Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Annapolis, Md
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While it is true that some old IOR boats make acceptable cruising boats, having actually owned a Northstar 500, what I found is that the sail plan, which had a very low SA/D and a miniscule mainsail, depended very heavily on carrying very large inventory of the precisely right sized overlapping headsail for the conditions. When you add that the boat was very sensitive to larger heel angle (like most IOR boats of that era- cavitating the rudder and wiping out moderately easily) the boat was easiest to handle with just the right sail on the stay.
The way we used the boat, even cruising the boat would hardly sail in winds under 4-5 knots without using the 170% genoa or the Drifter. By 8 knots of wind, the 170% was over-powered and the drifter was so round that you could not point at all. We typically tried to get by with the #1 (155%) from around 5 knots up to about 10 knots, but around 12 knots with the #1 you were wiping out, even with a reef in the mainsail. In winds above 10 knots but below 15 knots, I peeled down to the #2 (135%), which at the upper end was nicely balanced with a reef but around 15 knots the boat again got pretty squirely so we would peel down to the #3 often with a reef to balance the helm.
I usually used the 155% or 135% daysailing in winds around 5-15 knots. My boat had a track in the foredeck for a removable storm jib, but the boat had a huge amount of weather helm when the storm jib was used without a double reef in the mainsail. The individual sails had a wider wind range when racing with 3-4 guys on the rail.
Back to Puddinglegs point, the reason that I say that roller furling will not help was that the boat was very sensitive to fullness. My boat had a full cut #1 and a flat cut #1. (It also had similar #2's) The full cut was next to useless because the boat would heel too quickly greatly shortening the range of the use of the sail. The same was true of the full cut #2. Since roller furling a sail makes the furled sail fuller, this would not be a good way to go on the Northstar 500.
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Curmudgeon at Large- and rhinestone in the rough, sailing my Farr 11.6 on the Chesapeake Bay