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post #1 of Old 06-19-2012 Thread Starter
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How Does Your Islander Sail?

I'm interested in your thoughts on how well your Islander sails. Talk to me about the sails you have and what kinds of speeds you see in various tacks at a given wind speed. How well can you point into the wind? When do you furl and reef?

Having asked that of you, I'll pass on my own observations. My Islander Bahama 30 (a Bob Finch design) is forgiving but needs to be reefed early. I start furling my 127% jib starting at about 11 kts of wind and need to reef the main at about 15 kts. If I don't it starts developing some significant weather helm and heels excessively (and slows down). In a 10 kt breeze, I manage about 5 kts on a beat and 6.5+ on a reach. At 12kts and higher I'll get to 7 to 7.2 kts on a reach, depending on how flat the water is. The LWL is 24 1/2 feet, giving a hull speed of 6.64 kts. With a SA/D ratio of 17.66 and a D/LWL of 247, I am delighted that my relatively heavy coastal cruiser manages those speeds.

That said, it took me an entire sailing season to find the best way to shape the sails to achieve best speed, and it took a change of head sail to the current 127% genoa (from a 155% genoa) to get the speeds I quoted. The old genoa is great in 5 kts of wind and below but has to be furled so much in decent wind that it spoils the sail shape, and that huge cylinder of material ruins air flow over the leading edge. This model of boat develops the majority of its power from the jib rather than the main anyway (the standard jib is 256 sq ft and the main is 194 sq ft), and the difference is even more pronounced with a genoa. Clearly, having a great head sail is critical to good sailing on the 30-2 and Bahama 30 models.

My boat has the shoal keel, so it is not great at sailing to weather. If I am very careful with sail trim, the wind is steady, and the sails do not require reefing I can get to between 45 and 50 degrees of true wind. When I come about on a beat the course difference is 90 to 95 degrees in optimum wind conditions. This 4' 0" draft shoal keel also produces less lift than the fin keel, so it makes more leeway than I'd like -- but then again I can get into some awfully skinny water. For cruising purposes, that's an OK tradeoff, I guess.


T. P. Donnelly
S/V Tranquility Base
1984 Islander 30 Bahama
Pasadena, MD

Last edited by dacap06; 06-19-2012 at 10:31 PM.
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