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Old 31-05-2019, 09:04   #61
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Use of specialized sails by shorthanded cruisers

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Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
I will second the suggestion about cutter rigs for offshore sailing. This is a good idea. I sailed sloops for decades and after 10 years with a cutter, I can now say that if you have one stick, you really want it to be a cutter, for offshore work, which adds a lot of flexibility in the sail plan, plus a built-in, always rigged storm jib.


My cutter is set up so that I never have to reef a headsail -- I go straight from full jib, to staysail, at 30 - 35 knots of apparent wind.


I do similar , but go from code zero to Genoa at 15 kts, then to stay sail with wind in the high 20ís, largely cause where I sail thatís an indicator that worse is coming, above high 20ís in my part of the world is storm winds and I have been knocked down partially once, that was enough.
An average day seems to start with light winds for us, perfect for the code zero, but by lunch is sometimes too much for the code.
But Iím not brave enough to run it at night, not yet anyway.
Before the code zero we pretty much had to motor, or sit and wait for winds, an IP is not a good light wind boat. The code zero has greatly extended those times that we can sail as opposed to motor or sit.
From there I start reefing the main, my staysail is made from particularly heavy cloth, 10 Oz I think.

I have thankfully not been out in weather that was too much for the staysail.
I hope that never occurs.
My staysail is my storm sail, I have no specialized storm sail.
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Old 31-05-2019, 09:24   #62
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Re: Use of specialized sails by shorthanded cruisers

When I left for the Caribbean, I had a single line furling Code 0 added to my boat since I single hand a lot. In light air--under 15 mph--off the wind it is a pleasure to fly and easily handled though I did have to add a few fairlead blocks to get it to furl easily. It also has to be furled before you can tack onto a new heading but that is easily accomplished. Best investment I have made.
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Old 31-05-2019, 09:48   #63
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Re: Use of specialized sails by shorthanded cruisers

How fit are you? Are you a racer or a cruiser? Are you coastal cruising or ocean crossing? Are you only happy if you can squeeze the last half a knot out of her or start the engine?
Hoisting sail is easy - striking sail in a squall is not.
Under canvassed is slower - over canvassed you can lose a mast.
Crossing oceans in the Trades we used the twizzle rig to good effect. A description here - https://youtu.be/inpr3r3Fw18
Easy to reef single handed at night from the cockpit; no chafe; and other benefits but takes some time setting up.
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Old 31-05-2019, 19:54   #64
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Re: Use of specialized sails by shorthanded cruisers

I guess singlehanded sailing qualifies as "short handed" and I have done a lot of singlehanding, as well as doublehanded sailing. I also spent years sailing OPBs as a paid delivery skipper. I concur with the comment that in-mast furling should be relegated to afternoon sails in local waters. Sure, most problems CAn be fixed at sea. But while they're being fixed the sail is often "beating itself to death". They are MUCH easier to furl without tangling with at least two people in addition to the helmsman.
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Old 01-06-2019, 01:46   #65
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Re: Use of specialized sails by shorthanded cruisers

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. . . I concur with the comment that in-mast furling should be relegated to afternoon sails in local waters. Sure, most problems CAn be fixed at sea. But while they're being fixed the sail is often "beating itself to death". They are MUCH easier to furl without tangling with at least two people in addition to the helmsman.

What possible benefit does in-mast furling have for "afternoon sails in local waters"? That's where you want a roachy full batten mainsail. In-mast furling sucks for this kind of sailing.



The benefits of in-mast furling shine, and the disadvantages fade, in tough ocean sailing, especially in big conditions. That's why the further North you go, the higher percentage of boats you see with in-mast furling. It's almost impossible to buy a high end British or Scandinavian cruising boat above 45 feet, without in-mast furling. The latitude of the British Isles ranges from 50N to 60N, and Scandinavia goes up to 70N. Those are tough, windy latitudes, where if you are not comfortable sailing in a F8, you won't get out much, and you certainly won't be making any long passages.



In-mast furling requires a certain amount of skill, and understanding of the principles behind it. Delivery skippers and "rock star" racers seem to jam them often -- no doubt due to arrogantly underestimating the task of learning how to use it. Sir Ben Ainslie chose in-mast furling for his personal yacht, and managed to jam it dead -- on his own honeymoon. And was rescued by Richard Branson. True story!



Those who own in-mast furling boats, do not jam them, at least not after the initial learning curve is over. For them, jams are as rare as jams or other failures with conventional mains.




