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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest Forums > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 12-15-2007
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Headsails for a cutter

Hi, need some advice about what size sail(s) to have made for our 40' Brewer pilothouse(disp.23000). We sail in Washington and BC, year round but primarily in the summer. We are going to be putting a furler on the headstay(suggestions-Harken, Profurl, Schaeffer???) and I really only want to have to buy one sail right now. I would like to put the largest sail possible on that can be furled down to close to 100% size, seems like 130-135 is about the max. that will work? If the wind gets too strong for the furled headsail(and staysail) then I can furl it in and just run under the staysail and reefed main. Does this sound reasonable to other cutter sailors, or do I need to use a smaller sail to balance the rig better under normal winds of 15K-20K, and then a 150 for light winds? If having two headsails is the way to go, what sizes are optimum? I have essentially no experience with this boat as it is just being delivered Monday and going into the shop for a pretty extensive refit. I have not talked to any of the lofts here, which I plan to do, but wanted to get the benefit of your experience in advance. Thanks for any advice.

John
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Old 12-15-2007
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Do you have any idea yet just how you expect to use the boat? By that I mean; are you likely to motor if the wind is below 4-6knots apparent? Although it's a pretty heavy boat and you may "need" a 150 to get going in the light stuff, would you likely sail then anyway?

I'm thinking of all those sunny, hot and windless days up in Desolation where most of us end up chugging simply because there's no wind and we have to get somewhere. And, then, when there is a breeze it often fills to 10 knots or better (though not necessarily in your desired direction)

If you expect that you might be inclined to power through that stuff, I'd think you could otherwise get away with a 130-ish on the headstay plus a staysail. The beauty of the cutter rig is that as you downsize the sail area, it moves down and toward the middle of the boat, minimizing heeling moment and you're nicely balanced in a breeze with the staysail and reefed main.

As you could fly both headsails in many conditions, and since tacking the shorter LP sails will be SOOOO much easier on your crew, I think I'd be tempted to go that route if I were you.

But if you're diehard enough to drift through those days, then you'll probably need a large, light genny. OTH if you compliment the smaller headsail combo with a flattish cruising chute you'd likely do well in all conditions but a real light air beat.

Keeping in mind that as of now neither of us knows just how your new beauty is going to handle/behave.
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Old 12-15-2007
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John, I agree with Faster 100%. Something else you may want to consider is a Yankee cut head sail. Although our boat is much lighter we carry a 110 Yankee on a Harkin furler, Stay sail is hank on with two reefs ( reefs similar to the mainsail) , main with three reefs and for those lite air days we have a Hood MPS ( http://www.hoodsailmakers.com/MP-S.htm )
http://s4.photobucket.com/albums/y14...=AngelaM-1.jpg
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Old 12-15-2007
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I had a Yankee on a furler but did not have enough power. I replaced it with 135% with reef marks at 110% and have been happy with the change.
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Old 12-15-2007
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I have a 135 on the furler and the staysail. I'm looking to get a 110 Yankee for those times when I want to go to windward with two headsails up. The 135 doesn't work very well when partly furled and because of the cut, it gets sucked into the back of the staysail when both are up, even on a beam reach.
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Old 12-15-2007
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My 110 and staysail have combinations that work very well for me in everything except very light airs. If the seas are relatively calm, then a breeze of 4-5 knots will move my 38,000 pounds along quite nicely. But if the seas are lumpy from previous weather, there is too much flogging, and depending on my mood and intentions, I flash-up and motorsail, roll them in and hoist my assymetrical or douse evrything and motor.
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Old 12-15-2007
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You know, call me crazy, but you could ask Ted Brewer:

brewer@island.net

http://www.tedbrewer.com/contact.html

I've found him quite happy to discuss his designs or the designs that came out of his firm.
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Old 12-15-2007
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Thanks for all the advice and experience. It seems to be almost unanimous to go with about a 135 and the staysail. The Hood chute looks like a great addition for light winds. I don't have a club footed staysail so no reef points, might consider furling there as well after I get a better feel for the boat. As Faster pointed out, there will be a lot of near windless days during the summer, my personal cut off point before calling on the iron genny is about 3kts depending on my mood. I'm hoping to talk to Ted Brewer on Monday about something else and will ask his opinion, but I wanted to get some input from others before making a decision. Thanks again for the help, it is really appreciated. John
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