How important is a spare main while cruising? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 12 Old 02-14-2007 Thread Starter
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How important is a spare main while cruising?

I've always sailed under the belief that the spare main was the second most important sail in my inventory. That belief was recently challenged by some cruisers who happen to run a sail shop.

Their take is that as long as you have a main sail in excellent shape AND you correctly use your storm trisail you don't need the spare main. Theory being that you will have long switched over to the storm trisail long before you encounter conditions that threaten the integrity of you mainsail.

Has anyone garnered experience that addresses the question, "should I fill up my valuable storage space with a spare mainsail?"

s/v Jargo
Singlehanding to Panama and beyond

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post #2 of 12 Old 02-14-2007
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I carry a trisail for just that reason. My main has two reefs with the second being fairly deep. Once it gets to the point that it too much sail, the main should be down and the trysail rigged. I can't see carrying a spare main for cruising. Now I do have a sewing machine that I can repair the sail with though. Also my main is fairly large with a 60' ft hoist and a 18 ft foot so it takes up lots of room.

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post #3 of 12 Old 02-14-2007
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I never felt the need for a spare main.
All the best,
Robert Gainer
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post #4 of 12 Old 02-14-2007
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I have never heard of carrying a space main, I think the advice about the storm trysail is reasonable. The PO of our boat set the main up with three reef points and we have left it that way, the third reef serves in stead of the trysail. That said, the this is a replacement main for the original sail, following the PO's expereince in a fast-moving storm which blew out all three reef loints, one after the other...
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post #5 of 12 Old 02-15-2007
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Trysail aboard and ready to rig will save a lot of wear and tear on a mainsail - plus its safer as it doesnt need a boom. A bombproof mainsail with triple sewn seams, etc. is an investment for safety.
I make all my own sails. For underway repairs I simply use 3M5200 and heavy dacron 'tape', etc. .... no need to lug a heavy sewing machine around.
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post #6 of 12 Old 02-15-2007
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Argh! 5200! I use it everywhere. It'll glue a woman's mouth shut if needed.
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post #7 of 12 Old 02-15-2007
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Originally Posted by pigslo
Argh! 5200! I use it everywhere. It'll glue a woman's mouth shut if needed.
pigslo
Very true. My wife uses it for her bikini wax.
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post #8 of 12 Old 02-15-2007
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The only reason that we have a second main is, we liked the looks of the new sail we purchased at the sail show this winter. Our old sail is only 4 years old, and had been cleaned last year. Still looks OK- Just a bit out of shape. Looking forward to spring and the boat going back into the water.

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post #9 of 12 Old 02-15-2007
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At one time, I carried two mains: a deep draft, full roach one for light air, and a flat one for heavy air. It was nice having the flat one; the boat sailed better with it than a reefed main. Having said that, it was very painful to change, and you had to anticipate the weather -- not always an easy thing to do.

So there is definitely a good reason to carry two mains; provided you can figure out in advance what the weather will be, and you can convince someone else to make the change-over.
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post #10 of 12 Old 02-15-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailhog
Very true. My wife uses it for her bikini wax.
That WAS a nice lunch.

BTW: I vote for three reefs in the main and a try-sail...but it's got to have its own track/gate and be able to be hoisted on its own halyard quickly so you're not dicking about on a swerving deck.

The worst case is clawing off a lee shore or reef in horrible wind and conditions too rough to power off (engine off its mounts or prop clear of the water). If you can keep the boat with a trysail and a staysail pointed up even a bit, you've got a chance. I keep thinking of that famous Sydney Hobart race shot with the minimal sail and all hands on the weather rail in conditions that looked like Hell's toilet.

Ah, here's a few:



Last edited by Valiente; 02-15-2007 at 03:21 PM.
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