear off like our previous boat did.
c) Have a double headsail made with one luff, that we swap with the roller furled jib. Set it with two whisker poles. This was my first choice, since I remember so much broad reaching and running last time that I thought this would work nearly all the way across the Pacific. It'd be fun to have such natural balance and be able to easily set the throttle with just the furling
line. But the sail maker tells me his year across the Pacific was mostly reaching and close reaching, where this sail wouldn't work. It'll be a pain to swap with the normal roller furled jib.
Do you guys have any opinions, or wind experiences to add? We are looking for a very low effort sail configuration, and will happily trade
speed for easy handling. We also carry 250 gallons of diesel
, with which our 50hp Yanmar
and self pitching autoprop, is probably about 500 hours, or 2500nm of motoring downwind and maybe about 1500-2000nm motoring upwind.