I have had my cat for 23 years now, time flies. I am a racer
in dinghies and cats and know how to gybe downwind in apparent wind
boats. So when I launched my cat I got an assy made.
I spent a couple of years gybing downwind and could do it well, playing pressure and gybing on lifts. But a few years ago I sold
the assy and now have two symmetricals and a reacher. I don't want an assy any more.
really well to generate apparent wind
on really fast boats. You more than double the sail area on a typical assy skiff. Then you head
up to get it to start flowing and bear away - to wherever the assy takes you. You never steer a course with an assy that is doing its job, it tells you where to steer. This is not really good for cruising.
Another problem is that assys are great for monos, in that no pole is needed, but cats don't have to use a pole, so another advantage of assys is lost
Third, even a performance cat does not reach the power
to weight ratios that assy boats require. My performance cat has a lower power
to weight ratio than an old Farr 40. And they use symmetricals. Even when we generate apparent, we don't pull it far enough forward to make a centre mounted assy worthwhile - if - and this is a bif if - if you want to sail deeper angles. Your boat
is not as fast or powerful as an assy boat
like a TP52 mono, so
Have a look at the picture of a Sydney
to Hobart start. There are lots of boats trying to sail low. The fast ones are using furling sails
like Code zeroes, but they are doing 14 knots plus. The ones that are doing 12 knots or less and sailing deep angles are hoisting symmetricals. I find that if I average more than 10 knots for the day everyone wants to get off. (To average 10 knots for the day (dawn to dusk) my boat will sometimes be hitting 18 knots)
I found, on my 4000kg 11.6m daggerboard cat, that if I tacked downwind with my assy, then I would get to the anchorage, dead downwind, at the same time as my friends with the symmetrical. So after spending days gybing mulitple times and picking lifts, I got an old symmetrical and ditched the assy. If I was racing
I would get the biggest assy I could fit, on the longest pole possible and it would be great, but I would not sail easily under autopilot
I got a Code 0 for closer angles. This is a great sail. It can furl easily and will luff and not collapse. So it does closer angles on the prodder. Then when running deep, I hoist the symmetrical and lead it off each bow for square running. The boat loves sailing this way and it is a real pleasure to feel how gently and quietly she slides along being pulled by her nose.
There is a small hole in my sail wardrobe that could be filled by a HUGE assy. For light wind sailing I would love to find an old light assy that would be used for broad reaching but the times I need it are very few and far between and I can do this with the symmetrical - monos do all the time.
So for my two cents - get a symmetrical for square running and a Code zero
for higher angles.