Here is a very good working example from personal experience:
On the Swan 51 that I spent years on I set the boat up as follows:
- Forestay (with 100% Blade Headsail, Furling)
- Inner Forestay (removable)
- Baby Stay (removeable)
- Large roach fully battened Mainsail
with battcar/mast track system
- Storm Trysail and separate track on the mast
And with this setup we would have multiple different modes for the boat.
- All stays fitted for maximum rig security
- Blade Headsail used primarily
- Depending on the Forecast
, on the Inner Forestay either:
- Hank on Staysail, bagged and lashed
- Hank on Storm Jib, bagged and lashed
We flew various Spinnakers too on offshore passages, but that's mostly irrelevant here.
If conditions were benign, we often had no sail on the Inner Forestay, because it was easy enough to go forward and set the Staysail as additional horsepower on a reach, sometimes inside the headsail, sometimes inside the spinnaker
If conditions were forecast
to be heavy we went straight to having the Storm Jib on the Inner Forestay, bagged and lashed, sheets
inside the bag.
We once left Newport
, RI in 35kn gusting more with the Storm Jib already in use and 2 reefs
in the Mainsail
. As the wind
increased we went to 3 reefs
, but nobody needed to go on the Foredeck. With more wind
still we could go to a 4th reef, and after that drop the Mainsail and continue with the Storm Jib only.
On this particular boat I have actually been in 50kn and 60kn plus for more than 2 days, on passage
out in the ocean, with mountainous seas, so all this is coming from real world experience.
We did also have a Storm Trysail, and Swans of that vintage had separate tracks on the mast
to enable bagging and lashing at the mast base in preparation for a big blow. We tested it, kept it on deck
very occasionally, but rarely used it, because of the Mainsail with 4 reefs. Over time it was mostly considered a backup sail in case we blew out the Mainsail on a long passage
DOWN ISLAND CRUISING:
After arriving in the Caribbean
we changed to a totally different mode for island hopping.
- Inner Forestay removed (we actually removed it from the mast
- Baby Stay back & fixed at the mast base (could be reset for a seaway in 1min)
- Blade Headsail used only (and it now tacks easily with no Inner Forestay)
- The Staysail was never used for island hopping
- Mainsail reef lines rerigged to 1st & 2nd, 3rd reef kept in the boom
The 3rd reef was kept in the boom to reduce unnecessary windage (yes, it bothered us) but it could easily be run before heading out if we expected a lot of wind. Normally it just wasn't needed for island hopping - if we were caught out in a squall the fully battened main could just be totally eased without flogging.
To me this is the huge benefit of fully battened sails - they just sit there quietly and nicely when eased for wind, or reefing.
- Now I would have a synthetic rope Inner Forestay instead and bring it back to the mast base instead of removing it totally. We were very keen back then
For island hopping the combination of the 100% Blade Headsail (never used partially furled) plus a big Mainsail, full or reefed as required was a great setup.
And in combination with being a Frers Swan with 9ft draft
she went upwind like a train. During 6 seasons down island we were never passed going upwind, even in full cruise
mode and the bilges full of rum
For Reaching this sail combination was also still normally enough because the trade
winds provided enough power.
In light air we were underpowered but this was a fast boat for her day so she still slipped along nicely compared to most cruising boats.
We occasionally flew a cruising spinnaker
but island hopping normally the legs were too short to bother while short handed.
- Now I would have a Code type sail on a single
line continuous furler
to add horsepower for light air upwind and reaching. This could be also be set on a pole to enable it to be used at deeper angles if NOT wanting to buy a specialist downwind sail. If buying
a specialist downwind sail this should also be on a single line continuous furler too. Life is so easy now with these furlers
This boat was also raced, so everything, including the headsail furler and forestay were removed, and a separate forestay with a tuff luff (twin groove lightweight plastic foil to enable racing
sail changes) was fitted instead. But that's a whole different story.
Hope this is useful info to understand how a an overall setup can work
in combination, and in different modes.