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downwind sail for P26

I'm a new sailor with a Pearson 26. I have a hank on jib and genoa and I'm looking for a low cost downwind sail option for light winds (northern Chesapeake). I think I want a drifter or a gennaker. My basic understanding from cursory reading is that a lighter sail fills easier and a fuller cut drifter will drive more forward than my existing genoa when going downwind. My thought is that I can get a light weight big sail that I can just attach to my existing tack and use my existing halyard. Is this possible? If so, where to find a used sail that fits my needs?

The web says the genoa and drifter are nearly identical in size for my boat with a 31.89 luff and 277 sq'. How much smaller can I go and not be wasting my time/money? Can I go bigger i.e. 170? Assuming a similar sized as my existing 150, can I use the existing jib car? It's only 6' or so from the stern as it is.

Thanks for any help/suggestions,
Clay
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Re: downwind sail for P26

you could find an old drifter (though they are mostly for reaching not running as I recall), or better yet, a newer assymmetrical spinny (descendant of the "gennaker"), as long as the luff length is appropriate. Remember your jib halyard is below the headstay fitting, so you will have to jibe it "inside" the foretriangle (which most of us do anyway). Either way, you want a sail that's loose-luffed, so it can "get out to windward" of the headstay, if you want to run, or deep broad reach.

Only disadvantage to not having a dedicated spinny halyard is you have to go "bareheaded" while changing from jib to spinny, and back. And you won't have the jib to help blanket the sail during hoist and douse. But if you steer down to blanket it with the main, it should be manageable.

If you have a choice, get one that 's cut for downwind work, like a code 2, or 4, described here:

And yeah, I'd think your existing genny car, all the way aft, should be okay.

Last edited by nolatom; 17 Hours Ago at 03:08 PM.
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Re: downwind sail for P26

Thank you Nolatom for your your reply. My follow up question then is don't I need a sprit for a Aspin? Don't I have to be able to adjust the tack to let it fly up? and if so, doesn't that change the luff requirement, meaning I would want something shorter than the maximum 31.89'?

Or, are you saying that an Aspin with a luff that is equal or less than my max will serve my purposes and I can just attach it to the tack like a genoa and point her downwind?

Thanks again, Clay
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Re: downwind sail for P26

My prior, prior boat (Capri 22) I had a symmetrical spinnaker rigged with a short tackline that ran back to the cockpit, and I flew it off the bow by the genoa hook... It wasn't perfect but on a light day broad reaching it'd double my speed downwind anyway. Have to run your sheets all the way around the forestay, OR if you are fractional use a halyard from the masthead (still a bear to gybe but it's doable). If you run the sheets around the forestay, you have to bear down to Dead downwind, until it basically collapses, then pull hard on the leeward sheet until you pull the spin around (basically flipping the spinnaker inside out). It's not perfect but it works.

The Capri 22 is fractional, but the kite halyard is fractional too.

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Re: downwind sail for P26

the assym without a sprit or spinnaker pole will only work well on a reach. without a way to get the sail away from the blanket effect of the main the sail will not fill the same as the genoa. on a run the lighter sail will fill easier but there is more to fill and more sail behind the main. it is an easier spinnaker to fly but on a 4-5kt boat you will not have enough speed to take advantage of the apparent wind angles going down wind to really make any difference in your VMG downwind. ie you wont get there any faster. though it is fun to try.
if you are going to use one without a pole or sprit then get a reaching cut sail not to big, flatter with a max 160% of J foot length.
you will need blocks at the far aft corners of the boat because the clew will be higher and farther back then the genoa lead
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