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ddilman 10-26-2004 08:56 PM

135% vs 150%
I need help deciding between the 135% vs 150% jib on a new Catalina 36?

I am not planning to do any racing, and I am sailing mostly on western Long Island Sound which has light air.

WHOOSH 10-27-2004 02:38 AM

135% vs 150%
D, I''m assuming you are having the boat equipped with headsail roller furling/reefing. And it''s reasonable to assume you will want to be sailing the entire LI Sound season, right? Perhaps April through October? And the way you have positioned your question, it appears you will only equip the boat with a single headsail, at least to begin with?

If all the above is correct, choosing a 150 would optimize your sailing in the summer but at times present too much sail area in the Spring and Fall winds...and when reefing a 150, you''ll be likely to distort the sail''s cloth when reefed in heavier winds, due to its lighter weight. If choosing the 135, she will have less sail area in the middle of the season than you''d like (but be a bit easier to tack & trim), and you''ll no doubt notice lots of MPS/Drifter/Asym Spin-type sails out on the Sound when boats are trying to catch even more of that soft wind.

IOW no one sail isn''t going to meet all your needs. If choosing between those two, I''d opt for the 135, have it built with a luff pad (polypropylene won''t mildew; foam will) so decent shape will be possible when reefing down to 120-110 in size, and then begin writing my letter to Santa early this year.<g>

I''m curious what experienced LI Sound sailors might think. Jeff?


Jeff_H 10-27-2004 05:45 AM

135% vs 150%
This is not really a one size fits all question, meaning there is not one universally correct answer here. The right answer for you somewhat depends on your sailing style, and on the boat itself.

We each set our own threshold for when there is enough boat speed or wind to continue sailing and when it is time to crank up the noise maker. I hear people talk about having a ''3 knot rule'', meaning if they are not reading 3 knots on the knotmeter they crank the engine. For others, like myself, unless I have to be somewhere, I have an ''on the dial'' rule, which means as long as I am moving enough for the gauge to read, I will continue sailing and sometimes, even when the gauge is at zero, I will just plain sit and wait for the wind to fill back in. Neither approach is inherently better than the other. They are both simply a matter of taste and sailing styles. If you are closer to the 3 knot rule than you probably want a sail that is closer to 135-140 percent as you will probably not sail in a wind range that is light enough that a 150% genoa would be necessary. But if you are the ''on the gauge'' end of things then you will definitely want a 150% genoa.

The problem with a 150% genoa is that there is no such thing as a one sail inventory for a 150% genoa because a 150% genoa made out of conventional dacron and light enough cloth to be useful in really light winds, will be overpowered as winds begin to approach the high teens requiring a sail change.

Which then brings us to the matter of sail inventory. For some, there is only one headsail on board. It gets raised at the start of the season and lowered when the boat is hauled for the winter. Others, like myself, have an all purpose sail in the 135% to 140% range that they use most of the time but also have a blade for heavy air and a light 155% genoa for drifting days and have no compunction about choosing a particular sail for that day and putting it on the stay and even doing a sail change if things change throughout the day. Again it is a matter of sailing style.

This then brings us to the boat. To some extent you have chosen a boat that is less than ideal for where you are sailing. I would normally suggest a boat with an SA/D over 20 for your sailing venue carried in a more modern sail plan which typically would be proportioned with a large mainsail and smaller jib. The Catalina 36 is a very dated design in terms of rig proportions being just the opposite of that and carries and SA/D down in the 16-17 range. It also is a comapratively high drag hull for its displacement with moderately low stability for its drag. Therefore it is very dependent on having huge headsails in light air. This means that a 135% will be quite underpowered in lighter winds say under 10 or so knots. But because of the proportions of the rig, this is still a relatively large sail. What that means is if the sail is made from light enough cloth to be useful in winds, under 8 or so knots, it will be too stretchy for winds much over 12 knots. That can be offset by going to a higher tech sail cloth and cutting pattern.

This is just the same process that I just went through. There are substantial differences in your boat and mine that effect the decision but in my case I just ordered an all purpose cruising sail for my boat. It is just below a 140% genoa. I had it made in mylar/kevlar laminate with a scrim one side and cut slightly on the flat side. I expect that sail to have a wind range from below 3 knots to around 20 knots. I never expect to sail with that sail partially rolled. The use of kevlar allowed the sail to be light enough to be used down to 3 knots of wind and still have the strength and low stretch that is required at the upper end of the wind range. I have a 95% low stretch jib that I use on days where I expect the winds to remain above 12 to 15 knots, and I have a lightweight 155 genoa that I use on days that I expect to be below 8 knots or so. I can get away with that wide wind range on the all purpose sail because I have a very low drag boat, with comparatively high stability and an SA/D over 20 and the genoa represents a smaller percentage of my overall sail plan. I really don''t think that you have an option constructing a sail with that wide a wind range but if you prefer to sail at the lighter end of things then I would suggest that you are stuck going with a higher tech sail.

