Thanks everyone for all the advice. The boat has been well maintained by the previous owner of 12 years. It needs topside paint badly but rigging was replaced about 10 years ago, bottom paint is about a year old, all lines run to cockpit and newish, st100 autohelm, self tailing winches for the jib sheets.. etc. Lots of attention to little functional details. He took wonderful care of the boat and I paid a bit more because I recognised that it was a turnkey without any major projects. UK Sails were new as of 2006 and weren't used much at all the in past 4 years or so. They seem good to me.
For a jib I'm running a class jib (125?) for a santana 22. Hank on. I have a tack line that raises it up so I can easily see under the jib while sailing. I love the visibility. Probably functions as about a 100 as it can just touch the mast in a tack. This is what was up last weekend. I have a 90 with battons as well but it's heavy dacron and I like it less. I have a 100 drifter, and a 120 and 150 genoa. I've also got a santana 22 90 jib that would be the smallest head sail I have. Would it be worth running that?
I sail out of the alameda marina. Waaaaaaaaaay up the Oakland Estuary. 45 minutes motoring into the wind just to get to the bay is getting a bit old and I'm starting to think about an alternate east bay location but not likely this season.
The main only has one set of reef points and a single line reef setup. Is it worth it to pay to add a second?
Please tell me more about danger from currents. I go under the bay bridge a lot and I may not fully understand what I should be careful of. Will a current tend to take you around an object as the water flows around it? What should I lookout for?
I really want to learn to handle whatever is normal for the bay here and not just hide from it. I've been out with the previous owner a couple of times but that was in winter and low winds. We're still in contact and he's a great source of advice. Single handing is a reality for me if I want to sail regularly and the boat is well setup for it. I'm starting to take non-sailor friends out as well and want to manage my boat so as not to freak them out
Thanks again for all the advice. I have learned so much by lurking on these forums.
Alameda Marina is a good place to be for a first year sailor who is teaching himself. When it's blowing too hard for comfort out on the bay, you'll be able to "pick you windspeed" by picking your location on the Estuary -- the closer you get to the mouth of the Estuary the winder it gets (on most summer afternoons. )
I'd recommend that you turn off the motor and use your sails to tack upwind in the Estuary -- use it as a chance to practice tacking. You'll learn more about tacking and boat handling in two months on the Estuary than you would in two seasons on the bay. It's about 4 nautical miles from Alameda to the Oakland outer harber, so there's plenty of room to practice. .... And there are some great bar and grills on the estuary -- they have docks that are perfect for practicing your docking skills
On a windy day, it can easily be blowing 25 kts up by Jack London Square That's a lot for a newbie to handle. You'll want to stay closer to Coast Guard Island on those days, while you learn to reef and trim your sails for control. When you feel comfortable, you can start going further out the Estuary.
On windy days when it's blowing 15-25 in the Estuary, it'll be blowing 25-30 outside the Estuary and 30+ with higher gusts in the central bay on the other side of the bay bridge.
For your mainsail: You'll definitely should have a second reef in your mainsail. (If that boat came from SF Bay, the mainsail should have had one). Make sure your practice reefing at the dock so you can do it without even thinking. Make sure your single line system works easily and properly.
(Reeefing comment #1: If by single line you mean one line for both the reef tack and reef clew, make sure it works properly: the reef tack has to be set securly up against the mast before the reef clew line puts outhaul tension on the foot.)
(Reefing comment #2 :I personally prefer two line reefing -- it's actually easier and faster to put a reef in than single line reefing. You can set the front of the reef more easily when nothing is pulling on the clew of the sail. One line for the reef clew and a separate line (or a hook) for the reef tack at the mast is the most reliable and foolproof system there is. )
For your jib -- that Santana 22 125% class jib will probably work acceptably well if you can adjust the clew height so it's correct relative to the location of the jib sheet fairlead. The vertical angle of the jib sheet controls the amount of twist in the jib. And the amount of twist makes a difference in how well the boat performs (or heels or points etc) . The "sheet angle" is really important.
The Santana 22 125% jib is approx the same area as an R23 95% jib so it's about right in terms of power. But it's not necessarily the optimal shape for the Ranger 23. A purpose-built R23 95% jib would be about 3.5 feet taller on the luff and 3.5 feet narrower on the LP, and most importantly, the clew might be higher or lower to suit the location of the genoa blocks or tracks.
Your 90% jib, if it's specifically built for the R23, might be a better cut sail for your boat. The heavier cloth is likely a good thing -- it reflects the heavier displacement of the R23 over the S22. The vertical battens suggest that it's a custom built sail of high craftsmanship.
I keep a 7000 pound Catalina 27 on the Estuary (and I often sail other boats in the estuary.) It's really a great place for learning.
(Full disclosure in accordance with Sailnet rules: I'm a sailmaker)