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post #11 of 30 Old 12-26-2012
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Re: Third Reef or Storm Sail?

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...... when you could just reef the normal kit from the cockpit and go below and have a hot cuppa tea?

Mark
.... and whats the maximum wind load rating of your 'normal' sail cloth material?
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post #12 of 30 Old 12-26-2012
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Re: Third Reef or Storm Sail?

I have not gone offshore. BUT, If I were to, i would have a deep 2nd or 3rd reef option, wish I had the 3rd reef option in puget sound at times, along with a trysail for off shore work.

This mind you comes from an article I saw in sailing world about 4-5 yrs ago, maybe 2 or 3 Volvo 70 world races too......In that article, it stated that these boats had 3 sail options for wind speeds in the 40-50 range. The range we normals would want to be down in SA. The options were based on wave height as much as anything. If the waves were deeper, IIRC that went with say 1000# of sail that was slightly taller on the mast, so when in the hole, they could still get wind. When waves were shorter, they went with a shorter sail setup. One might be a trysail 80% jib, the other a 3rd reef and 70% jib.

Granted the V70 crews have IIRC 25 sails on board, us mortals maybe 3-5......still worth thinking about this issue for best sailing, speed, lack of heeling etc when it comes to which sail option to have. Especially since in higher winds, the trysail will be heavier cloth, same with a storm jib of sorts, best not to toss or try to not do with these! Could save ones bacon!

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post #13 of 30 Old 12-27-2012
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Re: Third Reef or Storm Sail?

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.... and whats the maximum wind load rating of your 'normal' sail cloth material?
I really dont know.

If the wind is abaft the beam I would be under bare poles.
Forward of the beam at 45 or 50 knots I would be hove to... I would probably drop the sails and be motoring at 30 degrees to 45 deg into the seas.

Certainly on my boat the engine is more than an "auxillary". Its a main system to be used judiciously. If sailing in the right season its pretty unlikely to hit bad weather for more than 24 hours, and I try to have a 24 hour reserve(2 gerry cans at 1,800 RPM).

Times have changed and theres better tactics than Allard Coles Heavy Weather Sailing. Most modern boats have a much bigger engine, for example a friend has a Corbin 39 which came with a 33 HP engine for a 10 ton, 23,000 pound boat, where mine is 7 ton and has a 56 HP engine. Obviously the storm tactics can be diffent.

Mark

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Last edited by MarkofSeaLife; 12-27-2012 at 08:12 AM.
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post #14 of 30 Old 12-27-2012
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Re: Third Reef or Storm Sail?

To me the answer to this is another question; 'for how long?' If you are coastal cruising and taking short offshore hops, you may be able to get by with a third reef in your mainsail. If properly reinforced a third reef works okay for short periods of time.

But generally, the fabric and stitching in a mainsail is too light to stand up to the kinds of days of abuse that is implied in getting hammered by a big storm offshore. To explain, coastal cruiser mainsails are generally designed to sail well across a pretty wide range of winds. They are purposely a lighter weight fabric than a dedicated offshore, heavy air sail with the idea that they will hold their shape and perform in the more predominant light to moderate winds that coastal cruisers sail in.

Without taking much of a performance hit, you can have the head of the sail triple stitched and you can have the third reef reinforcing particularly heavily done, but over even a few days, given the weight of the fabric the amazingly violent abuse of heavy air sailing will take a permanent toll on the sail.

With that in mind, the right answer needs to come out of how you personally will use the boat. If you are a coastal cruiser who makes a couple day leap offshore once and while, where you can chose your weather window and only deal with a fast moving front passing through, then I would probably say, just add a third reef with a enlarged reinforcing patch and triple stitching at the head. If you are making longer passages, you will probably want the storm trisail on its own track. There is a very good reason these exist.

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post #15 of 30 Old 12-27-2012
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Re: Third Reef or Storm Sail?

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Originally Posted by MarkofSeaLife View Post
Times have changed and theres better tactics than Allard Coles Heavy Weather Sailing. Most modern boats have a much bigger engine, for example a friend has a Corbin 39 which came with a 33 HP engine for a 10 ton, 23,000 pound boat, where mine is 7 ton and has a 56 HP engine. Obviously the storm tactics can be diffent.

Mark
.... and at what angle of heel does your engine's oil sump stop delivering oil to its oil pump? ;-)
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post #16 of 30 Old 12-29-2012
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Re: Third Reef or Storm Sail?

I don't think this is an either/or question. You need both: the third reef or a deep second reef for times when the trysail is not needed for a predicted, long-term storm. You're not going to be hauling the try out and going through all that work for a quick front to pass or a squall but you do need the small sail area. You usually need to reef quickly in those situations but when the barometer starts falling at a fast clip and other indications and forecasts are that there will be a protracted storm, then the main comes down and try up. The try, being loose-footed is probably a lot more stable than a sail on the boom and gets the center of effort lower. The boom can then be lashed down out of the way. I have never had occasion to use my trysail but have had lots of opportunities to reef down to the second reef point which is quite small. I recently built a second heavy-duty cruising sail which has a VERY small third reef and all kinds of extra reinforcement so it will only be a predicted, long storm that will cause me to break out the trysail.

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post #17 of 30 Old 01-21-2013 Thread Starter
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Third Reef or Storm Sail?

Thanks for the thoughtful analysis. I think you are correct so, first off, we are getting a third reef put in the main. It will not be rigged all the time but we will be able to have either #1 and #2 available or #2 and #3 depending on the season and the type of sailing we are doing. I suspect the latter will become the normal configuration because by the time you need the first reef the second works just fine....
We will also reluctantly order a storm sail as well. I slightly begrudge the money and the storage but better safe than sorry. Just another ' boat unit'......

Graham
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post #18 of 30 Old 01-21-2013
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Re: Third Reef or Storm Sail?

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Originally Posted by GrahamO View Post
Thanks for the thoughtful analysis. I think you are correct so, first off, we are getting a third reef put in the main. It will not be rigged all the time but we will be able to have either #1 and #2 available or #2 and #3 depending on the season and the type of sailing we are doing. I suspect the latter will become the normal configuration because by the time you need the first reef the second works just fine....
We will also reluctantly order a storm sail as well. I slightly begrudge the money and the storage but better safe than sorry. Just another ' boat unit'......

Graham
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post #19 of 30 Old 01-21-2013
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Re: Third Reef or Storm Sail?

Seems to me having both is the right answer, but for those who have actually used the tri-sail, how did you manage the unsupported boom?

Our boom is very long and heavy. Lashing it down to the deck would be a real challenge. It would overlap the cockpit, and would certainly block one side of the deck. For this reason, I'm thinking a 3rd reef is a more functional arrangement.

Why go fast, when you can go slow.
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post #20 of 30 Old 01-21-2013
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Re: Third Reef or Storm Sail?

Our current boat came with a heavy offshore main with 3 reefs. I've never needed the 3rd here in PNW, but that's just because we've been lucky. The boat has done a lot of Pacific crossings and the PO never mentioned wishing they had a trysail instead of just the 3rd reef and I know on one 5800nm crossing they encountered three major storms that broke a lot of stuff on the boat. If the main is built strong enough and the 3rd reef is deep enough to work well with a storm staysail maybe that is OK. Better to have it though than to wish you had it I guess.

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