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Old 09-08-2020, 10:05   #1
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Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Sitka, Alaska
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Looking for a used mizzen

Good morning! I am in the midst of trying to buy a new to me boat (Skookum 56) and spent a few hours yesterday with the sails stretched out in the living room floor (and beyond). The original sailmaker is Sails by Watts, so that gives you an idea of the age of the inventory.

The jib, staysail, and main are in decent condition and will give me a few more years before I have to consider another big investment. The mizzen, however appears to have been left on the boat uncovered for a significant length of time and is in pretty sad shape. Dirty, stained, lots of small holes and some serious wear areas that I would need to patch before I would feel safe using the sail.

So I spent some time searching for used mizzens without much luck. All the usual suspects—Bacon’s, Second Wind, Minnie’s, Atlantic Sail Traders have come back empty, with one exception. On one site ‘Main/Mizzen’ is the search criteria, so I found two mains that seem to fit.

Here’s the question: is there a significant difference between a “main” and a “mizzen”? Are we simply looking at a function of size? Are there particular features of the mizzen I’m looking for that you would NOT find on the main?

I’m admittedly new to ketch sailing, so any suggestions will greatly appreciated.

Thank you in advance,

Bill
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Old 13-08-2020, 14:46   #2
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Re: Looking for a used mizzen

Sails that are designed and cut to be mizzens are generally quite flat They're continually operating in the backwind of the main, so having a big draft or curve in the sail is likely to simply make it luff a lot. On the other hand, since they add relatively little to speed upwind,(especially on yawls) mizzens are often only set going downwind - in which case they don't have to be so flat. That may be why yours was left furled and neglected. It may even have only been used at anchor, to hold the boat into the wind. Mains are designed with more draft so they can provide more power for moving the boat. The mizzen on a ketch may provide a bit more drive than a yawl's might, but if there's a choice of sails for the mizzen, using the flatter one might make the most sense.
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Old 13-08-2020, 17:22   #3
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Re: Looking for a used mizzen

I find that when sailing upwind my mizzen isn't about drive, it's about balance. Trimming the mizzen to balance the weather helm helps reduce drag = increased speed
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Old 14-08-2020, 04:55   #4
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Re: Looking for a used mizzen

Quote:
Originally Posted by pilott View Post
I find that when sailing upwind my mizzen isn't about drive, it's about balance. Trimming the mizzen to balance the weather helm helps reduce drag = increased speed


We use ours the same. Balance upwind.

On our boat once we’re off the wind more than a close reach I douse the mizzen, it adds more helm than it does drive.

That said, our mizzen is getting older and baggy, this means it’s far less effective at balancing upwind as it’s not flat enough anymore.
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