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Old 03-07-2017, 12:24   #16
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Re: Sail area a person can handle

I'm not sure there is a limit. Even a small Opti sail (about 40sq ft?) is hard to handle without some purchase. Once you employ tackles or winches there seems to be no limit. I can see very few boats without tackles or winches these days. Smaller dinghies maybe.

I think nowadays IMOCA's sails are the biggest handled by one person. They are about 700 sq ft, I think. A single sail will be around 60% of the total figure.

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Old 03-07-2017, 16:58   #17
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Re: Sail area a person can handle

I used to regularly set a 1400 Sq Ft heavy spinnaker single handed.


I did quite a bit of sailing up & down the Australian east coast. A surprising number of the best overnight anchorages are about 60 miles apart. In nice weather the wind usually has a sea breeze component to it. Very light early morning, only reaching good sailing by 8 or 9 AM. It tends to die off after 4 PM, & many of the bared estuary anchorages, entered to the westward are best entered by 4 pm., before the sun gets too low. To do these passages in the required time a spinnaker was useful, & not too hard to handle.


I developed a technique for getting it off when the wind got up a bit. The brace Halliard & sheet were all led to winches at the cockpit. In stronger winds I would undo the bitter end knot in the halliard & brace, set the boat up at about 45 degrees to the following wind, then simultaneously let both go.


The spinnaker would fly out to leeward, behind the main, & fall quite gently into the sea. With it gone the boat would slow considerably, & sail past it, still attached to it by the sheet. I would then pull it on-board by the sheet, dropping the now sodden mass in the cockpit, where it's wet wait kept it sitting quietly. I did this over a dozen times without damage to man or sail.


It did mean a trip up the mast to run the halliard again, & the sail required a fresh water wash when possible, but it did allow faster passages, without starting that infernal mechanical thing down in the bilge.
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Old 04-07-2017, 05:14   #18
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Re: Sail area a person can handle

We have so far a few posters agree that 500 sq ft remains accurate without electric winches, furler.
Training Wheels handles 660 sq ft, which probably setup in laminate sails, full battens and lazy-jacks.
TJ D's run a bit less than 900 sq ft, and Contrail run a 923 main, both uses electric winches, both agree that it wasn't difficult as long as there is advanced planning.
Hasbeen gives an interesting idea of having 2 mains, 780 sq ft for light winds, and 470 for trade winds. Different set of sails and setups for different condition certainly make things easier and it is important to have enough sail area to that a boat can be sail in one sail alone.
600 sq ft is easy to control with mast furler.
700 for IMOCA in offshore racing conditions.

I get the feeling that a main around the ballpark of 650 sq ft can be handled by an experienced single person with appropriate setup in wide range of conditions, 900 or more if advanced planning and electric winches are available. This may translate boat size between 50-60 feet, and if it can be powered by the main alone.
Under 20 tonnes in displacement?
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Old 04-07-2017, 07:05   #19
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Re: Sail area a person can handle

480 sq. ft. Gaff main. No winches.

I'm a 165 pound male. 48 years.

In 15 years or so, this sail will be too much.

Steve
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Old 04-07-2017, 08:50   #20
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Re: Sail area a person can handle

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Originally Posted by Panope View Post
480 sq. ft. Gaff main. No winches.

I'm a 165 pound male. 48 years.

In 15 years or so, this sail will be too much.

Steve
In 15 years, this problem can be solved by winches.
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Old 04-07-2017, 10:04   #21
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Re: Sail area a person can handle

With modern hardware and a good skipper there really isn't an upper limit. Or at least not one relevant to most of us. Boats like the IMOCA 60's have a mainsail of 1820 ft^2 and do just fine solo. Their largest spinnakers are over 3,500 ft^2. And the massive maxi-tris are sailed solo with even bigger sails.

The major difference is how far out you have to be thinking. When a sail change can take an hour or more you have to pre-plan everything, when even tacking takes 15 minutes you really cannot short tack up a channel. But in terms of doing it safely... probably up to around 10,000 ft^2 is realistic.
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Old 04-07-2017, 12:26   #22
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Re: Sail area a person can handle

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In 15 years, this problem can be solved by winches.
True enough.

However, with my newfound knowledge of this boat's tolerance for forward CE, my next mainsail will be smaller (shorter boom, tipped up gaff) and the headsail larger.

Steve
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Old 04-07-2017, 12:45   #23
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Re: Sail area a person can handle

Hmmm . . . With hydraulic furling mast, I singlehanded a boat with 3,000sq ft mainsail, on passage/delivery fron nz to Fiji (e.g. all weather). Was easy so long as system worked, would have been a mess if it broke, but was triple redundant.

I'v handled a 900 sq ft main on passage with no electric or furling anything. Not too hard if well designed systems. Getting a really nice looking 'harbour flake' was only 'big' job.

Our own boat had 750 sq ft main, with no electric or furling, which we had no problem in handling in all conditions.
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Old 07-07-2017, 10:51   #24
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Re: Sail area a person can handle

Quote:
An IMOCA 60 has nearly 7,000 square feet of total sail area. No electric winches. So I guess we have to define the one person...
It's what you can handle when everything goes wrong that matters. Here's a photo of the jib from an IMOCA 60 after the headstay broke. It took him a long time to get that back on board. Eventually he let the sail stream out in front and winched it in.
Click image for larger version

Name:	43 <a title=Jib in the water (640x425).jpg Views: 117 Size: 202.8 KB ID: 151415" style="margin: 2px" />
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Old 07-07-2017, 11:19   #25
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Re: Sail area a person can handle

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Originally Posted by Foolish View Post
It's what you can handle when everything goes wrong that matters. Here's a photo of the jib from an IMOCA 60 after the headstay broke. It took him a long time to get that back on board. Eventually he let the sail stream out in front and winched it in.
Attachment 151415
A similar thing happens to Guo Chuan on the former trimaran IDEC late of last year.
Unfortunately he either didn't handle as well or of bad luck, he was lost.
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Old 07-07-2017, 12:02   #26
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Re: Sail area a person can handle

I routinely sail single-handed on my Norseman 447 which has a nominal sail plan of almost 1000 sq. ft., but it is equipped with roller furling on genoa, stailsail, and an in-mast furling system (Forespar) for the main.

Of course sailing by myself means that I am quite conservative about reducing sail. I do it a lot, whenever I think that the wind might be rising. This means watching very carefully so as not to be surprised. So far so good!

Mark
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Old 07-07-2017, 20:14   #27
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pirate Re: Sail area a person can handle

Q. You guys are talking rock and roll. How much sail area can the "average" anarchist handle?

A. Not much.
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Old 08-07-2017, 08:30   #28
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Re: Sail area a person can handle

Quote:
Originally Posted by Foolish View Post
It's what you can handle when everything goes wrong that matters. Here's a photo of the jib from an IMOCA 60 after the headstay broke. It took him a long time to get that back on board. Eventually he let the sail stream out in front and winched it in.
Attachment 151415
Yep.

When things go wrong they go wrong. Imoca or Optimist.

You will remember the recent video where a small bay racer with three onboard could not control a flogging jib (maybe 50 sq ft total?) and ended up on the rocks.

Sail area is less of an issue, sail control is of paramount importance.

Cheers,
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