Good luck with the new boat,

RichH 10-27-2004 06:22 AM

135% vs 150%
For a head sail that is left mounted all season and especially one that is flown (and partly furled) in light to the upper range of moderate conditions, you can consider a radial design that is constructed with heavier cloth at the leech and lighter weight material at the luff. This is definitely a ''compromise'' but may serve you well through your expected conditions. With the sail fully exposed/unfurled during ''light'' conditions the lighter weight forward sections will take better shape albiet the aft heavier sections will need to be shaped correctly. When partly furled, the after section will be better able to stand the strain of the increased force of the wind; and, the lighter weight forward section will furl tighter and more compactly on the foil resulting in a ''fairly decent'' shape (but not perfect). Most furling headsails can only be reduced by about 25-30% and still have relatively good shape. As regards a foam luff, it is possible to get a reasonably good furled shape -- without adding a foam luff, it all depends on the knowledge and expertise of the sailmaker; he/she will also offer ''foil attachment tricks'' to affect good shape (for a sail without a foam luff) when partly furled. The disadvantage of a foam luff is that when furled you will have a very large cross section of the rolled material which greatly reduces the air flow efficiency across the sail. I''d sit down and discuss in detail with a reknown ''local'' sailmaker such possibilities if you''re looking for a ''one size fits all sail". Obviously such a sail cant be obtained from a mail order house that constructs their sails offshore. Such a sail will need precise backstay tension and forestay sag limitations. If your intentions are simply cruising with occasional club racing, etc. take a good hard look at some of the newer "cruisiing laminate" sail materials.

For areas that are reknown for long periods of ''light'' winds a good addition to your inventory is a free luff ''drifter'' that is flown free and not attached to a foil (so that you dont have to dismount the furled headsail). These are made from extremely light material, so the relative costs will be lower in comparison to a full/''normal'' headsail. Since these light materials are relatively easy to sew together, you can opt to construct one yourself from a ''kit'' if you have access to a ''decent'' home (or better) sewing machine -

Billpjr 10-27-2004 08:10 AM

135% vs 150%
The decision is easy...

Are you uptight about the fastest speed and don''t mind reefing and sail handling? Do you have racing mentality? If so go with the 150 and make sure you order color coordinated foul weather gear with the sail.

But...If you are laid back and don''t worry about that stuff do the 135 and break out the wine and cheese. Forget the foul weather gear and buy ponchos at the dollar store.

Seriously, if I had only one headsail it would be the 135 because it''s more versitile. However, a 150 or light air sail can be purchased through a broker much cheaper than doing Sailrite. Over the years I''ve purchased 1-2 yr old top name brand sails in mint or unused condition through Bacon for a fraction of new cost.

Supply on used sails should be up now due to hurricane damaged boats...there are 100s in Florida that no longer need them and their sails will show up at the broker''s office.

maxcontax 10-27-2004 08:05 PM

135% vs 150%
First it''s about the wind, and then it''s about the boat, and then the skipper and crew. From what you''ve said, I''d go with the 150 for your light wind and Catalina36, if you are sensible enough to take in the laundry when the wind gets over 13-15 knots and you are reaching.
The 150 should give you good off the wind performance and give you power to go to wind on a light airs day. If you need to reach or close reach, it would be adviseable to be carrying a 100% or 80% headsail to pull your Catalina windward in heavier air.

Sailormon6 10-28-2004 06:53 AM

135% vs 150%
There is no single sail that is going to give satisfactory performance in all wind conditions. Eventually you''re going to need a second sail if you want to cover a wide range of wind conditions. In your situation, I would suggest a 135% headsail, which can be used in a wide range of winds, except for light air. For those light-air days, when a 135 is just not enough, I suggest a drifter. If you add the cost of a drifter to your boat loan, it won''t add much to the payments, especially if you can find a bargain on a used sail, and, when the wind dies and your sails are slatting next summer, you''ll be glad you did. If you try to get by with only one sail for all conditions, your new boat will suffer in either light or heavy air, and you''ll miss out on some good sailing.

BarryL 10-28-2004 12:40 PM

135% vs 150%

I can''t help you decide, but I can offer some comments, and I also have a question.

This year the sound had light winds all summer and early spring. There was little or no wind in August or September. Then in October it was blowing 15-20 (or more) just about every day.
So the 150 wouldn''t really be good in the light wind, and it would not be good in the heavy wind either.

I had a 150 on my boat (Newport 28) that I put on in June when I bought the boat. It is in good shape, but didn''t work great in winds less than 5 kts, or in winds more than 15 kts.

I started experimenting with an asymmetric spinnaker and ATN chute. That sail is a lot of fun to fly, and works great in light air.

I''m starting to think that I might be better off with a 100& jib for the headsail. That would work for the heavy winds, and to just use the cruising chute for the light winds.

Does that make any sense, or am I better off with a 135%, or what?

I don''t race, just daysail and some weekends.


maestro 10-28-2004 12:48 PM

135% vs 150%
the asymmetrical would be good for broad reaches and downwind sailing, but you have to turn around sometime.....

Why doesn''t your 150% work well in winds less than 5kts?? With a 100% it will be worse. How heavy are your sheets?? The reason I ask is that when I bought my O"day 28, the genoa sheets were WAY TOO BIG for the boat. They were heavy (I''m guessing larger than 1/2 in) and they pulled my sail down in light air. I went to 3/8 in. sheets and there was a HUGE difference in sail trim in light air!!!

BarryL 10-30-2004 02:26 PM

135% vs 150%

I don''t know why the 150 doesn''t work well in light air. Maybe the sail is too heavy? It seems to just sort of hang in light air and I can''t get any shape to it. I''ll have to check the sheets, I haven''t thought of the size issue.


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