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Old 18-08-2009, 13:56   #1
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farotherside's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: cruising northern Australia
Boat: Islander 34
Posts: 318
Searunner w/Cutter Rig - Trim Questions...

Hey folks,

I'm out on an extended solo-cruise around British Columbia's Gulf Islands, my first ever single-handing of my Searunner 37. Having a blast, and blogging about it at if you're bored.

Of course, I've run into problems, which I basically expected - but one in particular was actually quite fortunate. I was running her as a sloop, with my mainsail and a big genoa (I think maybe a 150? I wasn't told), but sometime during the third day of sailing, while burning along at 8.4kn I heard a pop and a spaaaang and looked up and the top third of the sail was flopping around powerless. I'd torn the grommet right out of the top of the sail! Apparently this is from too much halyard tension, but I don't think it was *that* overtensioned - the sail is probably fifteen years old and coming apart at the seams anyway, so I'll attempt a repair but if it's new sail time, so be it.

Anyhow, this forced me to go back to what I thought was a storm sail, a much smaller sail in the ama locker that I'd tried out once but wasn't thrilled with. But when I combined this smaller sail with the staysail, she took off like a shot, right back up to 8.6kn, where she stayed for the rest of the day! Turns out what I thought was a smaller genoa was in fact a yankee, and I haven't taken the 150 genoa back out since - I'm really loving the yankee/staysail/main combo!

So. My question regarding trim:

The yankee is tacked to the bow using the same 3' steel cable the genoa was using, which leaves about 5' or 6' of unused forestay at the top. The staysail didn't have a steel cable, so I've got an improvised nylon strap at the bottom, giving me about 3' from the deck at the bottom and 2' from the mast at the top of the sail.

What is the optimum configuration for a yankee+staysail? Should the yankee be much higher, allowing the staysail to take the "bottom" of the wind? Or vice versa? Should both be approximately in the middle of the stays, as they are now?
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Old 19-08-2009, 20:26   #2
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Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Mexico/Alaska/Oregon
Boat: 34' Searunner Tri
Posts: 725
I run both the Yankee and stay sail as high as I can. It makes it real nice to see under. You can figure your sheet leads by letting it luff up in lighter air. The sail should just flutter the whole length of the luff equal. If it flutters higher or lower first move the lead and get so it flutters all the same time.
Great that you got away with your new ride. I love singlehanding my Searunner. Having it rigged as a cutter you have as much sail area up as that big genny, but split up. In many ways easier to handle.
Reef by first dropping the yankee.....then reef Thai main (I usually double reef just because)...if it really gets ta snortin' you drop the main and go on staysail alone. A Serunner with narrow hulls and a big deep board will drive with great steering control on just a staysail alone. I have gone to weather in 35-40 with the board stiff staysail alone...just loving it. Self steering and hunkered down. Thi is after I ripped the main by keeping it up too long...:-) It was a sail to see what would break if I went out and strapped it in and I was laying in the cockpit looking up when the main let go...hahahah. The boat actually sailed much better after I got it down. Better motion anyhow.....:-)
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cutter, Searunner

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