What concerns using them short-handed -- ideally you need three hands to handle an endless line-type in-mast furler -- two hands for the furling line, and one to control the outhaul -- and so it is awkward to do it single handed. Even a powered winch doesn't solve this because you need to maintain tension on the lazy side of the furling line with one hand. But it's not more awkward than reefing or putting away a conventional main single handed, and in rough weather in-mast furling is much better for a single-hander because you don't have to head up, nor go on deck, to reef or furl. The ideal rig for tough offshore conditions single-handed actually would be a hydraulic or electric powered in-mast furling. Then you've got one hand for the outhaul and one hand for the buttons. Helmsman is not needed for reefing in-mast furling because you don't need to head up at all, so you can keep sailing while you're changing the area of the main, and the pilot remains effective -- one of the major advantages of in-mast furling.


Of course, who wants to be in tough offshore conditions, single handed? I prefer having a full crew for that kind of sailing. But I sail my boat quite a bit single handed, and in these latitudes you can't avoid getting caught in some tough weather once in a while.
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Old 01-06-2019, 04:25   #66
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Re: Use of specialized sails by shorthanded cruisers

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No, of course I donít have any concrete knowledge, just observation of my boat sailing with other IPís.
I donít think sailing with any other boat would mean much as a comparison, even among IPís there are differences, the newer ones ought to out sail me I would think.

Average Cat just from the observation of someone without. A lot of knowledge seem to be obviously heavily oriented to the main being the source of most of the propulsion, where on my boat itís primarily the head sails, by a large margin.

So my assumption is, if your heavily biased toward the main being a major source of propulsion, then you fit whatever type of main that has the best performance. And they all seem to be slab reefed.

However it seems most Charter monoís are in mast, so it would seem that in mast isnít a killer in Charter.

However I have never Chartered, too expensive for me, and just from an outside observance, I donít think Iíd want to.
I have sailed boats with all 3 main sail systems. I think the reason for the discussion is that the main is used almost all the time. Dare I say even when motor sailing. So if Iím sailing short handed I want to easily be able to deploy my sails.

Someone made the comment that finding newer boats without in mast Furling is difficult. I think that would be true. Why? Simply because production boats have sales people who are selling the dream. Thirty plus years ago I worked as a broker in Marina del Rey. We were the largest Catalina Dealer in the US. We didnít sell sailboats. We sold the dream of going to Catalina Island for long weekends! If you tried to sell the boat based on itís sailing capabilities you would starve to death. I left the industry in less than 6 months.

Since I short hand or single hand my next cruising boat will have single line slab reefing, possibly a cutter rig, a Code Zero or Asymmetric or possibly both. The Asymmetric will be on a Top Down Furler. My sailing is usually coastal under 500 mile passages with the occasionally shot to Bermuda.
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Old 01-06-2019, 08:38   #67
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Re: Use of specialized sails by shorthanded cruisers

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As we were circumnavigating, we developed an informal Ďfleetí of about 30 boats with whom we would cross paths and share anchorages frequently. A few of those boats were equipped with in-mast furling and 100% of those boats developed problems. From my casual observations, in-mast furling is probably best suited for day sailing or at most, coastal cruising.

Fair winds and calm seas.
They are best suited for motoring.
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Old 01-06-2019, 09:31   #68
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Re: Use of specialized sails by shorthanded cruisers

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I've been told that rigging an inner forestay for a cutter rig requires a baby backstay -which then interferes with the swing of the mainsail boom. Is this baby backstay requirement myth and lore? If not, how does one accommodate the baby backstay and tack without: 1) dosing the inner foresail, 2) removing the baby backstay, 3) tacking, and 4) reversing steps 1 & 2?

I realize that on long legs one can go a very long time on one tack, but I don't like the idea of having so many steps to either tack or heave to in a hurry. I've dealt with sudden squalls several times simply by heaving to until they pass. I'd hate to lose that flexibility.
Running backstays (runners) provide the mast support to oppose the inner forestay loads, also to limit mast bend on masts with only thwart ship shrouds. Not usually used (left slack) on downwind legs so jibing they are not an issue. But upwind, if there is backstay tension on, a runner is also on (rule #1). Tacking, one releases the windward runner as the bow passes through the wind and tensions the old leeward runner (new windward runner), but usually tensioning the new one before releasing the old, so as to always have a runner on. It is an extra hassle but not that much, we've been doing it for quite a few years. We have a sloop with a well organized cockpit and big winches, tacking, even for a couple of 70+ year olds, is not a big deal, and we don't shy away from tacking up a shoreline if that is advantageous.
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Old 01-06-2019, 09:57   #69
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Re: Use of specialized sails by shorthanded cruisers

