I posted this on another forum, wanted to see what some of you over here thought.....
I will be ordering a cruising spinnaker kit soon from sailrite for a hunter 40. I know that some kites come with leech and luff lines, some regular line and others spectra. Looking over the Sailrite kit, it just has tape.
- Are the lines nessesairy? and will I want them?
Fabric weight, .75 or 1.5? Lots of oppinions out there.....what is yours?
- Boat is in Saint Petersburg but will mostly be using the sail on the gulf. I want to use it in light air yet I don't want to worry about blowing it out on a reech or closer to the wind. As for wind speed, I'm not sure that I will be comfortable flying it in 20kts and probably even 15 due to my experience. Besides, at that speed the other sails on the boat should be providing a good enough push.
IMO .75 is fine for most coastal cruisers. Most cruising sailors rarely try to fly chutes in conditions that would require the heavier 1.5 oz weight, and using a 1.5 all the time would be frustrating in the light stuff.
Another consideration is the stored bulk of the thing.. a 1.5 oz is going to need more space.
If it's windy enough to blow out a .75 oz chute on a reach, you'd go just as fast with the genny.
1.5 oz material would be a pretty heavy weight spinnaker. Most 1.5s I've used were small, heavy air chutes.
If you are a cruiser, you have to ask yourself whether you will be hoisting the chute in heavy weather? Usually not.
It partly depends where you sail and what the prevailing conditions are, but as a very general rule most of us are hoisting a chute to improve downwind performance in light to moderate air. That translates to a 0.75 oz chute for most folks.
Some folks will opt for a 0.6 oz material, but if you're only going to have one chute in your inventory, a 0.75 makes for a good all-round spinnaker.
I have a boat with a somewhat larger sail area than the Hunter 40. My all purpose A sail is from North. It is made of a combination of 3/4 oz and 1.5 oz nylon cloth. The heavier cloth is in the head, tack, clew and down the luff and leech. It has tapes on the luff, leech and foot with a high tech small diameter line inside the tape for adjustment. This gives us the best compromise between weight and not worrying too much in a building wind on a shy reach.
Some other things to consider may be the size of the sail and the shape of the sail. If all you are doing is cruising, may I suggest a somewhat smaller than 1.8J dimension sail. Perhaps something in the 1.6 to 1.7 J range. The full size sail is really meant for a purpose and should be built lighter. A smaller sail will give you more use before you have to take it down at the expense of a little power.
Might I also suggest you consider that a sail that is very full will be great broad reaching but be too full to carry at higher apparent wind angles.
Most of the sailmakers have descriptions of each cut on their web site. I'd suggest if this is your only A sail that you consider one of the middle choices....not too powerful...but also not too flat. Once again this is a compromise but as it will be the only sail you put up after you roll in the headsail, you may want to consider that this type of sail will allow you to use it more at the expense of optomizing for one particular point of sail.
You may want to consider also checking with the Direct Outlet of North as they make some standard size A sails that may work well for your boat at a competitive price. Having constructed downwind sails from both nylon and more exotic fabrics, I can tell you that it is a lot of work and even more work to do just right. You may pay just about the same amount for a finished product in the current market if your haggling skills are finely honed.
It can help (along with the halyard, and the tack line), shape the sail with more or less draft (depth), and to help you raise the sail..If you get a cruisng AP (all weather) sail, please have them cut it slightly smaller, and flater...you can get wider sailing angles...or a VMG sail
NOW...if you are a car;ess sailor, and normally stuff lasts small time in your boat, get a thicker heavier material...
I agree with Giuletta as most any sailmaker can meet your needs. We also have a Quantum A sail. It's a Code Zero style that is made very flat out of a combination of weights of Pin Stripe fabric. It's a great sail!
For how you described your needs, cruising only and with this being the only A sail you will have aboard, a pre-made sail from North, or any other reputable maker out there designed according to the advice you are getting will be great. If you can find a premade all purpose sail close to the dimensions you settle on, you will save a great deal over a custom made one. Last, let me suggest that you consider a spinnaker sock or furling system like Giuletta uses which will make using the sail even more attractive.
If you are doing what most cruisers do, and some racers these days with sport boats, you will roll up the headsail on the furler before setting, or shortly after setting the A sail. If this is how you will be using the sail, consider a sock. You can research these as well as the sail designs on all the major sailmaker sites. Another item to consider is a strap that will allow you to attach the tack of the sail around your furled headsail. The strap is unnecesary at deep sailing angles but is a nice sthing to have in closer angles. You may consider asking for quotes on the sail, sock and strap at the same time as some offer packages. In the past North Direct offered these packages as well as including a pair of sheets. It has been a couple of years so I do not know if any of the sailmakers are offering similar packages today. Finally, consider how you will be running the tack line. It would be nice to have the tack set outside, in front of, the bow pulpit. Depending on your bow setup and if you have, and how strong your anchor roller is, you may be able to attach a block at the end of the anchor roller. Sometimes these are not built too strongly and are engineered to take downward force and not the upward force the tack block will put on them. We use the anchor roller in light air, broad reaching but switch to a solid Wichard padeye through bolted to the deck, inside the pulpit in heavier air or closer angles.
Giulietta, Nice video Looking forward to fly one of my own.
121 guy, I am definitely going to get the ATN tracker and the sock. I am also seriously considering modifying the shape of the sail as some of you described.
I haven't got the quote from North yet but I think I am leaning towards a sailrite kit. I enjoy building things and I think this would be interesting. Also I can chose my own colors vs a pre-built one. And it is the cheapest option out there.