Join Date: May 2007
Location: Alameda, CA
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I jumped in with both feet on my rig. I've noticed that, while she's slower than a lot of boats, being a staysail rigged schooner gives me quite a few options. It's hard to get her up to hull speed on lakes and in tight spots, mostly because there are so many sails to trim and each sail effects the next with possibly bad wind, as Jeff_H mentions.
However, she reaches quite well. A lot better than one would think. And while I can in no way keep up to a sloop with a big spinnaker when headed downwind, I can maintain a reasonable pace (on par with a cat boat atleast) by jacking my fore stay sail boom out with a spinnaker pole, putting my head-sails wing and wing (which happens on it's own if the wind is good enough) and dropping my main. It's a bit of a pain in the ass but not more so than rigging a spinnaker and dropping a jib, just to tear it all down when you come back about.
Further, with a staysail rigged schooner I'm able to handle well in any weather condition. The times I've been caught out in a storm have been no issue, usually I can just drop my fisherman and keep going (when it's real bad, I might drop the main). Also, since both stay sails are boom rigged I can sail at a half decent pace with three totally self tending sails. I'm hoping to use this technique (plus my auto-pilot) to take some good size naps while making crossings without loosing too much time, although I haven't done it yet.
Looking back, it might have been nice to have a faster boat. I get out run on the lake pretty often, but that's on the lake.
Having strong backs or running back stays is also a pain the ass. I have 4 running back stays, two of which seem to be pretty important in even moderate winds.
But my boat gets more compliments than anyone elses :-)