OK, specialized sails for offwind:

Code zero or asymmetrical spinnakers on furlers are good solutions, particularly for getting maximum performance from a modern boat. Of course racers, with excellent crews, are trending to their use, for a reason. But I've been watching one of my neighbors, (very good sailors, with the sailmaker on the crew) try to get the hang of a modern code zero on their Hanse. It appears to be a significant headache unless it is left hoisted (rolled) between deployments. We can often pass them while they are trying to get it up and set. Take downs are also an issue. Parts have been broken. Two handed? I think it is not a simple process. Single handed? Even less so.

Our choice is asymmetrical spinnakers, set on the tack, and no sock. Just a simple system of two sheets and the halyard. We have an A2 for lighter air and more offwind situations and a very flat, reduced size A3 for close reaching or heavier air. We set and retrieve these sails double handed without issue, but the helm's person must be able to control the halyard during the douse or set, and the ability to "read" the sail really reduces foulups, so good helm'smanship and some practice is needed. We do have a spinnaker pole and it is possible to put the pole on and bring the tack back for deep running situations, but we rarely do this.

We've also used symmetrical spinnakers with pole and sheets and guys and all the rigmarole. That was all we had for twenty years, and we carried plenty of them, from 1/2 oz to 1.5 oz. different shapes, for racing. Cruising, (and we did circumnavigate), we used old 3/4 oz symmetrical spinnakers until they destroyed themselves beyond repair. We still have one, but we're careful about the wind strength with it, due to old cloth.

On trade wind passages we virtually all the time use a small jib, poled out. (see our avatar). We have achieved average passages of 175 miles a day in that configuration.

So, modern specialty sails offer more performance, at a cost in dollars and complexity. But in our opinion simplicity is a most important factor. Fewer lines, simpler hoisting and dousing techniques, are essential. Don't add equipment to make something easier, its often counter productive. Don't be sold by the sailmaker or the colorful brochures. Simpler is best.

BTW, We have simple mainsail with slab reefing (three reefs). It is effective in all wind strengths and reefing is foolproof and quick. We reef early. Most of our sailing these days is in winds under 20knots (true) and the mainsail is full; the roach and shape is essential. If reefing is needed going downwind (rare) we preset everything, then stuff the boat up into the wind long enough to pull the main down to the reef cringle, then turn back on course to finish everything. Not fun, but doable.
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Old 01-06-2019, 13:17   #70
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Re: Use of specialized sails by shorthanded cruisers

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Originally Posted by smacksman View Post
How fit are you? Are you a racer or a cruiser? Are you coastal cruising or ocean crossing? Are you only happy if you can squeeze the last half a knot out of her or start the engine?
Hoisting sail is easy - striking sail in a squall is not.
Under canvassed is slower - over canvassed you can lose a mast.
Crossing oceans in the Trades we used the twizzle rig to good effect. A description here - https://youtu.be/inpr3r3Fw18
Easy to reef single handed at night from the cockpit; no chafe; and other benefits but takes some time setting up.
Thanks for the video. Very educational.
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Old 02-06-2019, 02:53   #71
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Re: Use of specialized sails by shorthanded cruisers

Single handing and continuous loop furlers don't go together, especially furling as there's nobody to ease the sheet while you're pulling. Running the sheet up front near the furler inevitably resulted in either the sheet getting loose or the furler unwinding. I rigged as cam cleat to at least be able to secure the furler mid-furl, but still not good in high winds. I even bought a very expensive Revo winch, but the fine print I eventually read said only 10mm lines of certain brands. Switching to 10mm non-recommended line didn't help. Ended up switching to a drum furler I could run back to the helm. A bit of a trick since I mount the code 0 on either bow as well as the bowsprit on my cat, but it works a charm doing the whole operation from the helm.
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Old 02-06-2019, 03:08   #72
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Re: Use of specialized sails by shorthanded cruisers

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Single handing and continuous loop furlers don't go together, especially furling ....
I found the furling line chafes with the sail reefed. Maybe they have solved that problem now.
Ok I suppose if it is only used for furling 100% and not reefing.
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