Join Date: Jul 2002
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Cruising Sail Inventory
Brent, you pose a good question...it will be interesting to see what others think.
Your two routes are somewhat different (tho'' you don''t tell us what comes after the South Pacific), so picking a sail plan to fit both of them is a challenge. Light winds & downwind sailing along the Central American coast is intermixed with some real Papagayo blows where the Trades sneak thru the mountain chain in Nicaragua and S Mexico, so that inner stay (and staysail/storm sail?) is a good idea. Once you turn the corner (R or L), the SoPac leg is mostly downwind beam & broad reaching until you reach the Indian Ocean (where winds become stronger) altho'' the doldrums will have lots of hard/short thunderstorms. OTOH clearing the Canal, you''ll be on a close reach if heading N up the Central American east coast OR fighting for every mile if hoping to get eastward to the E Caribbean islands & Trinidad. Moreover, the wind blows like stink half the time and just blows hard & steady the other half.
Given all that, I''d forget the large genny but do think a case could be made for a 120-130. I don''t see any scenario where a 140+ is a critical sail over an extended period of time. I''d make sure that staysail can handle heavier air AND I''d double check the main is easy to reef down double; also don''t forget to avoid the chafe in the reefing line at the aft (clew) cringle if you''re jiffy reefing.
You don''t tell us if you have furling gear. If so, double check not only that hardware but also that your furling line has NO chafe occuring early in the lead back to the cockpit - that''s the only thing holding in the sail and you''ll reef that jib on either route on occasion, at which point you can''t afford to lose the furling line. Also, do you have a pole? With downwind sailing it would help the jib avoid chafe and also increase boat speed.
Asymetrics are great. If only we used them as much as we thought we would when offshore.<g>